Can an interracial marriage work?

By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi

E-mail: info@pastortaiwoodubiyi.org.uk

Can marriage between a Nigerian and a Chinese, Brazillian, an American etc work? Is such a marriage good or bad?

Before these questions are answered, let’s first consider God’s will or opinion concerning such a relationship. Knowing God’s will and being in the center of it is very crucial because if God is not in it, it’s not going to work. Without Him we are nothing and without Him we can do nothing.

I dealt with the issue of interracial marriage, God’s will and how to make it work in one of my novels, ‘This Time Around’.

In this novel, I answered some of the many questions people ask me about this unique relationship: Is it good or bad? What does the bible say about it? What should be done if the parents disapprove? Etc. People who are considering going into an interracial marriage should try to read the novel ‘This Time Around’.

In the novel, Misan, a Nigerian lady, told her aunt about her relationship with a Spanish-American man, Antonio. She had heard some negative comments about interracial marriage from some people including her mother, and now feeling a little confused, she had doubts about her relationship with Antonio. She’d heard that an interracial marriage was not God’s will, and because of the different backgrounds, they could not be compatible. Now, she needed to hear from her aunt who had been married to an American man for about twenty three years.

Her aunt allowed her to bare her mind, then she told Misan, “I can tell you without mincing words that I’m happily married. There’s nothing wrong with inter-racial marriage. God is not against it. The only thing against it is people’s biased opinion. What the Bible states is that the two people involved must be of the same faith and understand each other.”

She went on. “Of course, like every marriage, it’s not without its own challenges … oh yeah. We’ve been through a lot but that’s okay. Concerning you and Antonio, you’ll only need to work on your areas of conflict as one. Also, because of its nature, inter-racial marriages have some peculiarities and again, as I’ve already said, all you need to do is to work on those areas as one.”

Misan nodded.

This woman went on to point out something very important to Misan. She said, “In your mother’s case, her intertribal marriage to your father did not work because she was doing a lot of things that were wrong. Your father found out she had been diabolical, taking his names to spiritualists. There was another time he discovered a pot containing cowry shells, ram horns, native chalk and other stuff with his name on a paper inside the pot. That was what ended their marriage. Your mother caused the problems.”

Misan nodded again.

The woman continued. “The important considerations for any marriage are – one, is he born again? Two, what are your motives for this relationship? If the motives are pure, without sin and unselfish, the marriage stands a go-o-o-o-d chance of survival. You understand what I’m saying?”

Misan nodded again. “Yes.”

The woman assured Misan, “You don’t need to worry especially with what you have told me about this Antonio. Where there is love, there is nothing like belonging to different worlds or having different lifestyles. True love transcends all that. Just put your trust in God.”

***************************************************************************************

An interracial or tribal marriage is not wrong, but some things must be considered. Here are some of the important factors to consider.

1)Be sure the person being considered for marriage knows God and has a good heart. In the novel, while praying, Misan considered Antonio’s character. She was sure that he was a good man, a good Christian, and would make a good husband and father.

2)People should not judge, refuse to marry, or forbid marriage to someone based on skin colour or race. The Bible makes us know that we have all being created in God’s image.

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. (Genesis 1:27-28 NKJV)

God is not against this unique relationship and it can work, if the couple know God and follows His instructions. In the novel, when Misan was talking about skin colour and race, Antonio told her, “Misan, I don’t believe in colour. What matters to me is the heart … your heart.” He added, “We are different only if we believe we are different. The difference you’re talking about is just an attitude. Colour is an attitude. There is a way we can merge our outlook to life and such stuff. Do you realize that if we are both Americans or Nigerians, all those differences would still be there? They are basic.”

The Bible also reveals that God looks at the heart which is more important. “The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7

 

3)As I pointed out in the novel, anyone who is considering going into an interracial or intertribal marriage will need to carefully think and be sure it’s what he or she wants. The bible encourages us to count the cost in Luke 14, and people going into this marriage would do well to adhere and count the cost by considering all the areas that could bring challenges later on in life, e.g, is he/she born again? Good character? Does he/she love me? etc.

28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it— 29 lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’? (Luke 14:28-30 NKJV)

4) To make this unique relationship work, the couples involved should learn to please each other, show love and respect. The differences may be there but if they go out of their way to please each other, love and respect, they will get by.

As Antonio told Misan in the novel, if a marriage will work, the couple must be ready to tolerate each other, love, respect each other’s opinion and compromise opinions when necessary as long as it is not sinful. Couples usually have problems because they try to change their partners after marriage. That’s not going to work. When it comes to things like food, it will be good if one learns to eat some of the foods of the other person. And the foods they don’t like should be ignored without allowing it to cause a problem.

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Getting involved with a widower? Factors to consider

By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi, E-mail: info@pastortaiwoodubiyi.org.uk

A widow or widower is free to remarry of course, and the Bible confirms this.

For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive but ifher husband dies, she is released from the law of marriage. So then, if shemarries another man while her husband is still alive, she is called anadulteress. But if her husband dies, she is released from that law and is notan adulteress even though she marries another man. (Romans 7:2-3 NIV)

A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is freeto marry anyone she wishes but he must belong to the Lord. (1Corinthians 7:39NIV)

And so, if you’re considering getting married to a widow or widower, it is okay, you arenot committing a sin. Today’s message is to guide ladies especially, to let themknow some of the factors they need to consider and the things they must acceptin this unique relationship, and how to have a successful marriage.

In my novel ‘To Love Again’ which I wrote to reach out to the men and women who haveexperienced the loss of a spouse, Bibi fell in love with Pete, a widower with ason, Joe. She would like to marry Pete but she had some concerns and she toldGod, “I love Pete but the issue of his late wife is there. I will always takesecond place in his life and … I’m not sure that’s what I want. He also has ason. Joe is and will always be his first child. My kids will be his otherchildren.” She shook her head sadly. “This is not the kind of marriage I want.I don’t want to make a mistake, Lord. Lead me.”

