By Kate Halim
Amara Blessing Nwosu is one woman whose life and writings courts controversies and she equally enjoys them. Having gone through a horrible marital experience after she was given out in marriage at 17, her decision to take a walk has generated so much controversy because of her being a relationship coach. She tells you "people show openly that they have no faith in me because to them, I couldn't even keep my marriage."
In a recent interview with Daily Sun, Nwosu revealed the wrong reasons for getting married, she also spoke on her NGO, Dorcas Generation Initiative. Excerpts:
As a young girl, what kind of dream did you have?
As a young girl, I had this dream that one day I was going to become a medical doctor specializing in surgery. I actually got an admission after a second JAMB exam attempt. But as you know, things don't always work out the way we plan it. Yes, it was painful to me because I saw it as someone killing my dream, but God has a way of turning our mess into a message.
Would you say you have achieved your childhood dreams now?
Not really, but I am still in that field of caring for the weak and feeble. I am still very passionate about the human body that I find myself preparing meal plans for people, even medical doctors. I am not a medical doctor today, but I am fulfilled and life is extremely beautiful for me knowing that I wake up daily as an extension of God's hand and love for humanity. The cases I treat on a day to day basis inspires me to be the best. Honestly, I know I cannot afford to fail or live a bad life now because a lot of souls are connected to me.
What lessons have you learnt in life?
Life, life, is bitter sweet according to the words of Mrs Remi Obasanjo.
When I read her stories, I can identify with her because I went through it all. But so far, God has been gracious and I have learnt many lessons. You don't know who your friends are until pain comes. I have also learnt that God has a way of raising stones to praise Him when human beings refuse to do so. I have learnt that a lot of our churches are not what they claim to be. I have learnt that hard work and perseverance when joined together with the mercy and grace of the Almighty God takes you to any length in life. I have also learnt that when the hand of God is upon you and when you are destined for success, all hell will let loose, but at the end of the day, just like the princes of this world regretted crucifying Jesus Christ, they will regret touching you.
Given your marriage experience, would you still say marriage is a good thing?
Why not? Marriage is the most sacred and most rewarding institution in life; only when you are in it with the right partner. I am giving marriage another shot if God says so because now, I would be going into with my best friend and confidant. I used to be scared of it after my experience, but thank God for the person of Apostle Anselm Madubuko who broke that fear in my life. I see couples married for 50 years and still in love, my next marriage is going to be like that because now he is going to be my friend who fears God and has conscience and not a total stranger.
What advice would you give to any teenager going into a marriage?
Marriage for teenagers? I will ever stand against it. My daughter is almost 16 and when I look at her, I imagine myself being given away in marriage at 17. But when they want to get married, I say this to them, If you are thinking of marriage, ask yourself these few questions: am I ready for marriage? If I think I am ready for it, why do I want to get married? Who is my spouse? What are the things I cannot and can take in the name of marriage? If you know what you cannot take in the long run, please don't take it in the short run. Love is not enough to sustain a marriage. I always say this when singles come to my office for counselling or when I speak during conferences. The "in love" euphoria will surely fade away leaving you to a time of reality. If you are not married to your best friend who you can communicate with, I am sorry for you. There are things you don't know yet as a teenager, wait and know those things before saying "I do".
What would you say about Nigerian marriages?
Nigerian marriages are not what marriage should be. Most times we have people who are just cohabiting and not married. We have also come to accept the lie that marriage should be endured and not enjoyed. Is that the will of God for marriage? These things are happening because we get into marriage for the wrong reasons. It's either you are getting too old and need to have a child or the man has some good money to throw around. We need to grow to the level where we stop believing life is not complete without your own biological offspring. We also have to grow to start getting married to our friends irrespective of tribe and culture.
What are your challenges as a relationship consultant?
Recently, a man called me and asked me to call his wife who is giving him hell and threatening to take a walk. When I called her, she insulted me and dropped the call on me. I have had couples fight in my presence. I have also had parents fight me just because I tried counselling their son into marriage with his girlfriend of three years who they never liked because she had two kids outside marriage. But thank God, they are now married and the two families have taken me in as one of them. I have also had people show openly that they have no faith in me because to them, I couldn't even keep my marriage. But you know what! those things don't move me because you can only get moved when you don't know your calling. I am proud to say that I was the best wife any man could ever ask for, but God brought me out when He saw my pain which I did not allow the world to see.
What gave birth to Dorcas Generation Initiative?
