Twelve practices that sustain my marriage and could yours, By Ayo Akerele

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…these are some pillars I don’t toy with… If you build on them, you will find it easier to manage many other problems. The purpose of this is to help the younger generation to understand that marriage is not the same as wedding. One is an event. The other is a journey; a lifetime journey whose success is rooted in the practice of sound biblical values and principles, and not on money and beauty – ephemeral things that don’t stand the pressure of marriage.

Let me talk to men. If you don’t take responsibility, you may end up becoming a liability. Now, don’t ever try to see me as a standard. I am still learning and unlearning. But these twelve principles will greatly help any couple that is truly committed to the success of their marriage.

  1. Our prayer altar is red on fire. I take responsibility as the head of the home to lead my family to pray and study the word together every day. Regardless of whether we are on vacation or not, we must pray. I also pray for my wife and children everyday. And my wife also does the same. If you ignore the spiritual, you may be a victim of the spiritual.
  2. I don’t engage my wife in hot arguments. I have never argued with her for five minutes on any matter. When she’s high (very angry), I am low (not saying anything). Later on, I go back to treat the matter when she’s very calm. So, it’s hard for you to hear my voice screaming or arguing back and forth with her on any issue. I detest this so much.
  3. I am extremely transparent about my feelings and weaknesses. I don’t hide my feelings if there is a potential attraction to an opposite sex. I will tell my wife, “I am getting attracted to that lady. I don’t want her close to me anymore”. That has helped me so much.
  4. I have never used one abusive word on my wife in 15 years; “Are you stupid? Don’t you think?” Never! But that does not mean that I don’t get very angry at times.
  5. I have never abused my wife physically — like hitting or pushing her. Never. It’s a ‘no-go’ area for me.
  6. I don’t play games with adultery in any guise — electronically or physically. I see it as death in slow motion. I won’t even watch a movie with a kissing scene in it, much less pornography. That helps to safeguard my sexual commitment to only one woman.
  7. I don’t discuss my wife with my family members. I have never done it for once in 15 years and I never tolerate any form of insult to her from anyone close to me.
  8. I don’t delegate work to her at home. I do virtually anything possible. From cleaning to cooking to doing groceries. Sometimes, she almost gets embarrassed when I do these things. As such, there is zero pressure in that area.
  9. I don’t have secret assets — bank accounts, girl friends, houses, lands or any other secret investments or relationships — anywhere in the world. She knows the passwords to all my accounts. I do not password my phone in French or Swahili language because of a secret affair with someone in Japan. I sleep like a baby with no pressure from anywhere.
  10. I don’t weaponise sex or money to punish her when I am upset, and I don’t work against her career or progress, regardless of how angry or upset I am at a particular point intime.
  11. I prioritise my family’s welfare above anything else. I drive the children to school, and preach to them all through the journey. My family can’t suffer. It can’t happen. In fact, many of our ‘fights’ have to do with the perception that I am spoiling the children. By the grace of God, I am an extremely selfless and simple person. I rarely buy anything for myself, other than books. It’s my wife who forcefully buys all my clothes and shoes. I can wear the same suit for 10 years. Then, she will seize and replace them for me after much persuasion.
  12. I don’t believe in distance or virtual marriage. I have had many opportunities to live in different countries away from my family, and I have always turned them down. And when I travel even for one day, I am doing video calls, praying and studying scriptures with the children. No crusade or ministry work can make me live in a different country from where my family is. We will rather relocate together. That has really helped to close all gaps against strange women or strange men, who usually take advantage of distance to ruin marriages.

Now, this is not to make you see me as a Saint. I am not perfect. I still make mistakes. I am not a standard. I am still learning and unlearning. The word of God is the standard we all must follow. We still go through a lot of tensions and challenges that the grace of God constantly helps us to overcome.

But these are some pillars I don’t toy with. These pillars are listed above. If you build on them, you will find it easier to manage many other problems. The purpose of this is to help the younger generation to understand that marriage is not the same as wedding. One is an event. The other is a journey; a lifetime journey whose success is rooted in the practice of sound biblical values and principles, and not on money and beauty – ephemeral things that don’t stand the pressure of marriage.

Ayo Akerele, a leadership and system development strategist, and minister of the word, writes from Canada and can be reached through ayoakerele2012@gmail.com.


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