***Says mindset of an alternative fuels divorce
***Prayers can’t liberate Nigeria from being among poorest nations in the world
Rev. Folake Achudume is the wife of Lawrence Achudume, founder of Victory Life Bible Church, Faith Heritage Group of Schools, Victory Women International and Royal Ladies International. She is the convener of Royal Ladies Congresses in Nigeria, U.K and U.S.A. and founder of Hadassah Villa, where abused ladies are rehabilitated. Folake in this interview with GABRIEL OLAWALE during her 50th birthday celebration, bares her mind on divorce in society and why Nigeria is among the poorest countries in the world. Excerpt:
Why is divorce so rife in Nigeria?
It’s so unfortunate and even so in the church. I always advise spinsters and bachelors that before they embark on anything marriage they need to reconcile their expectations because marriage is serious business. It requires much effort and compromise to work.
November, 2018 will make it 26 years that I have been married and in the beginning of our journey, my husband and I agreed that our marriage would work. We resolved that no matter what, we’ll make it work and nothing like “I will pack my load and go to my parents or friends’ house because of misunderstanding.
Every couple has its trying period because of gender and temperament. In my own case, we’re from different cultures, but we reached a compromise.
A forgiving spirit is crucial in a lasting marriage because offence will come, but couples shouldn’t let it thrive.
Why did you marry from another tribe?
Motives matter in every relationship. Most couples marry out of pressure from parents or because of aging, so they just want to marry anybody. By the time their differences show up, they’re ill-equipped to address them because the foundation is faulty.
After a long walk with God and commitment in His vineyard, I resolved that I wouldn’t marry a man that’s not passionate about God regardless of whether or not he’s a pastor. I see my husband as somebody that can support me to make heaven, because he loves God passionately. Aside that, he has vision which is paramount in life.
How did you cope in terms of cultural differences?
That was one of the major reasons my father initially resisted our courtship as he wondered “if they wanted to sell you in their language how would you know?” and I convinced him that God loves me and I don’t doubt His love. I don’t speak my husband’s language and he doesn’t speak my.
During our courtship, some family members didn’t speak English to him, but he spoke English to them. Our language barrier made me uncomfortable initially, but once they start speaking their language, I focused on other things but thereafter he told me everything, so I don’t feel lost because we believe we represent each other’s interest. I learned how to cook their delicacies just to surprise my husband once in a while and when I have issues with how to prepare any, my mother in-law comes to my rescue.
During our courtship, a senior friend counseled us that we needed to pray, because 75 percent of our married friends were facing challenges because of their mothers-in-law.
She said we should pray that our mothers-in-law die before we’re married. As young spinster, I was so scared to the extent that the second lady said we should start praying and I was like pray about what? That our mothers-in-law should die? So, I asked her, don’t you have a mother? My mother has a son and if his wife prays that her mother-in-law should die, do you know that she’ll be praying that my mother should die? Don’t you think that if we too have a son, our son too will married one day and if the lady he wants to marry starts saying the same prayers about us what would happen? I didn’t heed her advice. I’d rather pray that our mothers-in-law would accept us. That was the mentality I brought into my marriage. I prayed to God that “what I cannot do to my mother help me not to do it to my mother-in-law, what I can give my mother help me to be able to give my mother-in-law”, because I knew if I can handle that aspect of marriage I’ve handle the major challenges.
My mother-in-law speaks English and we relate very well. Initially, it was awkward, but with time, she was lively and lovely. In fact, we are the best of friends and we confide in each other.
I always advise spinsters to know their expectations in marriage and be ready to pay the price and they should be averse to the “they want to take my husband away from me” mindset. Once you know that your husband and his mother are close, the best thing is to see her as your mother and best friend so that all of you are close.
What’s your disposition to supremacy in the home?
I recognise the fact that my husband is head of the house, I have nothing to fight over. As a Christian, the bible says he is the head of the home while I am his helpmeet, then we have to perform our roles. People normally say a woman should submit herself, yes, it is in the bible, but I always say submission is not subjugation. The bible that says submit also says husbands love your wives. If you can’t love me I will not submit to you.
If a man loves his wife, he won’t need to beg for submission because the woman will submit with joy. She will allow you to lead and the fact that you are leading doesn’t mean she is inferior to you. You both need to talk and decide together and when she brings ideas you don’t rubbish them, you consider them and reach a compromise. The key is to value each other, there should be flexibility and no boundary to roles.
Should a lady marry a jobless man?
There’s nothing bad about it, what’s important is that the man must have vision. He must have a dream and be committed and live it through his mannerism, speech, association and also love God, because money will definitely come.
Despite the plethora of churches, why is Nigeria among the poorest countries?
Prayer cannot alleviate poverty; it’s knowledge that does. We pray, yes, but we need education and information to make the mind of people work. Until your mind is changed, no change can come and this takes education and training among other things.
Government must be passionate and take education and training to the grassroots but when you believe that government should do everything for you, that is sickness. For riches to be yours you must task the heart but you cannot do that without using your mind and if your mind is sick then it is impossible.
What’s your disposition to women in politics?
We have a voice to be heard, we have an impact to make for the betterment of society. Failure to recognise the role of women is depriving us our potential which is essential to the development of this country. We are not competing with men; the real women are not arrogant. Some women seem to be arrogant, because they feel resisted; they feel “this is a man’s world”. So, they want to fight, they want men to know that they have got it. Within them it’s just a quest for fulfillment, success and to make impact.
How do you plan to celebrate at 50?
I plan to thank God for the gift of life and also to bless people. I will also be celebrating it with beggars, lepers’ colony, widows, remand homes, orphanages and with two hours of glory encounter where I will be blessing people.