Tuesday, September 19

INTER TRIBAL MARRIAGE: PROS, CONS, REALITIES AND CHALLENGES




So last week we had another very special guest on TAMAR’SPOUCH HANGOUT hosted on facebook.

We talked about Inter-tribal marriages and here is what our guest, Modupe Ehirim had to say.

After 30+ years in marriage, I decided to use my experience and the lessons I learnt along the way to guide other people in their marriage journey. 

Today, I'm the Founder of The Right Fit Marriage Academy.


Many marriages are in crises largely due to a lack of awareness of the principles that make marriage work. I'm passionate about helping married people to understand these principles and apply them to their own unique and personal situations. I'm convinced that marital intimacy and harmony is closer to you than you realise. 

In a sense I'm like a traffic warden who brings order into a chaotic traffic situation at a 4-way traffic junction. If you're currently experiencing chaos in your marriage, I can help you get back that sense of order, harmony and intimacy.

I am from Ogbomoso in Oyo State while my husband, Boniface, who I fondly call my Chairman is from Atta in Imo State.

Prior to meeting and marrying my husband, I had met and interacted with Igbo people in school. I didn't really know much about them. In fact you can say that I was blissfully unware of and ignorant about Igbo people, their culture and tradition and way of life

My parents were very open minded.I also went to secondary schools that promoted unity and living with people of other tribes. So you could say that I am detribalised.

What is an inter-tribal marriage?

I would say that an inter-tribal marriage is a marriage between two people who have their origin in different tribes or ethnic groups.

An ethnic group is a category of people who identify with each other based on similarities such as common ancestry, language, society, culture or nation. Ethnicity is often an inherited status based on the society in which one lives. Membership of an ethnic group tends to be defined by a shared cultural heritage, ancestry, origin myth, history, homeland, language or dialect, symbolic systems such as religion, mythology and ritual, cuisine, dressing style, art, and physical appearance.

So I’m a Yoruba person because my parents are Yoruba and their own parents are Yoruba.
In the same way, my Chairman is Igbo because his parents are Igbo and their own parents too were Igbo.
What this means is that prior to our getting married, we were nurtured in different backgrounds.

Now every man and woman that gets married encounter the challenge of marrying someone from a different background. When two of you are from the same ethnic group, you have some commonality in your upbringing. You individual family traditions may differ but you have some practices, beliefs and experiences in common.

Where you come from different ethnic origins, you bring with you to that relationships, all the myths, suspicions, positive and negative beliefs and experiences that your ethnic groups have.


Read: The Identity rule


For example, my husband’s parents didn’t want their son to marry me-a Yoruba girl. Their apprehensions were not about me as a person. Their apprehensions were based on two pillars:

1. Their perception that Yorubas don’t take marriage vows seriously based on some Yoruba marriages they observed while they lived in Lagos.


2. Their experience of the Nigerian Civil War which made them want to stay within the familiar zone of their ethnic group.

Much of the challenges that inter-ethnic relationships and marriage face arise from the ignorance of the beliefs, values, traditions and practices of other ethnic groups apart from yours.
The challenges are further fuelled by suspicions and negative perceptions that you and your family and ethnic group have about other ethnic groups.


Igbo parents have a lot of history. As a nation we have never addressed the wounds of the Civil War.

Read: 5 Soulmate Myth that ruins your chance at love 

In reality, inter-ethnic marriages are not significantly different from marriages between two people from the same tribe.

This is because today, the environment in which we do marriage has altered significantly. 
For example: I grew up in a nuclear family (father, mother, children) with the closest relatives living very far away. I was encouraged to aspire to great educational and career heights. I grew up in cosmopolitan city and went to Federal Government Colleges where I was detribalised. Then I became a Christian who takes the Bible seriously and lives by the doctrine espoused in it.

A young man who wants to marry a Yoruba girl sees me and decides I'm suitable wife material. His family may insist that he should marry from within their tribe.


Read: 10 Relationship Realities for men


Am I truly a Yoruba woman in the sense that he wants? We cannot immediately say until we know what his actual expectations are.


Read: 7 Relationship Realities for women


On the contrary, 40, 50 years ago, if a Yoruba man wanted to marry a Yoruba woman their context was mutually understood by both of them. This is because, they grew up in the same environment, shared communal experiences and exposure.

