By OUR REPORTERS
It was like a battle between light and darkness. Reports about activities at the week-long 64th National Convention of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) and reactions to an advice given by the General Overseer of the church to the youths in his congregation last week, were competing for space and attention in the social media.
Pastor Adeboye had on Tuesday, August 2, given the youths words of advice on choosing the right kind of wife to marry, urging single men not to marry women who cannot cook, that are lazy and cannot pray for at least one hour. According to the man fondly referred to as ‘Daddy G.O’, marriage is best contracted between two God-fearing people, especially if the woman is a prayer warrior.
His words: “Don’t ever marry outside RCCG. The reason is that if you are both from the same church even when trouble comes; it is easier for the pastors to handle it. Don’t marry a girl simply because she can sing. In the choir there are some people that can sing but they are fallen angels. Marry a prayer warrior. If a girl cannot pray for one hour, don’t marry her. Don’t marry a girl who is lazy. Don’t marry a girl who cannot cook, she needs to know how to do chores and cook because you cannot afford to be eating out all the time. Don’t marry a girl who is worldly. If you do, you have carried what you’ll worship for the rest of your life.”
The head pastor of one of the biggest Christian congregations in the world also advised women not to marry men who do not have jobs. He said: “Don’t marry a man who has no job. Before God gave Adam, Eve, he gave him a job. He said this is the garden, keep it. So those who come to you and say sister, thus saith the Lord, you are going to be the star in my firmament, ask him what is his job. If he tells you he is a contractor, ask him to show you evidence of all the contracts he has done because the contract he is talking about is you. He wants to live off you. Don’t be a fool. If he hasn’t got a steady income, don’t marry him.”
Since the revered clergy gave the advice, reactions have been raging on social media about the suitability of cooking and ability to pray for at least one-hour-non-stop as prerequisites for marriage. Some Nigerians believe that the pastor’s message will reduce their chances of getting a spouse, while some others went overboard to attack the man of God.
Saturday Sun however, took the argument outside the social media domain to ask Nigerian women their views on the trending issue. Their reactions are as diverse as their colours and heights.
Mrs. Lucky Ubiebor (Asaba)
Talking about the two conditions Papa Adeboye gave his male members on the things to look out for before they marry, I think they are totally in order because when you look at it, the world we are in today is full of evil and women generally are the folks that are used to praying. Truly speaking, if a woman were to pray, before you know it, one hour would have even passed. I for one, if I’am committed to praying, I have something that is bothering me, before I knew it, I have exceeded one hour. So, for a man to look out for a woman who can pray for one hour non-stop is completely in order, there is nothing wrong with it. Mind you, staying long in prayer is not a guarantee that your prayer will be answered but staying long in prayer means that you have so many things that you are committing to God. On the cooking aspect, if a woman does not know how to cook, she is not a woman, a woman must know how to cook. If you don’t know how to cook and you are married to a family, now you are left alone with your husband and you do not know how to cook, indirectly you are a stranger because before you know what is happening, your husband will start going out. For me, the first quality to look out for in a woman is her ability to cook properly. If a woman is not a good cook, she is not a complete woman.
Lucy Ezeliora, Trader (Asaba)
On the issue of praying for one hour non-stop, I want to say that it very important because of the things that are happening now. In fact, prayer is essential for every home. If you say you are a woman and you can’t pray for one hour, you are not supposed to be a woman. For instance, there are all kinds of evil societies around looking for people to initiate. As a woman you need to be prayerful because of your husband, your children and family members so that God can also protect you. I want to support what Daddy Adeboye said and I want to encourage more women to continue praying. That particular injunction, there is nothing bad in it. As for cooking, there is this adage that any woman that can’t cook should be sent back to her father’s house. If you are a woman and you don’t know how to cook, then you should be ashamed of yourself because there is a saying that the easiest way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. The other thing that makes a man happy is sex aside other things. You have to be a good cook because there are some men who can’t do without sitting down at home. There are some who don’t eat out, because they have a wife who can cook well. You have to cook those meals properly so that when your husband remembers, he would want to rush back home.
