Pressures of young married couples

Young married couples need money to run their life. Once you marry in our part of the world, your responsibilities skyrocket because it’s never about just you and your partner. There’s so much to do and there’s so much external pressures…especially from our families. You don’t have to complain in our part of the world…you just have to cope; it’s called being “responsible“.

We’ve seen many young couples unable to survive because many fail to sit down and plan their monthly expenditure early in their marriage. When you do, you’ll actually realize you have very little to save for your future after trying so hard to satisfy “everybody”.

Everybody is trying to get money out of you in our part of the world and funny enough, they see it as their “right” to have a part in your small money. Family, friends, church, strangers, etc. Some take it as a loan and do not pay back, perhaps thinking your situation is better than theirs. Others think it is their “human right” to demand money from you just because they are your family. The Churches especially, if they have their own way, they will take all your monthly salary and tell you to go depend on God’s supply.

Many churches these days don’t care the source of your money or how their members make a living. It doesn’t matter to them how young folks make their money (genuinely or not), as long as they bring it to Church. The more you give in church, the more you’re liked and the closer you get to (or the better attention you get from) the “man of God”. The more affluent you seem, the more the Church tries to get closer to you or act as if they care about you. Minus the money, you’re on your own. Some Pastors live on Church funds (which of course keeps growing) so it doesn’t matter to them to even think about the kind of financial responsibilities their members carry outside the Church.

Out of over spirituality too, many struggling young couples themselves too don’t mind throwing money at Church even if they can’t feed their family. If their family member is in real need even, they will rather send the money to church than help the family member with it and not have anything (e.g. tithe) to give at Church.

Some churches have no clue at all what work their young members do. In fact, they know close to nothing about the people they call “members”. They care rather more about “members” bringing in money to give tithe, offertory, covenant offering and all the many others they have devised in our part of the world.

We are living in a time where many people are doing very dubious things just to make money and some feel encouraged or rather pushed by our churches and their constant demand for money and so will do just anything to “save face” in church or feel they also belong. Imagine how close you are to the “man of God” or the position you hold in Church and most times that he asks for members to sow “a seed befitting your status” you are unable to give. Some Pastors will even force you to give by calling out your name or putting you on the spot with all manner of tricks.

But the sad truth is that, most times when young married couples or “members” are even in need, family and friends offer help faster than the Churches we give all our lives to with 100% religious devotion. In fact, you even feel more comfortable going to family and friends for help than the Church. The Church mostly becomes the last resort when all avenues have been exhausted. How many churches even help their poor members? Most times, they even take longer to help. It is mostly when “members” need the Church to come through for them that the Church starts acting funny with their “are you a member in good standing” antics, but surprisingly, one’s membership never comes into question when the Church needs your money (tithes,offerings,fund raisings for projects, etc).

The financial pressures are just so much on young married couples…but many times too, we are our own enemies because we try to do too much to please everybody. We must learn to live within our means, always watch our finances and have good financial plans for our life. We must live with the mind that help is never coming from anywhere. It’s sad because I often see young married couples depend on alms just to get by, yet still give all they have without thought to church, family and friends…just to save face and thereafter wallow back into poverty. I don’t know what kind of mentality that is though. 🤔

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Image source: El Carna Studios

Death is a reality nobody wants to face

We plan everything in life except our death. Death is so scary that many of us don’t want to even say the word, let alone think about it and plan for it. Have you ever asked yourself “what if I die now; what if I don’t get to grow so old before I die?”

We see people die everyday yet we can never imagine it being us. We either feel we are better than those who have died or perhaps being Christians means we can never die. The best we do is to cast out every spirit of death or if you like, untimely death…but beyond that, we just live until we can live no more.

Many of us plan our wedding and marriages even when we don’t even have a partner or the slightest idea who we’re marrying or when we’re getting married. Everything about our lives is planned except death. We don’t even for once ask ourselves what happens if we should die now. What will happen to the children or family we leave behind?

But the truth is that, 50 years from now, many of us will die. That’s a fact. And that 50 years will come so quick we will wonder what we’ve done with it.