Deciding to put her concerns down on a sheet of paper, she wrote: 1) She would always be his second wife. 2) Would she be able to cope with a stepchild? Wouldthere not be a problem later on? Could he not accuse her of treating Joedifferently? 3) He also talked about his late wife a lot. 4) Some of his late wife’s photos andpersonal belongings were still in his house even after all these years. Thewoman would always be a part of Pete’s life and the new relationship. 5) Peoplemight be comparing her with the first woman. 6) Many things that she would beexperiencing for the first time would not be new to Pete. 7) She would wantsome things changed but would he be willing to do them without thinking thatshe was nagging?

When she told Pete some of her concerns, he said, “Becoming a widower is not something I everprayed for. I never thought of it … my late wife hadn’t planned it, she hadn’twished to die but it happened.” He tried desperately to look and sound okay but failed.

When her mother learnt about the issue, she sat her down and told her, “There is nodoubt in my mind that Pete loves you. Don’t bother your head about his latewife and her reminders. Just accept and love Pete. He is a good man. Accept andlove his son too. You are supposed to help him pull through, not tear him apart.”

Her mother was right. Bibi’s concerns and doubts were also legitimate. As I have already pointed out, somefactors must be considered before people go into relationships or stand beforewitnesses to make promises because as I have said several times in this column,there is life after saying “Yes, I do.” If you have doubts concerning your relationship, stop and reconsider. If you have to ask people, “Do you think I’min the right relationship?” You are probably not. “Do you think she loves me?”She probably doesn’t. Go for counselling. If you have a wonderful relationship,you will know, love does not leave you in doubt.

We are admonished in the Bible to always count the cost before making a major decisionto ensure the right thing is being done and success is guaranteed.

Suppose one of you wants to build a tower, will he not first sit down and estimate the costto see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation andis not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him saying, “Thisfellow began to build and was not able to finish.” Or suppose a king is aboutto go to war against another king, will he not first sit down and considerwhether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against himwith twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while theother is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. (Luke 14:28-32NIV)

Bibi was simply fulfilling this part of the Scripture but it was obvious she was notwell prepared for the peculiarities of a relationship with a widower. Therewere some other things she should have put into consideration as her motherpointed out: 1) Pete loved and cared for her, 2) He was good and godly, 3)There must be acceptance if she wanted marriage to him to work. Withoutacceptance, there is no good marriage, 4) She was supposed to help him pullthrough, not tear him apart.

Some of the factors a lady should consider1) Be sure you are willing to love and accept his child(ren) as your own. It will also benice if the lady reads books or seeks advice on how to be a good stepmother. Imentioned this in my new storybook for children ‘Joe and his stepmother’. Ifyou don’t want another woman’s child, don’t marry the man, don’t add to his stress. 2) Is he ready to start again with another woman? 3) Does he love you? Do you love him? 4)Are you willing to be patient and cope with his past when it resurfaces?Something about the late wife will come up from time to time. 5) Is his childready to accept another woman in the father’s life?

For widows and widowers

“Arise my darling, my beautiful one, and come along. For behold, the winter is past, therain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared…” (Song of Solomon2:11)

It shall be well.

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How often should a married couple make love in a week?

By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi

A man got up, looking very serious. “I’m happy we are talking about this issue today because -” he paused for effect to get everyone’s attention, “the truth is that my wife and I have been struggling in this area for some time and I’m afraid it might get out of hand. I love my wife. I want her. Everything is okay but … this.” He raised a finger up. “And this is a very important part of our marriage. I’m concerned. The way she behaves when I want her … you’d be surprised. It’s as if I’m dirty and irresponsible. In fact, there were times I asked myself if something was wrong with me.”
Some of the people laughed.
“I’m serious.” The man said. “I feel frustrated. I feel rejected.”
Some men nodded their heads to show understanding.
His wife looked shocked.
“I mean … is there anyone sharing my experience? Has anybody here ever been there?” the man looked round at the men.
Five men raised their hands …
… A woman raised her hand and got up. “My case is different. It’s my husband who has lost interest in sex. I don’t know what we can do about that. My needs are not being met.”
The people shouted and laughed.
The woman continued, laughing. “I want us to tackle this issue as well. My husband does not believe in kissing … he says it makes him feel like throwing up, too much saliva and so on.”
A man exclaimed. “Oh my God!”
All of them laughed again.
Still laughing, she said, “In fact, we stopped kissing a long time ago. So, it’s not only about a man’s needs, a woman’s needs may also not be met.”
One of the men asked her husband, “What do you have to say for yourself?”
He laughed as he got up.“There’s no cause for alarm. It’s just that in recent times, I’ve been under a considerable amount of pressure and I just don’t feel like it.
(Excerpts from the novel OH BABY!)
One of the questions I’m often asked by married couples at marriage seminars is “How often or how many times in a week should married couples make love?”
As I pointed out in the novel Oh Baby, giving excuses when it comes to sex is not only a woman’s thing, some men also give excuses. And as I have said a number of times before and wrote in the novel, sex was God’s idea, not a man’s or satan’s idea, even though some people because of their misunderstanding of God’s purpose for sex have perverted, commercialized and even redefined it to suit their purpose. Sex is good and right but only in marriage. It is not dirty, it is an important part of marriage, it is biblical. Outside marriage or before marriage, it is wrong and destructive and could lead to very serious problems.
To get the correct answer to this question, we need to turn to the word of God. The Bible doesn’t say the number of times a married couple should have sex in a week but it does say that couples should come together regularly (have sex) and that if they will not have sex for a reason, it should be by agreement.
2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. (1Corinthians 7:2,3,5)
These verses are saying, “Don’t forgo sex! Continue to have sexual relations with your spouse! Satisfy your spouse!” In other words, a spouse has sexual responsibilities or duties in marriage. (verse 3) If a person does not want sex, then the person should not go into marriage, when you get married, you have signed up for sex. Sex in marriage should be regular; staying away from sex should not be regular, it has to be agreed upon by the couple involved and should be for a short time.
The Bible also makes us know that our bodies belong to our spouses.
The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. (1Corinthians 7:4)
The woman’s body does not belong to her alone but to her husband also, and vice-versa. This tells us that sex should not be given by a spouse as a reward or bribe, neither should it be withheld to punish a spouse.
In love-making, communication, love and compromise are important. If one spouse wants sex, the other spouse should yield as pointed out in verse 4, and if for a good reason one spouse does not want it, the other spouse should understand and yield, but of course, again, abstaining should be for a short time so that they don’t open their marriage to satan.
Protect your marriage. Temptations can come in as a result of lack of sex or not enough sex, sexual frustrations and hurt feelings. To keep temptations and immoralities of all kinds away, God created marriage, where a man will have his own wife, a woman will have her own husband, have regular sex and fulfill their sexual desires. (1Corinthians 7:2)
I asked some people how often they think married couples should make love in a week. Some said everyday. (As you must have guessed, most of these people were men) People said different things but most of them thought two to four times should be fine. The simple truth is “The more regularly a married couple makes love, the stronger their marriage tie.” Regular sex brings joy, confidence, intimacy and a connection between a man and his wife. A good sex life can hold a marriage together. And so, how many times? Let it be to you according to your faith!
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Should a man share his issues with his wife?

