Monday, 29 August 2016

Love, Life & Lightchild - Lessons I've Learnt from my Parents' Marriage

I am blessed to have my parents (both) together and still going strong after more than 35 years of marriage! How they have done it, I don’t know (this is where the Christianese in me will come out, to say “It is by God’s grace”, which is absolutely true).

The 'Rents and I
My folks probably don’t know that I talk about them a lot. About their lives, their marriage, as they are quite the best examples I could have to what a great marriage is (maybe they’ll get to read this one day and be encouraged to buy me a new wristwatch or shoe or something).

In this time and age when most marriages don’t make it past the 2nd year mark, I believe that when one sees a marriage that’s working and standing, you best grab a pen and paper study and take notes, to know what you can apply to yours, if you’re there or on your way there.

Here are a few of many lessons I have learnt from watching from front row seats, the marriage between my father and mother.

God’s the Centre.. always

I have heard a lot of people say this: "Put God at the centre, a three fold chord is not easily broken", that is all true, but with human beings, it is easier said than done. A good friend once said to me, start as you mean to continue. I believe before I was born, my dad and mum would most likely wake up in the morning and pray together before setting out on their daily duties. This carried on, even when we the kids came along, even up until now! When we all get the chance to go home, we still have the morning devotions (and I believe we still sing the songs today in sequential order, with my dad and his tambourine).

Truth be told, I have come to see that anything and everything that my parents do is done “as unto the Lord” and because they have chosen to honor God and put Him in His rightful place, there is no doubt that God has had a big hand in sustaining their marriage.

Whether it’s in the business, at work (in high profile meetings where you’d probably want to shy away from mentioning “God”, helping others, even when they travel), there is always an element of God being put into what my parents do. This is a classic example of “doing it as unto the Lord".

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No matter where or who they meet, they never shy away from mentioning God!
Perfectly Perfect Partners

Don’t get me wrong, it is not that my parents are perfect people, not at all, but they are perfectly perfect for each other. Where one is weak, the other person covers that weakness with their own strength and never uses it against the other. If my mum is doing some programme or has a project that she wants to embark on, once my dad knows, even with his busy schedule, you can rest assured that the project/event will be executed well because he will give and do whatever is needed as if the project/event were his own. And if the tables were turned, my mum will also go far and beyond to do the same for him.

This helps to maintain a balance and a good working order in the marriage and in the family as well.

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Perfectly Perfect Partners (PPP) - They get involved wholeheartedly in each others' projects / work
Integrity and Respect

This is something that is priceless and somewhat rare today. It is one thing for people outside to say that you’re a person of integrity and well worthy of the respect you get, it is another thing for the people who know you behind closed doors to have the same testimony of you. I have never, in all my years of existence, heard or seen my parents argue because of/over integrity and respect. Not once. They are a classic example of 'say what you mean, mean what you say', 'talk the talk and walk the walk' even if it will cost you. If my dad says he’s going to work, you’ll find him at work. I have come to understand that a woman will find it easier to submit and partner with a man (even if it is not in her natural nature to do so) who has integrity, and give him the respect that he deserves. Consequently, the same man who sees that his wife is submissive will find it easier to love and respect her too, most especially if it so happens that his wife is a 'Powerhouse'.

Just look at the look of adoration in her eyes :-)
Agree to Disagree / Compromise

I have not really seen my parents engaged in a fight or in an argument in public or at home that threatened to go out of hand and we needed some external powers to intervene. This is not to say that they don’t disagree on things, they do! My dad is quite simple and easy going while my mum is the 'attention to details' person - we have to do this and that... and my dad will be like “Is that necessary? I don’t think so”...

Most of the time, when it comes to doing something for my dad, he doesn’t like any fuss being made about him, but my mum, nahhhhhhh, she wants the fuss made and will plug herself into the fuss (and we do too ‘cos we have an awesome dad!).

The last time we went home to celebrate my dad's recent appointment, we had to keep a lot of 'information' away from him because he just doesn’t like folks fussing over him. This could potentially cause some unnecessary argument, but with some reasoning between them, you can rest assured that there will be some compromised grounds that would be reached and everyone will be happy in the end.

And this is not just for the times when we need to do things for one person, it is present in situations and scenarios where compromises need to be made.

United Front

I can’t recall ever seeing or hearing my parents use the word “I” as much as they use the word "We”. They are individuals, very opposite in nature, but there is always a united front that they present at anytime. I’m not just talking about wearing the same clothes (aso ebí or ànkóò things - of which I still don’t get the idea of couples wearing 'uniforms'...another story for another day). Even in discipline and principles, they still have that united front. Whether they talk about it and how to work it out in the bedroom/pillow talk board room, I don’t know, but you’ll always see them both stand for and say the same things.

Even when we try to outsmart them or play one against the other (you know you’ve done the same too! “Mummy can we go out?” even after daddy had said, “Go and bring your maths homework” - the next thing you will hear is “Let me ask your father or wait till your father gets home”... you know you ain’t going anywhere!)