Today we are here…tomorrow we are gone! The “beauty” of life is that it can snap out of us or our loved ones anytime. Yeah, it’s a beauty. Lol
But we will be glad we have lived; long or short. We will be glad we have walked this earth and we will smile from Heaven as the memories of our “fun” time here plays before us. And we shall be reminded that death is part of life. We can’t have one and leave the other.

We can only put our house (borrowed life) in order whilst we live. And whether to Heaven or Hell we go; we pray we make Heaven. 🙏😊

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Sexual appetite

Okay, we are going sexual again today. 🙈

No man is different in their appetite for sex. Any normal man will have a high sex drive; the only exceptions to the rule are those suffering from some kind of sexual dysfunction.

So, dear sister, don’t feel burdened by a man’s craving for sex; rather be glad it is you he is interested in getting down with and not somebody else. If you are intentionally not offering sex to your partner (in marriage) because you feel burdened by it, you are intentionally pushing him to get it elsewhere. Perhaps you would rather he craves for someone else?

And sorry to burst your bubble, but a man will surely look for what he’s not getting elsewhere once his patience runs out o 😂. Only mad people go about looking for what is not lost. A good man will not go looking for what he already has, unless it’s lost. Once it’s not lost, why go roaming the streets? A man will drink from his own well as long as there’s sweet water in the well to continually quench his thirst. So, sisters, don’t let your wells run dry. 🤗

Understand the concept of a man’s sexual appetite and discover the reason why that good man may be cheating or being tempted to 😊. It could sometimes have a lot more to do with your “inabilities” than him. That’s not to say cheating is justified or entirely a woman’s fault anyways. But the fact is that a man’s sexual appetite is a fire that needs quenching, else it burns. 😊

The other day, a woman was complaining her husband bothers her with sex. Then she was asked if she would rather some other lady gives it to him sometimes and she said hell no! Apparently, she’s not ready to offer, neither willing to share. 🤗

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Marital rape and abuse?

A woman comes into a police station and tells the officer at the front desk that she wants to report that her husband is committing domestic violence against her, including committing marital rape against her.

An officer takes her into a room to begin interviewing her.

Officer: “Mam please describe to me incidents of marital rape and other types of domestic abuse that your husband has committed against you.”

Wife: “Well officer it all started 5 years ago after we got married. I turned him down when he asked for sex and he started telling me that because we had a Christian marriage, he and I both had a right to have sex with one another, and except for short mutually agreed upon times for when we’re sick or otherwise unable to, we ought not to turn down one another”.

Officer: “Did he force himself on you that night?”

Wife: “No – he just walked away, but I felt intimidated by the fact that he believed it was a sin for couples to deny each other, I felt pressure for the next time he wanted to have sex”.

rapewife

Officer: “Ok – so tell me more.”

Wife: “I decided I needed to set my husband straight about sex. I believe every person’s body is their own and no one has a right to coerce or convince someone to have sex when they are not in the mood, not even in marriage. I shared this truth that all of us as enlightened people should accept now in modern society. I told him it is NEVER selfish for me not to want to have sex for any reason, but it is ALWAYS selfish for him to try and convince me to have sex when I am not in the mood.

I told him that I would no longer feel pressured to have sex with him, and that really sex is just a small part of marriage. I told him I believed sex in marriage was not a “right”, but a privilege and that it should only happen when BOTH he and I were in the mood because of how happy and in love we were with each other. In fact, I even told him that just because I don’t want to have sex that often, that does not mean I don’t love him, I just don’t need it that often. I said we ought to be able to enjoy our marriage with one another, without having to need sex all the time – it should happen on special occasions when we are both in the mood.”

Officer: “So how did he respond to that?”

Wife: “He asked me if he was doing something wrong in the bedroom. He asked me if he could help to put me in the mood more often. I told him it had nothing to do with anything wrong he was doing, it was just the fact that I don’t need sex that often, and he ought to respect that and accept that. He was not happy with my view on sex and said my belief was a sin according to our mutually held belief in the Bible as God’s Word. I thought overtime he would overcome his beliefs, and realize that he could take care of himself if he needed it and just be grateful for the times when I was in the mood and wanted to have sex.”

Officer: “Mam but when did he commit marital rape against you?”

