A MAN WHO BATTERS YOU ONCE WILL DO IT AGAIN
Pastor Femi Faseru is the National Superintendent of Kingsway International Christian Centre (KICC) in Nigeria. Faseru studied botany at University of Ife, (now Obafemi Awolowo University) before proceeding to study computer science for his Master's degree.
After that, he commenced a career in mortgage banking in 1992, in Lagos for a while before going back to England where he became a member of the British contract society through certification in software quality assurance.
While in Britain he did consultancy work for GlazoSmithKline and subsequently set up his own software training school known as Be-A-Tester, where he trains people to do quality software assurance test and was very successful at it until when he started having the urge and the nudging of the spirit asking him to come back to Nigeria in 2002.
Responding to this inward urge, Faseru returned to Nigeria in January 2003 and set up an IT firm. Then at the end of the year he got the privilege to begin ministering as a pastor in KICC-Lagos, which he did for on part time basis for about two and half years.
The through the power of the Holy Spirit, the membership grew to thousands couple with increased responsibilities, thereby compelling him to go into full time pastoral work. Interestingly, he was not drawing any money from the church.
'I didn't request for salary, I just wanted to serve God and be relevant to the kingdom by putting in my best. When I noticed that my business was being affected because it was obvious I was not given it much attention, I knew I had to decide and after some meditation it was clear that God wanted me to move into the full ministry,' Faseru says, stressing that the attraction was money.
In the course of time, he has developed a passion for ministering on marriage. In this interview, he talks about marital problems that could cause a breakdown and possibly lead to one spouse planning to kill the other. Excerpts…
The marriage institution is now under great threat. Why are we seeing a steep rise in divorce rate?
Let me start by saying that marriage is one of my passionate areas of ministry. Whatever I teach, I relate it to marriage. if I teach about success, I talk about marital success; if I teach finance I talk about financial growth in marriage; so teaching about marriage is a passion for me. I have been married since 1996 and I know there are marital issues, which sometimes end in divorce.
The major reason is that a lot of people were not prepared before they got into marriage because they were busy buying suits, wedding dresses and arranging for engagements, but did not take out time to really prepare for marriage. So one of the things we major in this church is that before the intending couple are joined, we insist that the man and woman go for proper counseling during which we talk them through on the kinds of things that may likely show up in their marriage.
Beyond that I always say that before you marry, you must look closely to see if you can find any of the things identified in your relationship with the person; we educate people and let them know that by themselves they can do evil and can cause trouble even without the external influence; I mean lets leave the devil aside, the in-laws and the 'out-laws' for now, the bible says that the heart of a man is desperately wicked.
We can do some terrible things ourselves and so I educate you on how to understand yourself. I wrote a book 'Married but Living Single' where I said that a lot of people are into marriage because of their interest. Even when the marriage is horrific they still remain there.
They are living single because they don't understand themselves or the spouse they are married to. But when there is an understanding of the marriage institution itself and understanding of oneself and of the spouse, you are able to come to a compromise and know what you should expect and what you shouldn't expect.
Disappointment leads to depression in marriage and it steals joy and peace too and basically we have this issue because people have not come to a point of understanding of marriage itself; the parties involved have not actually sat down to say this is what we want to achieve and these are the goals we are setting for this.
What are the life threatening issues in marriage?
There are different kinds of death, one can die spiritually, emotionally physically and even psychologically. In marriages, infidelity and unfaithfulness lead to breaking of the covenant made between the man and the woman. When such violation of covenant takes place, except the spouse involved retraces his or her steps, there is bound to be spiritual death or disconnection instead of becoming one in the marriage.
There could be emotional death - that is when a spouse is being beaten or battered by the other party; in such a situationhen the sense of self-worth is lost. That is when you see someone in marriage looking so quiet and withdrawn and you think the person is just quiet but you wouldn't know the person is as good as dead. There is also physical death in the case of abuse and when a man or a woman stays with an abusive spouse or short tempered, someone whose attitude is very terrible, he can harm the spouse.
What are the early signs of marital relationships that are headed for the rock?
When a marriage become argumentative - the couple argue over every little thing, that marriage is headed for destruction. Like I mentioned in my book, when couples are living like housemates, such marriage is headed for the rock. Couples should be committed to one another and when they are not, they live as housemates.
As we know, housemates have different visions while inmates share common vision and direction. When there is no vision and there is no unity, the couple will not work together. In such situations, one vision contradicts the other with the result that they lead in opposite directions and uphold different values. When the value a father has for the children differs shapes itself, it becomes a challenge and there are bound to be problems in that marriage.
Can a marriage breakdown to the point that a spouse would begin thinking about taking the life of the other person.