Should a man share his issues with his wife?
By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi
E-mail: info@pastortaiwoodubiyi.org.uk

At home in the afternoon, Fred told Moni that he would be travelling to South Africathe following morning.
South Africa? Tomorrow morning? And he’s just telling me? Moni wondered. She continued looking at the TV but her mind was not there as she thought of many things. Fred kept doing things that upset her. …
In the night, they ate without talking to each other. Later in the room, Moni decided to break the ice and asked, “Since when have you been planning this trip?”
“It has just been decided.” He said calmly.
“Was it decided this afternoon?”
He didn’t respond.
She went on, “When are you coming back?”
“On Sunday.”
“Okay, goodbye.” She said and hissed.
As she entered the bathroom, she prayed under her breath, God help us. Fred kept offending her, he kept doing things that hurt her without apologising….
On the bed, Fred pulled her shoulders but she resisted. He left her and turned his back.
(Excerpt from – Tears On My Pillow)

Marriage is about loving, giving and sharing. Some husbands have turned themselves to strangers and lone-rangers, and don’t discuss their issues, concerns or plans with their wives. They feel they can handle them alone and don’t need the help or the opinions of their wives. This sends the signal of lack of trust and that you don’t care about her. Such actions will also significantly affect the progress of the family as two heads are better than one. Also, remember that a divided house cannot stand. (Mark 3:25 )

Women are relationship-oriented while men are work-oriented and every wife wants to be a part of her husband’s life. She wants to share his joys, concerns, challenges, successes and pains. The woman also wants her husband to share his ideas, plans, life goals, hopes and indeed everything. This is how it should be in every healthy marriage. Sharing, planning and working together enhance the relationship.

As I often tell men, if you know how to press the right buttons, your wife would do virtually anything for you, she would become your ‘slave’! But if you keep information and things away from her, if you refuse to include her in your plans, you go out and come in without any explanation, you keep offending her without apologising, she will feel hurt. Don’t expect her cooperation and support under such circumstances.

If for some reasons a man doesn’t trust his wife enough with his plans or he feels she talks too much and can not handle information, he should talk to her and teach her how to control her words.

The right thing is to let her know when you buy a piece of land or when you are planning to buy a car or whatever your plan is. Let there be no secrets between you.Tell her your feelings and thoughts.Share everything with herThis is the heart’s desire of every wife. The woman should do likewise with her husband.

Some men think they are very strong, smart and capable and don’t need to involve their wives in their affairs. Yes, you may be all these and much more but because you have a wife, you should discuss with her. Being manly does not mean that you should become a lone-ranger. It will be wrong if you don’t tell her things. I want to encourage you to feel free to discuss your thoughts and concerns with your wife.Tell her your personal challenges and discuss your weaknesses with her. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, you are supposed to be one with her.

“Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone, I will make a helper who is just right for him”.… This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife. And the two are united as one. And the man and his wife were both naked and they felt no shame.” (Gen 2:18 ,24,25 NLT)

Some husbands also believe that there are some things men should not reveal or share with their wives. I ask such men, “Things like what? What should you not tell your wife?” If you see her as being one with you, you will not keep secrets from her.

Women like it when their husbands tell them things especially things that they know are hard to talk about. It will make her admire and care for you more.

It is also strongly advised that husbands should involve their wives when making a will, if there will be one. This is very important as in some parts of Africa , husband’s relatives tend to take over the man’s properties and share them among themselves without consideration for the welfare of the wife and children. The wife and children are hurt, and inadequate provision leads to prolonged pains and unnecessary distress, as I mentioned in the novel ‘Tears On My Pillow’. A will is life changing, and a man who doesn’t take care of his family is hurting his wife. How would the man feel if his rich wife makes a will leaving everything to her family? Of course he wouldn’t like it.

When the husband doesn’t carry his wife along or expose her to his business, properties and issues, she feels hurt, more so, when she gets to know that outsiders are the people handling them and benefiting.

Nobody prays for calamities but they sometimes come, and most times unexpectedly. When they do, people who are closer to the husband could take advantage of the situation, carting everything away. I have seen this happen many times. My maternal grandfather died when my mother was just two years old. The very wealthy middle-aged man loved his family but because he hadn’t made any preparation or plan as he wasn’t expecting to die at the time he did, strangers and relatives took everything, giving my mother (a two year-old girl) a pair of the man’s shoes! What a joke! What was she supposed to do with that? And more importantly, how could they have done that? It was unbelievable!

