Dr Bosade Ogunlana, wife of the popular Ibadan based pastor, Gbade Ogunlana a.k.a paito wa is a woman of many parts. She is a trained Veterinary Doctor, Certified Dietician and Nutrition Advisor. She is also the Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Bridal Showers Catering and Events, CEO of BS Couture, BS Bakery, the publisher of Family Impact Magazine and a marriage counsellor. In this interview by TAYO GESINDE, she speaks about reasons marriages are crumbing and how to have a long lasting marriage, among other issues. Excerpts:
What motivated you to start the couples’s conference?
As a marriage counsellor, I hear a lot and see a lot. And it all boils down to the fact that most people do not know what it takes to keep a happy home. Ignorance in marriage is very costly. Some pray when they are supposed to act, others keep talking when they should be praying, and in life, you pay for what you do not know. However, wisdom is profitable to direct and as the Bible says, my people perish for lack of knowledge. At the Couples Conference, a lot of information is made available through seminars and talk shows on real life experiences and the atmosphere is just right for the rejuvenation of marriages. We have question and answer sessions with seasoned marriage counsellors, where burning issues in the home are addressed; issues of money, sex, conflict, in-laws, parenting and the likes.
Through the conference, couples are more enlightened, encouraged and inspired to build better home fronts for the development of their children, and consequently, their grandchildren and generations to come.
It is always a fun-filled event and provides an avenue for married couples to relax with comedy, music, food, dancing competitions, awards, gifts and so on.
It affords couples the opportunity to know more and get better as they act on what they learn. Our main thrust at Family Impact Network is to help families thrive through the dissemination of Biblically-based knowledge about marriage; more so in today’s society where divorce is common place and great home values are being forgotten.
What is the theme of this year’s programme?
The theme is “REFRESH. “ A lot of marriages are rusty and stale. No more love, no spark, no vibes, the couples find themselves patching up and pretending all is well. Some are not even friends and really they did not start out this way, but things can actually get better if one or two steps are taken in the right direction. So this conference is aimed at refreshing every home. We should be progressing in our marriage relationships rather than retrogressing. But good marriages don’t fall on people like ripe cherries, the garden must be cultivated and this is what we want to focus on this time around. It is not enough to be married and living under the same roof, the marriage should be meaningfully sweet. There is no marriage in heaven, so let’s make the best of it here on earth.
From your experience what are the major causes of conflicts in the home?
Selfishness tops the list. When a spouse fails to see from the partner’s point of view and feels he / she is the only one right, conflict prevails. Also, lack of trust; this can either be due to an action that eroded trust in the past or a habit of secrecy that makes it difficult for partners to trust each other. Once trust is compromised in a marriage relationship, conflict is inevitable because every little thing becomes an issue. Another thing is pride. Other causes of conflict are money matters, in-laws and at times, children.
How should couples handle conflicts in the home?
Couples need to understand that they are different entities from different backgrounds and may not necessarily see things the same way all the time, which is why love and mutual respect is very important to the success of any marriage. It is helpful to also have ground rules like: we will not sleep keeping malice, or we will not say swear words when resolving matters. Couples should learn to talk heart-to-heart over issues and be attentive to each other while ironing out matters. Listen more than you talk. Once issues get out of hand and you realise you cannot handle it alone, you need to seek help from trusted quarters. The spiritual aspect is also key here; the devil doesn’t want any home intact so he can cause further disruption, so do not be ignorant of his devices, be wise and prayerful and don’t give up at the slightest adversity.
How can we tackle the issue of domestic violence in the home?
This is another unfortunate prevalent occurrence these days. First to the victim; a spouse needs to understand that it is not okay to be abused and so it should be outrightly refuted or rejected from the onset, especially when traces are seen before marriage. No one should proceed to the altar after a slap.
It is when abuse is condoned and accepted as part of the deal that it thrives and persists. Please at the very first occurrence, make a big issue out of it so that the abuser thinks twice and is deterred from repeating it. Most people want to keep it as a secret and abuse thrives in secrecy. Secondly , what triggers the abuse? Consider this and see how not to pull the trigger too.
Now to the abuser who says it is inborn or due to provocation; why don’t you respond the same way when provoked by a boss at work , who is of the same sex with your spouse or when a mad person on the street insults you? The simple truth is abusers need a mind reset. They feel it is their right to assault their spouse and until the laws are enforced, some will not change. I have seen some relocate to other climes where the law is firm and sanity prevails on them because they know they are liable .
Let everyone work on themselves to stop abuse but when the situation becomes life threatening despite interventions, then, it is time for temporary separation. No life is worth losing on the altar of marital abuse. Some of those who have killed their spouses in times past are still living and living fine with another spouse for that matter! That is why victims need to speak out to the right quarters and not die in silence. We once asked a lawyer to explain the consequences of abuse to one married fellow and that was the end of the abuse in that home. When people know they can always get away with misbehaviour, they persist in it.
The girl-child has become endangered specie in our society. How can we protect the girl?
Endangered specie? That is too strong I think! But I know what you are trying to say .
Firstly, we need to train up our little boys to understand that their female siblings or any other girl is not at all any less of a human than they are. Let the boy child also participate in domestic chores at home and be responsible. Stop treating them like they are superior to the girls, this is where the issue starts. We must teach them to love and respect the female gender and demonstrate it by example. When a father maltreats his own wife, then his son is unconsciously licensed to maltreat the female gender.
Secondly, the girl child should be trained to respect herself too! Let us train our girls to be self-reliant and not think they need a boyfriend that will be doling out money to them before they can survive. They also can and should be gainfully employed! Next the girl child should not portray herself as a mere sex object, or a whore. We need to teach them to say no to nudity! When last did you see a naked man on social media posing for whatever reason? But we think its okay for the ladies to show off anything and everything. It doesn’t work that way. It is the owner of the calabash that calls it dustbin before people start dumping waste into it.
Lastly, the society at large needs to be intentional about not discriminating against the girl child. She is the one you want to circumcise so she will not be promiscuous, she is the one that is not recognised when it comes to major family decisions, she is the one whose birth is not celebrated because she cannot be the heir, when she rises to the peak of her career, she is said to be ambitious and proud, when her husband is caught in infidelity, it is her fault and the list is endless!
Please, let us stop all these ancient cultural malpractices, Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, and He that the Son of God sets free is free indeed! That is why your marriage may not work if you only apply those archaic cultural principles that a woman must never talk, she should just keep quiet no matter how she feels and no matter what evil her husband does to her , but reply with “yes sir” , like “Coming to America”. You need to apply Biblical principles based on mutual respect, with the man as the head of the home, not “headmaster”! Let us encourage our girls not to be timid, but to believe in themselves and be respectful too because we want to ensure balance. A girl child should not be rude or saucy in the name of women liberation.