Wife: “Well there were many times, that I was not in the mood, and I said No.”

Officer: “So are these the times that he forced himself on you?”

Wife: “No he did not force himself on me, but he coerced me into having sex with him.”

Officer: “How did he coerce you?”

Wife: “Well he told me that I was being selfish, and that I was sinning against God and him by denying his sexual needs. He told me if I continued denying him that we would need to go to a Christian counselor – so I gave in many times and let him have sex with me when I was not in the mood”.

Officer: “So you gave consent? Or did her force you?”

Wife: “Well he did not physically force himself, but I felt pressured because he was going to have us go to a counselor, so I just gave in and let him. But that was still rape right?”

Officer: “Uh, no mam that was not rape. Your allowing him to have sex with you when you were not in the mood because you did not want to go to a counselor was not rape. You made a decision, you decided you would rather have sex with him than go to a counselor, you gave consent.”

consent

Wife: “Ok but later he did even more things to coerce me…”

Officer: “What things did he do?”

Wife: “He eventually got me to go to a Christian counselor, and I felt really pressured by that counselor that I had to have sex with my husband more, and that I needed to let him try to put me in the mood even when I was not – I could not believe it –who did this counselor think he was? I told that counselor he was full of garbage.”

Officer: “Then what happened?”

Wife: “Then my husband asked me after the counseling appointment if I really loved him and cared about our marriage – and I told him “Of course I do! I love our life together – we just disagree about sex”. I told him if he could just accept my views of sex our marriage would be perfect, he was a good man and I enjoyed going places with him and doing things with him. This was now two years into our marriage and we had an infant son, and my husband was such great father to our son. For some reason that was not good enough for him, he thought we needed more sex in our marriage.”

Officer: “Ok did he come to accept your view of sex?”

Wife: “No – he actually setup an appointment with the Pastor of our church and his wife! I went even though I did not want to, and our Pastor actually told me I was sinning against my husband by denying him! The nerve! It’s my body, and no one, not my Pastor, not my husband is going to tell me otherwise.”

Officer: “Mam but how did your husband commit domestic violence against you? Or when did he rape you?”

Wife: “Well after the appointment with the Pastor all of a sudden he canceled with the babysitter and stopped taking me on our weekly dates. I asked him why and he said it was because I was “sinning against him and our marriage by my willful sexual denial” wasn’t that domestic abuse? After all he was using our date night to get me to admit I was wrong about sex in our marriage.”

Officer: “Um mam – he is not required by law to take you on dates.”

Wife: “But wait – there is more. We had a new kitchen remodel that we were ready to sign papers on and he called and canceled the meeting to sign the papers to get the work started. He said the kitchen we had while outdated, was still functional and he was not comfortable with spending the money to do it. We were only cleared to get the work done based on his income, and I don’t make enough to do it on my income alone.”

Officer: “Um mam – he is not required by law to get your kitchen updated.”

Wife: “But wait you need to hear this. He used to go clean out my car every weekend. I would pick a room each weekend for him to dust and clean, and now he stopped doing that. He used to give me back rubs at least once or twice a week. Now he stopped doing that too – he can’t do that right? This is emotional abuse! This is manipulation right? He says it is “discipline” to bring me to understand God’s view of sex in marriage.

Officer: “Well mam maybe he is manipulating you or maybe he just does not want to do these things for you anymore. Either way, none of this so far that you have told me is illegal, you might not like it, I might not like it, but it is not illegal.”

Wife: “What do you mean not illegal? The law says he can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do?”

marital-rape-can-a-husband-rape-his-wife-l-llfnkm

Officer: “Mam, from everything you have told me, you have done whatever you did by your own choice. You might have done it because you wanted to avoid stress, or going to a counselor, or you just did not feel like arguing.”

Wife: “But there is still one more horrible thing I have not told you – my husband changed his auto deposit of his paycheck so it no longer goes in our joint checking account, he has his own account now. He goes grocery shopping for us each week now. I used to do the grocery shopping. He gave me the credit cards that were in my name for me to pay out of my own paychecks. I work too, but I don’t make nearly as much money as my husband. I used to be able to go anywhere I wanted and spend what I wanted, but now I have no spending money. That is financial abuse right? He can’t do that right?”