In as much as the husband is the head and may run a large business or company or work at top management level, where secrecy is the norm, it is advisable to intimate the wife of his issues and ventures. Let her know what is going on. Let her know if someone owes you and if you owe someone, let her know about your bank accounts, pin numbers and passwords. This would be in your best interest so that your assets don’t go to strangers. You are the head but your wife is your body, treat her as such.

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Ten signs that you are in a relationship with an abusive man

As Ann turned to walk back to her seat, Emma suddenly got up and stood in the middle of the room. Ann stopped.
“Come here!” He barked.
“No!”
“I said come here!” He insisted.
“No! You shouldn’t talk to me like that!”
He walked toward her and said, “I’ll talk to you the way I like!” He pushed her back and she fell on the sofa. “Who was that man?”
“If you touch me again, I’ll call my uncle!” Ann told him.
“Who was that? …
… “Emma, I don’t think we are compatible.” She said.
“Ann, it’s not an issue of compatibility. It’s an issue of behaviour. This is the second time you would do something wrong. We are not yet married and you’re making me doubt you.”
“I haven’t done anything wrong! … I haven’t cheated on you … I’m surprised you’re pushing and threatening me already when I haven’t even agreed to marry you.”
He calmed down. “I’m sorry.”
“You have anger problem, Emma. I think you should handle that first before talking about marriage.” She told him.
He looked a little shame-faced. “I’m dealing with it. You can be sure it won’t happen again.”
“So you said the other time.”
“Ann, I don’t just lose my temper. Something triggers it off … You won’t see my temper again if you don’t give me any reason to doubt you.” He told her. “Try to understand me and there won’t be any problem again.” …
“… Was there any time you hit your ex-girlfriend?”
He cut her off. “That’s not relevant to our discussion.”
“It is. You said we should try to know each other’s likes and dislikes. I’m trying to know more about you so I can avoid things that could upset you.” She explained.
He shrugged. “Well, maybe it happened once. She knew the things I didn’t like but kept on doing them.”
She had her answer. He hit the lady. Noted.
… Ann told Mrs. Noah. “Emma has anger problems … What should I do?”
“I won’t tell you what to do but I’ll tell you this, men who hit their wives don’t usually change. The reason they don’t change is because they see the other person as the one at fault. They say they are provoked and make excuses for their behaviour … If he’s treating you like this now, how do you think he would treat you in marriage?”
 (Excerpts from the novel YOU FOUND ME)
I’m dealing with this issue not to condemn the men who have anger issues or have been abusive to their partners because really, Jesus makes the difference and without Him we can do nothing. There is hope for them and for those women who are abusive.
This is to open the eyes of the single ladies out there: who are in abusive relationships but don’t even know; and those who know but don’t know how to handle it. As I pointed out in the novel, men who hit their wives or partners don’t usually change because they don’t see what they are doing wrong. Some of them realise they are wrong but are unwilling to change, making excuses for their abusive behaviour.
Is it possible to know before marriage that a man is abusive? Yes. What are the warning signs? There are many tell-tale signs of an abuser but I’ll give you ten which I mentioned in the novel Oh Baby. If ladies would be careful, pray and pay close attention to the signs, they would know an abuser before getting deeply involved.
Ten signs of an abusive man
1) He has anger problem, loses his temper quickly.
2) When angry, he is violent. He may beat on the table with his fist, throw or break things.
3) He tries to control you by telling you that if you do what he wants, there won’t be any problem. In the novel, Emma told Ann, “Try to understand me and there won’t be any problem again.”
4) He blames you or says it’s your fault that he loses his temper or is abusive. Such men usually say, “You provoked me,” “You caused it,” “You made me do it.”
5) He hit a girlfriend in the past and he says she made him do it.
6) You’re concerned about what he will say or how he will act in response to what you do or say.
7) He is unnecessarily jealous. With so much anger, he accuses you of cheating on him without reason; and wants to know where you are coming from.
8) Making excuses for his behaviour, he promises to change but doesn’t.
9) To control and make you submit to him, he threatens you. He may say, “I’ll slap you,” “I’ll kill you.”
10) He pushes, slaps or hits you.
Now ladies, if a man pushes, slaps or hits you when you are not even married to him, how do you think he would treat you in marriage? If a man does not respect you in public, how do you think he would treat you behind closed doors? Some women knew before marriage that their men were violent and abusive yet went ahead to marry them, hoping that marriage would change them but it did not. The truth is that no one has the power to change another person, only God can, and if abuse occurs during courtship, it will likely continue into marriage unless there’s an intervention.
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How to keep your children from being raped

 

How to keep your children from being raped (one of Taiwo Odubiyi’s articles on rape in the Sunday Mirror, a Nigerian newspaper)

 Every case of rape I hear during my programmes, counselling sessions with people or read in newspapers baffles me. In my book ‘Rape & how to handle it’, I mentioned some rape incidences which I still find difficult to comprehend till today. Here are five of them:

1) A seven-year old girl who was raped at different times by two uncles living with her mother!

2) A girl who was sexually abused from the age of eight years till she was fourteen (six lo-o-o ng years)!

3) A two-year old girl who was raped by her father. The girl later died.

4) A sixty-two year old married man and father who raped a three-year old girl. After the act, he simply let her go and went out for the day’s normal work as if nothing had happened! (as reported by Saturday Sun – a Nigerian newspaper)

5) A nine month old baby who was raped by six men!

6) An eleven month old girl who was raped by a thirty year old man in Congo .

Rape occurs when a person has sex with another person without the person’s consent, permission or cooperation. This is very wrong and destructive.

  Some facts to keep in mind

Anyone who is able to have sex can rape.

Rapists attack every age including the elderly and toddlers.

According to statistics, those who usually fall victims are the young, the innocent and the naïve most of which are children.

Children are gifts from God and so, as caretakers, we should protect and take care of them.

