(BY NGOZI ADIGHIBE)
The Rt. Rev. Stephen K. Akobe, Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Kabba has described marriage as a ministry, commission, charge and task that Christians are expected to carry out according to the mind of Christ. He gave this description at the solemnization of Holy Matrimony between Miss Temitayo Abigail Taiwo and Mr. Olayemi Benjamin Olowo held at the Basilica of Grace Anglican Church, Gudu District, Abuja. The Bishop added that the institution of marriage is at risk in the world today; explaining that marriage is a house that is in danger of being washed away, unless it is built on a solid foundation. He said that there are many couples today who may not be divorced, in the physical sense of it, but are divorced psychologically- living as co-tenants but absent emotionally. He however emphasized that God at creation gave a charge and plan for marriage to man and his wife and this, he said, must be adhered to if man wants to be successful in marriage and if man desires eternity with God. According to him, if a man misses it in marriage, there is a chance that such a person will miss eternity.
The guest preacher pinpointed six pillars of marriage as Love, Trust, Respect, Understanding, Intimacy and Oneness. Quoting from 1 Corinthians 13, Bishop Akobe highlighted the characteristics of love, stressing that love is more than feelings. He said to LOVE is to Listen to one another, Observe the body language and tone of each other, Value one another and Embrace each other. He pointed out that husbands and wives ought to trust in each other’s fidelity and be able to be honest about their feelings and fears, without any form of pretense. On the issue of respect for one another, the Bishop noted that men and women show respect differently and also show of respect varies in different cultures. He therefore admonished husbands and wives to do that which is acceptable in their culture(s), without enslaving the other.
The Bishop of Kabba diocese said that marriage is for enjoyment not slavery; adding that couples should discover the person, and the needs of the person they are married to, because no two people are the same. He said couples should be tender in their words to each other and learn to speak with the love language that their partner understands. He explained that intimacy and romance is not all about sex, but also about couples being affectionate and compassionate to each other. Sharing personal experiences about his own marriage, Bishop Akobe advised the couple to communicate with positive language, meet the material needs of each other, remember the dates of special events such as birthdays and anniversaries, and have regular vacations to renew themselves and their love.
The Rt. Rev. Stephen Akobe concluded his message with a charge to Mr. and Mrs. Olowo to complement, and not compete with each other. He emphasized that it is the mind of Christ that a husband and wife should be one; urging the new couple to share every information with each other and support each other. He said it is wrong for a husband to push the responsibility of the home to his wife, adding that many men like to use women like they use things. Lastly, he admonished the couple to chart out their own future and build their home and legacy, so that their children can enjoy the support they are enjoying today because of their parents. Nevertheless, he urged them to teach their children to depend on God and not man.
Present at the service of Holy Matrimony were Bishops and Priests of the Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, who came to rejoice with one of their own, the Ven. Foluso Taiwo, the Director of Communication, Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion and Vicar of Church of the Holy Cross, Wuye Finance Quarters, Abuja, who gave out his daughter, Temitayo in marriage. Other notable dignitaries were also present at the event, together with friends and well-wishers who travelled from far and near to witness the joyous occasion.