Monthly Archives: February 2014

Should We Invite A Third Party?

During the pre-wedding counseling, most counselors will tell the couple that they should do their best to resolve whatever issues they have between them as a couple. Since the two of them have become one, there is no need for anyone else to hear about their problems. Also, whoever they may be sharing their issues with may have issues themselves which they haven’t spoken about.

Plus, not everyone they speak to has their best interests at heart. Couples are therefore encouraged to keep their secrets secret and sadly, often, a culture of non-disclosure and dying in silence is built. Couple that with the belief that anyone (read woman) who cannot keep her family has failed in life and you have a recipe for disaster and most marriages which could have been a success have failed.

I am not an advocate for blabbing about the deficiencies of one’s mate or irrational comparisons that some people indulge in. Certainly there are issues that couples can draw on their own experiences to resolve. The ideal would be that couples always resolve issues for themselves. Sadly, we hardly ever have the ideal.

The truth is that more and more people are entering marriage without being aware of the emotional requirements of living together with another person; without some awareness of how mentally tasking it is to sometimes having to literally figure out what is wrong with the other person who probably is unaware themselves of what is wrong with them. Many enter marriage unprepared.

When people in this category begin to have problems in marriage, the advice to resolve issues for themselves is not the best. What this advice simply does is to put everyone in the same state of maturity before marriage and therefore telling them that they can go it on their own. This is simply not true. Couples often need help to stay together and when issues arise, the sooner they get help the easier it is for them to resolve their problems and continue staying together. It is my theory that if more couples talk about their issues with third parties the rate of divorce will drop.

The question however is: who do they talk to?

The answer in one sentence is: couples should talk to someone who is neutral and independent minded enough to not take sides with one party or the other when trying to resolve their issues. Did I just see you mentally cross out family and most friends? Good move! Truth is that most family members do not have what it takes to help a couple resolve their issues. They are hardly ever neutral. They will take the side of their son or daughter so that at the end of the day, if your aim is really to resolve the issue, your family should be the last to hear about it.

As for ‘friends’, you should be even more careful with those. This is where you want to talk to a friend who has proved over time that they have your genuine interest at heart. It is for this reason that I often encourage couples to make mutual friends. You cannot really afford to have different sets of friends because what this ultimately means is that when issues arise you may not be able to sit down with any one friend to talk about it. If you also read this article here you will understand that this is one reason why I do not encourage what I have termed “Lagos Marriage”.

Some have chosen to talk to their religious leaders. Again there is need for caution, be sure that the person you are running to for refuge knows how to guard his tongue. It will be such a shame for you to go pour out your heart to someone only to be used as the subject for a sermon the next week with half of the church already aware of your issues before you begin to resolve them.

I think the time has come for us to have dedicated marriage counselors.  Presently, I think these units are often attached to the church or other religious group. With more and more people losing faith in churches, I think it is time that this unit be separated from the church.

I know it might be cool to say God is punishing people who have left the church with failed marriages but note that even people within the church are also challenged and most of them will rather speak to an independent party than to their “pastor”. And then what about couples who worship differently?

We really need to break the silence. The wedding is just one day, marriage lasts a lifetime. I personally have reservations about people who say they would rather maintain total silence over their marital woes. Sometimes, all it takes is someone outside of the couple to have a heart to heart with each so as to resolve the issues they face.

Talking to a third party often provides the clarity needed to see issues from a different perspective and acknowledge one’s deficiencies instead of the two going through an endless circle of blame trading which.ultimately resolves nothing.

So, what do you think? Wouldn’t it be better if we made room for a third party when necessary?

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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in General


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“Lagos Marriage” and the Importance of Background Checks.

My mum used to talk about a kind of relationship which she tagged “Lagos Marriage”. By her definition, it means meeting a guy or a lady in Lagos – which is far from our village in Abia state – falling in love and marrying them without bothering about the type of family the person comes from. It is premised around the belief that the man and the woman are the ones getting married and so it does not matter whether his family or her family approve or not. After all, at the end of the day, it is the man and the woman that will get to stay together.

I guess what my mother was trying to explain in her own way is the modern concept of marriage and the nuclear family arrangement that most ‘enlightened’ people subscribe to. You can meet a guy, get pregnant for him and you both begin to live together before he decides whether he wants to introduce you to his parents or not. Conversely, he introduces you but you really should not be bothered if he is the only one that appears to ‘have a head’ in the family. It doesn’t matter if every other member of his family dropped out of school, or are drunkards, wife beaters or any other vice, as long as he is an angel.

Of course, back in the day when parents chose wives for their sons and husbands for their daughters, it was imperative that a background check be run by both families before they agree to the union. Though some of these checks bordered on the eccentric and mundane, I believe that it is very important that such a check be run before any marriage is contracted.

In fact, I am a believer in parents playing an important role in selecting who their children will end up with. Yes, I am aware some parents can go overboard with this, but it really is not my fault that you end up having a parent who cannot guide you, so you shouldn’t use your reality to judge mine. If I am blessed with parents who have wisdom and foresight, I see no reason why I should not allow their wisdom guide me where I am inexperienced.

No one really prays for a troubled marriage. But the fact remains that in marriage there are troubles. Jesus’s apostle Paul even said that those who marry are inviting tribulation to their flesh. When things go awfully wrong, there should be someone in the family that either the husband or wife can turn to, as a last resort to help in resolving their issues.

As a matter of fact, if you are in a relationship with someone who doesn’t seem to have anything good to say about any member of his family or who generally does not have anyone else he or she can talk to when you are not accessible, it is a sign of trouble. I will advise that you run. No degree of modernism should make it acceptable for you to get into a relationship with someone who does not have someone on earth whom they respect, fear or will listen to. Doing a proper background check in a family you wish to marry into will reveal if there is someone in that family that the person has regards for.

While it is still okay if the person’s authority figure is not within his immediate family, the fact remains that it is imperative that such an authority figure should exist. And no, I do not buy the idea of “the only person I fear is God”. Right here on earth anyone who wants to go into marriage should understand that he or she has to be subject to some human authority. It shows love for your mate for you to point out to them who these individuals are so that if anything ever happens that requires that an outsider steps in to resolve your issues they know who to turn to.

So, what do you think? Are background checks important in a relationship?


Posted by on February 7, 2014 in Relationships


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