Happy Valentines Day everyone! This is one celebration I am not really big on but I appreciate its focus on showing love to not just couples but all and sundry. One person who talks a lot about love amongst couples is Pastor Tinu Asegieme who happens to be one my favourite people. As a Pastor she exudes a rare honesty which allows her to speak with depth and wisdom. She has a passion for single and married women and with her husband Pastor Kennedy Asegieme runs the Marriage Institute, a Christian resource centre for marriage building and is a widely sought out conference speaker.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? Well I am the first daughter of a family of 7 children. I attended the Holy Child College, South West, Ikoyi, Lagos and studied Law at the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. I met my dear husband Pastor Kennedy Asegieme at the Nigerian Law School and we have been married 19 years. Our marriage is blessed with two beautiful daughters.
From your bio you are a Lawyer and even worked in the Bank for a while, what made you decided to follow the path of being a minister of the Gospel? The passion…the passion I have for women, I am passionate for women at every stage of their lives. Young women, single women, married women, divorced women, mature women. I am just passionate about seeing them be who God has called them to be and this led me to focusing on my purpose which has been very fulfilling. My mandate as a minister of God is to restore the dignity of “Womanhood” back to women and young girls and to ensure every woman discovers her God ordained purpose and assignment no matter who she is, where she is and at what level in life she finds herself. I am also passionate about healthy relationships especially the marriage relationship.
Now an important aspect of relationships for Women and Men is sexual fulfilment, however many people especially in the Church are reluctant to bring this up, why?
Its cultural, our culture here makes it seem that such things can only be discussed in the private. Meanwhile the truth is that Jesus died for us in the open and thus there is no reason not to talk about things that are so important openly.
Still on relationships the national divorce rate is high and people are getting less tolerant with each other , what is the leading cause of marital disharmony and how can it be remedied?
It is basically the lack of knowing God. Many people profess to know God but they do not truly know Him, as a true revelation of God will help us be more tolerant and forgiving of our spouses shortcomings. In every religion if we truly know God we will be more patient and loving towards our spouse and build better marriages. In the same vein the remedy to marital disharmony is a revelation of who God is, knowing Him and truly loving Him as “God is love”.
Infidelity is a big issue and in Nigeria there are a lot of double standards. A woman has an affair and is thrown out while a man has an affair and his wife is asked to forgive. What advice do you have for women dealing with unfaithful husbands?
This may sound hard but first of all pray for him, second of all I am not trying to over spiritualise the issue but perhaps there is more to it that meets the eye. Lastly you must forgive, again it brings us back to the love Christ has for us despite all we have done He forgives us. We must also examine ourselves and be sure we are not pushing our husbands away. Many men feel comfortable going from the office to hang out at isi ewu joints meanwhile he should feel more comfortable in the home. There is a lot more to say on this depending on a variety of factors but first and foremost one must pray.
How about in the area of violence? when should a woman or a man take a walk from a violent marriage?
Once violence enters a marriage the couple should separate. Note I didn’t say divorce but separate immediately and reassess the situation from a place of safety. It may also be necessary to get a third party such as a Pastor or close friend involved. However, I would advise only involving family as a very last resort especially if you plan to reconcile,as family will have more emotions involved and may not be able to be objective or forgive the offending spouse when the issue is resolved.
Lets talk about something more positive . You have been married for 19 years how do you keep things fresh in your marital relationship?
Its been Gods grace really, I ask God for grace daily and make sure that I bear no grudges against him. I go to bed empty and wake up asking for fresh grace for the new day. In the past it could take days before telling my husband how he had offended me but today I will tell him immediately and I forgive quickly. Like most couples we may have our difference but we overcome them together. I am intentional, we both are and that has helped our relationship immensely.
I also make sure I spend quality time with my husband as that is one of his love languages. During the course of day we make sure we speak to each other frequently as communication is a very important aspect of any marriage. There is the tempation to neglect your spouse during the day since you will see at the end of the day but it’s wrong as you get home tired having given so much to people you interact with all day, thus we try our best to make sure we communicate during the course of the day. We also ensure we spend quality time with our children as its a good way of showing them how things are supposed to be. At the end of the day our children will soon leave us so its important we understand each other and enjoy each others company. Thankfully as we apply all this we find that with each passing year we are growing together and growing more in love.
For a couple who are experiencing dryness and more what kind of advice would you give them to re ignite their own marriage?
Sex is an important way to bond as a couple. Another things that’s really important is understanding your husbands love language. For example with my husband he loves quality time so once I got that revelation I cut down on my going out. Many times we are busy with other people and fail to spend time with the most important person, so that needs to change. When your husband is around try and give him attention and let him know he is important, when my husband comes homes in the evening I stop all phone calls and give him attention. Many of us are so addicted to our phone and are having affairs with Instagram, Facebook and whatsapp, put down your phone and pay attention to your husband. Also ensure there is frequent communication and try and rememebr those things that made you fall in love in the first place.
I know you hold annual couple dinners with the purpose of fanning the flames of love , what kind of testimonies have come out of such gatherings?
We have gotten amazing feedback from such programmes. Some couples give feedback saying they talked so much afterwards and some had no idea they were causing so much pain and went home planning to be more romantic, expressive and deliberate. Many of them had forgotten the reason they came together as many times we forget that at a time we couldn’t stay away from each other so how does that change? At what point did you get so distracted that all you care about are the bill and the school fees and forget about the love you had? So the major testimony is people leave with a realisation that they want to do things differently.
Lets talk a bit about the part before marriage, many people miss signs of a bad marriage while at the courtship stage, what can young men and women do to be more aware before they say I do.
The truth is that many things these signs are clear but are either ignored or they have been blinded to them by sex. When you engage in the physical then the minds vision is blurred. So sex keeps you caught up in the area of pleasure so that the body is being fulfilled but the mind switches of. Based on this my first advise is no sex as engaging prematurely will make you manage things you would not normally take, for instance a guy with really bad anger issues will be tolerated because your mind has been clouded by the pleasure of sex. When God says no to pre-marital sex its really for you and because He loves you so much.
What role does the church have to play in promoting marital harmony
The Church has to give more times to talk about marriage and the family. A lot of pastors emphasize more on finances and being a worker, things that serve their own purpose rather than the things that serve the people. There is therefore a need to hold more marriage seminars and genrally preach more on topics that promote healthy marriages and relationships.
On a final note the life of a minister can be very very busy, how are you able to juggle being a wife, mother and minister? How do you unwind in your stressful moments?
Grace all the way, its only by Gods grace. My home is my haven and I love spending time at home with my husband . We also enjoy watching movies at home and at the cinema.
Thanks Pastor Tinu its been great talking to you.