So approaching marriage without adequate understanding of and preparations to meet the basic requirements for long term relationships is perhaps the reason inter-ethnic marriages have problems.

Some questions that intending and even already married couples in ALL marriages should ask are:

1. Is our definition and understanding of marriage aligned?
2. Do we know and understand each other's expectations in marriage? Have we discussed and harmonised those expectations?
3. Where our expectations vary, what are we doing about them?
4. What paradigms have we brought to marriage from our backgrounds, life experiences and exposure? Are these paradigms beneficial to a marital relationship?


Read: Single at 25: What you should know 

Couples considering inter-ethnic marriages or those already in them should ask themselves these additional questions:
1. What are some of the traits of your partner’s ethnic group that you are apprehensive about and have difficulty adjusting to?


2. What are some of the interactions between your ethnic groups that have had negative impact on the psyche of your partner’s ethnic group? How have your individual families internalised and/or dealt with those negative impacts?


3. How will you respond to and cope with the stress that accompanies moving out of the comfort zone of your ethnic group and adjusting to the ethnic group of your spouse? Both men and women need to think hard about this because, even though the woman moves to join her husband in his ethnic group, the man also has to relate with his wife’s people who will continue to live in their own ethnic space.


4. What will be the attributes of culture of the new family that you and your partner will build?


No matter how well adjusted partners are, the reality is prior to the time they get married they have lived largely different lives. Conflict is inevitable because of this.

Their understanding of this and preparation to handle it may well be the deciding factor in whether the marriage succeeds or ends in divorce.


 Actually conflict is not a bad thing. Rather it is a signal that a couple think dfferently on an issue that is very important to the two of them. 

Having good conflict resolution skills and communication skills is what couples need.

Having laid this foundation, I will look at the pros and cons of inter-ethnic marriages.

In practice as I explained earlier, inter-ethnic marriages are not significantly different from marriages where the couple are from the same ethnic group. This is 
because today, by the time a person gets married, they have lived in and experienced a number of differing cultures which greatly impacts their worldviews and perspectives about life

Pros of Inter-Ethnic Marriages

1. The most significant pro for inter-ethnic marriages is that it often strengthens the resolve of the couple to make their marriage work. Usually in order to overcome the objections that their family and friends raise, 
they address the issues that can cause stress and adopt a united front. They also don’t want the naysayers to say “We told you so.” if their marriage should fail.

2. Couples who succeed in inter-ethnic marriages grow as individuals and support each other.


3. Couples are more open minded about things that they are not familiar and are willing to explore

Cons of Inter-Ethnic Marriages

1. Both husband and wife have to accept new realities of doing things in ways different from their relatives and friends.


2. One or both partners may discover that they don’t really want to shift from the paradigms mindse
ts and experiences that they are familiar and uncomfortable with.

3. Couples may have to live with the fact that their relatives refuse to accept the ethnic group of their partner.


I have been in an inter-ethnic marriage now for 32 years. My marriage to my husband cannot be said to be Igbo or Yoruba. There are many attributes of the Igbo culture in our relationship and in our home. There are also attributes of Yoruba culture. We also have attributes of the English culture because my husband studied and lived in England for quite a number of years.

At the same time, we have agreed, that our children are of Igbo origin, because both Igbo and Yoruba cultures are paternalistic.

People outside our marriage do not always agree with how we have chosen to model our family. Some Igbo people think my husband is liberal in allowing somethings. Some Yoruba people think that I have allowed myself to be subsumed by Igbo culture. My Chairman and I constantly remind ourselves that it is our marriage not theirs.

WE participate in both cultures because we love our families and kindred. WE also are helping our children to understand their unique origin of having parents from different ethnic groups. Our families and kindred show respect for our diffrent ethnic groups now.

 Daily we have experiences that make us re-think and redefine our family culture and practices. But our family values remain the same year in year out. Interestingly our family values were derived from our (my husband and I) parents’ values which they passed on to us. And even though we came from different ethnic groups, the values that our parents held as important and taught us are similar.

So I’ll conclude with this. 

Inter-ethnic marriages are not significantly different from marriages of two people within the same ethnic group..
What is important is how knowledgeable are you about the principles that make marriage to work.

Question: So, how does one persuade the family to eventually agree despite their negative experiences or bias?

