MARRIAGE AFTER A CHILD?
I was privileged early in my ministry days to work with one of the most humble, highly gifted and zealous sister Oby as a co-minister. In fact Oby was the only female minister amongst us but arguably one of the most anointed and gifted one too.
She was a practicing medical Doctor, financially comfortable and generous to a fault as her medical director confirmed that she severally used part of her salary to pay for patients who could not afford to pay their bills. She was matured for marriage but because she had a baby girl (outside wedlock) before her conversion, none of our matured brothers in church then would seek her hand in marriage.
She was also the subject of gossip amongst carnal single sisters in church then as they ruled out her chances of getting married. They said “those of us that are single and without any child outside wedlock are yet to get married, and the sister that is after one is day dreaming to get married?”
One of those days, sister Oby brought her daughter to visit us in church office. She was fun to be with and I lost count of how long I played with her that day but I thought to myself “if I were matured enough for marriage and God gave me the go ahead, her daughter will even be one the reasons why I must marry her quickly”.
There was a brother Fred who was also a minister but matured enough to marry. He was a graduate, living in a modest accommodation, on a modest stipend from the church and training to be a fulltime pastor. Fred was very close to Oby but each time he thought about the possibility of getting married to Oby, he quickly ruled it out because of the fact that she already had a daughter.
However, an elderly and very spiritual woman in our church walked up to Fred one day and dropped a bombshell. “why are you wasting your time praying for a life partner while you already have one very close to you Fred, are you so blind you cannot see sister Oby?” She asked.
Fred laughed it off but the elderly woman would not relent as she went ahead to ask sister Oby what she thought about becoming Brother Fred’s wife? Oby laughed too but said if it is the will of God, she would love to be Fred’s wife.
The elderly woman persisted and challenged Fred to overcome his prejudice and pray to God about it. At the end of it all, Fred got married to Oby, through the elderly woman’s match making effort but which Fred confirmed from God. They moved to Oby’s bigger apartment in a high brow area of Lagos.
It was discovered during their wedding to the surprise of those gossip sisters that she was not just a doctor but both of her parents are doctors and living in the United Kingdom. She was a British citizen by birth and relocated to London some years after the birth of their second child in Nigeria.
The husband joined her later with the children (including that her first daughter) and today they are fulfilled in their marriage, career and ministry. Fred works with an oil company in UK and pastors a church he helped pioneer in the city of London. Oby works as a medical doctor in one of the best hospitals in the city of London too. We can say that the elderly lady was used by God to make Fred overcome his prejudice and open his eyes to see Oby as a wife.
Would you marry a woman with a child outside wedlock even if her story was that of a mistake before her conversion? Coming from a rich family, would you marry someone from a poor background? As a spiritual woman would you marry a man that is struggling to make it in life? As a Yoruba man, would you marry an Ibo woman without hesitation and without expecting any form of opposition from your own parents?
I dare conclude that we all have our prejudices or don’t you? If you don’t, may be your parents does. In this part of the world investigations are always instituted into the family background and life of the would-be partners. Permission to go ahead with marriages is given by parents only if preliminary findings are not under any of the common biases. In the bible days father Abraham in obedience to God’s instruction had a bias against Canaanite women. Today, believers have biases against unbelievers as future partners also in obedience to God’s law of KINDS.
What about you? Does this law of kinds allow you to refuse inter tribal or ethnic marriages? Some would not even dare to marry from families of lower class, educational background and even the popular Osu caste system is a major marriage headache in the eastern part of Nigeria. Prejudice is a major bottleneck in marriage arrangement in particular and finding of marriage partners in general.
The lesson from the story above therefore is to always allow God have His way in our choice of marriage partners. If we hold on to our baseless prejudices, we may lose the woman or man that God has destined for us. Like the song writer said, “there is a woman for every man”.
To every man there is a woman
And to every woman God has made a man
In this world, we need each other
Just to live in peace, the way God has made it
To live as one