Dear Yvonne: My name is Cecil and I am writing from Port Harcourt with deep seated pain and regrets because the only reason I married my ex-husband is because he and I attend the same church.
After my university education, things were not easy, I believe I gave up a social life, to focus and build my career. I also had a family relation who helped me secure my lucrative job in the oil and gas sector.
Time went by and one day I woke up and realized I was in my thirties. By this time, everyone I knew had prayed, fasted and called me for multiple marital counsels. You know how church folks like to counsel a single lady, like there is something wrong with her for being “qualified and ready” but still single after thirty.
The pressure was too much and I was near depressed. I even started avoiding running into some particular people in church, who probably mean well, but their questions on when I will marry, were becoming a serious thorn in my flesh. They seemed and acted more concerned about me getting married than me. They pushed me so hard and probably got me into this mess I am in now.
I met my husband in my church. I did not like anything about him. I was not attracted to him, even when we were mutually introduced and I started to get to know him, I forced myself to be interested in him. I still did not like anything about him.
You see, it was often preached from the pulpit that we should marry from the church. We do not celebrate Christmas and Easter and we hold some other strong beliefs that other born again Christians from different churches may find difficult to live by.
Therefore, to stay in the faith and to raise children in the same faith, it made perfect sense to marry this man. I actually married him for this reason alone.
After our wedding, things were alright for a while until my husband lost his job and he stopped trying to find another. I soon saw that he had married me because of my pay check at the end of the month. He would stay home and wait for me to get paid. He would demand for my ATM and I will see bank withdrawal alerts for lots of money and at rapid paces.
One day, I had had enough, so confronted him angrily and he beat me up so badly. I called my brother and it was he, who drove me to the hospital.
I was hospitalized and later went back home. I had no one to turn to. Those people who pushed me into this mess were now in hiding and keeping away from me because they knew my marriage was in hell.
My husband and I got into another heated argument about my money again, he beat me up so badly that this time, I woke up in the hospital after three weeks in coma.
(Cecil crying now); Yvonne, I wish these things were a movie, not my actual life experiences.
(Getting calmer and continuing) : I was in the hospital for another three months, to fully recuperate. I forgot to mention we have a child. My child was with my family the whole time I was hospitalized. My husband was nowhere to be found. His phone was switched off. No one had seen or heard from him. It was as if he had run away, with the fear that I had died and the law or my family will come after him.
The first day I returned home from the hospital, I met a house that had been emptied of all the belongings. I met a cleared out bank account. I still do not know where my husband is till today.
All the questions I had, no one could answer me.
I wish I stayed single. I wish I waited a little longer for a good man to find and marry me. I wish I never allowed those people push me into this mess.
I have since stopped going to that church. I go to a different church now, moved out of that environment, finalized the divorce and with the grace of God and the support of a few well -meaning people and my family, I am rebuilding my life, piece by piece.
I was bitter for a long time and asked God why? But, I thank God for seeing me through this.
Yvonne Says: Dear Cecil. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is well with you. God will continue to see you through and like JOB in the Bible, God will cause you to recover much more than you have lost. God bless you.
Dear Readers: If you are single, please do not marry someone only because you two worship God in the same church. You have to pray well. Do not allow others pray and see visions for you.
Pray, try to get to know the person, ensure you find the good qualities you desire in that person. Maybe not a hundred percent, but a percentage you are comfortable with.
Ensure that pressures never make you jump into marriage. The actual marriage comes after the wedding. The wedding is not the marriage.
Church leaders and pastors should also preach more often that although they encourage their singles to marry from within, those singles should ensure that if they meet those same people at a different scene such as work or social gatherings, those singles would be attracted to them and still desire to marry those people.
They should not be seen as dictating spouses to their singles because when things go wrong, the leadership of the church will be blamed, hated and the affected parties/party, may backlash the image of the church and abruptly leave.
I have met singles who told me they turned down suitors because their pastors preached that they must marry inwards. Yet, no inward suitors are coming for their hands now. Even when one or two show up, they are people they have absolutely no desire for nor do they have anything in common with. Some have since left the church. That Mr and Mrs. A got married from within and it is working for them, does not mean it will work for you.
Instead, the leaders in church should please encourage them to marry born again Christians who will make them happy and who will help them fulfill God’s destiny for their lives.
In addition: Marrying from your church is a blessing when you marry someone who loves you, not because you are a committed member and dedicated church worker, but someone who gets to know you and love you for you.
Someone who has the good qualities you prayed for, someone who you trust that under utmost provocations, he will not beat you or put you in a hospital and she will not leave you and clear out your accounts etcetera.
A would be spouse from the same church will behave properly when he or she knows your church loves you and will discipline him or her if they err; when they know your pastors will call them and talk some sense into them.
Marry someone who you consider your friend and marry because you prayed and you have inner peace with and around the person.
Do not allow age, people, doctrines, biological clock, gossip and so forth, push you into a marriage that you wish you never entered.
If you are already courting, engaged or married, and you are going through storms such as being physically, sexually, emotionally abused or abused in anyway, please speak up and seek help.
Do not keep silent and wind up gravely injured or dead.
God loves you more. He wants you safe and well and you will not go to hell for seeking help.
Do not mind what people will say? Don’t you know that some of those people who judge other peoples’ lives and marriages or single-hood, are in marriages that they wish they can come out of?
Trust me: I have met a good number of them who tried to pressure me and upon further conversations; I found these true. They are not happy. Don’t allow them make your life unhappy too.
I say it again: Please if it is a life threatening situation, you need to talk to your family, your trusted pastor or good friend and get out of that situation fast. You will not go to hell. God loves you and wants you alive.
Till death do us part, does not mean until your spouse or love kills you.
However, when God blesses you with a good spouse from your church, bless God and enjoy your marital live.
Until Next time, I love you with the love of God. Shalom!