Dorcas Generation Initiative is something I nursed from childhood. I was born with a passionate heart for the poor and hopeless. It was when people see what I do that they advised I register it with the CAC. I thought of a better name for the organization and came up with the name Dorcas from Acts chapter 9. She was a woman who took good care of the widows that when she died, they prayed and cried her back to life. It was initially for widows, but after my experience in marriage and the pain of divorce and rejection, I decided to be a pillar of support for abused women as well. What achievements have you recorded with DGI? God has been awesome with us and I return all the glory to Him. We have fought for the rights of women sent away by their husbands for no just cause and we have been able to secure the custody of their children and also helped with accommodation for them, temporary or permanent. God has used us to send some widows and orphans back to school, in fact, I have one in my house now who would be going back to school in January. I met her and was touched by the pain of such an intelligent girl who had to drop in JS 3 because her mum, a widow, could not take care of them. Widows have roof over their heads, courtesy, DGI. I must use this medium to commend the Lagos NBA Chairman, Barr. Taiwo O. Taiwo for fighting the cause of these women free of charge. Before him, I met lawyers who constantly asked for money and because I couldn't pay, they turned their backs on these women. We recently held a programme of feeding and clothing about 200 of these less-privileged ones in Lagos. 100 widows in my village were also beneficiaries of the largesse of DGI. My Local Government Chairman and my dad have been supportive. I am enjoying the whole thing, I find joy whenever I give them a hug and see smiles on their faces.
Between men and women, who cheats the most?
You know they say men are polygamous by nature, I don't know how true that statement is, but to an extent, I want to believe it is true. But these days you see women who are crazy, they have stopped being women and are now worse than men when it comes to indecent living. Married women are even getting worse as they are now into all sorts-lesbianism and gigolos. Single girls now want married men at all cost. You find out that in most cases, these men don't go after them, the girls are the hunters. It's a crazy world we live in, like Prof. Achebe said, things have fallen apart, may God help us.
How can a cheated partner heal from his or her partner's betrayal?
Forgiveness does it. You can't move on in life until you have a forgiving heart. I don't think I will leave a man because he cheated on me. Even when my ex-husband had a baby outside marriage after the birth of my first son who is my second baby, I took the baby in and she lived with me for almost 7 years. Women should know that these days, girls are the ones running after the men. Married men should know that young boys are now too lazy to work, but must wear designer jeans and tops and the only way to get those goodies is by an affair with oga's wife. Like God, our father, we should be willing to forgive and forget.
What are the wrong reasons for getting married?
We all desire to have children, but I must tell people that if you are getting married for that reason, then you don't know what marriage is. The first reason for marriage is companionship. Some ladies see a man they share nothing in common with, but they get into it because he is cute and rich or because their mates are all married and they have to. Guys go for it because a lady is beautiful and good with Queens English. All those things will fail someday.
What advice would you give to any woman suffering abuse in her marriage?
It depends on the kind of abuse you are talking about, but once the man goes physical, please run for your life. Someone said, "if he beats you the first time, take it as a mistake, but the moment he does it the second time, you better run for your life". I always tell people who are still in dating relationships, if he slaps you mistakenly during courtship or you see him beat his sister, he is going to beat you. Don't listen to anyone telling you to endure, Titi Arowolo is gone and I am sure none of the people telling her to stay back will ask after her motherless little girl. A doctor called me after reading my article, he said he lost his patient recently because while he was telling the woman to quit her marriage due to series of beating from her husband, she ran to her village after another beating, her people told her to go back. On getting back, the man beat her again and that was it, she didn't live to tell the story. Run and stay alive for your children is my candid advice.
What do you think is responsible for young, beautiful, educated ladies these days who find it hard to get married? Can it be spiritual?
I once did an article and was attacked by ladies, but as you know, I enjoy controversies. The truth is that young ladies have succeeded in placing themselves where no young and growing man can reach them. Again, some of them have terrible attitudes that you keep wondering who raised them. Because of what the society is, a good number of single ladies are not ready to start life with a man, they want him ready made. There are also ladies who are still very decent and godly, but are being held back because guys want to try them out in bed before marriage.
Any tips for a lasting relationship?
Friendship, mutual respect, and companionship. Our men should grow to know that a woman needs more than money to be happy.
Can you tell us about yourself?
I am Amara Blessing Nwosu, daughter of Rev. And Mrs. Lawrence Nwosu, from Ihiala in Anambra State. I am a relationship counsellor, Newspaper columnist, author of two books-Men's Grooming and Women's Grooming, a public speaker and Image consultant, blogger and Executive Director, Dorcas Generation Initiative, a proud African mother of four lovely kids.