Modupe: This is a good question you have asked. First you must seek to understand them before trying to get them to understand you. Ask them questions. Dig deeper to understand their fears and apprehensions. Engage them to look at the individual. Point out to them the individual people from that ethnic group who they have had positive interactions with. Be patient, very patient with them.

About speaker:

Modupe Ehirim, is the founder of The Right FitMarriage Academy and a Family Life Practitioner. She works with young engaged and married couples to lay a foundation for and build a happy and lifelong marriage. She is a Family Systems Engineering Practitioner and a Certified SYMBIS (Save Your Marriage Before It Starts) Facilitator. The SYMBIS Assessment gives you a personalized road map to making your marriage everything it was meant to be.

A 1980 First Class graduate of Chemical Engineering from the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), she also bagged an M.Sc. (Process Analysis) from University of Aston-in-Birmingham in UK in 1982. In 2008, she obtained the Certificate in Entrepreneurial Management under the Goldman Sachs 10000 Women Initiative which provided business and management education for women entrepreneurs at the Pan African University, Lagos.

She is a member of NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW). She is also a member of the Management Committee for Lady Ibiam Girls’ Secondary School, Enugu.

Modupe is an avid reader who mentors young people, aiding them to chart their lives’ paths. She is happily married to Boniface, her husband of over 30 years, who hails from Imo State. Together, they have together four children.

She is popularly known as MUMMY MO!


Go here to participate

Tuesday, September 12

BENCHMARKING YOUR WORTH



We live in a society where people are defined by what they do and have.

When asked to introduce ourselves as children, we simply said our names. For example, the child says “ I’m Princess-Anne Atulaegwu”. No airs, no flats. The child needn’t say more. The society was content identifying the child by the name of his/her parents.
Sometimes, the achievements or responsibilities of our parents became the only means by which some people would rather identify us. You must have heard things like, “The pastor’s daughter (my case), the principal’s son etc.

Read: The Identity Rule

Then teenage years came by and neither our names nor the achievements of our parents were enough. One had to make sure there was some personal achievement attached to the name.  Hence, they said things like, “That’s Princess the best student in Chemistry”, that’s Princess, the head girl” etc.
From teenage years into adulthood, we continue to evolve and acquire material and immaterial things.
While there’s nothing wrong in having a few feathers (achievements and possessions) on your hat (attached to your name), the human mind has a tendency to become obsessed with what we have, own or possess.
You must have noticed how little children eagerly tell their mates about every piece of clothing on them. You hear things like, “ My mum bought me a new shoe (pronounced shoe- uuuuh, with a rising tone)”. 
They emphasize on the item as though they want the other person to feel bad about not having what they have. The other child replies, “My mum bought me a necklace (pronounced neck-lay-aceee, with a rising tone). 
Back and forth the conversation goes. The kids judge each other and decide on the “worth” of the other person. 
Those who feel like their parents buy similar quality of products, team up against those whose parents buy what they consider inferior.

Read:How To Gain Satisfaction

While some parents bought clothes that were a few inches longer than required for their kids (so that the child wouldn’t outgrow the cloth soon), others bought what was just right for their children. What both set of parents probably didn’t know was that their choice of clothing greatly influenced how the peers of their children saw them (the children and parents).

It was common in my days for the kids with the shiny things to feel theirs was better than those of ours -the non-shiny things. I grew up to realize my non-shiny things were actually more expensive than their shiny ones. While their parents followed trends, my mother shopped for quality and durability.

Some how, this comparison syndrome in childhood goes with us into adulthood. The discuss moves from shoes and ribbon (girls) and toys and jeans (boys) to career, spouse, properties etc. We compare courses studied at the university, “ I studied law, he/she studied French, therefore I’m better”. We compare Jobs, “I work in a multinational organization, he/she works at so and so therefore I’ m better”.

People on the "less" side of the “I’m better wall” often begin to struggle with discontentment. Sooner than they know it, they wish they have what the other guy has and its only a matter of time before they realize they not only hate the “doing better guy”, they will readily do anything to take his place. This in plain English is called COVETOUSNESS.

The word “covetous” implies inordinate desire often for another's possessions (Merriam Webster).

Childhood conversations that began as innocent advertisement of possessions, graduate into a soul draining habit (comparison), which in turn breeds giant rats of discontentment, greed, envy and covetousness that destroy many.

In Luke 12:15, Jesus said, “watch out! Guard yourselves against every form of greed, for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”.

