By Josfyn Uba And Kelechi Ofoedu
Recently, men and women of Knights of St. John International, Lagos, took time out to recapture their youthful days in an uncommon ceremony, the inaugural celebration of the Couples’ Forum, organised by the District 15 Ladies Auxilliary, Lagos
The event kicked off with Holy Mass at Holy Family Catholic Church, Festac, Lagos, with the theme “Spirituality in Marriage and Family Life.”
The climax of the event was the renewal of marriage vows by the couples.
In his homily, Rev. Fr. Noel Eshikena, enjoined the couples to be steadfast in the vows they made on their wedding day.
The reception train, which had all the paraphernalia of romance and love, moved to the Holy Family Event Centre, Festac. With the choice of red as the colour of the day, the men were clad in black suits with red bow ties, while their wives were gorgeously dressed in red evening gowns.
The historic event was well attended by the crème de la crème of the Catholic community. It had activities such as a couples’ game, quiz on marital ties, jokes and other games.
Brig-Gen. Patrick Igwilo, Grand President of the Lagos Grand Commandery, who was the chairman on the occasion, was unavoidably absent, but he sent a representative in the person of Peter Osamgbi.
In her welcome address, the president of District 15 Ladies Auxilliary, Lady Tussy Afam Obi, said that there was no perfect man or woman, and no perfect marriage but only what which each couple makes of it; she reminded the gathering that the neighbour’s lawn always appears greener.
Lady Obi told Daily Sun that the essence of the renewal of their marriage vows, was to ventilate their diverse ideas about marriage, explore factors challenging the institution of marriage as well as seek ways to overcome them.
“Being married for a long time is a source of pride in today’s world of high divorce rates and it calls for a bigger celebration than the first few years,” she said.
She stressed that unhappiness, strain and other vices creep into marriage only when spouses stopd working on their relationship; she encouraged them to continue to learn new ways to understand each other for an enduring union.
Rev. Fr. Emmanuel Abulu, who gave a talk on the conflicts in marriage and the church’s position, congratulated the women on the joyful celebration and commended them for the initiative. He gave an insight into the church’s position by a dramatic demonstration with a couple, Sir and Lady Terrence Onyejiaku.
He spoke extensively on how couples could enjoy their relationship and avoid conflict by dealing with little issues early enough such that they would not snowball into big conflicts. He stressed that marriage was naturally a battle that couples must be determined to fight and win.
The priest enjoined husbands to defend their wives at all times while the women must always see their husbands as the heads of their homes because they have been ordained so from creation
Dr. Nkem Okoro, founder and chairperson of “Wife,” who delivered a paper on the effects of menopause and andropause on marital relationship, pointed out that one of the greatest challenges of marriage often comes in the middle and late stages of life due to menopause in women and andropouse.
Highlighting the physical and psychological problems occasioned by menopause, she enjoined their spouses to be ready to help them to navigate through those difficult stages of life while remembering that they were once the apple of their eye.
Okoro stated that in adropause, men easily sense the changes and become concerned, especially about their sexuality and functioning capacity, unlike the women. She, therefore, admonished them not to lose confidence and fall victim to middle age crisis so as to seek sexual excitement from younger women, rather, couples should explore various ways to deal with the natural phenomenon and rekindle their love.
Apart from the cutting of the cake, the highpoint of the romantic evening was when couples were serenaded to the some good old school tunes. They reenacted their youthful days in some special music.
Many of the couples have been married up to 25 years while other older couples have clocked up to 40 years and above.
Some of them who spoke to Daily Sun said that the day had afforded them the opportunity to rededicate themselves and helped to bring back the spark in their love lives.