Amare: Building and Sustaining Healthy Marriages in a Rapidly Changing World (Opinion)

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In this article, social commentator, Epa Stevens, writes about Godman Akinlabi, a pastor and relationship coach on a mission to stem the rising incidence of failed marriages in the society.

SWITZERLAND, MAY 10 – What is the meaning of marriage? Why do we marry? What are the benefits? What are the features of a good marriage? These and other pertinent questions about marriage are becoming increasingly complex to answer in a rapidly changing world where the dynamics of culture and values are always shifting.

With divorce rates on the rise around the world and the roles of men and women changing fast in the modern society, it is easy to predict a bleak future for the institution of marriage. It is also easy to believe marriage is no more relevant. Despite the discouraging statistics, relationship coach and author, Godman Akinlabi, is one of the people who have given Africans the reasons to believe in this sacred institution.

“Having invested seventeen years in the marriage institution and nearly twenty ministering and counselling, I have discovered the beauty in two people coming together in unity to do life and to take-on the world, and also the negative consequences of marital disharmony,” Akinlabi, who is also the Lead Pastor of frontline Christian Ministry, The Elevation Church (TEC), said in a recent news report.

Recent statistics indicate that more people around the world are giving up on marriage as an institution. One of the most available data on marriage dissolution indicates that rate of divorce around the world has doubled in the past 4 decades, peaking at 5.5 in 1000 people by 2008. Today in the United States, 39 percent of all marriages are ending in divorce. In Nigeria, the statistics are less alarming but not good either. While divorce rate remains low, due to the strong influence of a conservative culture, but has continued to climb. According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), just 0.2% of Nigerian men and 0.3% of Nigerian women had legally dissolved their marriage in 2016. However, by 2018, separation rates in Nigeria had recorded a 14 percent increase.

As the Nigerian society comes increasingly under western influence and women become more empowered, the rate of divorce has soared in the country, especially in urban areas. In February 2020, a tweet by a lawyer indicated that there had been 4000 divorce applications in Abuja already that year.

Also, Marriages are becoming less common, and cohabitation has replaced marriage in many cases. Some media reports even indicate that the state of marriages in the world has changed more rapidly in the past 100 years than in the preceding 3,000 years.  Despite enduring for thousands of years of human existence, one of the oldest institutions in the world is now under severe threat.

Akinlabi is aware of this threat and feels concerned to contribute to battling it. Not only is the love guru advocating for healthy and happy marriages, but he is also teaching people how to build and sustain them. To this effect, Akinlabi is launching an online preparatory and enhancement course aimed at building and sustaining healthy matrimonies. Tagged, “Amare” (a Latin adverb meaning “to love”), the courses start in April 2021 with two crucial modules; a Marriage Preparatory Course for singles looking to start their journeys, and a Marriage Enhancement Course for married couples looking to reinvigorate their relationships. These online courses are designed to answer participants’ yearnings and to strengthen relationship bonds.

Akinlabi’s credentials and experience in public speaking, marriage counselling, and relationship advisory has positioned him uniquely as the right anchor to administer these courses. This follows the success of his online TV and weekly Twitter series, The BetterHalf Show, focused on sharing practical tips about building successful romantic relationships. As a renowned relationship coach with deep knowledge and insights on relationships, he is known to convey critical information in a uniquely simple and relatable style. Akinlabi has authored several globally acclaimed relationship books such as Solid: Building the Marriage of Your Dream, Gauging Readiness for Marriage and others.

According to the relationship coach, Amare has been designed as a safe space for vulnerability to remove the impurities and impediments to a blissful union.

“Amare has practical modules for enhanced communications to deal with pertinent questions around personal fears and trust-issues, financial management, family planning, extended family relations, building stronger foundations, tolerance and planning your collective future amongst others. The insights couples gain will help them create a template suitable for them to build and maintain a long-lasting and fulfilling marriage,” he added.

There are many reasons to heed to Akinlabi’s calls to save the marriage institution as a core component of the society. According to the Child Encyclopedia, Children of divorced parents are more likely to experience poverty, educational failure, early and risky sexual activity, non-marital childbirth, earlier marriage, cohabitation, marital discord and divorce.

The Amare online course modules are expected to address pertinent issues in relationships and marriages. such issues may include loss of interest, change in preferences, overwhelming career pressure cum-goal pursuit, financial challenges or simply the selfish pursuit of personal happiness.

By highlighting the consequences of failed marriages on the society, it has been established that good marriages are vital to the wellbeing of the society. By addressing these issues and inspiring us to stay committed to building and sustaining healthy marriages, Akinlabi is making his contributions to building a better society.

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