By Francis Ewhrido
Thursday,May 15,was my 15th wedding anniversary. My civil marriage and traditional marriage predate my church wedding, but I prefer the church wedding as my milestone.
As I reflected, my mind went back to January 18, 1998, the first time I met my wife. I had prayed to God to show me the young lady I was travelling home (Delta State) to meet. God answered my prayers by revealing her to me at the Blessed Sacrament on the altar of God in Lagos. I then told God that if actually the young lady my brother, Pius Ewherido (RIP; I miss you sorely), invited me to check out at home is the same person I saw in the vision, I have found my wife.
I still remember vividly how goose pimples took over my whole body when I saw her seated in my brotherfs house (She was tricked into visiting that day). It was not that I doubted God, but when Godfs faithfulness manifests so dramatically and in favour of an unworthy person like me, there can only be one outcome: awe.
The Bible says we should put every spirit to test, so I asked God to confirm if she is indeed the one, and I got two confirmations within a week. Eight days after our first meeting, I took a leapof faith and proposed to her. Subsequently our lives merged into one.
Since then I have learnt some valuable lessons about marriage. The first lesson is that truly, only God (man is only an instrument) can give you a sensible spouse (Proverbs 19:14). I have also learnt that the fact that your spouse is God-given does not mean your union will be an all-smooth flight. You will have turbulence, but God will deliver you from it all (Psalm 34:19).
Our early years had bouts of inexperience and there were times when I felt pushed to the wall and wanted to fight back (not physically), but I would remember my mother-in-law and relent. She was very nice, considerate and supportive during those early times. Parents should support their married children with love, prayers and understanding instead of interfering in their marriages. These can just be the defining factors in the survival and success of your childrenfs marriages.
Fourth lesson, money is good, necessary and very important in oiling relationships; it may also make the world go round, but money should not be the prime factor in deciding on a future spouse. I am of the opinion that since marriage is a marathon, and not a sprint, prospects (and other critical considerations, some listed here) should take precedence over money.
Usain Bolt is the fastest man of all time. He is the current Olympic champion in 100 and 200 metres. Yet he is slow off the mark in races. That is the lot of many married people, financially speaking. Tragically, money, for many young people, is the main determinant in who to marry. The marital journey and how it ends are more important than how it started. Young adults need to imbibe the right values and get their priorities right.
Five, in marriage you do not force your spouse to change his/her ways; that is outside your control. You either change yours or allow the status quo to reign, and then learn to manage your differences.
Six, you have heard of patience, commitment, perseverance, sacrifice, mutual respect, apologies, forgiveness, love, etc., as necessary ingredients to make a marriage work, so I will not bore you with these. But, as I said before in this column, marriage is an extreme sport; it is also a cage. Sometimes you need to take extreme measures to make your marriage work and these include blocking all escape routes and facing head-on challenges that must inevitably come.
To my wife, I say happy anniversary. What binds us has definitely triumphed over what could have torn us apart. Sometimes our differences have been sharp and have caused us occasional and momentary distress, but we live daily by our core and shared values not trivialities. Like good wine, our marriage just got better and better as the years rolled by. But it can be a lot better. I feel that we need to count our blessings more often and appreciate each other a lot more than we currently do.
Thank you for broadening my horizon on gthey are no longer two but one.h(Genesis 2:18). We have shared thoughts, dreams, chores, beds, towels, boxers, clothes, cars, office, money, ATM cards and many other things. But sometimes I feel you take this oneness too far; that is when the rebel in me manifests.
Thank God for using you to show me that I can sustain a long-term relationship. Sixteen years on since we met and you still hold me spellbound, more now than in the beginning.
Jesus told Martha that she worried about too many things that only one thing is important (Luke 10:40-42). Jesus could just have been talking about marriage; only one thing matters: peace of mind. That is the greatest gift of marriage; that is what God has used you to give to me. Our marriage has been largely stress-free and effortless. You are Godfs gift, a real treasure.
As we move into another marital year, I pray for Godfs continued grace. I have always loved and honoured you and I will continue to do that with more intensity in the years ahead. Happy anniversary, my one and only peacock, fRuuuum(e).