Ms Elizabeth Banu (Asaba)
I don’t think he (Adeboye) is right about what he said especially on the prayer aspect because people come from different denominations. I am a Catholic, we pray and our prayers are answered just like everyone else but I don’t pray for one hour non-stop. I have my own method of praying. It does not mean that praying for one hour non-stop should be a criterion for being a good woman, because praying for that period is not a guarantee that your prayer will be answered. People don’t pray for that length of time, yet their prayers are answered. The most important thing is for the person to be prayerful and a Christian at heart, not really on the outside. Once the Christianity is at heart, it will surely affect the person’s behavior. For the cooking aspect, a woman who can’t cook is really a problem but if she is willing to learn and you love her, then marry her and help her to learn by getting someone to teach her. What is really a big problem is when she is not willing to learn.
Augustina Umeha, Civil servant (Asaba)
It is not possible to meet a woman that can pray for one hour non-stop. If you talk of 15 minutes, 30 minutes, it’s fine and better off but if you talk of one hour, it is difficult for most women. It is not everybody that knows how to pray. So it is better to pray the little one you can. I don’t see that as a criterium a man should be looking out for in prospective brides. Not that the General Overseer was wrong to give that advice, it is good to pray, prayer is everything but if you pray too much you’ll forget most of the things that you want to do. On the other hand, being a woman, you are supposed to know how to cook because it is not everybody that patronises restaurants. So, it is better to learn how to cook from home because charity, they say, begins from home. You cook for your family and you enjoy the best of it.
Ifeoma Igwe (Abakaliki)
I read the advice on facebook and I looked at it and I told myself it was not what Daddy Adeboye said but now that it has become subject of discussion. What I have to say is that cooking and praying are not just the only qualifications a good wife or mother must have. A woman may not know how to pray for one hour and be a wonderful cook but that does not mean she is not a good wife. Moreover, there are good ladies out there that do not know how to cook very well but they are good and will make wonderful wives. So, cooking is not a difficult thing in this generation that you have books on how to prepare any type of food you want and any man that loves a girl will marry her despite these shortcomings believing that with love and constant practice, they will overcome the challenges. On the issue of prayer, I don’t agree with him either because there are ladies out there who can say a short prayer and God answers them.
Miss Elizabeth Arua ((Abakaliki)
I don’t believe Pastor Adeboye, with due respect to the man of God, he is one of the men of God that I respect so much. But on this issue, I beg to disagree with him because there are billions of wife materials out there that will fail the test of being good cooks and prayer warriors and still make good wives to their spouses. All that is required is love, wherever there is love, there are bound to be peace and tolerance and in that situation, a man must love his wife despite her shortcomings arising from her inability to pray for one hour nonstop or cook the best dish in the world. So, I don’t agree with Pastor Adeboye.
Felicia Obilo, Media Consultant (Lagos)
I respect Pastor Adeboye so much, but if he actually said that, then I beg to disagree with him. Prayer should not be about the length of time but quality. Some can pray in few minutes and God answers them. God already knows our intention before we even come to pray to him. Even Christ did not say long prayers when he was on earth. Being able to say lengthy prayers should not be used as a parameter to measure a woman for marriage.
On the cooking aspect, the man is not marrying a maid. Nowadays, we have men that can cook better than their wives. Marriage is something much more than marrying a wife that can cook. What happened to love and mutual respect? However, I really don’t want to believe that a man of God of his calibre can say that. And I feel he’s being quoted out of context.
Lola Benson, Businesswoman (Lagos)
For me, what Pastor Adeboye said is proper. He is very correct. It is good for a woman to know how to cook. It is essential. It is even shameful to hear that a woman cannot cook. Any woman that can’t cook is an indication that she has no sound home training. Men might pretend not to mind, but deep down in their hearts, they do mind. Even the family of the man would not be happy if they discover that their son’s wife cannot cook. The only important factor is if that woman is willing to learn and can take corrections. But for me, I won’t advise my son to marry someone that cannot cook.
