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Saturday, August 08, 2015

MUST READ: Too Many People Are Marrying For Funny Reasons


An estranged couple coincidentally attended a couples’ summit in Lagos. They had walked in separately but were already falling head over heels for one another by the end of that summit. The magical effect of that event was enormous, as many other marriages regained life right on the spot. 
The major problem is that people are getting married for various funny reasons and this goes back to haunt them later. If someone gets married because “all her friends are getting married,” and they are not compatible, when issues start to come up, then they start to run helter skelter. But my take also is that if you have chosen to marry a person, then make the most of it and make your home habitable. For women, I always say, “a wise woman builds her home.”

More dramatic reunions played out at its 2015 edition which held June 27th in Lagos. The brain behind that summit, Mrs. Tinuola Agbabiaka, a lawyer and trained relationship expert, tells of the initiative that has saved hundreds of relationships and homes in this interview with Vanguard:

Tackling sensitive issues such as marriage can be quite complicated; what’s your strategy?
What we do is balance things. We do not just assume it is the man or the woman that is the problem. At PCLI, we educate, teach and assist to change people’s perception about issues when it comes to relationships. And because these days there are so many doctrines, there is a lot of hurt in the home. Look around, you must know someone who is either going through a bad relationship, has gone through a bad relationship or will go through a bad relationship.

How has your experience been so far?
The task has been tough but fulfilling because by the time someone who is into a bad relationship cries out, it has really gone deep because it is perceived a private affair. So the first instinct is to try and shield it and manage it yourself and then when they decide to speak, they may be talking to people who would rather condemn or tell them what they are going through is nothing compared to what another person is or has gone through.

And when you hear all the bad stories only, you’d almost believe that there is no good story anywhere. What we are trying to do is to teach people to manage their relationship in such a way that it is inspiring, despite its challenges. That’s for genuine partners, anyway.

People hardly seek help in marriage in this part of the world; isn’t that affecting your ministry?
You’re right but that hasn’t really affected us. When PCLI was five, I clocked 40. So, I launched my book as well as got people together to testify, knowing well that with relationships, people don’t want to admit openly that they have issues. But to the glory of God, many were willing to.

I remember you had a particular couple with a dramatic experience at that anniversary, can you recall what happened?
Yes. That couple was on the verge of divorce when they attended that summit. In fact, it was the husband’s friend who invited and paid for them to attend and when they eventually came, they didn’t come together. To the glory of God, they left together at the end of that programme. They danced, participated in fun games and other activities.

Three years after, I was at a burial ceremony when a man walked up to me and said ‘thank you’. I was shocked because I didn’t know him. I later got to know it was this same man. The husband said when it was time to dance and he held his wife, he had tears in his eyes. According to him, staying out together was a start in resolving the issues they had.

Another one was a colleague at work. By the time I met him, he told me that his marriage was over. Then, we got talking at every opportunity. On my birthday, his wife and he were also there to testify.

Have you noticed divorce is on the increase even amongst couples who courted extensively...
I have, and I must say a major problem is the foundation. The Bible says: if the foundation be destroyed, what can the righteous do? It would be nicer if things were done properly from the home. In other words, as a mother, you must teach your child the right values. And you can’t teach what you don’t have. You must teach a lady what to look for in a man. Don’t marry for money. Money can’t buy love or happiness.

It just hurts that people make silly mistakes with marriage.

But don’t you think too much emphasis is being placed on the girl child than on her male counterpart in building the home?
The man was the first to be created but when the woman was made, she was made differently and she came with extra gifts. She can reproduce, multiply and so on. On the other hand, there is a limit to what the woman can do.

Yes, there is a lot of role for the woman or the girl-child but it’s a two-way thing, which is why we are coming up with a programme targeted at young male adults. The purpose is to raise Godly husbands because there are not many out there right now. And the problem is that you can’t give what you don’t have. Who is teaching them? Who is their role model?

There are so many bad examples that even the good ones are almost embarrassed to rise up to say the right things. You find a man who helps his wife iron her clothes because he sees it as a duty but how many persons can he tell that to without being labeled a ‘woman-wrapper’? And a lot of times, you find out that most of the programmes out there focus on financial strength. But financial strength does not make a home otherwise all rich people will have happy homes. We have to teach our men how to be proper husbands and treat a woman well.

You find parents telling their girl-child to keep their virginity but the boy is allowed to roam with his weapon of mass destruction. They simply tell him to use a condom. This is wrong.

What inspired the two issues of concern at your recent summit?
Respect for the man, as well as money management, are very key in any relationship or home. You see, a man craves respect from his woman and the woman wants love. Respect your man, he will love you.

The second issue, money, is the most divisive issue in the home next to sex. It comes in different dimension. You find men who are jobless these days and the woman has to become the breadwinner

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