Secret love relationships 

Growing up, I made a very important decision early that when I fall in love, I was not going to encourage it to be a secret relationship. I told myself I will do all I can to meet her siblings and parents, either while we are friends or within the first year of dating. Why? I just thought it was the wisest thing to do if the end goal of my relationship with her is marriage. If it’s not for marriage, then well…it wouldn’t matter meeting anybody because we won’t need anybody’s approval or disapproval really.

Maybe it was not so much a decision I made; maybe it’s because I was brought up that way. My mother of blessed memory never encouraged wrong associations and would make sure we bring our friends home. She was very homely and just wants to know our friends and wants us to feel comfortable bringing them home instead of staying at friends homes. She was very protective and interested in what kind of friends we had. If you have a mother who is very strict on the rule that all her children be back home by 6pm no matter where they said you were going to, then you would understand how she never joked with certain things. It became a part of us that no matter where we were or which friends we are with, as long as it is approaching dusk, we start making our way home.

It was like the default setting. It didn’t matter to her whether you are the eldest or youngest or whether you are old enough to take care of yourself, you just must never stay out late!

So, yes, I grew up with the decision to feel it’s very important and safer to bring my girlfriend home quite early in the relationship or to get to know her family early. That one thing was very important to me because I needed to know very early in the relationship whether or not her family will accept me, first of all as a friend, and then potential partner, and whether she and my family will be cool as well.

Travelling the distance in a relationship to later discover you are not accepted by either of your families is a pain and wasted years. I will rather break things off early than sink in deeper before that reality dawns on me. I know how families can be and I didn’t have to lie to myself that all will be well when we are ready to marry.

In the culture we find ourselves, family approvals have a very important place in marriage. Our people say that marriage is more about two families coming together than just two individuals. Deciding not to care about parental approvals and blessings and just elope to get married is a recipe for disaster. As such, it is better to cross that bridge earlier than later in a relationship and that was my principle.

For me, I believe whatever you run away from in your journey to marriage or in life generally, you will still meet later. So, why not get the hurdle at least half solved now or why not know your fate sooner than later in a relationship leading to marriage?

Secret relationships will surely only have one or two outcomes, and that could mean it ending in tears 🤷🏽‍♂🤷🏽.

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…And do share your opinions with us.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Marriage Tip 101: The right foundation

I believe a right and timely information shared is a life saved, or possibly a marriage saved or reoriented. So, here are a few tips on getting a marriage set on a good Christian foundation for success:

  • Our husband-wife relationship continues to show the unseen relationship between God and His Son, Jesus; and also show the relationship of Jesus to His bride, all believers.
  • A husband who sacrificially serves his wife shows what our Savior’s love is like.
  • A wife who helps her husband demonstrates the work of the Holy Spirit.
  • A wife’s willingness to follow her husband’s lead mirrors the sheep Jesus called to follow Him.
  • A husband’s desire to understand his wife is like the gentle Spirit of God who is our Counselor and friend.
  • Your home’s stability and health depend on this God-created design working as He intended.

Got a few tips of your own? Do share with us, you never know whose marriage that useful tip may help save. ❤

Cheers and may our marriages do great! 🙏🏾

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

The rise of women and the struggles of men living in a woman’s shadow

Perhaps, many men out there are very insecure and so used to a male dominated world that they want things to stay just as it has always been, to their advantage. It seems difficult for them to live in the shadow of a woman, especially in this modern day progressively feminine world. Men are born leaders and their ego worries them a lot, especially when they are not able to function in their natural role of providing and fully leading, or just being in total control of things. It worries many a man when his woman begins to rise above him and call the shots in the union and he appears to gradually lose his voice as a man. Many men will worry about having to adjust their life to tag along their woman’s lead.

It appears society is more accepting of a woman building her life around her man’s dreams rather than the opposite. Majority of men are yet to get used to such a life of being the “follower” in a relationship. Perhaps, that concept is a huge paradigm shift for a man or perhaps, it is rather the way some women handle their rise above men that freaks men out. Truth be told, some very successful women can really rub it in their man’s face with their kind of attitude.