There are a number of things parents and guardians can do to protect their children from being raped.

Rape can be prevented to a large extent as most rapists are known to the victims. As I mentioned in the book ‘Rape & how to handle it’, rape happens more at home, and by a known person who knows the child and the family and who the child trusts than on the street by a stranger.

Also, it happens more in the night and in secluded places. And so, if parents will put all this information in mind and be watchful, their children will be protected.

How to protect your children

In ‘Oh Baby!’, (one of my novels) Tammy told some children during Sunday school class, “Don’t allow anyone to touch your body in an inappropriate manner or remove your clothes, alright?”

Making eye contact with them, she added, “Your body belongs to you. Say no to the person, whoever the person is. And don’t let the person put your hand on his body or her body. Even if the person is an adult, tell him or her to stop, do you understand?”

A young girl of about eight years raised her hand and said, “You said we should say no to adults if they want to touch our bodies but the teacher in our class says we should respect adults and do what they say.”

Tammy responded, “Your teacher is right. You should respect adults and adults should also respect you by not touching your body. Your body belongs to you. Any adult who wants to touch your body in an inappropriate manner or fondle you or make you touch him or her is not a good adult.”

And in my storybook for children, Rescued by Victor, Mother told her children, “There are some things a girl can do to avoid being raped. Number one, you have to be careful with boys and men whether at home or school. Two, don’t let anyone entice you with gifts. Three, don’t let anyone touch your bodies. It is not right; your body belongs to you. Even if the person is your teacher or daddy or one of your uncles, don’t allow it. Four, don’t allow anyone to pull up your dress. If your dress is being pulled up, pull it down. Five, if someone is doing something that is improper to you, or if something should happen to you, anything at all, I want you to tell me about it. I will believe and protect you. Is that alright?”

“Yes.” We chorused.

“Another thing you should do is to say no to that person. You can say no. Uju did not realise that she could say no that was why the sexual abuse continued to happen. I want you to say no. Go ahead, say it.”

“No.”

“Again … more firmly.” She said.

“No!”

 Here are ten of the seventeen things I mentioned in the book ‘Rape & how to handle it’, that parents and guardians can do to keep their children from getting raped.

1) Be very observant and sensitive. Also, closely monitor your child’s movement. That way, you know what is going on under your roof and in your child’s life especially if you have a male living with you.

2) Pray for them, talk to them and speak positively into their lives regularly.

3) Let them know that their bodies belong to them and they should not allow ANYONE to touch them anyhow because it is not right.

4) Encourage them to confide in you and let them know that you will believe them. That way, they are likely to tell you things that tend towards sexual abuse, and you are able to stop it early.

5) Discourage them from getting too close to males even if they are related.

6) As much as possible, have separate rooms for your male and female children especially if you have a male nephew or cousin staying with you.

7) Be careful of allowing your children to spend the night at a friend’s house. This could be dangerous as I pointed out in the book ‘Rescued By Victor’.

If you have a house help or a babysitter, try to know the person and if you have any funny feeling about the person, do something about the situation.

9) Try to meet and know your child’s teacher(s) or anyone who will be spending substantial amount of time with your child.

10) Tell them not to accept rides, gifts or favours from strangers.

 

 

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He is not really interested in you. Simple

By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi

E-mail: info@pastortaiwoodubiyi.org.uk

“I met him through a friend about three months ago, and we seemed to hit it off well. He’s a Christian like me and I really like him. For about two weeks, we called each other. He would call me and I would call him. Then I suddenly realised that he had stopped calling me, and I was the one doing all the calling and text messaging. The first time I asked him about it,he said he was busy at work. About ten days after, I brought it up again because I didn’t see any noticeable change. I made him know how I felt, I told him I was concerned and that in a normal relationship,we should be calling each other. He said he knew that. There hasn’t been any change, and I don’t believe his excuse about being busy. I’m also busy but I create time for him. I haven’t been in touch with him for a week now, and he has not called me. What do you think is wrong?Why does he not call me?” (Bi)

Why does he not call me?

This is one of the questions I’m often asked. A lady meets a man, likes him, they begin to see each other but soon, the man cools off and she discovers she’s the only one doing all the calling him and running around, although when she calls him, he’s nice and pleasant. And maybe she visits him sometimes in the office. When she complains, he tells her he’s very busy. The lady begins to wonder what is the problem is. She can’t figure him out. Upset and a little confused, she makes excuses for him – yes,he must be very busy … too busy to call me. Soon, the lame excuses for his actions give way to real concern – Why does he not call me?What is going on?

Too busy to call you, for weeks?And you are in a relationship, going steady? Excuse me! Or maybe you met him recently. Well, the same thing applies, if he likes you, he will call you. If he doesn’t look for you, then he doesn’t care enough. And take this from me, ladies, you deserve better than a man who cannot take a minute to call you and say hello. And men, this relationship principle works both ways. If a lady does not care about you, you are better off without her.

What is going on?

Well, the only thing going on is that the man is not really interested in you but he doesn’t want to hurt your feelings. For many men, if they find they are not really interested in a lady after some level of friendship has been established, they don’t really want to tell her, and they may choose the easy way out by reducing contact with her. He can’t tell you but he’s showing you in his actions. He probably has another lady he’s considering or he is changing his mind about you for some reasons,but the point is that he’s not really interested in you anymore. As I mentioned in 30 things husbands do that hurt their wives, men like to pursue and win. If they want something, they know what to do and how to get it.

I have preached several times on the language of love. Love is not silent, it speaks. And when it does, you hear it clearly because it is loud enough. There’s no ambiguity. You know what love wants and where it’s going. Just as faith without works is dead, love works, and the works can be clearly seen.

As the Bible mentioned in 1 Samuel and I wrote in the novel What changed you? (The story of David and Michal), Michal loved David.

