The Look of Love

As with most Malaysian weddings, ours was not without its fair share of opinions. Family, their friends, and sometimes strangers would generously offer advice on what our wedding should and shouldn’t have. While they undoubtedly had good intentions, I can’t help but wish they were as generous with more important advice. You know, like how to stay married. What I wished for was solid advice from married couples. Albeit it’s years since our wedding day, I found what I was looking for then during Greg and Shaylyn Ford’s series, “Till Death Do Us Part”.

While there was plenty of content within the four-week long series that I found admirable and encouraging, it was really watching and listening to the couple present the series together that made the greatest impression on me. Personable, charming and young, they are a couple I could relate to on many levels –something I didn’t have growing up. Happy marriages don’t run in my family. My paternal grandfather had died way before I was born, and his widow never remarried. My maternal grandparents found each other through arranged circumstances (as was the case in India decades ago) causing their marriage to be one of duty. And I watched my parents’ marriage crumble through my childhood.

Hence, my understanding of marriage became a collection of my own observations of my parents’ marriage (mainly what not to do) and a romanticized dream of what life would be like with my soulmate. “We’ll be so in love that we will just make everything work,” is something my 20-year old self probably thought. But, these are whimsical fantasies that do not stand a chance in the real world.

That’s because in the real world, there are complications, complications to those complications, which all leads to a whole other level of complicated. In our four years of marriage, there have been happy times and challenges. But as I watched Greg and Shaylyn present the series together, I realize the importance of keeping the company of other married couples in our lives. More than building friendship, we also need encouragement from other couples and a realization that every couple goes through challenges. “You are the company you keep” goes the saying, and I can’t help but think it applies just as well to relationships.

I also enjoyed watching how the couple worked together in their presentation. They had a task to carry out (teach the series) and their presentation offered a glimpse into their relationship and how they treat one another. Whenever Shaylyn delivered her part of the messages, Greg would listen intently, paying complete attention to what his wife was saying. It was like he was learning from her as much as the rest of the room was. And when it was Greg’s turn to speak, Shaylyn’s attention was just as undivided. There was a seamless working relationship between them as they spoke on stage, making it evident that they genuinely respect one another off the stage as well. This made me think of my own relationship with my husband and prompt me to reevaluate how we treat and respect one another. If I don’t give my spouse the same level of undivided attention that I give to friends or coworkers, then I’m not giving him my best self. Talk about a major light bulb moment.

As the series came to an end, there were plenty of notes I had made based off the content delivered.

However, watching the couple made me realize that it’s so important to show my husband the love and respect I have for him.

Just as I took notice of how Greg and Shaylyn interacted on stage, others might be inspired by how my husband and I treat one another. And personally, there’s nothing better than helping inspire others love with the love I have.

written by: Joanne Nayagam, March 2017


Born and raised in Malaysia, Joanne Nayagam has lived in Colorado, Illinois and now calls Ohio home. While she has a degree in Actuarial Science, she decided to pursue her passion – writing. She has since written for various publications and companies. In her free time, she enjoys reading and travelling.

4 Reasons People Don’t Do Marriage Counseling & Why I Think They Should Change Their Mind.

In my experience, I’ve found that people don’t do marriage counseling for 1 of 4 reasons…

  1. They are embarrassed & ashamed.
  2. They know they are doing something wrong & don’t want to hear it confirmed by a 3rd party.
  3. They have lost hope.
  4. They think they can’t afford it

Here are my responses…

  1. Every marriage needs counseling including your boy (me) & his girl.  You are not alone.  You are in good company.  Don’t let your pride prevent you from making a heroic decision.  Get help.
  2. If somebody broke into your house & threatened your family you would fight valiantly.  So, why would you knowingly turn a blind eye to a problem that has the potential to tear your family apart?  Think of your problem like an intruder.  You are too courageous to ignore that kind of threat.  Fight!
  3. No marriage is hopeless.  It takes only 2 people willing to act right and keep fighting.  It can’t be 1…it has to be 2 reasonable, resilient, and willing people.  It may FEEL hopeless, but it’s NOT hopeless.  Start today.  On the other side is something beautiful.  It can be better than it’s ever been.
  4. You can afford it.  Money represents value.  Whatever you spend your money on is what you value most. I encourage you to look closely at your finances & do whatever it takes to find the money.  Here are some ideas…
    • Downgrade your cell phone plan
    • Cancel your cable
    • Sell one of your cars
    • Sell your house & move into something less expensive
    • Don’t eat out for 6 months
    • Take a less expensive vacation or none at all
    • Don’t buy new clothes for 6 months
    • Cancel your gym membership & workout at home

If you have kids that are old enough to understand sit them down & say, “We are going through a hard time in our marriage, but don’t worry we are not going to quit. We need to move some money around so that we can afford to get some help.”  Show them how you are reprioritizing. 

