‘I am determined to see marriages succeed’
She is the convener of the inter-denominational singles and married conference, ‘Saying I Do’. The certified Master of Ceremonies holds an MSc. in Marketing Management from the University of Wales, a degree in English language from the University of Lagos.
Jacqueline recently got certified as a Save Your Marriage Before It Starts (SYMBIS) Assessment Facilitator, an American pre-marriage training and assessment for singles and newlyweds and Author of the book Move On, a book on how she got over her ex -and heartbreak.
In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, she shares her passion and her conference, which holds today. Excerpts:
What influenced you to towing the path of saving homes, marriages and relationships?
All I do now is a response to God’s call upon my life. For me these are the words I hear in my spirit almost on a daily basis especially when I see, read or hear of a failed marriage or wrong choice.
I constantly hear, “Marriage is a good thing and I made it for the good of man; it breaks my heart to see that men, women lose their lives physically, some spiritually or emotionally because they got married.
The four major instructions I received are reduce divorce rates, reduce domestic violence, save future marriages and build happy homes. Thinking about it now, it’s pretty funny I’m in this “advocacy shoes.”
Tell us about the ‘Saying I Do Conference’, is this the maiden edition? How often should we expect this to come up? Who are those expected to benefit?
The Saying I Do Conference, conceived in April 2016, is a free teaching conference for singles, engaged couples, newlyweds and married couples like me, and this year we hold the third edition.
The aim is to expose, condemn the wrong ways we try to build a happy home that eventually leads to unfulfilled, unhappy couples, divorce, domestic violence and infidelity; to teach as many as possible how to do marriage right.
There are clear biblical principles that, if followed by both parties, will lead to bliss and even more bliss, regardless of what comes along their way.
In October 2016, we held the first conference as ‘Before You Say I Do’ and realized we cut out newlyweds and young couples, who would have benefitted immensely from the conference. I sat down and went through the blueprints.
The task given clearly rang in my head – Save Future Marriages, Reduce Divorce Rates, Reduce Domestic Violence, and Build Happy Homes.
In 2017, it metamorphosed into ‘Saying I Do’ Conference beautifully capturing everyone and the attendance by many married participants who gave clear testimonies of how their learnings has changed their marriages and some who were on the verge of divorce retraced their steps and, to the glory of God, are working towards a thriving marriage gave I and my team a pat on our shoulders that we have done the right thing.
As in the blueprint, it is meant to be a bi-annual event and we hope to see that happening as soon as possible. In 2017 we held the conference with the theme “Building Your Happy Ever After Story” with speakers who have been happily married for at least 10 years and as much as 30years coming to share with 400 singles/engaged/married couples.
This year, the conference will hold today, April 7, at Quad T Event Hall on Gbagada Expressway, Lagos with seasoned speakers and teachers who will be teaching from a heart led by God on the theme, “Seasons”. I
t promises to be a time of liberation, exposition and empowerment for many singles and couples.
Many future marriages will be saved because of what they will learn and more happy homes will be built, reducing divorce rates and domestic violence. My heart beats for this year’s conference like never before.
It is free but registration is compulsory at bit.ly/sidconference
What is your take on marriages in Nigeria?
My take on marriages in Nigeria is that we need to take it more seriously as a nation. There are many broken homes here and there, we are recording too many and I see the need for the establishment of Marriage Academies in our society.
One of the big dreams God has laid on my heart is to start various marriage academies in various zones in our country where singles can, after their first degree, register to attend various modules depending on what stage of life they are in, get certified to have completed courses in many areas as this conference addresses and more.
We need to understand that if marriage is an institution you are not to resign from or walk away from, except a partner dies or your life is threatened, then you should get proper training on it beyond just a 12-week counseling session that is usually borne out of the need to be married in that church rather than a need to learn and be equipped for the success of the journey ahead.
With the rate of domestic violence in homes, how would you advise victims and potential victims from staying away from such?
My advice to victims is this – save your life first and don’t entertain any guilt or responsibility for being beaten. Being beaten by your spouse/partner is not a function of what you said (yes maybe that started it) but a function of their irresponsibility, disrespect, lack of self-control and anger mismanagement.
So please watch your back. You may need geographical distance from the violator and he/she may need to be helped. There are a few experienced coaches who work with people who cannot help but use their hands.
If you are coming back together, ensure that you have set clear boundaries on conflict management and resolution.
Share with each other how you want to face issues, how you want to be spoken to, how you want the other person to react when you are angry, tell each other those things that you cannot stand or deal with amongst other things.
If you are dating a man/woman who as much as pinches you out of anger, run! Physical violence is not one of the ways to show me you love me or want me to change.
Finally, I will say, pray it away whether a victim or a potential victim. Pray against domestic violence, mismanaged anger.
Why do you think divorce is on the increase in our society?
Personally, divorce is on the increase in our society because many go into marriage without the Creator of Marriage – God. The wrong WHY is one of the major reasons divorce has now become common news in our society unlike many years ago.
One question I ask singles and engaged singles during my mentoring sessions is ‘What is your why?’ Why do you want to get married? Why did you decide to marry him/her? Marriage is not one of those things we try different principles and expect same answers.
So many people marry for the wrong reasons, such as “I am old enough”, “he has a good job”, “my mates are getting married” etc.
We also see a generation where many go in with a joker kind of mentality, where they can just ‘check-out’ anytime at the weight of anything – fertility issues, financial crisis, third-party issues, sexual challenges etc.
Asides, a life-threatening issue (domestic violence, emotional abuse) divorce should not be an option but that’s not what we see now.
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