Michal was lying down, with her eyes closed. Soon, her mind went to David and she wondered where he was and what he was doing. Since the day she first saw him, she had not been able to stop thinking of him. Was she with the king, playing music for him at the camp? Or with the sheep? Or with a beautiful young lady? Since Saul and his men went to the camp more than forty days ago, David had not come to the palace.It was funny though but she missed seeing him.

She had come to realise that her feelings for David were growing daily. This thought made her smile.Repositioningherself, she wondered – Why do I like him? She began to think of the reasons. One, he was strong, yet gentle. Two, he had a smile and mannerism that did funny things to her heart which she would not be able to explain even if her life depended on it…. (excerpts from What changed you?)

Love also does not need to be taught what to do. It knows what to do, and it’s always working, thinking of how else to express itself. People around can also see and hear it. People knew that Michal loved David and they told King Saul, her father.

“Now Michal, Saul’s daughter,loved David. And they told Saul, and the thing pleased him.” (1 Samuel 18:20)

A person in love knows what to do, and if a person is not really interested in a relationship, they show it or look for excuses.

In Love on the Pulpit (one of my novels), when Mr. Dawodu told Teni about his nephew, Olamide, Teni was not interested. Mr. Dawodu’s nephew? Oh, pleaseeee!

And when Olamide called her, she told him, “Er … I’m very busy.”

“Oh, Teni, you can’t tell me you’re always busy, with never a free moment.”

“It’s hard to believe but I really don’t have a free time.” She insisted. She even told him she was in a relationship, (with Jesus!) to put him off.

He called her again after some days and she gave the same excuse.

Some weeks after, she attended a party and met a guy she liked, Dave. Dave recognised her but kept silent. When she later realised that Olamide was Dave, she was both shocked and happy. She called him in the office. And when he asked her out, she accepted immediately. No more excuses.

What to do

To answer your question, Bi,you have clearly shown this man that you really like him and would want to continue your relationship with him. You have also told him how you feel about his not calling you. And now, you have not called him for a week and he has not bothered to call you. That is not normal. Things don’t work that way. To have a healthy and balanced relationship, the two people have to care and work on it. If he doesn’t call you soon, then you have your answer – he is no longer interested in the relationship for reasons best known to him. Simple.If you’re on his mind and he really cares, he will get in touch with you, he will find a way to get in touch with you, trust me.

And don’t think you will lose him by not calling him. It doesn’t seem to me that you have him yet. Many ladies get abused, maltreated and disrespected in their relationships because they make themselves seem desperate and cheap. I tell my children, “Don’t be easy and don’t play hard to get, be hard to get!” If a man loves you enough and God is involved, he will come after you and win your love. If a man does not pursue you now or think you are worth some of his time at this level of the relationship, there is no guarantee that things will improve with time. You may hear some people say that their men were like that:they were not calling them, the men did some terrible things and probably cheated on them with other ladies but they stayed with the men and endured their ways, and with time, things improved, they got married and now they are happy. Well, I can assure you that such cases are not the norm, and that happens in probably two out of hundred cases.

Bi, you have done enough as it is:calling and doing all the work, which is one-sided. What you need to do now is wait and let him decide whether or not he wants to be with you. Meanwhile, pray and trust God for the best. If the man gets in touch with you and tells you things will improve, fine. If not, then move forward and trust God to bring another person who will love you as you deserve to be loved. You deserve to be with a man who loves and respects you, a child of God who wants to be with you and will make efforts to show it.

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How to avoid premarital sex when love takes over

How to avoid premarital sex when love takes over
 By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi
In ‘To Love Again’ one of my novels, Pete, a widower told his fiancée, Bibi, “In recent times, all my buried feelings have come alive again … I’m beginning to miss regular physical intimacy. I want us to marry as soon as possible. My feelings for you are strong and I don’t know if I can hold on much longer. I mean, seeing you and not being able to do anything is driving me nuts.”
Bibi didn’t talk as she had been thinking and feeling some things herself. Later on, she told her sister, Tolu, and her husband, Ben, “Pete wants us to get married in November because he is tired of waiting, he wants physical intimacy.”
Tolu and Ben laughed.
When their laughter subsided, Tolu told Bibi, “I will suggest you wait until January if it’s possible so that you can have more time to know each other well, He has waited for over three years, let him wait the few months till January.”
“But Pete has a point.” Ben said.
“Yes he does.” Tolu answered. He has a good point and it’s better for them to marry if he can’t control his feelings than to fall into the error of premarital sex.”
Ben spoke again, “In Pete’s case, it’s not as if he’s never been married. He was married and enjoyed the pleasures of sex in marriage on a regular basis and – suddenly, that stopped.”
“I know. As a matter of fact, I respect him. Some men would have had girlfriends to satisfy them while waiting to remarry.” Tolu said. “If he can control the urge and wait until you marry in January, it will be good.”
“He’s beginning to find it difficult to wait and for me, it’s not been easy because I love him.” Bibi said and smiled.
“It’s okay to have those feelings especially when you are in love but as Christians, you should not give in to the feelings. What you need to do is put some precautionary measures in place.” Tolu told her sister.
(Excerpts from ‘To Love Again’)
Premarital sex is sex before marriage and for many engaged couples, it’s an issue and they are struggling but as the Bible says, the people who know God will be strong and do exploits. Many people are messing up their lives for lack of knowledge. Sex was God’s idea and He ordained it for pleasure, intimacy and procreation in marriage. His will is clear, “Flee from sexual immorality … honour God with your bodies.” (1Corinthians 6:18 ,20. NIV) Don’t have sex with someone you are not married to. Awake to righteousness and do not sin. Your body belongs to God.
Tips on how to avoid premarital sex
 Some people actually know that they should avoid premarital sex but they don’t know how. If you are in a relationship, here are eleven of the things you need to know and put in place to avoid premarital sex. They are what the Bible calls ‘the way of escape’ from temptations in 1Corinthians 10:13.
  1. As mentioned in the novel To Love Again, avoid being alone in a bedroom or place when you can easily do what you shouldn’t do.
  2. As Tolu told Bibi, another way out is for the couple to get married. Marriage is the cure for sex. Once married, sex becomes right.
    Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.
    but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion. (1Corinthians 7:2,9)
  3. When the lady goes to the man’s house, she should stay in the living room and as much as possible, she should not stay long.
  4. They should avoid unnecessary touching and closeness that can set their feelings on fire.
  5. When you are experiencing those feelings, get up and get busy. Look for something to do or go out and walk it off as Ben did in the novel ‘In Love For Us’.
  6. Discuss and agree with your partner ahead of time that you will not engage in sex until you get married.
    Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? (Amos 3:3)
Mary told Mike in ‘Shadows From The Past’, “I’ve been celibate since I gave my life to Jesus and I intend to remain that way until I marry. I’d like to know your opinion about that.”
Mike laughed and said, “That’s okay with me. It’s the right thing for us as Christians. I don’t have any problem with it. I’m surprised you’re asking for my opinion.”
  1. As I have said several times, there is nothing we cannot pray about. Pray and ask God to help you keep your feelings in check until you get married. Jesus advised His disciples to watch and pray so as not to fall into temptation.
     Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)
  2. They should avoid dwelling on sex-related issues, and suggestive books, magazines and TV programmes that will arouse their passion.
  3. Many people are not spiritually strong. If they will be strong in the Lord and do exploits, there will be less casualties.
 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11. Put on the whole armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:10-11)
10.    Ladies should be careful of what they wear and do. In ‘Love On the Pulpit’, Dave told Teni, “One of the things I like about you is that you don’t put pressure on me, you don’t seduce me. That would have made things pretty difficult for me. Ladies don’t know what they do to men when they dress or behave in a suggestive manner.” Some ladies tease, tempting men by the way they sit and conduct themselves. This is not right. And of course, the lady should not pass the night in the man’s house. Some ladies including those who are supposed to be Christians do this. This is wrong. Also, ladies should be able to say no, and prevent the man if he wants sex.
11.    Don’t be in a relationship with someone who has no regard for the will and word of God. If you are a Christian, you cannot be in a relationship with someone who is not, and if you fear God, your partner must fear Him too. Sin is contagious, and as the saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.
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Financial Issues in Marriage

