Finding love again and living with another man or woman, after you have lost your first spouse to an untimely death is not always an easy thing. It is in the light of this fact that the marriage story of former General Overseer of Foursquare Gospel Church, Rev. Gabriel Farombi and his wife, Adenike, makes quite an interesting read. In this interview with VIVIAN ONYEBUKWA, they shared their experiences together on how they were able to blend in their relationship after such a loss.
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How did you meet your spouse? Was it love at first sight?
Husband: I met my wife when I was still very young. The Bible says two are better than one. When two people who are of the same mind, the same goal come together they would achieve more. I happened to marry a Christian, not a copycat, one who is just trying to, and we were able to raise up children who are also in the field and who are also serving God.
Wife: I met him when I was in Abuja. I knew him as the General Overseer at that time. When I was in Lagos, I worshipped at Yaba church. He was the General Overseer. We did not meet at all; our paths did not cross until when I went to Abuja. At Abuja, the Pastor told us that the General Overseer would be coming to visit. But after the preparation somehow I traveled to Lagos, so he did not see me and I did not see him. The second time he came to Abuja, the same thing happened: I was in Lagos. But the third he came my pastor insisted I must stay because he was tired of telling him that the church secretary, which I was then, traveled. So I didn’t travel. When he came we had meetings with him and he remarked that he used to see my face in Yaba church, and that when he stopped seeing me, he thought I had relocated to another church.
So how did it happen eventually?
Wife: Before he started coming to Abuja I had a revelation where I saw him prophesying to me, and this is somebody that our paths never crossed. I just saw him over there when I was in the congregation. When I woke up I said, ‘Lord, it seems you have heard my prayers.’ All these while I had been praying for a life partner. For him to prophesy to me, actually I did not think he was the one, but I was thinking that he would introduce me to somebody. That is quite possible, that was what I had in my mind. The second time, I had another revelation while I was in Abuja. In that dream, I was in my wedding and I saw him standing before me, and I woke up. I became confused. In that dream, I did not see the man who was supposed to be my husband, which is quite abnormal. When you are getting married, your husband would stand by your side, but in that dream nobody was by my side. I told my friends and we started rebuking the devil, that I don’t want a spiritual husband. But after that meeting in Abuja, I had a transfer back to Lagos. In Lagos he saw me and I told him that I was back. Then I was having accommodation problem and I told him. He promised to help me. He said there was a house somewhere but eventually it did not work out and I found another place. From time to time he would send for me through the ushers because there was no telephone then. When I came he would just ask me about my mum and so on, but when I sensed what he was trying to do I ran away because that time I had made up my mind that I was not going to marry a pastor.
Was he just a pastor or a GO?
Wife: He was a GO. Whether you are a GO or not, you are pastor, but I did not want to have anything to do with any pastor. I pray for them, but I look at them from afar.
What happened? How did he propose?
Wife: Like I told you, he is a very caring man. He would send for me and when I come he would be asking me about my mum, and so on and I would answer him. He would want to offer some help, but I would decline. Sometime he would ask if I would want his driver to drop me off and I would refuse. On one occasion, he asked me the kind of man I would like to marry and I told him that I would like to marry a very tall and huge man, he asked me to kneel down and he prayed that God would grant my heart’s desire. The second time he asked me a similar question, I told him that I would not want to marry a pastor but a man in corporate world. Again, he asked me to kneel down and prayed that God would grant my heart’s desire. Of course, I said that to take his eyes off me if he had been thinking of making such proposal to me. But although I was happy that he prayed that God should grant my heart’s desire, I found out that I soon lost my peace immediately I said that. I shared my feelings with a friend with whom I had been praying for a life partner together. I told her I did not want to marry a pastor but she said I should pray that if he is the one God wants me to marry, He should make it known in a clearer way. We had not finished praying when his driver knocked on the door and handed me a note that I should come and see him in the office the following day. I went to his office; it was a Bible study day so he was very busy. But when I was eventually ushered in, he said: “Do you know what? I am interested in you. Go and pray about it. You are free to say yes or no.” Then he opened the door and asked me to go out and I left. I didn’t know what to say. I just wrote a note to him. In that note, I wrote: “He that findeth a wife, findeth a good thing and obtaineth favour from the Lord.” The rest, they say, is now history.
