Sex is not an issue easily discussed in our clime, but many marriages have been ruined because of it. Knowing therefore, how important sex is in marriage, what does a woman do if she unknowingly ties the nuptial knot with an impotent man?
If you are an avid reader of magistrates’ and customary courts proceedings, you will know that divorce occurs or the request for a court of competent jurisdiction to dissolve a union is heard every day.
More often than not, the reason for seeking the dissolution of unions is centred on sex. You either hear or read of one partner accusing the other of infidelity, or one is claiming that the other cannot ‘perform’ sexually.
Often times, it is the women who cite lack of performance as reason for seeking divorce.
Men also complain of neglect of marital duties or lack of interest by their partners. For this reason, they either look for alternatives outside or outrightly ask for divorce.
There has to be a sexual relationship between couples for procreation to take place and development of bond between them.
For the Christian, though, sex before marriage is forbidden and so is divorce. Couples are supposed to come to their marriage bed as virgins trusting and hoping that all will work out well. That is the ideal.
Succinctly put, “Once you get married, stay in it,” and based on Jesus’ teaching, in the Christian marriage, intending couples vow to stay married ‘for better for worse, till death do us part.’ The Minister on his part reiterates Jesus’ words; “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.”
What this means is that for anybody preparing to get married; you have to ‘shine your eyes’ very well before pronouncing the words ‘I do.’
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However, some women have been known to be deceived into marriage by impotent men who hide under the guise of ‘born again’ and no sex before marriage.
Bearing in mind then how important sex is in marriage, and given the position of the Christian faith on divorce, what happens when after the ceremonies a woman discovers that her husband is impotent and had deliberately kept the information from her?
The Next Edition (www.nextedition.com.ng) sought the thoughts of some ministers on the position of the church and some Nigerians on what they think.
Among the Christian faith, some denominations are very strict in complying with the ‘no divorce’ rule.The Catholic denomination is one of them. Divorce is totally not acceptable. So what are the options open to a woman wedded in the Catholic Church under such circumstance?
Rev. Fr. Jide Arowosafe SJ, said though the Catholic Church does not approve of divorce, there are conditions that may warrant the annulment of a marriage.
According to him, “an annulment can be possible after an ecclesial tribunal finds a lack of validity in the marriage at the time of the marital contract.”
What this means, according to him, is that it has to be proven that all conditions necessary were met at the time the couple got married.
For instance, an impotent man must disclose his ‘condition’ to the woman he wants to marry. It should be the woman’s choice to marry or not to marry the man in spite of his condition.
Failure, therefore, to disclose such impediment, is ground for an annulment, but Fr. Jide stressed that the process is long and cumbersome.
Pastor Joshua Abiodun of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, Ilasa, Lagos, also said divorce was not an option in the Redeemed church.
He said in the RCCG once a couple get married, they can’t divorce and if they separate, they can’t remarry.
According to him, the process of getting married in the church was long and arduous, just to ensure that as much as possible such a situation is avoided.
He gave some insight into the process:
“In the Redeemed Christian Church of God, it is expected that before a man says there is a lady that God is leading him to marry, he would talk to a pastor about it and they will pray together. Then he would do his own personal prayer. Thereafter, he returns to the pastor who will find out from him, the signs from God that he feels are leading him to the particular lady.
“If he is able to answer that, he continues to pray that God will also minister to the lady. If the lady in question now comes to the pastor to say something concerning the man, we know that indeed it is God leading them. Thereafter, the man is given permission to speak to the lady.
“Then each of them will write a letter of conviction explaining how they know the other person ‘is the one.’ If you don’t have the conviction, there is no point going into the marriage. Somebody cannot go through all that and then come back at the end of the day to say that they want a divorce.”
Addressing the issue of somebody hiding impotence, Pastor Abiodun said: “one of the things we do in counselling is that if someone is suffering from a disease, he or she must tell the other party. We also expect them to do some medical tests.
“Even if you are not a member of any Church, you should try to find out the health status of the person you want to marry; do they have HIV, are your genotypes compatible, even their potency is checked because of all these problems. Yes, God heals but at the same time, he tells us to watch and pray. So once you are able to check those things, you can then make an informed decision. You see people after their medical check, they are both AS, and they still decide to marry. You let them. It’s their choice.
“One of the reasons for marriage is to check adultery. We don’t want people getting marriage and sleeping around. If a man can’t sleep with his wife, one of the benefits of marriage is removed. It is also for procreating children in accordance with the will of God. Now, the man cannot, again, making two key benefits of marriage removed.
“But if people are honest according to the will of God, the way it is supposed to be, we shouldn’t be having all these issues in marriage.
“In Redeemed, as far as we are concerned, once you are married, you can’t divorce. If you happen to separate, you can’t marry again but we don’t even encourage separation.”
Noting that the foundation of every marriage matters, the Pastor said: “If the foundation is faulty it will not stand but if it is a Christian foundation, I am not talking about church goers, but Christians that have the spirit of God who come together, the word of God will be a guide for them.”
Mrs. Elizabeth Azuwike, in her reaction said if a woman finds herself in such a predicament, she should resign to her fate and look up to God.
Her words: “It is bad for a man to hide such a thing. But if it happens, the woman should forgive him, after all, they love each other. These days, science is able to do a lot of things and together, they may find a solution.
“Sometimes people who are supposed to be healthy get married and are not able to have children, should they divorce? Every marriage has one challenge or the other, so people will just bear their crosses and look up to God. I don’t support divorce.”
Mr. Toye Fawole said: “It is fraudulent for a man to hide his impotence. It is an act of corruption. It is better to disclose it but I’m saying this from the premise of Christianity. It is better to disclose.”
He said further; “In all honesty, since she was deceived into it in the first instance, it means the house of that marriage was built on sand. So it cannot stand. She would be free to decide her next line of action. She is free.
“But if her faith is strong to endure it without wavering, God will reward her for it.”
Mrs. Immaculate Nyong expressed her view in one sentence: “Forgive, adapt and carry your cross.”
Mrs. Monica Chizoba Mba also spoke in line with Mrs. Nyong said: “Though it is fraudulent in marriage, but I will help him fight the impotency. I will not divorce him.”
For Mr. Tony Opara, it is all wrong for a man to hide such a serious impediment from a woman he wants to marry.
His words: “It is wrong for a man to hide impotence. Even the Church can cancel a wedding if such a critical issue was not disclosed before the wedding. A woman should contact the Church if this happens and seek annulment.”
All said and done, it is a dicey issue. Marriage should not be rushed into. Even in the best of circumstances, marriage comes with its challenges. Going into one with such a challenge as has been x-rayed here, makes it more challenging and difficult.
Shine your eyes!