Tolerance, The Bedrock Of Christian Marriage
Different views and ideologies abound as to what makes a successful marriage. For the Adefalas, tolerance is the bedrock of a Christian marriage. The media team had the honour of an exclusive interview with the admirable couple recently.
Come along as we journey into the world of the Adefalas. Be prepared to have a few laughs.
Read, be blessed and don’t forget to share.
How/where did you meet?
Mummy: We met about 35 years ago at the NYSC program, precisely 1984. We were in different platoons, we started off as friends and along the line, I noticed he’s tolerant and ambitious. These qualities matter to me. Of course, he’s very handsome.
He’s handsome, that’s very vital, I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to worry if I’m sleeping next to a monster.
He’s also knowledgeable; it’s important you are with somebody of like minds.
Daddy: Like she has said, we met during NYSC and we started as friends. She’s pretty, tolerant and has a listening heart.
How did you woo /toast your wife, Sir?
Daddy: I don’t think I actually did that.
Mummy: (cuts in) You did.
Daddy: Okay answer the question.
Mummy: First, he started coming without saying anything. I knew he liked me, but he wasn’t saying what his intentions were. I had a friend that had a relationship that went sour, she was dating somebody for years only to find out he was a married man and his family were abroad; and she was here with the guy. The day she found out; it was a big shock to her. At the end of the day, the guy was like “Ah! but you never asked”. I made sure my husband stated his intention, write an application letter because I’m a troublesome person and I didn’t just want to assume he liked me. He’s a bit shy but I made sure he made his intentions known.
What does love mean to you?
Mummy: Love is tolerant. It’s the principal thing in any relationship. Ever other thing would fail. The beauty/ handsomeness would fade after some time. If those are the things that attracted you to someone, they’ll not last. It’s not about sex, if it were to be about sex, all the prostitutes in the brothels would be married. Love is forgiving because there would always be offence in relationships. We have a set of twins and they do quarrel, but the binding thing is love. The leg can be amputated, the eye can go blind, but you can still tolerate the person because you love the person, but if the love is not there you won’t be able to endure anything.
What have you enjoyed most in your marriage?
Daddy: The relationship we have together. We communicate and it’s important to us. Our relationship is basically friendship and we carry each other along.
Have you at any time had reasons to doubt each other, if yes, tell us how you overcame it?
Mummy: No two people are the same, hence there are bound to be issues. There’s bound to be expectations in any relationships and once it is not met, you begin to doubt each other. In the first years of marriage, your eyes would be open, and you get to see the person in a different light. We used to quarrel a lot because we are from different backgrounds. He is Yoruba and I am from Akwa Ibom. Our cultures are different. I remember there was one day my Mother-In-law came visiting and we had like 4 pieces of meat in the soup, I gave my husband 1 piece and his mother the remaining 3, I ended up not having any meat and my Mother-In-Law took offense to it, that in Yoruba culture they don’t give people 3 things as in, 3 is odd number.
On my own side I didn’t quite understand it, but with time you get to understand that you’re two different people and compromise comes in and you start to tolerate each other. Marriage should be about compromise as well. Like I’ve been begging him for almost a month now that we should go to the cinema and his response was that “I don’t watch TV in the house why should he go and pay to watch a movie outside?” Even pastors fight in their closet. So, it’s natural to wonder, especially at the initial stage if one married the right person.
How do you settle disputes?
Daddy: I don’t keep malice, once I’ve said something and we both hear it out, I just take it as if nothing happened and I think that’s the best way to do it. You know, when you keep malice and you let issues prolong more than necessary, it can resort to ugly situations.
Mummy: I like to dialogue. If I find out I’m not getting through, I’d write an epistle to St Paul; I’ll write him a letter expressing my views. When we were dating, before any argument, my husband would say I’m sorry. Now he doesn’t say I’m sorry any longer.
Nobody is perfect, to avoid the other person resenting you, if you’re wrong, apologize. Don’t get me wrong o, we shout at each other, we won’t pretend but at the end of the day, he’s the type that doesn’t know how to keep malice. Some men can keep malice for years.
How do you handle matters concerning in-laws?
Mummy: Like I told you, we are from two different cultures. Yoruba wahala is too much. If you stand you don’t stand well, bend you don’t bend well, you know, that kind of stuff. My culture is very liberal, but I’ve come to accept Yoruba culture because I think respect, whether fake or genuine, is paramount to them. Personally, I don’t like disrespectful people and now, I’ve come to realise that you have to tolerate diversity. I just do my very best. You see, love would always conquer. I’d shop for them, take care of them, buy foodstuffs etc. He would send money to them. No matter what conflict you are having don’t be antagonistic towards In-laws. I made sure my husband continued to do those things he used to do before he got married. Initially, my father felt Yorubas are polygamous in nature but along the line he realised my husband is a simple and open person. Now he says he couldn’t have had a better son-in-law. My husband takes care of them even when I’m not around. You know, it’s just normal, when somebody is giving you something you can’t but love them.
Daddy: I don’t think I’ve ever had any problems with my in-laws. It’s mostly our mothers that come visiting and we’ve always had a big house. They have their rooms, the only time we see each other is when we want to eat or in the living room to watch TV so I won’t say there has been conflict.
In raising children from your wealth of experience what approach do you think works better?
Daddy: The best approach is mutual understanding of how you want to raise the children. Once she says something, I have to support and vice versa. You don’t say something and go behind to say another thing entirely.
Mummy: Like he said, we agree. We didn’t want our children spoilt so we made sure we instil discipline in them. We teach our children to respect house helps, give them chores and teach them about dignity of labour. We also like our children to learn handiwork, you never can tell what role that hand work would play for the child in future.
What advice can you give intending couples/newlyweds?
Mummy: Put God first and respect each other. If you love God you’ll find it easy to love your partner. Treat each other with dignity. Learn to appreciate your husbands, if he’s looking nice, tell him before one girl outside would say “Daddy you’re looking nice o”. Husbands too should learn to pay complement and give their wives a treat often even if it’s to Mr Biggs.
Wives please look good, stop tying wrapper. Wear something sexy. Even if I’m not going anywhere, I like to look good. Even if its 500 naira I’m wearing, I make it look as if it’s a million dollar. Men are moved by what they see no matter how religious they are. If they see one nice shape, they will look. Have good beauty routine, eat right, your outward appearance must always be appealing. Maybe that’s why some men don’t even take their wives out I don’t know. Smell well. Taking care of children is not an excuse. Everyone has body odour. Use perfume.
Women are the home makers. Make sure there’s always food in the house. My decorating job takes me out a lot, but I always try to cover all the lapses.
Daddy: Pray together. Spirituality is important, the family that prays together stays together. When we travel too, we do morning devotion with the children using Open Heavens. One thing I like about Open Heavens is Baba Adeboye hardly repeats a topic, and you are bound to learn something. Don’t let disagreement escalate.
What’s your view on divorce?
Daddy: Divorce is a no no, it’s not acceptable if you have differences, make sure you iron it out.
Mummy: My general view is if it bothers on person’s safety the person should think of their safety first. We see different things in media, how people stay in marriage until they are killed because they were told that divorce is wrong in Christendom. If your life is in danger, please run, that’s my view.
Daddy: That would not be our portion in Jesus name.
What is the role of the church in marriage?
Mummy: The church should address issues- sex, relationships etc so we don’t go about learning from the wrong people.
Wow! This has been a very insightful and interesting interview. Thank you for the honour Sir and Ma.
Mummy and Daddy: You’re welcome.
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Till next time.