The other aspect of praying for one hour non-stop get as e be o because not everyone can pray for an hour non-stop especially in the morning period when one would have go to work.
Clara Nnorom, Consultant (Lagos)
In my candid opinion, everybody, both the man and woman should learn how to cook. It should not only be left for the women alone. Because our society has allocated certain roles by gender, we have given the responsibility of cooking to women. But I think it is better for the man and woman to have basic cooking skills, for a healthy and nutritional well being.
Then, prayer is a personal conviction, it should not be a requirement to marry someone. That a woman can pray for one hour doesn’t make her virtuous. These days, prayer is an outward show. We have seen and heard cases where a woman can pray unending for hours, yet she harbours malice against her neighbours. God doesn’t place emphasis on praying for hours, rather He told us more about loving our neighbours as ourselves.
Mrs Lami Ahmed, Psychologist (Lagos)
I don’t think Pastor Adeboye said that to bring down the womenfolk. I believe he is talking like a father, and pointing the need for a family to be prayerful. Having an active prayerful family is very important. A family cannot stand without prayers. And the wife is central in the prayer life of any family. She plays a significant role in activating a strong prayer life in the family.
On the other hand, I believe as Africans, a woman should know how to cook for her family. I cook for my husband and my children, and they love my cooking.Whenever they return home, they are always eager to know what I’ve prepared for them to eat, they are always expecting that I would prepare something delicious. A wife’s ability to cook for her family is a basic recipe to creating a happy home.
Jane Osagie (Benin)
I call him Papa Adeboye because I am a Christian woman, not because I worship in his church. He is entitled to his opinion. You know, what we keep talking about, in the women’s movement is that, all our behaviours and thoughts are affected by the way we socialize.
So, for papa’s age and in his time, yes, every woman should cook. But we are talking about contemporary society and development has gone further than a woman should do this and a woman should not do that. Right now, a woman can do anything that a man can do. The difference was just opportunity. We did not have the same opportunity. Now that we have the same opportunity to cook, you need your brain and your hands and the man has them and the woman also has them. So, anybody can cook.
He also talked about not being able to pray for an hour. I think he based that on maybe somebody who wants to marry a pastor. Because you actually need to pray to backup your husband but even for a woman who is not married to a pastor like me, I believe in praying every hour. I may not be able to pray for one hour non stop but I can pray for 24 hours, every hour, I pray for my family.
Prof. Yinka Omoregbe
I actually know some women with very great marriages who are not very good cooks. So, there are so many other things that make a wife.
On the prayer aspect, it is good for a woman to be prayerful but to reduce it to praying for one hour, I think he is being legalistic. What you might say is that it is good for a wife to be prayerful, it is also good for a wife to be able to cook but there is so much more to marriage. You can get good foods from an excellent cook and you can pray yourself and you can have pastors that pray for you.
Dr. (Mrs) Rosaline Etiti Okosun
Pastor Adeboye is a man whom I highly regard and respect because of his great faith in God and the way he preaches the word undiluted. But in these instances, I say I disagree with him 100%. A woman can be a great asset without being a good cook. That does not mean she cannot make a good wife. It takes two to tango. Husband and wife, they help each other out. It is only here that a woman is a slave, who does all the cooking. Elsewhere, both men and women do the cooking. And if you marry for the love of it, the husband should be able to cook for the wife and they will both enjoy themselves as husband and wife.
About praying, it all depends on what you are saying in one hour. It is not the number of hours or days that you kneel to pray that God answers. He could answer you instantly, for a second. So, I do not believe in praying for one hour as if that is when God will answer your prayers and make you a better wife. So, it depends on individuals.
Nne Ukiwe, Ex-banker (Lagos)
What of the men? Can they pray for one hour non-stop? I think the revered man of God was just carrying out sensitisation on prayers as very important aspect of life, knowing that family alters have been destroyed, and also our value systems have not only been adversely eroded, but collapsed. He was emphasizing prayer as essential part of life.