By: Pastor Taiwo Iredele Odubiyi, the associate senior pastor of The Still Waters Church and the Executive President of TenderHearts Family Support Initiative, a Non-Governmental Organisation. E-mail: pastortaiwoodubiyi@yahoo.com.

Facebook: Pastor (Mrs.) Taiwo Odubiyi

Can a marriage where the woman earns more than her husband work?

Husbands used to be the sole providers for their families while the women stayed at home to take care of children and the house, and the few women who worked did so for a few hours. But in recent times, many women go to work, working their way right to the top, putting in long hours and choosing careers that would give them more money and an edge in life. As such, an increasing number of women earn as much as their spouses or even more. According to statistics, about twenty percent of wives out-earn their spouses.

A curse or a blessing?

A situation where the woman works and earns a good salary is supposed to be a blessing as more money is available to the family, but  a number of men are still uncomfortable about this. Her better income means that she will have to do more financially such as paying school fees, bills, taking care of the family’s needs and holiday trips. In some families, this big shift in responsibilities has created serious problems. It appears that a number of people still prefer the traditional role where the man supports and provides for the family and the woman takes care of the home front.

For the woman

There have been cases of wives who had become disrespectful and uncontrollable because they earned more incomes than their husbands. Of course, not all women are like this because what people do is a matter of who they are and what they believe. There are women who feel very uncomfortable or guilty for earning more, while some others have the attitude that says, ‘I’m the main bread-winner, why must I do any other thing in the house?’

There are instances where husbands no longer eat at home simply because their wives insult them every time they give them food. There are husbands who go to people outside to borrow money because they dare not ask their wives for loans or grants. A man in such a situation would go out to borrow in order to avoid insults from his wife, who sees her money as solely belonging to her. You would often hear such a wife refer to her personal belongings as ‘my money,’ ‘my car,’ my house.’

One of the women I spoke to about this issue said earning more would make the woman lose all respect for her husband which would eventually affect the marriage . I immediately asked her, ‘Why should she lose respect for her husband?’

The word of God reads, “Who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” (1Corinthians 4:7) (NIV)

Indeed, what do we have which has not been given to us by God?  Whenever the wife earns more than her husband, it is by God’s grace! And who knows, maybe for this reason she has been put in that place: to complement the efforts of her husband in her God-given role as a ‘help meet,’ that is, a helper that is suitable for her husband.

In Esther 4:14, the Scripture says, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise … from another place … Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (NKJV)

A wife who has more money should support her husband and family. At the time my husband and I were starting out, I sponsored and bought most of the things we had. And I am sure many people before me have done likewise, and many more will still support their husbands.

Why do you need to support him? Because marriage is a union of two people. You are married to him to provide that part of him that may not be there at present, realising too that no condition is permanent, as positions could be reversed as God wishes! You married him as the solution to that God-observed gap of loneliness which could be financial, physical or emotional. You should be friends, and friends support each other. Don’t let money destroy your marriage; rather use money and other resources to save it. Remind yourself regularly that money should not be an issue. Let it make no difference to your marriage; if something needs to be done, let it get done without looking around or thinking of what your husband is doing or bringing into the family.

A wife who is in a better financial position should watch her attitude and manners because it is possible to begin to react negatively (and hence, seemingly proudly) each time her husband or her family makes demands on her. She should not think that her husband is trying to take advantage of her. Instead, she should see what she can do to better empower her husband. While she’s at it, she should also encourage and let him know he is still loved and appreciated for what he does for the family. Additionally, the woman should try to keep things balanced in her family. She should not allow her job to take precedence over her family and if her husband is doing things that upset or discourage her, then it’s time for them to talk.

