Leaping through the annals of life history, you will discover that when a young man found a lady to marry his only challenge was being sure she was God’s will (God’s will is God’s word, principles, instructions, definition to life, choice). The same can be said of the lady’s only challenge too. But in today’s ‘Now upon a time’ the rhythm is different. Human and cultural reasoning has so clouded Christians to an extent that the primary questions young people ask or hear from their parents and/or elderly people ask are “where is s/he from?” or “where is s/he working?” or “what is his/her parents’ financial status?” or “how are you sure s/he can conceive/impregnate a child/woman” and the list goes on and on. Little wonder that some unserious and Christless Church youths seek shortcuts by having sex or worst still, getting pregnant to ‘blackmail’ parents into endorsing their marriage.

The act of blackmailing parents or impregnating a lady or having sex before marriage is a sin (irrespective of the reasons). God’s word in verse 4 of Hebrew chapter 4 reveals, “Honor marriage, and guard the sacredness of sexual intimacy between wife and husband. God draws a firm line against casual and illicit sex” (The Message). Thus, sex before marriage and sex with anyone other than your wife/husband remains dishonoring to God- our Father and the Holy Spirit who dwells in you.
Sometimes (if not most times), the change in these rhythms of questioning is witnessed among parents who are seasoned and renowned disciples of Christ.

 Pst. O. J. Dickson

Parents who have trailblazed Christian values in their homes, Church, and society are becoming champions of traditional and cultural criteria for marriage at the expense of seeking to know God’s will and God’s will alone. I have heard on multiple occasions how young men are frustrated and infuriated by potential in-laws when they seek their daughters’ hands in marriage. ‘Now upon a time’ is the determining factor for accepting young people’s marriage proposals. They tend to tilt more towards anything other than God’s will. Maybe this reality accounts for why the rate of divorce, separation, and avoidable conflict is on the increase.

Once upon a time, seeking God’s will was the thrust of the question, but ‘Now upon a time’ some may say, it seems needless to ask such an ‘old fashion question.’ Let me render some advice to the wise. Although walking in the will of God does not immune your marriage or life from the storms of life, you rest assured of God’s presence in that storm. Should you be ignorant of what the presence of God can do in your life, please do a personal study on this subject. If you do, you will not want to do anything outside His will. I call you to recalibrate your criteria for marital choice – to put God’s will/opinion back as the primal determinant against cultural and societal evaluations.

The realities of ‘Now upon a time’ invites you to the saying in a movie title, ‘Fighting temptations.’ In that movie, when the abominable happened in the Church, one of the characters called Paulina exclaimed, this act is an “abomination that causes desolation.” It is abominable to ignore the will of God for your marriage (or any facet of your life). The reason is that the resultant consequence of ignoring the犀利士 will of God ends in desolation. Thus, the clarion call is made to all persons involved in “the marriage process” – the intending couples, their parents, formal/informal counselors, and every stakeholder (let’s call them “mouth-choking” actors and actresses) to seek God’s will. In the words of my friend, Anaja Odekina, “mouth-choking” actors and actresses are the invited and uninvited council of concerned Uncles, Aunties, Cousins, Neighbours, etc. You may have one of such in your family.

Our chief discipler, Jesus, modeled a way of life when in verse 38 of John chapter 6, he declared, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.” Also, in verse 42 of the book of Luke chapter 22, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (NIV) These passages of scripture tell you of Jesus’ reliance on the will of God. In the renewed Spirit of ‘Now upon a time,’ let’s emulate Jesus, and in the quest for God’s will being the determinant for marital choice, the marriage should stay anchored on God’s will for the continuance/sustenance of the marriage.

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Salvation and redemption are important experiences of the Christian faith, but not without a cost- Jesus’ death. The exploits of the Apostles in the book of Acts, which revolutionized the world with a memorable and laudable impact had a price tag- ‘the Martyrs.’ Successful projects have a price tag-diligence. Likewise, every healthy and peaceful family you see has a price tag called sacrifice.

Building a formidable healthy family between husband and wife is possible. However, the possibility is embedded in an outer demonstration called sacrifice. It takes sacrifice to let go of your right for the sake of the health of your marriage. For example, when there is a misunderstanding between you and your spouse, either of you must be willing to sacrifice his/her rights for the common good and the health of the marriage. Refusal to sacrifice your right for the health of your marriage is indicative of the toxic atmosphere in your marriage. Just a quick one, a healthy marriage is not void of misunderstanding, disagreement, and thinking differently, however, the pursuit of a healthy family graces you to obey God’s word at all cost-whether preferred or not preferred. Take a closer read at this Bible passage:

In Eph 5:25, God’s word renders: And to the husbands, you are to demonstrate love for your wives with the same tender devotion that Christ demonstrated to us, his bride (TPT). Husbands are instructed by God to demonstrate love to their wives just as acts of devotion to Christ. I feel like screaming, ‘Help me, Lord!’ I guarantee you that this way of life is very demanding, but it is the measurable standard given by God to every Christian husband. As a matter of gleaning from another Bible translation, read this: Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not 犀利士
getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage (Eph. 5:25-28- The Message).

