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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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020

Marriage: a field of openness and accountability 

​A healthy relationship or marriage requires honesty in all things!

In marriage, your partner has every right to have access to your phone; and in fact, investigate whatever they want on it. It’s just not always recommended because of not wanting to encourage or breed unnecessary suspicious behaviours towards each other as couples. But the simple truth is that marriage is a field of openness and truthfulness.

A part of marriage means or involves accountability. If you don’t want to be accountable to your spouse then you don’t need marriage. I don’t see why you would want marriage yet not want to be accountable to your partner. 

The moment you decide to marry, you are saying you want to be responsible and you’re giving your partner exclusive rights to information on every detail of your life. Every action of yours affects your marriage, as such, it is every partner’s duty to keep the other in check. If you don’t want that, then you simply have to remain single because you can’t be married and still have singleness attitudes and mindsets.  

Singles are only accountable onto themselves but once married, you are accountable to each other. The marriage vow enjoins you to. 

Our accountability in marriage is not only in the eyes of God but also to our spouses; as such, you must not resent being checked by your spouse. 

The trademark of a strong Godly marriage is complete openness; a relationship where couples can talk freely about absolutely everything. If you are faithful, there is no reason to want to hide anything. What at all is on your phone that you are hiding from being seen by your spouse?

Some may say one’s partner may see something that may trigger mistrust but the point is, trust never happens in a vacuum. It’s based on actions…always! I can never wake up one day and just start trusting someone. I must see evidences of your actions over a period of time to conclude on trusting you. And who said trust is a one time thing? It never is. It is constantly being assessed and daily renewed. 

If a partner thinks once you marry, trust must just be there automatically, I don’t want to marry such a person. You need to continuously prove to me that I can trust you and I can never do that without genuine openness and accountability for your actions. 

So yes, If I chance on something unpleasant or suspicious on your phone, there is something called explanation, clearing of doubts or putting things in their right context. It’s only people who don’t want to be accountable that don’t like being questioned. And for me, once you don’t want to be accountable and subject yourself to scrutiny, then you are a questionable marriage material. Even Jesus Christ says he will judge us so we must be accountable and if that’s cool with us, then it must be cool that we are accountable to our marriage or partners. 

The simple truth is that in marriage, both of you need to take joint responsibility for how the marriage is doing. How do you do that when you want to keep some things a no-go area? 

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©Mark Gadogbe (McApple), 2017

Marriage & Personal Development Author