Officer: “Mam is he providing food, shelter and clothing for you and your child? Is he holding you in your home against your will?”

Wife: “Well yes he is providing those things for me and my son, and no he is not holding me against my will. He makes sure my car is fully fueled every week. He gives me some cash for if I need some things during the day when he is at work. But I used to have full access to all our money in our joint bank account and I was able to do what I wanted with our money, and now he took that from me – he can’t do that”.

Officer: “Mam – why are you still with this man? You clearly don’t see marriage the same way he does and it sounds like he is either trying to teach you something or he is getting ready to divorce you by separating his money into another account. He may have even had an attorney advise him to do that with his paychecks. If you get with a divorce attorney, your attorney can get a “status quo” order, which then requires your husband not to spend any sums of money without clearing it with the court and your attorney. The court can order that he has to provide you with a certain dollar amount each week that you can put in your own account and spend as you want as you go through the divorce process and they can order him to continue paying all the household expenses.”

Wife: “Divorce process! I just want him to stop what he is doing and let us go back to our old life. I love him and the life we have. I don’t want to have joint custody of our son, I don’t want to see my son every other week, I want to see him every day! We would have to sell our home, and even if I could keep it in the divorce I would have no way to make the payments even with child support and alimony from him. I don’t want half my life, I want all my life – the way it was! Can’t you or another police officer tell my husband to stop doing these things and we can still stay married? Can we have a judge order him to take me on dates, upgrade the kitchen, put his money back in our joint account and stop asking me for sex? My girlfriends at work told me what he is doing is domestic abuse and is illegal – that means you can stop him right and force him to stop doing all this right?”

Officer: “Um- no sorry no one can do that for you. I don’t mean to get in your personal affairs mam, but it sounds like you have quite the dilemma, there is an old saying “You can’t have your cake and eat it too”. You have to make a choice, either work out the sexual issues with your husband and make your marriage work, or divorce him and try and find a man who believes as you do, that whoever wants sex the least determines how often a married couple has sex.”

© The frustrated feminist wife. Biblicalgenderroles.com (2015)

Never jump the steps

For many, their marriage story is somewhat like this: they were so consumed by love and unable to control their passions for each other and allowed it to blaze on until “unfortunately”, she got pregnant. Then, to avoid the “Christian shame” usually associated with such, they decided to get married quickly, before any of the “over-religious Christian critics” see signs of it. And then, it is only after the baby comes…perhaps with troubling symptoms, that they begin to hang their passions on the wall and do the all-important background health and family history checks, stuffs that they should have done way back! Not everybody gets so lucky to escape situations of this nature when you allow your erections and horny feelings control and determine your direction.

It is always a very difficult decision breaking things off with one’s lover of God knows how many years when hit with the inevitably ugly situation of not being “medically compatible” perhaps in your genotypes. On the other side of the coin is “family history“. Never underestimate the possibility of the one you met somewhere and fell in love with turning out to be a direct family relation. These stuffs may be rare but real; there are true stories out there of people it has happened to who had to bitterly separate because of incest. Not every culture deals kindly with incest and some have lost lives and beautiful futures. The gods in some of our African families may not be that forgiving as the God up in Heaven.

Avoidable situations of this nature in love relationships are what a good friend of mine describes as “jumping the steps”. Of course, it’s a simple principle in relationships/marriage that, when you jump the steps, you risk a great fall that either leaves perpetual damage or a big scar for the entire life of that union. The exception to the rule is only by God’s divine grace.

So, here’s the thing. When you meet someone or fall in love with someone, still try hard to not let your horny hormones take the better of you into sleeping with each other, worst case having unprotected sex, before making the all-important family background checks and medical compatibility tests. Stop fooling yourselves that love conquers everything…there’s love and there’s stupid love. That love may fly out the door at the first smell of trouble. When in doubt, ask the millions of people all over the world who have been abandoned by the ones they once thought loved them and nothing could ever separate them.

Surely, there’s a reason why God gave us brains to use even when we are deeply and madly in love. Never jump the steps!

