By Anote Ajeluorou
I moderated a book chat session recently with Mr. Bayo Adeola, author of The Life and Times of Imran: Family Story in a Nation’s History, and the author was asked: your father’s wife was chosen for him by his father. Do you think that is a healthy practice that you would recommend? And would you allow your children to choose spouses for themselves as is the practice these days? And he said, ‘honestly, I don’t know which is better: choosing a spouse for one’s children or allowing them to do it themselves.’ He noted that between then and now, the marriage institution has gone through a lot, with marriage strain appearing to be more intense these days than before.
Gregory Chiadika may not have read that book since it recently came out. Unlike the author’s response, however, Chiadika has not written about who chooses spouses for who. But he has in mind the strain or stress that author mentioned which the marriage institution is going through in our current world. It’s a strain or stress exerted on marriage by certain factors that are mostly within our grasp to direct or contain to enable us live happy married lives.
As we now know today, the rate of divorce is on the increase, sometimes with spouses inflicting maximum injuries on one another. How then can men and women navigate marital waters successfully? I chose to use sea navigation metaphor deliberately. We all know how capricious the sea can be. One moment, it’s all calm and easy-going with the waters shimmering under the sun or moon, all lovely; the next moment, it’s all storm and mighty waves that can upturn whole ships, with crew and cargo all lost. Marriage can be either way, depending on how you manage it.
Thankfully, there are expert seamen, so to say, like Chiadika who have invented what could pass for marriage compass that can allow lay seamen like you and I to navigate the sea of marriage with a measure of accuracy if only we follow the direction of the compass. It’s one thing to have a book, it’s another to read and apply its principles. Same with this marriage compass Chiadika has provided us. He titles it Relationship Killers. If we know what can kill marriage relationship, we are in advantageous position. Chiadika’s small and handy manual, Relationship Killers, provides us advance warning. In fairness, it may not be true that we don’t know these things. It’s just that we often take them for granted or are rather negligent to do what we must do to make our marriages work.
Chiadika has listed relationship or marriage killers to include the following: ‘Ignorance,’ ‘Selfishness,’ ‘Infidelity,’ ‘Stress,’ ‘Ungodliness’, ‘Unforgiveness,’ ‘Lack of Effective Communication,’ ‘Satanic Influences/Strongholds’ and ‘Carelessness.’ So now, let’s look deep into our individual souls: which category do you fall into? Which category do I fall into? You don’t have to tell me; no. Self introspection is the key word here. Of course, we are humans and not God; so, we fail sometimes, and we pass sometimes. But when our failures outpace our passes, then there is a problem. And that’s precisely where Chiadika comes in with his handy manual on navigating marital waters.
Chiadika’s list of what could kill your marriage relationship is so simple but a proper look will tell you otherwise. Ignorance is often glossed over. But the author believes you must pay attention to this. So, why do want to marry or why did you marry the man or woman you marry? And he explains, “When purpose is not known abuse is inevitable. You cannot just marry simply because you want to or because everybody around you is getting married. You must know why you want to marry. Marriage was ordained by God.” Do you know God’s manual (the bible) on marriage enough? You need to; it will direct you aright. Now having married, what’s your role as a husband and as a wife? As husband, you’re the priest of your home who must preside over the family altar. As wife, you’re the spark in the home who must make it glow all the time.
Selfishness kills relationships of whatever kind, marriage ones the most. So how do you manage your finances with your spouse? How is your sex life? As wife, are you the hoarding type, using it as a bargaining chip? As a husband, does you money end up in beer parlours with nothing left for the home? You need balance, with your family’s wellbeing always being put first. The same goes for infidelity to which men are mostly prune. Are you so hyper active that your wife is not enough for you? So between the wife who hoards sex and the hyper active husband, ‘effective communication,’ one of Chiadika’s listed points, becomes the key that can help. When there’s communication, things can be sorted out both in matters of sex as well as other aspects of marriage life.
Ungodliness and unforgiveness seem to tie together. It’s ungodly not to forgive. Seventy times seven is what Christ Jesus commanded his disciples; that includes me and you. So, do you forgive for the godly spirit to abide in you?
Carelessness is one area Chiadika dwells on extensively. It has something unique for me and you to learn from. You need to get this important manual to take advantage of what that chapter offers.
Chiadika makes a telling conclusion when he says, “My advice is that you go through each chapter over and over again, where possible with your spouse or spouse to-be. Carefully observe where you are missing it, and change immediately. Don’t wait for your spouse to change before you do. Act on the truth you have come to embrace and live out the new light that you see. You have not known the truth until it causes you to make changes in the life of your relationship. After all, life itself is a gift we are only privileged to have.”
So, how do you make use of the gift of relationship life has privileged you to have? Chiadika’s Relationship Killers will point you the right way to go.