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Why my 30-year-old marriage is fresh

Published by The Nation on Sun, 07 Sep 2014

Renowned marriage counsellor and preacher, Rev.(Mrs.) Funke Felix-Adejumo, spoke with Sunday Oguntola on her 30th wedding anniversary and sundry issues. Excerpts: You hold womens conference with many reporting a new level of submission they embrace after the meeting. What exactly do you do to them' There is nothing I could have done to them; that must be absolutely God and His grace. As a woman, I believe I am raised to validate womanhood; to let the women know that they are not slaves and should not be subjugated. But at the same time, they must honour their husbands, the authorities that God has placed over their lives.So, it is that balance that I teach. A woman can live up to the point that her husband respects her naturally. He does not see you as a liability but as a blessing. It is not every woman that a man can beat. When a man knows who you are and what you have contributed to his life, he wont go there. And when you give him the respect that his leadership deserves, he becomes your friend literally.To what extent do you think a woman should be submissive' A woman should be submissive in the context of the Bible, which says to honour and respect your husband. But dont let him make you feel small. Dont let him abuse you physically, psychologically, financially and emotionally. And when your life is endangered, get out. You may not divorce but go out and seek for help.It is someone that is alive that can talk about marriage. Many women have been sacrificed on the altar of marriage and it doesnt start once. There are always signals. If a man disrespects you and slaps you while you are dating, why go into marriage with him' You can remain single for life and be safe.A woman submits to the extent to what the Bible says. You honour your husband but you must know when the man is violating your human rights, your Bible rights. You dont submit in the name of love until you are dead. You dont go out to work, make money and give it to man who beats you up and sleeps around with prostitutes.That is not submission; that is stupidity. That is foolishness and I dont believe in that. If you are married to an ungodly man and you are dressed for service on Sunday. If he stops to ask where you are going to, I believe you dont start picking quarrels with him. You dont say, Im going to church and there is nothing you can do about it.You cant say and do that because you are a wife. The first thing to do is to remove your hat and gear, then sit with him. Then you can say, My dear, today is Sunday. Id like to go to church please. He will come down because you have disarmed him. But when your life is in danger, submission at that time becomes stupidity.But what kind of help is available these days' Should they involve the law, government or family' To me, divorce is the last option. The Bible does not even support divorce. I dont believe in it but there are situations where you dont have a choice. I know because I have counselled people. No marriage breaks overnight. Every marriage goes through at least seven stages before it breaks.Once you have noticed your marriage is becoming abusive, one you speak with him. If he doesnt listen, get someone that is close to him. If he doesnt listen, involve the family. If he doesnt listen, involve the church and pastor. If he doesnt listen, involve the traditional ruler of your town. If he doesnt listen, involve the police.At that point, you have tried. Some men are abusive because their wives have not stood up. They think they can just take it. If he keeps slapping you every day and you dont talk, the eyes will soon get blind.What have you done to make your home work' We met 32 years ago. Next Monday (tomorrow), our marriage will be 30 years. My husband is incredibly rare. Im telling you the truth because no liar will get to heaven. Im well travelled but I have not met men like my husband. When we met, he told me that we must be transparently honest. That there is nothing we should not be able to tell each other. Two, that no matter what happens, we would not divorce.Three, he said that I must not die under his shadow. That he wanted to help me to fulfil my potential that even though Im his helper, he has chosen not to be an African husband. That no matter what I wanted to become, he would help. When he said that to me, I decided Id do him good all his days.One day, I said to God in the place of prayers that if he fails, God should hold me responsible. So, everything that has the signature of Felix Adejumo, he knows that all he needs to say is that I should take off. Im so off that he would need to draw me back sometimes. God told us when we married that I am in the midst of thee. So, even when we have misunderstandings, we are conscious that God is between us.We are the best of friends and we are always together. We dont even have friends outside ourselves. And in 30 years, nobody has ever settled anything. We disagree as a couple sometimes because some two years ago, our children said they wanted our kind of marriage that we dont fight. My husband had to educate them that we also disagree on many things.How do you juggle work with ministry, considering that you are always travelling' Yes, we travel a lot but it just started about ten years ago. I had to wait to consolidate our marriage before I started travelling. Our kids have grown up too. When they were young, we didnt travel. We agreed to stay at home. We have this policy in our home: God first, marriage second and Gods work third. That is the order and our children understand it.Our children are grown up now and we are freed up a bit. My husband travels a lot too but people dont know because he is quiet. He just sneaks in and out. He is in France, South Africa and everywhere. I go for women conferences and you know womens meetings are always louder.I have a very understanding husband. After the Lord Jesus, my husband is the wind under my wings. He cheers me up. We dont spend quantity time together but we spend quality time. When I realised that the Lord has given me an itinerary ministry, we take advantage of every opportunity. We hide a lot. We go to the market together even now.How have you kept your marriage fresh in all these years' There was a time we were in South Africa together in one bush. Where we were you couldnt get to except they sent you to us. So, our marriage is fresh because we service it every time. Its been 30, in fact 32 exciting years. My husband proposed to me August 31 and I agreed September 8, 1982. We got married September 8, 1984. One thing that has helped us is that we communicate a lot. If my husband is not in the country, we can speak 50 times a day. You wont believe it. Id call and say, Hello darling, Im going to the bathroom, Hello darling, what colour should I buy' When we are not together, we are together. He knows where I am. He knows what Im doing and when the wind is blowing.I know what he is doing and all that. In 30 years of our marriage, if I want to collate the number of days we didnt pray together, it is less than one week.How do you achieve that' It is always on the phones, especially when we are not together. We have our quiet time together. We lie down on the floor. We pray together every day, no matter what happens. Even when we have misunderstanding, we still pray together. I may not say Amen very well but we still pray.Sometimes when we wake up, we can talk for two hours before we pray, especially when we have anything to resolve. My husband will say to me God is not a task master. Lets resolve this first. If I leave you now and you ask him some questions, hed give you the same answers.We are very appreciative of God and each other. We dont take each other for granted.If you were to change anything in you, what would that be' I would change, though it is not possible. He is too busy. One day I said to him, Darling, if the devil can repent, you would have taken him to God. There is nobody he gives up on. He would say lets try again. But, me, I am different. My husband is patient a lot. I can help, but I move on quickly.I dont like disloyal and ungrateful people. Once I see those signals, I am off, but my husband will be like He can change now, lets try again. My husband taught me how to walk with God. Just looking at his Christian life inspires me.What would be your advice to couples contemplating divorce' Please, there is no perfect marriage anywhere. Do your best to save that home. When you divorce, it is your children that suffer most because you remove the cover of life over them and the rain of life beats them.If you leave this spouse, do you know what the next one will be' In 30 years of marriage, I can tell you that a good marriage is expensive. So be ready to pay the price and you will be glad tomorrow. There is no marriage that is so bad that God cannot change it. Lets go for counselling, lets pray and lets change.Whats Mothers Summit all about' Its a five-hour non-stop prayer meeting for our children. It is simply a praying meeting. Different people come to lead the prayer sessions. It is the fifth edition. In Lagos, its on November 1 at All Seasons Plaza, opposite Cadbury in Ikeja. Its from 10am-2pm.]]>
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