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Fearing the Devil more than trusting in God’s Power

The Devil’s desire is for God’s people to constantly live in fear of him and to keep the blessings of God in their life locked up and hidden so nobody can see that God is indeed a good God that blesses His Children with both spiritual and material wealth. Somehow, we have been conditioned to believe that all worldly blessings and any display of it is connected with the Devil and God is connected with only spiritual blessings.

But we must forever declare the goodness of the Lord in our lives. We must keep projecting the blessings of God in our lives and our unwavering faith in His ability to protect and save from every wiles of the enemy.

We, today’s Christians (especially in Africa), are too consumed by the fear of the Devil and that some “evil” is constantly after our lives that we keep hiding God’s glory in our life. How else then will the world know that the God we serve is a good God and one that really saves? Why should we be saved and still be in constant fear of our “family demons”? How will the world believe in the power of God and his ability to lavishly bless His children if we have nothing to show to the world.

When the Devil and his agents are busily showing forth their “sakawa” or blood monies and ill-gotten “blessings” with which they constantly lure many, we the people of God are constantly being myopic in our minds and keep hiding God’s blessings in our lives because we solidly believe letting the world see the things God has blessed us with attracts bad omen or puts us on the radar of the Devil.

Somehow, we Christians tend to believe more in the Devil’s ability to hurt us than in God’s ability to save us. We hide our marriages, our children, our businesses, our riches, our successes, etc., in fear of the “demons in our families” killing us when they see how blessed we are. Our fear of “African witches” overshadows our faith and belief in God’s saving power.

Oh, how I used to think worldly people are more blessed than Christians because all the Christians I saw around me kept acting so poor yet claiming God holds all the riches in the world. I could never see the “riches in Christ Jesus” they preach about materialize or evident in their lives as many downplayed the physical earthly riches aspect and made it more of a spiritual concept.

Why are we always “rich” in spirit and never physically? I have always wondered.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

Church Bully & Pastor Protection Program

There is a particular stereotype whenever any scandal or issue involving a Pastor and a member of a Church creeps up in many of our churches throughout the world. That stereotype is that the pastor is always right and the member’s only motive is to destroy.

The entire Christendom switches into a “Pastor Protection” default: the Pastor is the saint who’s above reproach and the member an agent of the devil who’s allowing himself or herself to be used to destroy or cause division within the body of Christ.

Well, it appears God has favorites who are always the “men of God” and He cares nothing about His sheep, who must always be put down, shamed and suffer Church abuses in silence. Perhaps, that’s surely no intention of God and He actually sanctions no such unfair treatments within the body of Christ.

It’s sad that we see scandals being committed by the people we hold out and place confidence in as “men of God” everyday and we continue to rather protect them and not call them out. Many times, we the victims are rather forced into a culture of silence or take “let God fight my battle for me” stances and bottle up our pains at the expense of protecting the reputations of these abusive men of God and never realizing that the only thing that achieves is the liberty and emboldenment it gives them to abuse or prey on other innocent and unsuspecting lives.

If you have ever come close to being sexually abused or violated as a woman by a man of God who you see as a father figure or hold in high esteem, you would never love the experience or the psychological damage it leaves with you for the rest of your life, yet alone wish a fellow woman or sister to shelve her torment and not call out a sex offender who doubles as a man of God.

Me as a man can never even forget the traumatizing experience of someone very close to me who came near to being raped or violated by a “Pastor friend of the family” who she looks up to as a brother or father figure, such that I boil inside anytime I hear his name come up, let alone imagine the mental state of the person who actually survived the ordeal. Too many times it keeps coming into my mind and I keep telling myself, I don’t know how long I can keep this Pastor person’s identity protected, even though he actually didn’t succeed in the act (or so I have been told) and would surely one day blow his cover if I should actually hear of any similar act by him. Only God knows how many people his so called “moment of weakness” actually prevailed against or whether it actually was a one-time unsuccessful stunt; nobody knows, but the mind never forgets these things.

So, yes, I can never trust any human being, even a man of God as a “Saint”; and I resent it when people just jump to the defence of men of God caught in scandals and outrightly label their accusers as agents of division. You think God doesn’t love the victim as much as the alleged offender? Why must anybody’s word against a man of God be shot down even before it even leaves their mouth as if these leaders of our Churches can never perpetrate any evil?