It appears that it is not enough at the dating stage for a man to say he has no problem with his woman rising above him, say earning more than him, being more educated than him, being more vocal and wanting to be heard more than him, etc. Many women fall for that only for reality to hit home later when the same man who said he has no problems with stuff like that suddenly begins to struggle to come to terms with it when that reality manifests. See below one woman’s sad agony:

Even though it shouldn’t be, in our part of the world, a woman’s rise above her man sometimes hurts the man’s very nature and gradually develops into a life of insecurity and if not managed, depression could set in. In such instances, nothing the woman does going forward seems to satisfy the man. He may sometimes be successful in his own field but he still feels his woman is now competition…especially because many such women too don’t learn to shut up sometimes. They begin to feel bossy and act like they don’t need the man for anything as she is now self-made and anything she needs she can get…she may only need the man for sex.

Before her rise, the man probably feels he has 70% voice in the decisions of the house or decisions about their life. After her rise and the fact that the home has to perhaps adjust to her schedules to run effectively, he naturally feels he’s only got 30% voice or control in matters of their life/family and that “kills” most men silently. It’s perhaps not an inferiority complex but the fact that the natural course of nature/society as men have been used to is changing faster than they can handle. It takes very few exceptional men today with great understanding, to see their women rise above or be more successful than them and not complain, want to “kill” themselves or move to take a woman at a lower level that they can more easily control or command.

Somehow, it appears many men just can’t stand women calling the shots in any setting. However, women also appear to have grown tired of sacrificing their dreams and passions to simply follow a man’s bidding or vision for life and becoming reduced to mere housewives taking orders from their men.

It’s a difficult decision for today’s woman who wants to be independent of her man, achieve her own dreams and build a life of her own, to now have to tag along her man’s dreams or leadership. Unfortunately as it becomes, many women find themselves in a seemingly bitter place of either choosing her own rise and risking it all, or sacrificing her rise and focusing only or more on becoming a man’s home builder.

That kind of sucks because today’s woman kind of hates the tag “home builder” or “housewife”. They didn’t ask to be called by that and feel it’s a stereotype society/religion (at the time) has put on them. They now feel their purpose in life is way beyond just building a home. They are or want to be commanding leaders too and want that to sink into every man’s head. Whatever she chooses to sacrifice in the end (her own rise in the corporate world as against building a home) is her choice. It’s a difficult one but it’s a personal choice that she does not want to be resented for.

After all, life is all about choices and perhaps, it should be okay for homes to run on two separate visions, the woman’s and that of the man’s? Some say many marriages or homes are breaking today because it is increasingly difficult to find homes running on a common vision and united front; rather, you find the woman pushing her own separate dreams and the man likewise. Building a stable home has become secondary to our careers and dreams and nobody is willing to make the bigger sacrifice, it seems. Perhaps, the greatest losers are the children born in such homes as they become often lost in the mix as daddy and mummy are left exhausted daily after chasing their personal dreams and have little time to spare building a home.

Perhaps, it may be best for couples to strive for a good balance in their personal interests and dreams. Nonetheless, the kind of life we want to live is always our personal choice and whatever we choose in the end, we must be ready to live with the consequences. But we hope and pray our choices turn out right and work for us. For good or bad, society’s wellbeing depends on our choices.

©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Cover image source: John Ritter |theatlantic.com

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

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

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)

MARRIAGE IS FOR MEN, NOT BOYS. IT’S NO MONKEY BUSINESS

When it comes to marriage, the difference between a man and a boy is not about age but maturity of the mind, emotions, intellect, actions, etc. Maturity does matter; but not necessarily in terms of age. As John Grier is believed to have said, “You are only young once, but you can be immature for a lifetime”. See the difference?

A marriage between a 20 year old man and a 19 year old woman will be a rare occurrence in many parts of the world, where it appears the very first and sometimes most important determinant of the success of a marriage is the physical age of the people involved. In many such cultures and places the “a young man married is a man that’s marred” Shakespearean ideology rules.

Surprisingly though, the legal adult and marriageable age of 18 or lower is recognized for almost all purposes in this same places. It is well known that about 82% of the world’s countries and 67% of countries in Africa prescribe 18 years as the marriageable age. So what is the problem? Why hold strongly that marriage between 20 year olds will not succeed then?

Irrespective of all the benefits of marrying “young”, I always maintain that marriage is huge; very huge! Anybody entering that institution must thus “study to show himself approved” and anyone irrespective of the age (18 and above) who has done his or her homework well and has prepared adequately for it must be permitted to go in without raising of eyebrows simply because they are “young”. As the age old adage goes, “a child who learns to wash his hands well can eat with the elders”. Similarly, anybody no matter the age, who learns well the rudiments of marriage, can succeed in the institution. Or can we easily say as a fact that it is only at a particular age that people will be fully prepared for marriage and to succeed thereof?