“….a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”

See it one more time.

“….a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”

Take it in.

“….a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions”

Read: Being Gift Content

Jesus said that in response to a man who was contending over a piece of land with his brother and wanted Jesus to come be the judge of the matter.

While owning properties and having the luxury of life is important and feels good, we must be careful to ensure that we don’t define our worth by these things.

If you rate yourself amazingly today, because you have 5 (five) houses in Lagos state, Ogun state and Kenya collectively, How would you rate yourself should a disaster that sweeps it all away occur?

Life consists of several important things. 
To define who we are by the abundance of possessions we own, is like saying we are worth the same as  bricks and stones.
You are worth more than your clothes, more than your family name, more than your landed properties, more than your cars, more than your designer shoes. You are worth MORE.

Say after me, “I won’t lose my material possessions  and If I did,  I still would be valuable, worthy of honour and amazing.

What have you allowed to define you; jobs, spouse, possessions or social network? These things can disappear. If they didn’t, you will someday leave it all behind.  

We will someday lay in our graves; been stripped of all earthly possessions. If all lives consisted of the abundance of our possessions alone, we would be like the rich fool in Luke 12. 

Read: Stripped

Please stop benchmarking your worth against the mundane. 
Give your soul value by embracing JESUS and leading God’s beautiful purpose for your life.

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” Mathew 6:19-20 (NIV)

Committed to your fulfilment
Anne Atulaegwu

Hey,  you might be one book away from fulfilment. Visit our book hub here!!!










Sunday, September 10

15 SHADES OF FAITH



Sometimes life throws ugly balls at us. Ones we may never be able to catch no matter how experienced we are at a handball game. It is in moments like this that we may desire a real life example of others who successfully caught the kind of ugly ball life threw at us.
The Bible has several example of ordinary people who caught life’s ugly balls through faith . In as much as their situations may not be exactly like ours; we can definitely draw inspiration from their successful ball catch as we stretch our hands bravely towards the balls life throw at us. 
As you go through these examples of faith, I’ll like you to look critically at your own situation and decide on new and creative ways you can put your faith to work in your situation.



· Faith is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living (Hebrews 11:1-msg)

· Like the centurion, Faith is trusting that the word of God isn’t hindered by distance nor time (Mathew 8:5-13)

Read: The path of a dream

· Like the woman with blood issue, Faith is reaching out to God in confident assurance (Luke 8:43-48)

· Like the shunamite woman, Faith is declaring God’s will when situation speaks/proves otherwise (2kings 4:8-37)

· Like the zarephath widow, Faith is obeying an instruction even if it makes no sense (1 kings 17:7-16)

Read: 25 Indispensable lessons of 2016

· Like Gideon, Faith is accepting a mission even if you once thought less of your capabilities (Judges 6)

· Like Job, Faith is refusing to change your perception of God’s goodness in the midst of unexpected calamities (The book of Job)

· Like Peter, Faith is stepping out in the unknown simply because you heard the Lord call you in that direction (Mathew 24:29)

· Like Ruth, Faith is loyalty to God-ordained relationships even when you have no imminent reason to stick (The book of Ruth)

· Like Rehab, Faith is believing the promise of a God you’ve never seen but heard about. (Joshua 6)
· Like Paul, Faith is readiness to die for the gospel (Philippians 1:21)

· Like Jesus, Faith is knowing that the father would keep his part of the deal (Mark 14:62)

· Like Zacchaeus, Faith is harnessing your environment to enable you grasp your desire (Luke 19:4)

· Like Mary, Faith is accepting the inexplicable program of God (Luke 1:38)

· Like David, Faith is refusing to scheme your way into God’s promise for your life. Trusting that He has the ability to bring his word to pass (1 Samuel 24:9-22) 

FIND YOUR FAITH; CATCH YOUR BALL AND TESTIFY!!!!

Committed to your fulfilment
Anne Atulaegwu 

Hey,  you might be one book away from fulfilment. Visit our book hub here !!!







Tuesday, August 15

APOSTLE PAUL MIXTAPE WITH OVA SKILLZ (Young & Relevant Series)



Spoken word!
That talk that’s a fine mix of rhythm and rhymes, poetry, energy, and dramatic gestures, combined to pass a message.

I love spoken word!

I hope you do too.