A lot of things can happen in a man's mind. In a man's mind lies his future and anyone who is a barrier to whatever he wants to achieve, is stepping in as an enemy of the man's future. The man would see the person as an opponent or an opposition to the attainment of the vision, which he considers paramount.
Marriage is not an exception and so when the man begins to think that the spouse is an enemy and the man has a wicked heart, he then begins to look at the situation with the 'enemy mentality' forgetting that the person he is dealing with is a wife or husband as the case maybe; so the man will turn the whole of his being making moves in the physical. So the state of the man's heart will determine how he wants to act over issues in his marriage.
There are cases where a woman may just think that she is trapped and needs to get out of this marriage and even the man may lookout for a route to sneak out of a marriage. Depending on how the heart of the person is, a man is capable of anything, good or bad, the person may now think of either killing the other party or doing something drastic.
Don't you think material things like money or quest for sexual satisfaction could lead to this issue?
We have seen all kinds of things in the world that we live in and nothing can really be an excuse and we have seen wives poisoning their husbands or husbands perceiving the kind of freedom they would have heard, and even the man killing the wife just because he has seen someone else to marry.
We see all kinds of evil under the sun but it has gotten to the state where one needs to go back to the real essence of marriage, where one will love the other, cherish the other and be better like when they met. We need to understand that there is nothing that should warrant a man to kill his wife or the wife, her husband. Money is not worth it and nothing is worth it.
When marriage becomes a life threatening issue, what should a spouse do?
The bible says that two cannot walk together except they are in agreement. For a man who has come to a point where the marriage is being threatened, I believe they should learn to talk things over and if they are not getting the desired result, they should talk to a mature person, because in every relationship, there is always a mentor in as much as our elders try to discourage that but we need them.
When a couple cannot reach a compromise, they should talk to someone maybe a pastor because the pastor is not supposed to be biased and the spouses are like spiritual children to him. So I advise that you talk to your pastor. Before he kills you, please speak out. A man who batters you once is bound to batter you again and if you can take it once, be ready to take it again and again. Therefore before you allow the man who slaps you to stab you, you better speak out.
At whet point do you think any of the parties should leave the marriage?
Well the boundary for divorce is in the bible, but I think it is limited and when the spouses separate and one remarries, then that is a sin. So when you want to walk out of your marriage be ready to live as a single person for the rest of your life.
When a man thinks his wife is cheating or the woman thinks the man is cheating, he or she can walk out but in doing that please remember you cannot remarry. So when there is infidelity and you know you can control your passion for it, you can walk out but it is better for you to resolve issues in marriage, and forgive your spouse so as to reach a point of understanding and commitment in marriage. It is better than pursuing the path of divorce in marriage.
Is it possible to re-inject romance in this kind of marriage?
The first love is different; when a man sees a woman or when a boy sees a girl, they are all over each other and we know that that kind of feeling cannot be attained in a marriage where there has been a lot of battering, unfaithfulness, infidelity, and where all kinds of words have been spoken.
It may not really be possible except with the grace of God. However, attempts can be made when sex is locked out of marriage then resuscitating it can be easy. Sexual intimacy between a couple will lead to appreciation of one another, and appreciation in turn leads to deeper intimacy. So don't let anything hinder your sexual relationship and even before bedtime. Romance is the key to keeping couples together.
What are the necessary steps to prevent marriages from heading to the rock?
Seek to understand one another, it is important you know yourself; when there is an understanding, communication flows, don't let it break down. Conflict has to be resolved with communication. Expressions matters a lot, you have to learn to express yourself to your spouse. So understanding, communication, commitment, care and preference, common grounds, win-win situation, endurance, peace, happiness and joy are all necessary for your marital success.
Why do we have a lot of marriage seminars and marriage counsellors yet there are lots of marital problems and people are walking out of their marriages?
Most of the challenges people have in their marriages are not learnt in marriage; they could be family background issues, you know the way a father treats his wife will determine how a son treats his wife and sometimes, when such a man sits in a seminar for an hour or with a counselor for some minutes, it may not really be enough to change what the young man has learnt early in life.
So sometimes, it may take more than seminars and a lot of time spent with the counselor; it could take beyond one church service because we are all products of our upbringing. Parents should not expose their children to the experience they had in the past and one counseling session will not be a guarantee to stop that attitude. So it's not really a shock that despite all this, we still have divorce cases and issues in marriage. Besides the couple should be willing to adhere to instructions given by the counselor, doing the Word of God and not being just hearers alone.
They way forward is for the couple to have an understanding of what marriage is, forget the mindset that I want my marriage to be like the one I saw in a in the movie somewhere or I read in a book. The couple should sit down and know the person they want to marry. Alternatively, they can read my book and apply the principles therein, they should identify the fundamental truth, and look at it from God's perspective. There is no point in people having blood pressure, people dying young just because of contention and pride in marriage.