  1. They won’t be surprised that your marriage is struggling. 
  2. They will be thrilled to know that you are fighting. 
  3. You will teach them how to handle marriage problems when they have them someday. 
  4. They won’t resent the budget cuts when they know why.
  5. They will go to bed that night more secure than when they woke up that morning.
  6. Even if they act nasty about it, they will see it differently when they are adults.

Here’s a link to some marriage lessons that Shaylyn & I learned from the school of hard knocks… Till Death Do Us Part

There’s my 2 cents. 


written by: Pastor Greg Ford, March 2017

Pastor Greg Ford is the Lead Pastor of One Church. The Fords are a family of five. Besides Greg & Shaylyn, there’s Ella, Hudson, and Miles. They claim that their family is complete, but who knows…with God all things are possible.

Come Again?

Come Again? You Want Me to Forgive You?

It seems that forgiveness is a radical notion. Our environment is littered with revenge, grudges, lost relationships and pain. We all know what it’s like to be hurt by someone and sometimes when we are hurt, we want to make them feel as bad as we feel. So we hold it against them and don’t forgive. The reality is, however,  we really lose when we don’t forgive, especially for anyone who calls himself or herself a follower of Christ. It is necessary for both parties to make it a point to forgive quickly and gracefully as possible for any relationship to flourish.

The reality is, however, we really lose when we don’t forgive.

What is forgiveness?

Forgiveness seems like such a fluffy-feel-good term. It sounds nice but once we’re in a time when we need to forgive, to make a relationship move forward, it becomes a struggle. The first struggle is trying to identify what forgiveness actually looks like. Sometimes, even after we’ve forgiven someone, the hurt will linger and it can continue to affect us. Saying I forgive you is not a magic solution to heal the hurt in relationships. Saying I forgive you is a choice that demonstrates we will no longer hold their wrong against them. This does not mean we do not continue to feel the pain of the hurt for some time. It takes time, to unravel all of the pain and straighten it out. This process is a difficult process but for any relationship to thrive, forgiveness is a necessity.

Why forgive?

As painful as forgiving someone can be there are many beautiful things that come out of forgiving someone. Forgiving someone serves as a reminder to what Jesus has done for us. As we process how to forgive others, we relive the beautiful truth of our redemption. It’s a time to be appreciative of what he has done and be thankful for how far he has brought us.

Forgiveness seems like such a fluffy-feel-good term.

In any relationship holding a grudge against someone will poison the connection. Every relationship has potential to thrive and produce great things. When forgiveness is being withheld, the relationship’s potential is being stunted. Forgiving the other person is the only way to continue on in the relationship and thrive, simultaneously. Not only this but forgiving someone serves as a way to bond to the other person. We grow closer and the relationship becomes stronger as a result.

How do we forgive?

After someone has hurt us it’s easy to let time pass and dwell on the hurt. It builds up over time and before we know it, we’re confronting the person who has hurt us. We do all of this without taking it to God first. Especially when the hurt is big, we need to take the hurt to God. There have been far too many times, after sitting on a wrong done to me, I have brought the wrong to the person long before I brought it to God. Bringing it to God prepares your heart and head to be in the right place. If you present it before God he will show you how you need to move forward with the hurt you’ve been sitting on. He may heal you of the hurt and you may not need to go to that person and confront them, to begin with.

Relationships are hard. They’re messy. And they bring out the rawest side of us. Relationships can feel like being blindfolded walking near the edge of a cliff. It’s easy to write about practical tips for making a relationship work and easy to understand the theory behind them. When you’re in the midst of the struggle, though, it’s difficult to put it into practice. If you’re in that place and don’t know where to start, try forgiving.

written by: Samantha Warner, February 2017


samantha-warner-pictureSamantha is a Michigan native who was adopted by Ohio several years ago. Samantha writes content marketing and product descriptions. She holds a BA in Sociology from The Ohio State University.