For husbands

Don’t feel bad, threatened, insecure or resentful towards your wife if she earns more than you. Some men feel threatened to the extent that they suspect or even accuse their wives of having extra marital affairs, and whenever she returns home late, she’s in trouble. There was an instance of a wife who kept telling her husband that she could never cheat on him but he didn’t believe her, and he beat her up several times simply because he was jealous of her success. Such reaction is both demeaning and absolutely wrong! He should see her achievement as a good thing and be happy for her, support her and enjoy what they have together. If she hasn’t changed, there is no reason for you to change. But if you think she’s behaving in a way you don’t like, then talk to her about it.

For couples

Couples in this situation should embrace dialogue. They should talk, talk and talk! They should discuss and agree on how they can work together to improve their lot and keep the family happy and running smoothly. Some of the issues to be discussed should include: (1) Whether or not he needs to get a better job, and (2) What should be the areas of responsibility of each party, in regards to meeting the financial needs of the family? (3) How can they have a good relationship? (4) Has either of them changed since she began to earn more than the man?

They should also focus on their marriage, loving each other and doing things that would make them happy. If they can’t agree, they should go for counselling because there is no reason for the marriage to end in divorce or not work.

 

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How to handle past hurts

How to handle past hurts

By: Pastor Taiwo Odubiyi

E-mail:info@pastortaiwoodubiyi.org.uk

As Fred and his wife, Moni got down from their car, they saw Onome. She was on her way out.

Moni said hello and involuntarily looked at Fred. He greeted Onome briefly and followed Moni into their apartment.

Moni remembered the past and all the pain came over her again. As she entered the room,she determined she would not allow her emotions to colour her mood.She would not let her feelings show to Fred. She entered the kitchen and cooked. Afterward, they sat at the table and began to eat together.

Fred was making conversations, and Moni answered quietly, without laughing much. He Raised his eyes to look at her once, sensing that her mood seemed to have changed. What could the problem be? Or could it be his imagination?

Moni struggled to push the pain away. She had to. Fred was making efforts these days to love her and she must encourage him. She noticed that he had finished the juice in his glass cup. “Do you want me to pour more juice for you?” She asked nicely.

He nodded, “Yes,thank you.”

As she quietly sat with him later to watch TV, she felt the issue of the past was something she would have to bear alone and she prayed that God would help her overcome it.

Fred eventually asked, “Are you very happy?”

“Yes,” she tried to smile. How could she be sure it was really over between Fred and Onome?

“You seem a little withdrawn.”

She shook her head.“There’s nothing.”

“There’s nothing as in – there’s really nothing or there’s nothing as in – leave me alone?”

She kept quiet.

“Let’s go in.”He told her quietly.

She followed him into the bedroom.

Behind closed doors, he held her strong. “If there’s anything at anytime, I wantus to discuss it. We should clarify issues as soon as possible;that’s what the pastor said. And if I seem to be forgetting my promises, I want you to remind me.”

Should she mention the real issue? She began to think. He sensed her hesitation and asked, “Are you thinking about something?”

She shrugged,“Well, it’s just that seeing Onome now brought the past back to my memory.” There, she had said it.

He took a deep breath. “I’m sorry.” ……

…… It’s just that the pain comes sometimes and refuses to go away. The same thing happened when I saw her last week.”

He tightened his arms around her.

She really needed to be reassured so she asked softly, “Is it really over between you?”

(Excerpts from ‘Tears On My Pillow’)

As I have said several times and mentioned in my novels and the book ’30 Things Wives Do That Hurt Their Husbands’, there are principles to be followed to have a healthy, good and lasting relationship. These Principles are biblical.

One of these principles is that offenses should be forgiven and forgotten, which means that it should not be brought up again especially if your spouse has apologised for it. One of the Biblical Scriptures for this principle is 1Corinthians 13:5

Love does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs. (1Corinthians13:5 NIV)

Some people like referring to the past, quoting date, time, statements and names, to score points. Some others refer to the past because they have not forgiven their spouses for the offenses. Whatever the case may be, it is better not to bring it up again; let the sleeping dog lie, especially if the incident was in the past.

If you have a fresh issue with your spouse, keep to the facts of this particular issue as much as possible, and refrain from referring to the past or the past misdeed especially if he or she has apologised and has stopped doing it or it’s not likely it happens again. Bringing up the past shows that you are still dwelling on it, and of course, that could influence your attitude, affect the present and if not handled carefully could affect the future. This could prevent you and your marriage from moving forward.

In the story above, Moni was following this principle when she hesitated to bring up the issue of herhusband’s involvement with Onome, a fresh graduate.

The past misdeed should not be brought up especially in an argument. Don’t throw it at your spouse’s face.That will hurt and could get your spouse angry. It will not help matters, neither will it help your marriage or bring you closer toyour spouse.

A gentle answer turns away wrath,but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1 NIV)

Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out.(Proverbs17:14 NIV)

Thinking about a past offense enlarges it in your mind. You cannot do anything about what has already happened. What you should do is pray about it,by asking God to heal your heart. Choose to forgive, choose to keep your home, let go of the past and don’t bring it up again.

When can the past hurt be broughtup?

There are times when bringing up the past will be considered to be necessary and okay, and in line with another principle of a successful and healthy relationship –Communication.

1. When it has injured your marriage

2. When it still hurts deeply

3. When it has not been dealt with

4. When it is still going on

5. When it can affect the future

6. When you have an understanding spouse who is willing to work through the issues with you

In the novel ‘Tears On My Pillow’, Moni still had doubts and concerns. She hesitated to bring it up and finally did because Fred showed sincere concern and she knew shecould discuss it with him. She did, and Fred assured her of   to their marriage. If Fred did not show care or concern,she wouldn’t have talked about it, but the doubts would have remained in her heart and might cause problems in future.

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