YES, A BAD MARRIAGE CAN KILL
A good marriage tastes like honey. It excites and warms the heart. It gives you the kind of feeling that starts from the scalp of your head and gently spreads downwards to the tip of your fingers and the nerve endings of your toes.
Remembering moments shared with your spouse can turn you into a poet, and make you begin to pen lines like King Solomon did in the Songs of Solomon, a very significant book in the Bible. The micro-electrical charge set off by the recollection effortlessly makes the tiny muscle at the base of the shaft of the hair on your skin to contract and pull the hair up, off the surface of the skin. And goose pimples break out all over your skin.
Make no mistake about this: a loving marital relationship really helps keep the blood pressure at a normal level. You talk about it, all the time glorifying God for putting you in such a beautiful union. It is a wonderful, treasured feeling, every woman wants to experience and hold onto 'for life', an expression Pastor Aity Inyang unabashedly uses to describe her enviable marriage to the Senior Pastor of Sure Word Assembly, Pastor Dennis Inyang.
The depth of her feelings for her husband comes across when you listen to the songs she writes specially for him in all her music CDs.
The lady with the winsome smile is a fulltime gospel music artiste who with her husband, is also engaged in pastoral work. With 20 wonderful and memorable years in marriage tucked under her belt, Aity has been using the experience she acquired to help couples build relationships that would equal or even surpass the beautiful edifice which her union with Pastor Inyang has turned out to be.
'My husband is my friend for life,' she says delightfully.
In an earlier interview, she told Sunday Sun: 'In my CDs, I write songs for him. In my current work, the song I wrote for him is called Just Like Yesterday. Because it's actually just like yesterday even though August this year will make our marriage 20 years old. In my last CD, I wrote a song for him (My Beloved – If I Ever Had To Choose Again). Whenever I travel, and I do so often, he does his best to take care of the home. He calls me so often to be sure I'm Ok. He is interested in my wellbeing. In fact, he is what any woman would ask for in a husband. He wins the Husband of the Year Award every year.'
But then, Aity also revealed: 'I never would have imagined in my wildest dreams that I would be a pastor's wife; but God has a sense of humour. When you consider my sanguine go-go temperament, you can give it to God that He can indeed use anybody. As a pastor's wife, you affect the lives of so many people. You are a role model to several women in terms of dressing, conduct etc. So you have to make sure you are not a disappointment to God and to the ministry.
I have also found out that you share your life and your husband's time with the whole church. So, if you are the very jealous type, you need to sit up, be mature and adapt to the situation very fast. If not, you will die before your time. Another thing is, you must know that inasmuch as so many people will bless and appreciate you for your contributions to their lives, you will be hurt by countless others, especially those you least expect. So you must learn to have a heart as large as the bosom of Abraham, and budget to live a continuous life of forgiveness, so that you don't live in bitterness and wind up in hell while you were busy trying to prepare people for heaven. God forbid! In summary, being a pastor's wife is actually a very rewarding experience.'
When God is involved in a person's choice of a marriage partner, He usually gives you the right individual that complements your life in a seamless, lovely and beautiful way. In addition to being a full time gospel artiste, pastor, mother, Aity is a magazine/book editor, who bagged a first degree in French and put the icing on her academic cake with a Master's degree in Mass Communication. At different times she worked as a french teacher, TV producer and advertising practitioner.
And all that experience (please, assets, just like the virtuous woman) she has poured into the work of the ministry, using the abundant grace of God to minister to couples in troubled marriages, prayerfully nudging them to re-discover romance and marital friendship. More than 95 percent of the time, she and her husband have been successful, but there are those who, she reveals, fall into the undesirable five percent.
In this interview, Aity shares her views on troubled marriages. Excerpts…
At what point should a partner pull out when a marriage is heading for the rocks?
I believe if the couple knows that their marriage is heading for the rocks, instead of pulling out, they should do everything to change direction and head towards a safer destination. No sensible couple should just sit back and helplessly watch their marriage crash. Even some air crashes have been avoided. God didn't create anyone to come and live as a loner in this world.
The couple should get help immediately they notice the first signs of cracks in the marriage. They should talk with a marriage counselor, a pastor or a reliable friend. Help is always available. I have seen a turnaround in so many marriages that were heading for a crash just because the couple or one partner was bold and wise enough to seek help. Why we are witnessing many divorces today is sometimes because many people pretend everything is okay while they are dying in silence.
When does a marriage actually become life threatening? And at this point should either of the parties call it quits especially the partner who feels threatened?
There are instances when a sickness actually becomes life threatening because the patient ignored the warning signs or the ailment was not diagnosed early and properly treated. A marriage can become life threatening, which is to say that the life of one or both partners is in danger as a result of the marriage.
For example, if there is extreme physical abuse or one party vows to kill the other, then that is a life-threatening situation. Much as I do not advocate divorce, nobody should wait to be transformed into a corpse in the name of marriage. There are some people who, if they go to hell when they die, would have gone to the place two times because their so called marriage here on earth is hell already with the husband or wife as the presiding demon.
Is it possible that Christian couples could find themselves in that situation? Can you give examples that you've witnessed or had to intervene?
Yes, it's very possible for a Christian couple to have that kind of experience. Life is what you make of it. Some people take instructions and their lives get better while others don't care about whatever counsel they are given. Marriage involves two people and if both of them (…please note that I said both of them, not just one partner) are not willing and consciously working at making the union work, then that would be the end of Solomon Grundy.
Of course, I have seen some cases of this kind of marriage. I remember one couple vividly that we had to keep intervening. Each time the wife ran away, the husband would come to beg us to intervene. When we got into the case, we discovered that theirs was a boxing ring with the children as the unfortunate spectators. The wife was very stubborn and without feelings. The man resorted to becoming a Mohammed Ali and since the woman didn't have enough fighting skill, she had to keep fleeing to stay alive.
Don't forget that two of them were Christians, carrying very big bibles without bothering to check what was inside. If you saw them outside, you would think all was rosy. They were great posers. We counseled them to no avail. One of those times when she escaped and we tried to intervene, she said something that my husband and I can't forget.
She said, 'Pastor, one day my husband will kill me in that house and will tell the world a different story and since I will not be there to say that he was the one who killed me, everyone will believe him and life will go on. Pastor, when that happens what will you do?' Since the couple was not ready to heed our counsel and we were not ready to conduct a burial, we had to stop bringing the woman back. Today they are living apart but at least they are alive.