Nonetheless, for a man, I think he should also make sure that aside every other thing, he is financially sound to run his family and if he can at 20, then glory hallelujah! And for a woman, if at the age of 19 she is well informed about marriage, motherhood and all wifely roles and is ready for it, glory hallelujah!

By 20 years however, most men and women in Africa and some parts of the world by the nature or structure of their educational and support systems would still be in school anyways. Funny enough, most will still be in high school anyways…and why think about marriage, sex, starting a family and all that when you are in school, probably still under your parents care and most definitely without any job anyways?

men-not-boys

“Marriage is no child’s play” does not mean a man/woman should be above 30/40 before marrying. There are no rules. It just means marriage is no monkey business; it’s not a frivolous venture, but is serious in content, attitude and behavior (and the list goes on). It’s a maturity issue and we do know that in many cases maturity is not commensurate with age. Proof is that we’ve seen so many old folks behaving so immature!

I do believe in marrying “young” but not rushing into marriage when one is not well prepared mentally, emotionally, financially, spiritually…and all the “llys” one can think of.

Marriage is an exciting journey…so good luck to everyone considering it, irrespective of age. Just know it’s no monkey business.

Cheers!

 

© Mark Gadogbe (McApple)

Marriage & Personal Development Author

 

 

Marriage exists because sex exists?

There is a saying that many hold as true that “marriage exists because sex exists” and I’ve been trying to wrap my head around it.

Does that expression mean that many of us wouldn’t marry or even consider marriage if not for sex? Does that make marriage a “way of escape” so one can have their “hot and holy sex” devoid of the guilt of sin?

But how come then that many people marry so they can have “unlimited opportunity or access” to free, uninhibited, holy or guilt-free sex only to get stuck in the reality that sex even happens frustratingly less often in marriage than they expected? Is it sane then to just bluntly recommend marriage to young people struggling to control their sexual urges, drives and appetites as if marriage really will solve their problem?

I have heard countless testimonies or should I say confessions of people who MARRIED FOR SEX and ended up becoming more miserable than before. There are sad stories of people who could not even express their sexual freedom in marriage, which apparently was supposed to be the realm where they could have all the sex they want, but now rather feel imprisoned by it because they have to literally “beg” their spouse before they could even get some sex.

Talk of the frequently unmatched libidos, work schedules, stress levels and the countless reasons partners give to avoid sex on the regular, it becomes detestable to some Christians that they no longer have authority over their own bodies (biblically) to even explore other ways of sexual satisfaction except to wait on their partner until they are in the mood to offer sex.

Many have begged the question “why should one be left literally at the mercy of another in marriage to have their sexual needs being met?” To force oneself on one’s partner even when your sexual needs are not being met will be totally condemned as insensitive, emotional abuse and worse case, rape (which is a chargeable offense). To satisfy oneself outside the marriage is even worse and a complete no no! Why not just have sex with oneself (masturbate) then for all the reasons one can find…to avoid the temptation of infidelity, to avoid forcing yourself on your spouse, to avoid constant arguments over sex or becoming a bother to your spouse, etc?

You may have very justifiable reasons to go the option of “sexing oneself” and that may solve some of your sexual problems but does that even make it right or is that even a safe zone in marriage? What about the risks of it becoming an addictive habit and making you desire even your spouse less and less? What about that which was supposed to be a temporal solution or alternative option in the end becoming a bigger problem than the actual lack of regular sex? Can you even openly discuss that with your spouse and would your even “unavailable, busy or uninterested in sex spouse” give their approval or interpret it as equal to cheating? Are you willing to risk breaking your marriage if your partner should chance on you “enjoying yourself”?

Christian views on the subject are even so varied and confusing if you want to convince yourself whether self-pleasure is right or wrong in marriage. Even the mere question of whether sex is a need for survival like food that one cannot do without, the Christian community cannot agree on, and you want to have just one right or wrong answer on that very sensitive subject of self-pleasure? 🤔😊

That’s just by the way, but more seriously, with all the sexual issues that throng marriages and many times wreck it, is it still fair to say MARRIAGE EXISTS BECAUSE SEX EXISTS? Is it still sane to encourage people to marry and then all their sexual needs will be solved?

Well, these seem more like rhetorical questions but more so, an evidence of my mental struggles anytime I try to read wide to keep an open mind or to broach certain subjects. 🤣🙊🙈

Thanks for reading. Do share your thoughts…we learn as we share.

©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2019