Perhaps Busola Dakolo’s claims against the Senior Pastor of COZA, Biodun Fatoyinbo, may be untrue; but I sure agree with her words that God has no favorites. We are all God’s Children and stand equal before His saving grace. He loves us all the same and must give us all equal hearing. The Church must not teach us otherwise! These are surely dangerous times when you expect Church leadership to show good morals and not play cover ups that makes God look unfair and unjust.

We preach equality before the laws of the land but never before Christ. Unless the Church wants to tell us it is an Animal Farm where “all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. The fact that we would even want Pastors’ images or reputation protected in the church irrespective of the wrongs they actually perpetrate or are accused of is even sickening.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019

LOVE AND SICKLE CELL

Today is World Sickle Cell Day, as such, I decided to repost this piece I published years ago.

Ever gotten to that point where you start to wish misfortune upon the very child you lovingly carried in your womb and looked with so much love and fulfillment upon on delivery and in raising him/her up? That point where you do not have the strength to personally carry out your wishes upon your child and thus can only nurture a burning hope and desire that some natural death could perhaps visit your child and take you out of your misery?

Well, that’s close to a real situation in the life of one beautiful bubbly woman I was shown whose life was going perfectly well until that decision to knowingly or unknowingly marry an AS genotype man, being herself an AS genotype woman. Now she’s lost everything including that “adorable” prince charming that all hell was to break loose for years ago, had anyone tried to quench their love. That sweet man could just not bear it anymore and so left her to her fate to as it is, figure it all out by herself what to do with a sickle cell anaemia child. Perhaps because he thinks or knows that a woman can handle more pain than a man?

Well, I think we should never assume to know very well or inside out, beyond all reasonable doubt, our partners or spouses. That’s because the true test of a person’s character is not when he/she is in love but when he/she is tested beyond his limit by a life situation.

So as it were, her husband was just not who she thought he was in the entirety of his character.

sickling organogram

The troubles of having a child with sickle cell disease she could not imagine and she wouldn’t have believed it if it had not happened to her. Almost everyone has run out of pity for her and the burden she carries and she has run out of pity for her own baby. If even her own husband could give up on her, why not her employer considering all the million times she had to be excused from her very good and secure job in order to make all those countless trips to the hospital for one thing or the other. What a cross to carry, seeing how the disease strikes suddenly without warning and making it almost impossible to make plans for any given day! She has also now concluded that prayer is also not an alternative because how much has she not prayed. Of course, she finds strength through it sometimes to carry the burden but if only she can find the strength to “kill” her own child, she can begin to pick up the broken pieces of her life. But can she ever live with that conscience? The murder of her own child? Well, with that child still stuck with her, life’s suddenly lost all the hopes and beautiful times she foresaw with her then “crazily in love with” boyfriend and husband.

Love conquers all things” but it didn’t for her on this one important thing. She can only continue to wonder if her story and life would have been any different if she hadn’t focused all her attention on the fact that love alone was enough.

Of course, YES! Her life would have been way different! Though only God is the absolute decider of the health status of the children He chooses to bless us with, having done all our best, we must never be ignorant of the parts we have to play.

sick

For many others too, their story is somewhat like this: they were so consumed by love and unable to control their passions for each other and allowed it to blaze on until unfortunately she gets pregnant; and to avoid the “Christian shame”, they decided to get married quickly before any of the “over-religious Christian critics” see signs of it. And then, it is only after the baby comes…perhaps with troubling symptoms, that they begin to hang their passions on the wall and do the all important background health and family history checks that they should have done way back.

Situations of this nature in love relationships are what a good friend of mine describes as “jumping the steps”. Of course, it’s a simple principle in relationships/marriage that when you jump the steps, you risk a great fall that either leaves perpetual damage or a big scar for the entire life of that relationship/marriage union. The exception to the rule is only by Grace.

Now back to the fulcrum of writing this article.

