Marriage matters: Where marital issues are resolved

Every year, she brings couples together under one umbrella so that the men and their wives can interact and have fun without their children’s interference. It was, indeed, a casual evening for couples that graced the event, as they were clad in jeans, with white tops and canvas shoes to match.

The organiser of the event, Mrs. Bose Fawehinmi, the Lead Counselor at Marriage Matters, has consistently done this for three years now. The last party held at Pearlworth Hotel and Suites in Ikeja, Lagos.

Speaking with The Guardian on what Marriage Matters is all about and why she organises the yearly event, Mrs. Fawehinmi went down memory lane: “As a single, I learnt a lot about relationship. For instance, I was Sisters’ coordinator in a church, as well as a Singles coordinator. My husband and I have been working with youths over the years.

And so, 13 years ago, we joined the counseling team in the church, where we prepared intending couples for wedding. Most of the people that are here today are those that we counseled before they got married. So, whenever they have issues, they deem it fit to talk to us. Basically, we coach and train intending couples on how to prepare for marriage. Also, whenever married couples are having any crisis, we help them to resolve such issues without having to pack up the marriage.

“This programme is one of such initiatives, where we encourage couples to come out and have fun. You don’t have to wait until your marriage has problem. So, we encourage couples to take their wives out, have fun together and listen to educative teachings on relationship. As a marriage counselor, I have been doing this for over 13 years, though Marriage Matters is over three years now.”

On why couples seem to have many marital issues these days, she explained: “A lot of people are not equipped or prepared to go into marriage. For a number of people, their idea of marriage is usually faulty and when they go into marriage without proper education, counseling and prayers, they will surely have problems. I specialise in recovery from infidelity. People who have suffered in this area usually blame their husbands for cheating or heap the blame on the wife, and from time to time they struggle with it. We handle all that and by God’s grace, such marriages have been restored to the glory of God. We help such couples get over their disappointments and bring the marriage back on track.”

Mrs. Fawehinmi, who has been married for 18 years, advised couples to always have a third party, who should be competent and qualified.

“Despite the fact that we are counselors, we also have counselors. The reason is because we believe it is good to involve qualified third parties in your affair. Gone are the days, when they say ‘don’t bring in a third party’ because that is one of the reasons marriages are crashing. By the time they want to bring in a third party, the issue has gone beyond the level where anybody can intervene. If you involved a third party that is competent and qualified right from the beginning, then you will resolve a lot of issues before they get bad. Talking with a counselor is just like seeing a doctor. So, it’s important.

“The person does not need to be emotional or somebody who will take side, but somebody you respect and can listen to when he/she talks to you. I am also a family member to some people and does that mean that my own family members can’t see me? But being a pastor doesn’t mean you are a counselor, as they are not the same thing. A counselor must have skills to be able to help your marriage, and not somebody that will make matters worse.”

Some of the couples at the event shared their thoughts.

Commending Marriage Matters, Mr. Michael Agbi and his wife, Funmi, said: “It has been so helpful to families, especially our marriage, which is 10 years now. We are really indebted to Marriage Matters. There were a lot of issues, a lot of ups and downs, but once we came for counseling with Marriage Matters, we have been able to carry on for 10 years now.

If all the issues we had at the beginning of our marriage were not solved by Marriage Matters, we don’t know where the relationship would be today. We don’t miss this yearly party.

This is our third time of coming. I encourage couples to come, as it’s always super fun. I hope to learn a lot at this event, today, because when it comes to Marriage Matters, there is always something to learn that will help you improve your relationship. As we are starting another decade, we need tips from today’s event.”

Mr. Adebayo Kehinde said: “I am here to enjoy myself with my wife without the children. This gathering is for married couples. Most times, after people get married and start having kids, they become so engrossed in many activities that they don’t usually have time to go out on their own. I can’t even remember the last time I went out with my wife. That is why I usually look forward to such programmes like this, though it is once a year. The first time we attended this event was in 2015.

The convener created a forum, where such marital issues as how to raise children and handle conflicts, among others are discussed. And it has helped us to grow spiritually, as well as impacted our love lives.

At that platform, biblical principles are used to treat matters pertaining to homes. We were taught how to treat our in-laws; how to deal with finances and you know, when it comes to the issue of finance that is one of the major reasons couples are at loggerheads.”

For Mr. Olusegun Ajayi and his wife, it is an opportunity for couples to be out together in the year.

“It is usually the only time we go out together as a couple. It is also an opportunity to get one or two tips as a couple. What we learn here fosters unity. It encourages togetherness, whereby you realise that marriage is marriage, but there will always be issues. However, that doesn’t mean you should back off.

The last time we were here, we met a couple that has been married for about 14 years. It’s working for them, so it’s possible for it to work for us also. We have listened to Mrs. Fawehinmi over and over again; she is an advocate for making it work. We hardly go out alone, but this has helped us.

There was this woman who said the husband farts, when he is sleeping and because of that she was quitting the marriage. And I said to myself, if you walk out of the marriage and get married to another person who snores, are you going to also leave on that account?

“The best thing is to find a way around it and it will always work because we’ve seen people make it work. Marriage is about making conscious efforts. If you want it to work it will. No matter how difficult or annoying the matter might be, God will ultimately make a way round it. Sometimes, it might just be an attitude thing. You might not even know you are the one causing the problem, but when you take it to God, He helps out. So, there is really nothing that cannot work, but most of us give up too easily.”

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