After all, there are some Christian couples, who are not born-again, but they are living peacefully and know how to overcome family problem and challenges when they arise. Except during programmes or services, not many engage in one-hour non-stop. One may be blabbing in the name of prayers for hours while in effect, such a person wasn’t praying in the true sense of it.
Yes, any girl who can’t cook is not a wife material.
Chioma Adeoye, Evangelist (Lagos)
For the fact that you can’t pray one hour non-stop doesn’t mean you are not a prayerful woman. It is a question of grace, and you grow in it, may be from 30 minutes to one hour and to probably seven hours.
Practice they say, makes perfect, you advance in your prayer life and the time you spend with God.
If you can’t pray for one hour non-stop, you can begin from somewhere and move on. There shouldn’t be time limit, but it is the quality time before God that matters.
However, he is our daddy and whatever he says, we do.
There is no doubt about it, if a girl doesn’t know how to cook, I don’t know the type of home she is going to make.
Engr. Chinyere Achukwu, Businesswoman (Benue)
I don’t buy that idea. It has to do with the fervency of the prayer, and not how long the prayer. If you fervently pray for 20 minutes or more or even less, I think it may suffice but not long prayers without concentration. It has to do with quality time.
Barbra Odoh, Actress (Abuja)
We have different callings. We have to discover the area where God is calling us. Everybody may not be a prayer warrior. One has to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit so as not to pray amiss. It is the Holy Spirit that may guide you on what to pray for and of course the length of the prayer.
The Bible says, the effectual prayer of the righteous avails much, so it may not necessary depend on the duration of the prayers.
Pastor Adeboye is a man of God I respect so much, but if praying for one hour non-stop is one of the criteria to be a wife material, we would not be surprised to see young girls staying all the day in the church or at home shouting in the name of prayers, when inwardly they don’t mean what they are doing.
Dr. (Mrs) Jane Duru, Women activist (Lagos)
It is his personal opinion. For me, I don’t think prayer has anything to do with duration. It is not the longer you pray, prayer has to come from the heart. What if you pray for 10 hours and your heart is not there. Or you pray for 20 hours and you go out and sin again. That should not come from a minister of God. I believe and support the fact that a woman should know how to pray, but if for anything, you love that person and she can’t cook, marry her and brush her up on how to cook. It is not the only reason for keeping a woman. So, that is not a factor.
Dr. (Mrs) Grace Dimanozie, Clergy (Lagos)
That is his personal doctrine for his denomination. It has no biblical backing. So, Christians should believe biblical ordinances and not denomination. He declared that to those who believe in him as mentor and believe in what he says. Bible is explicit that marriage is based on love. Anything that is not love does not qualify any marriage. If you love a woman, you will not mind her deficiencies, because she can learn how to cook later. If you love a woman, you can marry her and your love for her can cover her deficiencies.
As for prayer, God is not interested in the length of time you pray. God is interested in prayer reaching him. If a sinner prays for seven days, nothing can happen. A witch can pray for seven hours and nothing would happen. But if a righteous man prays for an hour, something would happen. The hours of prayers is not important, what is important is the person’s relationship with God.
Dr. (Mrs) Bridget Okafoagu, Clergy (Anambra)
Marriage belongs to God only, otherwise it means no one should marry. Prayer is a gift, so you don’t expect everybody to have the same level before marriage. I don’t have the gift of praying for an hour or even one minute before I got married. I only believe in saying a word and it must come to pass.
Talking about cooking, some girls who cannot cook, their husbands can teach them. Again, our new testament teaches no testing before marriage. It even forbids the girl to be with the man before marriage. How then would the man know whether she knows how to cook or not, or whether she can pray for one hour without stopping? Marriage belongs to God. People must leave it to God who has destined everybody for his or her marriage.
Ogo Maduewesi, Founder, VITSAF (Lagos)
First, I see a pastor who is addressing his congregation with his own thoughts on an issue that is in response to the rate of failed marriages today. As a human being, he thinks and shares things like one, he is not receiving messages from God every minute, so his talks are subject to some questioning. When human beings speak irrespective of who the person is, I weigh it and do what I want to. I have no issues with his advice to his members, it is not for me. I pray and follow my instincts.