Is any one of your children a pastor or Reverend today?
Husband: Not yet, although they are not called Pastors or Reverend, they know the Lord.
How has it been with your marriage?
Husband: It has been wonderful because if I have not really gotten the right person, I would have fallen out of faith. That is the reason why the Bible warns those of us who are Christians: “Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” No matter how strong or determined you are, once you marry someone who is not of the same faith with you, the chances of making any success is very slim. So in this marriage, we pray together; we pray for hours. We fast together. And when you have a wife who would co-operate and not that she would disobey you and which would in turn affect the children, your life as a man is made. The Lord brought us together, therefore it is not surprising that we are able to work together, serve together and suffer together too, like the day I had an accident in Kenya. By the time I came out she was still inside the wreck, but she was able to come out. I was the one who sustained serious injuries but she was by my side all the time. So marriage is good if only you obey God to marry someone of the same faith.
Wife: Actually, my husband had a wife before. They only married for four years and the woman passed away and he waited for 23 years before I eventually came into his life. So our own marriage was 26 in December. We thank God we have a marriage relationship and we worked towards that relationship and the Lord has been helping us. When we were about to marry some people thought I was too light in complexion, so I might be of the devil, or something like that but I smiled. But so far we have been able to sustain this marriage relationship through the bond of love, fear of God, trust, and integrity.
Apart from being of the same faith, what are other qualities that you saw in her that made you decide to marry her?
Husband: Part of qualities is, be determined that your marriage is not temporary, and that is what the Bible says. So, have good intention to resolve that this marriage is not for sometime. Next is respect. There is nobody who does not want to be respected. The husband must respect the wife and vise versa. It is very important. Although in Yoruba land we treat our wives like slaves, it is not Biblical. As we expect them to honour and respect us, we too, the husbands, no matter the difference, should honour and respect them. They are human beings. In America, they see marriage as a contract, but in the Bible, marriage it is not like that. We should also appreciate each other. Whenever my wife cooked food, especially African food, and I enjoyed it I would say, “Mummy, thank you.” When she does something good, I don’t feel too big to thank her. The same thing should go for women. When your husband blesses you with something good such as money, shoe, bag, or new garment, it is not out of place to say, ‘Darling, thank you.’ Somebody said there are three statements that you should learn how to say in a family and which is being practised in my family here. We call it ethics, and in every good Christian home these three ethics should be displayed from time to time. The first ethic is to say, “Please”. As a husband, I can ask my wife to do something for me. She would have to obey, but when I am humble enough to say, “Please”, it makes her to feel that I recognize who she is. So we should learn how to say, “Please”, even to our children even though they have to obey us. The second one is, “Thank you.” There is nothing anybody can do for us that we can’t be gracious enough to say thank you. And the last but not the least is, “I am sorry”. It helps in the family. There is no way the husband and the wife would not have quarrels because they are human beings, they are not perfect. But when you wrong your wife, do not feel too big to say I am sorry. The same thing goes for the wife. These are some qualities that have been helping us in our family.
Describe your husband
Wife: My husband is a man of quiet and gentle character. He is a man of faith, he exercises faith and he practices what he preaches. He is a man of peace and loves peace. He doesn’t want misunderstanding; he wants to reconcile people. As a man of faith, he trusts God for everything. He commits everything into His hands. He is a lovely and caring man. Some of my remarks about him is, he is my boyfriend, lover, friend, confidant, and father.Did you experience early marriage challenges?
Wife: Early, in our marriage, he gave me many opportunities that I did not want to abuse. So that one did not leave any loophole. When I got married, people were telling me how to go about it, but one thing about me is that I want to be like Jesus and I want to be myself. And that has helped a lot.
What’s his best food?
Wife: His best food is dodo. He eats all other things. If he wants to eat rice or beans you must add dodo. He is not fussy about food, whatever you serve him, he enjoys.