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‘Women need to support their husbands financially in these changing times’

By Ijeoma Thomas-Odia
05 February 2022   |   4:09 am
Christian author, Ufuoma Emerhor-Ashogbon, discovered her calling for ministration through story telling, when she started a blog in 2012. A prolific writer with dozens of titles in her name, her work has received plaudits for being relatable...

Ufuoma Emerhor-Ashogbon

Christian author, Ufuoma Emerhor-Ashogbon, popularly known as Ufuomaee, discovered her calling for ministration through story telling, when she started a blog in 2012. A prolific writer with dozens of titles in her name, her work has received plaudits for being relatable to a diverse audience despite being written from a faith-based perspective. An alumna of Atlantic Hall School and D’Ivy College, Ufuoma also studied at Queen Mary’s and Westfield University in London and bagged a degree in Social Work from Manchester Metropolitan University. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, she spoke on the intricacies of marriage, her most recent works, The Naïve Wife Trilogy, the Marriage ABCs, and offers advice to soothe broken hearts and heal fractured unions.

Take us through your journey into writing and story telling?
I have always loved telling stories and teaching. Before I started writing them down, I used to just talk. I used to tell fairy tale romances featuring princesses, owing to the Disney Classics I enjoyed so much. I also tried my hands at high school romantic fiction, based on the books that I enjoyed reading as a teenager, but I didn’t get very far with that.

When I started writing more, it was mostly poetry and romance; I considered myself a poet then. I didn’t try my hand at fiction again until I started blogging in 2012 and began to tell short stories ranging from 1000 to 1500 words. Each story had a Christian message, particularly in relation to marriage and dating. Those were the things that were in my heart to share. On my blog, I wrote poetry, short stories, but mostly articles addressing relationships, marriage, and faith.

So, my writing thrived between 2012 and 2016. Before, writing on my blog had been my release and therapy, a way for me to counsel myself and teach others, and I’d always written as led by God. But writing fiction took our relationship to another level, and it was powerful seeing how God guided me in this ability. I wrote my first, The Church Girl, which I initially ended after seven chapters, as I was just too overwhelmed and insecure about my ability to write a longer story that would ultimately glorify God, I tried my hand at another story, An Emotional Affair.

The way God led me in writing this story gave me the confidence to revisit The Church Girl, which became the first book I published, based on popular demand, even though An Emotional Affair was the first novel I completed in the form of a story series on my blog. The rest, as they say, is history.

What in your growing up inspired your career path?
I can’t think of anything that led me to become a writer. I think it is my personality. I’m very introspective, inquisitive, and neurotic. I’m in my head a lot. I ask ‘what if’ a lot. My imagination is mad and I’m quite melancholy, so I tend to imagine the worst. But through my writing, I apply faith and God sheds light on difficult challenges I present to Him in the form of fictional stories.

As one who is knowledgeable in relationship issues, what do you consider a major concern among marriages?
I think trust is a major concern for those in marriages and those considering entering in. It is a crucial ingredient for intimacy to grow and thrive. Without trust, there is also no unity. Without intimacy and unity, you will endure a very strained relationship. People are concerned about trust because so many people lie about who they are and what they want. Many do not have principles that enable them to be trustworthy, or faithful, and some take advantage of others, as depicted in my latest story, The Naïve Wife Trilogy.

The absence of trust means anything is possible, and it is scary to be in a relationship with someone where you do not feel secure. So, it’s very important that before people make the commitment to marry, they truly know and trust the person they are pledging themselves to love for the rest of their lives.

Divorce cases are also prominent in our society, what key factor is responsible for that?
I believe the answer here is a lack of love. When we enter marriage not to serve, but to be served, we’re going to have problems. Though our partner may be loving, this one-sided relationship, where someone does all the receiving and the other all the giving breeds hurt, resentment, anger, and distrust.

Anyone entering a marriage to be the recipient of love and not the giver is going to drain their spouse of their love, and when that is gone, the recipient has no more reason to abide. And the one who has been drained of love feels used and abused, and there is no strength to fight for such a marriage. For marriage to work, we need both people to enter in believing they are the servant and ready to serve. Love will thrive in such a relationship, as both of them are feeding each other and building on a foundation of mutual respect and trust. Where problems arise, they have the resources to overcome them, because they appreciate each other and need each other, they will both fight for what they have.

What should women do differently to make their homes and marriages more fruitful?
I hesitate with this question, because you are asking what women should do; people seldom ask what men should do. I think this is part of the problem in our society with regards to marriage. It seems that, before they marry, it is the man’s job to chase and propose and give the woman what she wants – a marriage. And when the woman has her marriage, it is her job to make it work, while the man has no further obligation but to assist in bringing food to the table. You probably didn’t mean it like this, but I think we should start asking men more about what they can do differently to make their marriages work.

There are plenty resources targeting women, which many women take advantage of, to improve their marriages. But for men, they are few and far between. This is where the change is needed. In Christianity, the man is the leader of the two in marriage. He should take it as a responsibility to learn all he has to learn, and do all he has to do, to make his marriage work.

But to answer your question, a wife needs to honour her husband, respecting the burden of responsibility on him as the leader in their home. Women need to do more to support their husbands in this generation, as so much has changed and the man can hardly bear the financial responsibility of the family alone. Women sacrifice a lot already, naturally, as wives and mothers, but women need to not grow weary in doing good, but remain faithful so that they will reap a reward for their labour.

It can be hard when it feels like you are giving so much and getting little recognition, but please remember that God sees you, and He will repay and He will deliver you from all your troubles.

How have you been able to juggle between your many roles, and still be at your best?
I enjoy what I do, and I build on my natural abilities, so I am able to do diverse things easily enough. The things that is harder for me to do require me to rid myself of distraction and focus on them. Knowing that I will get it done, it must finish, is enough for me to plough ahead until I do. There are still other things I want to do or need to do that I haven’t figured out how to incorporate into my lifestyle. I think it’s about priorities and doing what makes you happy ultimately.

What is your life mantra?
I don’t think I have one. But if I can borrow from the scriptures, it would be, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths…” Proverbs 3:5-6. That’s what I have tried to do all my life, and what I still trust in.