I don’t agree with him because the decision about who to marry is mine alone. A woman may not be praying for an hour before marriage but can learn and start doing so after marriage. If a woman cannot cook, the man can do the cooking. I don’t see any issue there if they have an understanding. So what works for Pastor Adeboye may not work for another person. That is why I will go for what works for me.
Nancy Adaeze Kenneth, Lawyer (Imo)
Pastor Adeboye’s statement on the requirements for a woman to be marriageable is not completely accurate and practicable in this era. The reason is that, a woman’s ability to cook or pray is no guarantee that she will make a good wife.
A basic skill such as cooking is equivalent to brushing the teeth or making the bed after waking up, and so it shouldn’t be exclusive to one gender. Where the woman has a work career that increases the finances of the home, or where she’s good in all chores but cooking, then her inability or refusal to cook, should not be an issue to be considered, especially if she’s willing to learn how to do so.
Prayers are actually important as well, but couples are meant to complement each other in spiritual matters. A one-hour prayer is somewhat laughable, as it gives the impression that God has a default in hearing, and so would not answer the prayer of a person who doesn’t say the same prayer points repeatedly for an hour.
So, while Pastor Adeboye’s advice is one borne out of harmless thoughts or warm intentions, it definitely does not guarantee the success of marriage, especially where the chores or prayers is exclusively reserved for the wife.
Thelma Amadi (Abuja)
Not getting married to a woman because she cannot pray and nor cook? I don’t think that should be the main issue. If you know you love somebody, you should go ahead; if the person cannot pray for one hour, along the line you teach her, make her know how to do it.
It is said that the way to a man’s heart is food, but I don’t really agree with that. You have good restaurants everywhere, where a man can probably get good food. So, that cooking aspect shouldn’t really be a big deal. It depends on the agreement between the man and the woman.
I agree with him, that a woman should not marry a man who does not have a job, because before a man gets committed to a woman, he should be able to take care of himself before he can take care of a woman and kids that are coming.
Bassey Blessing Edet (Calabar)
I do believe that a man should not marry a woman who can’t pray at least for one hour non-stop. This is because women are closer to God; women are seen as intercessors. So if you marry a woman who can’t pray, it means that she cannot intercede for the family. Men are weak when it comes to prayers. If you have one hundred men only about 15 can be diligent with God’s work. So, they need women who can pray very hard and non-stop for the family and society because they have larger heart to accommodate a lot.
On cooking, any woman who can’t cook should think twice. To me, any woman who cannot cook is a problem to the family and prospective husband. A man should not even contemplate marrying a woman who doesn’t know how to cook. To me, I think that women should even know how to cook from the age of 15. It would be out of place to even hear that a woman cannot cook let alone going into marriage.
Mrs. Oroma Eddeh-Adjugah (Port Harcourt)
It is not a good idea that a man of God should give out such advice. Praying for an hour does not make a woman good and cannot be a criterion for marriage. A woman that cannot cook can be taught how to cook by her husband, friends and in-laws. As long as there is love, other things are secondary.
Ewatomi Emmanuel (Ibadan)
Why are people discussing what Daddy Adeboye said in the public like this? Baba gathered the youths in his church and talked to them. If you are not a member of his church, what is your own palaver?
By and large, is it not ideal for a woman to know how to cook? Is it wrong of a woman to pray for one hour non-stop? To me, the love of this world has blindfolded many and they are criticising the man of God.
If you don’t agree with what he said, then go ahead and let us see how far your marriage will last. Those that have been saying rubbish against the cleric, how many of them have settled homes? They are all divorcees. They are successful in their careers, but have failed in their duties at home.
Though it may be difficult for some ladies to pray for one hour non-stop, it is good. This will help you and your family to go far in life. If you cannot pray for one hour non-stop, you can always improve. I do not see why that should generate controversies.