Husbands are instructed to go all out to love their wives just as Christ did for the Church, demonstrating a love that is measured by giving, not getting so as to bring out the best in his wife. In the words of Dr. James Zasha, “the way you treat your wife is a by-product of your relationship with Christ. To this understanding, I once again, scream ‘Help me, Lord!’

For the Christian wives’, God’s will reveal: Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ.
The Christian Wife on the other hand is instructed to submit to her husband (unconditionally) in a manner that shows her support or loyalty to Christ. The measurables of a Christian wife’s loyalty to Christ is demonstrated in her submission to her husband. Did you hear that? I hear the devoted Christian wife screaming ‘Help me, Lord!’
Thus, as a way of application, some husbands will say, “I will love her as the Bible says if only, she submits to me” and some wives will be saying, “I will only submit as stated in the Bible if, and only if, he loves me as Christ loved the Church.” Friends, though this reasoning sounds logical to the human inherent nature, it is unscriptural. Living by Biblical standards invites the Man to love his wife even if she doesn’t submit, while the wife is to submit to her husband even if he doesn’t love her as he should. Friends, this way of life in marriage comes at a cost, and that cost is called sacrifice.

How much sacrifice can you make for your family’s sake? Sometimes God will want you to sacrifice personal comfort, profession, work, and friends in order to build a viable healthy family. The cost is demanding, but the reward is unquantifiable. Beloved, a healthy family has a price tag called sacrifice. Pay the PRICE called sacrifice, and enjoy the PRIZE called HEALTHY FAMILY!!!

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Picture a Romeo and a Juliet who are head over heels in love with each other. They got married, painted the city with the color red and garnished their society with the aroma of their love for each other. In due course, they became the gossip headline of oral news; they created unnumbered chapters of love stories for all who cared to notice and even those who pretended not to have noticed. Their love was audible to the deaf and visible to the blind. It was a seasoned and admirable love. In Nigerian parlance, we will say, their love for each other was “talk of the town”. That is, it headlines both gossip and organized news. I am sure an image of a loving, caring, romantic, and tantalizing love is created in your mind right now. Please keep that picture saved in your internal cloud- the brain.

Transport yourself to their reality; two, five or ten years later….. It may shock you to greet a reality which reveals this same Romeo and Juliet are either no longer in love or divorced or creating a narrative of a strained and frustrated relationship. The fundamental question I hear you ask is, “what happened?” or “how are these two narratives ever possible with the same parties?” I don’t claim to have a one-size-fits-all answer that fits all of your questions, but I will attempt to answer.

I will attempt by saying that the love that leads to the wedding is not enough to sustain the marriage. Most likely because the love that leads to the wedding is ignorant of so many things in volumes. The love that leads to the wedding may be ignorant of how your spouse responds to anger, forgiveness, and sexual temptations such as taming sexual urge and sexual appetite by deciding not to date or patronize strange women because your wife offends you or travelled out of town or is nursing your newborn baby. Also, as a wife, please learn to control your hunger for sex when your husband is away or getting entangled with the game of ‘getting back at each other.’ Foxes such as the above realities are narratives that marriage unveils. Thus, I am inviting you to practice devoted love with your spouse as a crucial praxis to sustaining love for your spouse.

OJ & Queen Dickson

Devoted love entails committing to everly love and grow together with your spouse through thick and thin- bad, good, and ugly. Devoted love invites you to intentionally and exclusively focus on building your marriage by learning to spend quality and quantity time together, refusing to cheat on your spouse (even if they may not discover), honouring your

spouse above your parents. Worthy of note is the salient truth that when you practice devoted love with your spouse, you will ardently esteem their needs above yours as you deliberately work towards fulfilling your wedding vows and commitment to each other. Thus, the practice of love that makes you esteem your spouse’s needs and requests over yours, deliberately living out your marital vows, exclusively focused on building your marriage as patterned by God is what I refer to as devoted love as it guarantees lasting marriage of bliss 犀利士 and endless joy.



Whatever You Nurture Will Multiply

I reme犀利士 mber one of my childhood experiences at 181 Mechanized infantry Battalion, Bida, Niger State, Nigeria. My mother, Mrs. Mary Ogidi (resting with the Lord in glory) sent me on an errand to buy some foodstuffs at the Mami market (a market usually located within military or Para-military formations in Nigeria). Upon return, she gave me two kuli-kuli (groundnut cake), though I was expecting just one kuli-kuli. I asked her the reason for giving me two instead of the conventional format of one kuli-kuli (or another snack) as a reward for obedience. She said it was because she forgot to reward my last act of obedience. So, she multiplied the number of snacks because she felt it’s appropriate to nurture my obedient acts. On the other hand, the same can be said for penalties.