So recently, there has been this twist to serving people the gospel on a golden spoken word tray. It’s called Gospel Rap.

While rap has been around since 19-memorial-oh-oh, using rap as a tool to pass on the message of Christ and the Cross has only recently started becoming popular and acceptable.

In the past, people would condemn gospel rap artist saying they were copying the world and bringing the unholy into the holy place.  Today, the earth is apparently getting filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters covers the seas (Habakkuk 2:14) and rap is one of those channels through which the glory of the Lord is covering the earth.

Religion made us think all the fine things were for and of the world. But TRUTH in JESUS makes us see that all things were made for HIM (Jesus) and through HIM (Colossians 1:16). Therefore RAP art was made by and for CHRIST and so RAP is HOLY!

Today on Young and Relevant Series, We have an amazing Gospel Rap Artiste with us going by the stage name OVA SKILLZ!!!

ANNE: Hey, Man of God! Good to have you here and welcome. May we meet you please? 

OVA SKILLZ:  Hey, Anne. Thanks for having me on the young and relevant series. I am Ovie Austine Akoke popularly known as Ova Skillz

ANNE : How long have you been a Gospel Rap Artist? 


OVA SKILLZ: I have been into Gospel Rap for over three years now

ANNE: Wow, that’s quite some time. What motivated you to take this path? 

OVA SKILLZ: Jesus is My Motivation, when I realised how He Gave His Life for me, it motivated me to bring people into the Knowledge of Him

ANNE: Awesome!! What has your experience as a spoken word/Gospel Rap artist been like so far?

OVA SKILLZ: My experience has been good and fair so far, I just thank God for steady improvement and what He will do through me


ANNE: We wait!! The Apostle Paul mix-tape is such a powerful album! What inspired the Apostle Paul mixed tape? 

OVA SKILLZ: What actually inspired the Apostle Paul Mix Tape is Simple.... It's JESUS!
I just want to bring the Person of Jesus simply and clearly to the World, that in Him alone we have Eternal Life Guaranteed

ANNE: Oh Yeah… Eternal Life Guaranteed in CHRIST ALONE. I heard that one!!
Just as though you read the inscription on the J-TOW T-shirt I have on right now.

OVA SKILLZ: (LAUGHS)



ANNE:  What exactly would you like your listeners to encounter on the Apostle Paul Mix Tape album? 

OVA SKILLZ:  I would want my listeners to witness Jesus.  If they could pay keen attention to the songs,  it will minister LIFE to them.  If checked the album art, you will notice we did not use tracks, we used EPISTLES. Which means those songs are not just songs, they are letters of the Spirit.


ANNE:   Yeah!! (Tongues).  This is so making sense. On the part of it been epistles, I CONCUR. I listened to it and every track was a hit epistle for me, back to back!

OVA SKILLZ: (LAUGHS) Thank God

ANNE:    Which of the songs/epistles on that album is most dear to you and why?

OVA SKILLZ: Track 7 which is “Jesus Dey Worry Me”
This Song talks about our day to day Christian life. How we have been mocked, discouraged,  accused and  all other forms of spite.
It's a song that reminds you that you are not alone, that Jesus got your back and you are full of Him.


ANNE: Who is/are your favourite spoken word  or gospel Rap  inspiration at the moment? 

 OVA SKILLZ: My favorite Spoken Word Artiste presently is Pastor Judas Smith

ANNE: What's the big picture for you as a Gospel Rap artiste?

OVASKILLZ: The Big Picture is JESUS PREACHED! I see Jesus being preached everywhere via Rap, I see nations calling us to reveal Jesus to them though Rap, We take over and we keep reigning forever.

ANNE: Glory!!!
What are your final words to your audience, please‎?

OVA SKILLZ:  You all should KNOW JESUS for yourself. Don’t just rely on other people’s knowledge about JESUS. ENCOUNTER JESUS and enjoy Christianity.


ANNE: Awesome! Thanks a lot Ovaskillz. We honour you for being YOUNG AND RELEVANT. Keep inspiring young people to embrace LIFE/JESUS!

OVASKILLZ: (Smiles) Thank you so much ma

Hey, head on here to download your digital copy of the Apostle Paul Mix tape


If you’re young and doing or have done something relevant to lives on earth and eternally? Email youngandrelevantseries@gmaildotcom to get featured on the young and relevant series.

Committed to your fulfilment

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