Resolving Marriage Crisis the Gov. Ortom Way

By: Deji Yesufu

The matter of spousal abuse was brought to fore again this past few days in the annals of Nigeria’s never ending melodrama when one Ifeyinwa Angbo took to Twitter and published a 90 second video of her ordeal in the hands of her husband, Pius Angbo – a staff of Channels television. In the video, Ifeyinwa explained that she is a medical doctor and had been married for six year – a union that has produced four children. With her face only recently brutalized, she talked about how she had endured years of beating at the hands of her husband. To the extent of this man sitting on her while she was pregnant and thumbing on the wounds of her caesarean section. In matters of hours the video had gone viral and had even reached the office of the Benue State Governor. Governor Samuel Ortom stepped into the family crisis and the matter has since been resolved. A news conference was granted and the public was duly informed of the couple resolving their issues and hopefully they will live happily ever after.

This couple’s problem brings to fore an age-old trouble with marriages: spousal abuse. In more developed climes Mr. Pius Angbo will be in jail by now but in Nigeria, State Governors step into celebrated family issues and help them resolve the matter. I will return to Mr. Governor later. Suffice to state here that while husbands beating wives is a very common event in spousal abuse matters, there are other cases of abuse that usually go unreported and unnoticed. There are husbands who will not raise a finger to touch their wives but the words of their mouths are killing the woman daily. There are wives who oppress their husbands with their finances: they do not lend a hand to foot family burdens, they build houses and own properties without their husbands’ knowledge, and they strut around the home with pride because they do not depend on the man. There are husbands who punish their wives by depriving them of sexual intimacy, while many more women use sex to control their husbands. Marriage, as far as I am concerned, comes with a deep chemistry around it. I had once argued that marriage is difficult; right now I think it is more than difficult – marriage is mysterious.

Many people have said that Mrs. Angbo is foolish to acquiesce to those seeking to resolve the problem in her home. One commentator on radio said she clearly had been subdued. What most of us do not know is that there is something called the complete picture. The people who resolved the Angbo family crisis most likely saw the whole picture and realized that many more marriages have endured worse situations and have come out successful with time. The video we saw Ifeyinwa make was still her own side of the story; the man in question has not said his own side of the story. This is not to condone beating in marriage but to explain that in matters of crisis management, the two sides of the story should be heard. I find it interesting that many ladies are calling for the head of Pius. They forget that what is actually playing out in situations when men beat their wives is simply the stronger subduing the weaker. Many women also physically abuse their house-helps who they have greater strength over. Thus this matter is the issue of a depraved heart playing out in a fallen world; it is more than just a man beating a woman. To therefore resolve matters like this, the two sides will state their positions and when they both understand where they have gone wrong, reconciliation will be easier. When one party thinks he or she is the abused, and the entire fault belongs to the other party – there won’t be any reconciliation. The Angbos found reconciliation because the people arbitrating their matter helped them to see where both of them might have been wrong.

Reconciliation is also easier in marriage when the man and a woman are under proper authority, and here I would be employing biblical truths to make my point. One pastor said that the reason why couples rarely resolve issues among themselves is because of a loss of respect between them. The reason why Governor Ortom could resolve the Angbo’s family crisis is because the two spouses respected the person of the Governor. Incidentally the Bible makes the matter of respect and honor to be paramount in a marriage, and it is the wife the Bible calls to respect and honor her husband. Marriages are in crisis today because the age-old maxim “wife submit to your husband” is being disputed by a liberal age today. When a wife does not respect her husband, she will employ the weapon she has: which is usually her tongue against her husband and many men will lash out against their wives with the weapon they have – their brute strength. The Yorubas say that “sorry” comes in two genders: male and female. A woman that does not respect her husband can say the most innocuous thing with such deeply hateful innuendoes that only the man will understand. This might lead to increasing frustration that will eventually end up in his attacking the woman physically.

While the woman endeavors to honor and respect her husband, the man also has the duty to honoring and respecting his wife. The moment a man begins to have extra marital affairs he opens his home to all kinds of demonic activities. The man who sleeps with other women, should be able to bear the pain of seeing other men sleep with his wife. If he cannot handle this, he should zip us his trousers. This is where religion, particularly the Christian faith, comes with a lot of advantage. The Christian man is taught daily by God the Holy Spirit within him to keep his eyes single. The practice of godliness, which requires the exercising of God’s grace over one’s weakness, is an age-old requirement for Christian men and blessed indeed is that church that teaches its men to be holy – in their bodies and spirit. When a man has a single eye, he has overcomed more than half of the problems that will befall most homes. If the allegations against Pius Angbo are correct, he should be blamed for the crisis that came on his home.

On a final note, I cannot help but see the hypocrisy written all over the matter of a sitting Governor, leaving important State matters, to go and settle family crisis. The hypocrisy in it all is this: who will resolve the problem in the family life of other couples in Benue State? Will Mr. Governor continue to hold press conferences on a marriage crisis? Should all women now begin to take to social media to report their husbands’ malfeasance? I would have taken Mr. Ortom seriously if after settling that matter, he states clearly that he and his team have further empowered perhaps the ministry of women or some other related ministries to help families resolve family crisis. If Mr. Governor had said he was sending a bill to the State legislative house to help strengthen family life, I would have understood. What I saw, in that press conference, was the Governor of a State doing something he ought not to be involved with. In a country where people have work to do, they will not be using state time and resources to settle celebrated domestic matters. One wonders what will happen to the thousands of other people who are being physically, verbally, and psychologically abused by their spouses.

As we lay the matter of the Angbo family crisis to rest, I will counsel the public against this quick resort to divorce that many advocate in matters of spousal abuse. We are told that many men kill their wives; incidentally we have quite a number of women today on trial over killing their husbands. My point is that the matter cuts two ways. I am sure there is no one that enters marriage with the intention of killing their partners. Crisis happen in the home and these things spill over in different ways. I will counsel couples to have authority figures over themselves. One of the greatest disservice that this American Christianity has done to Christian homes in this country is that they usually have no answer to marriage troubles. Most times they are too busy seeking to be financially successful they do not know how to counsel couples to live in harmony. A church should however be a place where couples can have their matters resolved. For those who do not go to church, you will still need an authority figure over you; someone the man or woman can report matters to when there are crisis in the home. If this happens, women would not have to take to social media and appeal to the court of public opinion and our State Governors will also find better things to use their time to do.

Marriage is a difficult and mysterious institution. It is even more so in a country like Nigeria.

Posted by Deji Yesufu

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