IN PRAISE OF GOD – In this month’s religion section, The AfricaPaper’s Associate Editor reports on what is good and bad about marriage from the Universal Christian Ministries in St. Paul. IN PRAISE OF GOD – brings news from different churches and other religious groups each month. Please read: Is Marriage a Good or Bad Thing? Sure, we love to hear from you!
By James Kokulo Fasuekoi | The AfricaPaper
St. Paul, Minn – Olushola Fatai Jubril, General Overseer of the Universal Christian Ministries (UCM), at 977 Raymond Ave, posed this hypothetical question recently to his audience: “Is marriage a good thing?” The event was a three-day vocational and marriage seminar, marking the celebration of the Women’s Annual Convention. The audience, comprised of mostly young men and women.
People froze, not knowing exactly how to respond or the type of answer to give. A few however answered yes; while the rest stayed mute, unwilling to speak.
For those who responded with a – YES, the African-immigrant evangelist had a second question for them.
“If marriage is a good thing, why is it that some people don’t want to remember the day they got married?”
This time the entire auditorium went silent and it seems everyone could tell where Jubril, the son of a devout Nigerian Muslim couple, was heading. Over the years, many from UCM have come to know the Muslim-convert for posing tricky questions in attempt to stress his points. By all accounts, this particular moment wasn’t indeed an exception.
For a moment he stood quiet by the podium, sighed and then stared at the audience as if he had run out of words. But he was actually letting the audience off the hook or digest so he could rephrase the question.
Seeing that people appeared hesitant to respond, Pastor Jubril cleverly paraphrased the question in order to attract responses so as to obtain a desired answer. His quizzing started this way:
Pastor Jubril: “Before you marry, what happens?”
Audience: You’ve to form a relationship.
Pastor Jubril: “Fine. And what prompts a relationship?”
Audience responds: “Love!”
Pastor Jubril: “And love is based on what?”
Audience again: “Trust!”
Marriage or Bondage
Now, if this is the case, Pastor Jubril continued: “Why is it that certain marriage can look like people are in bondage when these affairs started with happiness?” “Why is it that an affair that started with laughter suddenly turned sour and no one wants to see the other?”
In order to find answers to these and many more intriguing questions about marriage, Pastor Jubril tried to seek Biblical answers, starting from Genesis 2:18. It reads thus: “And the Lord God said, It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Jubril also referenced Genesis 2:21-22, when the Lord God, made woman, using one of Adam’s ribs and after that God made the declaration in Genesis 2:24 that “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”
Satan Fights to Destroy
However, he said, the lesson in Genesis 3:1-4 where the serpent misled Eve is what most believers continue to overlook, forgetting to know that “anything from God is an enemy to Satan.” Because of that, the devil Satan, he said, will fight to destroy any good thing, including a marriage relationship.
According to Pastor Jubril, this is a reality that continues to elude mankind leading to scores of challenges people face in their marriages today. It made him reached a conclusion that the beginning of everything in life [this includes marriage] basically rests on the foundation.
The meaning of the pastor’s argument takes believers to Galatians 6:7, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This means, if one plans a relationship well, example, by doing it according to God’s divine plans for his life, that individual certainly will enjoy a happy marriage in the end.
But again, Jubril wondered how many people today are willing to nurture relationship based on God’s purpose for our lives? Certainly, not many people, he reasoned.
Marriage God’s Plans
He said most people nowadays enter marriage relationship with certain expectations and when for some reasons those expectations are not met, they no longer want to stay with their partner although they took oath to keep the relation for better or for worst!
Adding that he became a Christian, and has been appalled by the chaos and high divorce rate among Christians, including pastors. He hates whenever Christians make such remarks as, “all marriages have problems.” “I disagree,” he told his congregation, adding, Christians should instead use the word “challenges” in place of the word “problem” when making a reference to unfavorable conditions in a marriage.
Unless people can pray and come to realize God’s visions for their lives and learn to change their attitudes and put God first, he said, happiness may remain elusive not only in their marriages but also in their relations with people within the community.
He categorized problems that could wreck a marriage, into two main groups; Internal Problems and External Problems.
He gave examples of external problems as the unexpected loss of job or a business venture and explained they are among problems normally out of one’s control. When such problems surface he said, that’s when one gets to know the true character of his or her partner.
It’s the time people often hear the woman says, “I can’t stay with a broker.” Such a woman according to Jubril, only wants the marriage when “conditions” are pleasing but would quickly change if the situation becomes unpleasant. This behavior he narrated can place pressure on the man. “Love doesn’t quite in difficult times,” he adds.
Internal problems, he observed, could come from either side from the couple’s in-laws. An example can be a pure dislike from an in law or a relative toward your partner all because, “Your in-law doesn’t like your God.”
Another internal matter that could cause harmful for a marriage he said can be the tendency by one partner to withhold certain truths regarding his or her past from the other and when the truth becomes revealed that’s when misunderstanding sets in and one would hear a party remark: “I wish I had known, I wouldn’t have entered this marriage.”
Jubril said these things happen only when the “Love begins to fade away and everything that once brought laughter before in the relationship now creates tension in the home.”
Avoiding Marriage Problems
As key to avoiding both internal and external problems, Jubril advised Christians to always choose “character” over “physical looks” when considering finding a lifelong partner. It means as a Christian, one needs to befriend someone who is also aligned with him or her spiritually for 2 Corinthians 6:14 says: “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers.”
The clergyman further cautioned Christian youths against making wrong decisions concerning establishing an intimate relationship, saying, “It’s important for young Christian singles to learn to carefully choose their partners” as a way to prevent divorce which has become prevalent among Christians including pastors.
Later, Prophetess Mary Jubril, wife of Evangelist Fatai Jubril, took the stage with a blunt and direct message to young Christian singles, especially girls in UCM and also the African immigrant community.
She defined marriage as a binding relationship between a matured man and a matured woman and as such, she added, “marriage isn’t for small girls and small boys.”
“Leave men alone for now and do your homework…go out there and compete with other girls in education and stop running around with boys,” she told youths.
She said everything has time and urged youths to “wait for your time” in order to avoid an “unwanted pregnancy.”
For those Christian youths who may be in relationship now, the UCM assistant general overseer advised them to depend on God’s understanding and not depend on their own intelligence so that the Creator can guide and give them a prosperous life.
She provided Ephesians 5:17, “Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is,” as a useful guide for youths to remember in their daily life.
Marrying the Wrong Person
Reading from Genesis 2:24, Prophetess Jubril said marrying the wrong person can be like being in hell. For Christians, she explained, it can be very painful knowing you are stuck forever with the person.
She said that as a child of God one should pray for a better partner and never let a friend give you man whose life you don’t know. Such behavior is a grave error many people are making today, she said.
She told youths not to jump in relation because they see others marrying and they too want to marry and be like their friends. That is the wrong way to make decision, she said.
Know How to Cook
Prophetess May Jubril observed that the unwillingness, or inability by some immigrant African women nowadays to perform house chores such as cooking, cleaning and washing, is something that is seriously affecting many marriage relationship.
Mrs. Jubril who once served as a traditional housewife in her native Nigeria before migrating to the United States maintained that a typical African woman should honor the tradition of carrying out house tasks regardless of change of location.
“If you [as a woman] don’t know how to take care of your man, it would be hard to keep him,” she said, noting, a typical African mother-in-law would not want her son marry a woman that has no cooking skills. TAP
The AfricaPaper: James Kokulo Fasuekoi is Associate Editor for The AfricaPaper. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org