Who would have thought we tried to 'outsmart' them?
Most people know that I’m the only boy, hence I’m quite close to my mum. With that comes some extra protection and tag team stuffs. Whilst in secondary school, we had this test, which a couple of friends and I decided it would be a good idea to change the test to an 'open book' test (for those who are not aware, most exams and tests back in those days in Nigeria were not open book, if your book was open during the test, it is popularly known as cheating). I got caught and didn’t inform my parents that I faced the disciplinary panel at school. Long story cut short, my mum got to know 3 months later, just before I got suspended. She didn’t lay hands on me, which I felt was weird, instead she waited for my dad to get home, told him and you can visualise the way that evening went.

Let’s just say I was 'delivered' and never did it again. During the “course of ministration - laying on of hands and other suitable items”, I could hear my mum say in the background - "fa ra ba lè, je ìyà e", meaning - be patient in taking your punishment - I could not believe that she had joined the ‘opposition’. But come to think about it, I’m pretty sure it must have one way or the other touched her ‘cos she hates seeing me in pain. Even though she came to give me some painkillers after, the united front was there when it came to discipline.

Selflessness and being mindful

This is one lesson that stands out in my parents' marriage - they put each other first. It has become their first (after God) hand nature. My mum won’t eat till my dad gets home. My dad will call to check on my mum before he goes to bed and intermittently, whenever she’s out of the country and vice versa too. If my dad is getting something for himself, he’ll get something for his wife (he’s like I need to get that for my wife too - they have their own definition of romance!) It’s no wonder when they say when you’ve been with someone for so long, you tend to finish their sentences, know how or what they think or even look/be like them.

My mum serves my dad first, my dad serves my mum first, each person ends up getting served first, at the same time. It works!
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The 'Rents with one of my sisters and their first grandchild (almost photobombed by yours truly!)
I could go on and on but will stop here. I cannot say how much I have learnt first hand how to make a marriage work from my parents' 37 years (and counting) of experience. I hope to not only observe but apply these principles when the time comes... So help me God.

...... Lightchild
You can read other Love, Life and Lightchild posts HERE. Also, follow Lightchild on Twitter@light_child , Instagram @lightchildfamily and Facebook -LightChildFamily


What else could I possibly add to this. I have to admit that I smiled almost throughout, reading this. Isn't it amazing the vital life lessons we learn from people who have gone ahead of us?

I was discussing this with my friend and I said to her that it is very important to highlight these lessons and make an effort to ensure that we don't have to go through the process that our parents went through to be who they are today, however, while we look forward to emulating the marriage lessons we observe and learn from our parents or people who have gone ahead of us, it is important to be kind to ourselves and our partners, knowing that our parents weren't born that way, they developed it - with a lot of love, patience, the determination to make it work and of course by God's grace.
Please learn the lessons; beyond knowing them, apply them and of course pass on your lessons as well!
May God help us all.
So guys, please share with us, what marriage tips / lessons have you learnt from those who have gone ahead of you?
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  1. Light Child reading your article reminds me of my parents, the most common trait my parents have till date is being united on all fronts. Before, I used to think it was so weird cos they reason so alike that if my dad says something, you can hear my mum say that same thing even if they are not in the same location. So trust me you so don't want to get on one person's bad side, cos the other will be on the same page and that means you're in real big trouble lol.. I must add that my parents are two people from different tribes and family backgrounds. So I have come to realise that when you put God first in your marriage and you genuiely decide to live with you spouse based on godly principles, over time you both start thinking alike and behaving alike, infact you truly become one.

    1. It takes the grace of God to make a marriage work! Thank God for your parents' marriage dear. So glad that you have lessons to learn from them. May our own marriages give God glory in Jesus name xx

  2. Also light child you are so on point when you stated '' I have come to understand that a woman will find it easier to submit and partner with a man who has integrity'' I have seen this with my parents too. I'm glad this article is writen by a man, so ladies all those Yoruba demons that tell you that you can never vouch for a man, you can't tell what your husband is doing or you cannot say my husband is at a certian place at a particular time, it's a big lie from the pit of hell. The only time you can't confidently vouch or defend a guy or lady is when you marry someone you are not sure of from the begining or someone who has a double standard lifestyle, simple!

    1. Preach! You're right, that statement is a myth. There are great men and women who are trustworthy and dependable.

  3. How many times can I like this post??? Simple practical principles that work all the time. A man of integrity is all a woman needs. I wish men of this generation can understand this. "Mean what you say, say what you mean" hard can it be?? Thanks Ayo.

    1. Indeed, how hard can it be?!
      May God help us all to be people of integrity in Jesus name.
      Thanks for your comment IBB xx

  4. Nicely put and points very valid. I enjoyed reading it and made me think of my parents too (married 34 years now and still going). I am also looking forward to that thirty something and beyond wedding anniversary where God willing I will reflect and hopefully younger ones will be picking good lessons from my own marriage too. May God bless our homes.

    Well done to Ayo (Lightchild) and Ayo (1 plus the one)

    1. Thanks Adrenaline!
      I say amen to your prayer. May your marriage be an exemplary one with loads of beautiful lessons to pass on to your children and the next generation in Jesus name xx

  5. It turns out I've met your parents once and you're not lying!
    I'm glad marriages like theirs(and my parents') exist so we could learn.
    Keep up the good work and please check my blog at

    1. Thanks for stopping by Angie and thank God for your parents' marriage.. I will definitely stop by your blog. God bless you xx


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