Rewards are multiplied when obedience is nurtured. Likewise, penalties and ill[1]treatment are multiplied when disobedience is nurtured. Needless to say, whatsoever you choose to nurture in your heart will express itself either as a reward or ill-treatment.

A husband who nurtures his wife’s weaknesses and wrongs will find it difficult to escape meting ill-treatment or having ill feelings about his wife. Likewise, a woman who is possessed with the wrongs of her husband may find it difficult to upgrade or nurture her love for her husband. To flourish in love, couples need to nurture their strengths more than they do with their weaknesses; nurturing your spouse’s strength gives you the impetus to generously reward him/her with encomium and gifts that expresses your appreciation for his/her value in your marriage. The multiplying effects in actions are revealed knowledge of nurtured content.

What you nurture over time will find expression in your action, sooner than later. Sometimes, people nurture assumptions about their spouses. The assumptions may be true or false. A story was told of a newly-wed couple; a man locked his wife out of the house and instructed the security man not to open the gate for her. Further instruction to the security man was that he should “tell her to go back to where she is coming from,” then he switched off his phone. The following morning the husband was invited by his father-in-law to his house for questioning. His reason shocked the father-in-law, and I guess it will shock you too. The man said while the wife was late in returning from work, he was nurturing the assumption that she must have been having sex with her boss or colleague in the office to warrant staying late at work. According to him, some friends had told him that wives who claim to stay late at work compromise their marital vows.

So, the more he nurtured that counsel, the more annoyed he was while nurturing the assumption that his wife could be in the office committing adultery. That was what infuriated him to lock her out. This confirms that nurturing assumption(s) can cause avoidable bad omen in marriage. Therefore, when you are experiencing strains and bad omen in your marriage, be sure to evaluate the stuff you have been nurturing about your spouse, your assumptions of his/her actions, reward mechanisms for his/her strength, and like my mother will always do, multiply rewards to keep your marriage flourishing because whatsoever you reward, you nurture into dividends.



Sometime in February 2021, I went to visit an older couple who have been married for slightly over forty years. We had a healthy conversation regarding the marriage institution. Having noticed the expression of joy and bond of friendship between them (husband and wife), my curiosity was aroused, and to entertain my curiosity, I asked them if their marriage has always been this tantalizing, romantic and friendly? This question engineered the discussion that led to this article.

Gleaning from this ‘perfect couple’ I rediscovered that marriage is not for perfect people and ‘perfect marriage’ is only possible when two imperfect human beings decide, train, endure in commitment to each other and their marital vows. The ‘perfect marriage’ I saw in them was a marathon commitment to each other and their marital vows through forgiveness, disagreement to agree, sacrifices, and accepting to be the fool, so the spouse looks wise in his/her foolishness. This supposedly ‘perfect couple’ once fought through a season where the husband broke their marriage vows by having carnal knowledge of other women. There were also seasons of disagreement and temptation to dissolve the marriage, but their commitment to each other was the rallying motivation to fight off every intruder into their marriage.

Pst. & Mrs. O. J. Dickson

Commitment to your marriage is the surest way to stay happily married – commitment to God’s instruction in Ephesians Chapter 5 verse 21-33. The love and vows in marriages are often tried and tempted with legions and series of disappointments such as infidelity, delayed childbirth, terrible or hidden moral past, financial hardship, prosperity, dissatisfaction with a spouse, inexplicable detestation for a spouse, materialistic spouse, changed and strange behaviours, stingy (super-glue hand) spouse, insatiable hunger for sex, and sexual starvation, in-law, out-law, corner-law, by-law wahala.… Just to mention a few.

There is rarely any marriage on earth that is not tried or tempted by some or all of the above-listed unwelcomed realities. These unwelcome realities seek to drain joy, love and cause divorces in many marriages. However, knowing living testaments like the couple in my introduction readily suggests that it is possible to weather these unwelcome realities. Also, for regard to God before whom, you took a vow; in Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 verse 4-5, God’s word speaks to you that “when you make a vow to God, do not delay to fulfil it. He has no pleasure in fools; fulfil your vow. 5. It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfil it.” I suggest, with the help of the Holy Spirit that you value and seek to fulfil your marital vows because:

  1. it reveals your attitude towards God,
  2. it divulges your relationship with Christ,
  3. God has no pleasure in those who don’t seek to fulfil their vows.

For the bereavement of commitment to spouse and vows, some couples seek alternative pleasure in things (like drugs), addictions (like pornography and masturbation), immorality (sexing someone else other than your spouse). You and your spouse can light the joy of love in your marriage despite the trials and temptations you are facing right now. Believe me, you can conquer that storm that is trying to steal the peace in your marriage. Don’t give犀利士 and seek separation or divorce, you can win that battle if you are committed to fighting them off your marriage. Others have conquered theirs – you will also conquer yours! Commit yourself to write a story that will delight your children to read.

Fight to keep your marriage vows and commit yourself to love your spouse until the commitment to love is formed in your spouse.