It is sad the number of people we observe who are in relationships leading to marriage and yet are clueless about their partner’s status or some very critical things that must be known ahead of time. To them, love alone is enough and so, they invest blindly all their resources into the relationship for as long as it lasts, only to discover way too late the inevitable. Sometimes it takes the strict recommendation of some churches during pre-marriage counseling that some tests be conducted before some would-be couples even get to find out their partner’s sickling status after all the years that they might have dated. Most counselors report being surprised when they ask would-be partners during pre-marriage counseling sessions whether or not they know their partner’s sickling status and they get a “no” answer and they begin to imagine what the two lovers have been concentrating on all the length of their relationship. Though a “yes” answer does not stop counselors requesting further test to be conducted, many admit that they often appreciate partner’s who make the effort to know each other’s status before reaching that point in their relationship.

We have always advised those in or starting relationships to as a matter of urgency know for a fact (not just asking about) the sickling status of their partners way early into the relationship before things get too serious and they start getting blinded by love or “over-spirituality” to think that it is not important or God can turn things around through prayer in case the two are not medically or genetically “compatible”.

If not for anything, we must be proactive in this aspect of our relationships with the right kind of thinking that, marital love must not be limited only to the spouse but goes way beyond to the offsprings from the union and their impact on society. If you limit it to only you (the partners) and you take certain things for granted, you will only have yourselves to blame in the end.

choice

Many of us were only lucky enough to not have been born carriers of the sickling trait because I do not in my wildest imagination think my parents took their time to know their status before getting married and making babies (us). It’s one of the blessings I thank God for and I do not entirely blame them (whatever way they got to know each other) because that was a long time ago in a country where information is not widespread on this important issue. With no compulsory newborn screening in a country like ours, I was left to only know my status way later in life because my parents couldn’t tell me. And though not a carrier by God’s grace and could have relaxed and taken for granted the status of the woman I marry because working out the “maths” I wouldn’t end up with a sickle cell anemia child even if my wife is a sickle cell patient, I had to be proactive with knowing her status.

It is always a very difficult decision to make, breaking things off with one’s lover of God knows how many years into the relationship before being hit with the inevitable ugly situation of not being “medically compatible” per your sickle cell genotypes. And I recall the bitter experience of two dear friends (who have gone years into their relationship) and who I had to counsel to break it off or face the risk. I sincerely wished these ones didn’t have to face this fate and wished they had known earlier on in the relationship. I don’t know if they found the strength to break it off but I hope they do, and don’t go on acting all over-spiritual about it that it will change through prayers.

Don’t get me wrong yet. We know of many cases where two carrier (AS) couples have had many children without a single sicklier among them. So, you can risk it if you want but what if you’re not so lucky like them and end up with a sickle cell child? Can you forgive yourself, knowing you are putting that child through a hell of agony which you could have easily avoided? Don’t take it lightly what sickle cell disease can do!

child

So here’s the thing. As much as depends on you, strive to know your partner’s sickling status before setting out on the love journey or before you get way too deep to risk being blinded by it. It is one of the foundations you must lay early enough and save yourself a lot of midway heartbreaks. Love alone is not enough; faith and spirituality is not an antidote either. The only solution is to know and act; bearing in mind God’s word that “for lack of knowledge my people perish”.

I can only leave you with the question: is your genotype, blood group and Rhesus factor compatible with the person you’re considering marrying? Well, I’m sure you will soon realize this is a much more important consideration than just love. Just hope you don’t realize too late.

aware

Perhaps you should do me a favour; take a moment and google real life testimonies of sickle cell parents and children and then…whatever you decide to do with your life is up to you!

Shalom!

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Don’t burn your bridges

I was your bridge when you needed one

Your life saving help

To cross that mighty ocean

That threatened to swallow you alive

No matter how small my bridge

It helped you cross over

I bet the feeling was great

Like that of being alive

A new year to behold

Like I was to you, many have been to me

Life does get so hard sometimes

That every once in a while

We all need bridges to ride over our fears

It’s human to require another’s help in times of need

But if the bridges we burn after crossing

If our promises we fail to honour

If our part of the bargain we fail to uphold

We demonstrate a limited insight into life’s uncertainties

But life has a way of bringing us back

To the same bridges we travelled in times past

For good or for bad, our fate then we will learn.

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

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