JASPER ASHER is a creative, multi-talented celebrity makeup artist with over 7 years experience in the industry. EDET is a professional Dance Choreographer and Fitness Instructor, with beginnings in S.P.A.N (Society for the Performing Arts in Nigeria). They went through the Marriage Course after been invited by another couple and they shared their experience on the course and the impact on their family.
HOW WE MET
EDET: Its quite funny because we knew ourselves for 13 years before we got married. And for about 6 of those years, we didn’t talk at all to each other. The first time we met, I was in the polytechnic in Calabar and I think I had an extra year then. On that day I was walking by and saw this very beautiful but unhappy looking Lady. I took particular note of her because of her fair skin! She looked too fragile to be in that kind of environment if you asked me (Laughs). She wasn’t happy because she actually didn’t like Calabar ...
JASPER: (interjects) It was really hard at the time. My family had to move from Lagos to Calabar. I still don’t like it if you ask me (laughs)
EDET: However, I didn’t say a word to her then. The next time we met was at a friend’s music studio who I had come to visit. To my surprise a lady walked in with her Mum and lo and behold, it was the same Unhappy girl I had seen some months earlier! Ok, let me fast forward to 6 or 7 years later. I was now in Lagos and I went to the University of Lagos campus to do something. I was actually looking for an artist to help me interpret some of the things I had in my mind. Apart from Dance, I organize shows and events so I needed some music effects. There, I saw a poster of her in a newspaper.
Some years later, we bumped into each other at TBS (Tafawa Balewa Square) in Lagos. We met each other again at a Salsa Club - that was when i knew we really had to be friends, because we kept meeting each other unexpectedly over the years. This time around I did not allow the opportunity to pass me by. I invited her for a Salsa dance, thank God she honoured my invitation. We danced and danced and the rest is History! I eventually made a move of course after seeking Gods face and getting a go-ahead from Him, and here we are.
JASPER: It took me a while to realize he was the one. A year later, when he dropped the bomb (i want to court you in the hope of marriage) I was afraid and was also shocked because he didn’t want us to be friends if i said no. I was initially in a state of denial and emotional numbness because I was just coming out of a breakup. However, in looking back now, I can see the hand of God directing our paths to each other every now and again, and eventually acknowledging the feeling that was already building towards him, I caved in!
‘VOLCANIC’ DIFFERENCES IN MARRIAGE
JASPER: After our wedding, we started off fine. Though before we got married we were previously cramped up in a one-bedroom apartment with about 8 people sharing a self-contained and we didn't have much, but we lived communally and contentedly. However, our temperamental differences seemed to clash. I (Jasper) am Melancholy sanguine, and my husband is Choleric phlegmatic. Thank God for the books I read on managing temperamental differences and my Mums advice; coupled with great pre-marital preparations, it could have been worse.
However, as we went on, our differences became almost ‘volcanic’ or ‘Shakespearian’. I almost couldn’t believe I allowed myself to fall into this painful trap of abject emotional hurts, stemming from our differences. Sometimes I forgot myself and switch back to the independent me that I have always been. This usually brought a lot of frictions between us. Sometimes, I muse to myself “Is marriage supposed to be this hard?", Because I always wanted to be free and then someone comes along and begins to dictate to me how I should live my life! It was indeed frustrating (Both Laughs). Sometimes I literally felt like calling it quits, especially when we try to talk things out and it doesn’t seem to change the situation; perhaps even makes it seem worse. If not for my husband's insistence on sorting things out rather than running away, things would probably be different. Because of my husband's willingness to fight for our relationship, I didn’t walk away, and in retrospect, I don’t regret it!
HOW WE ENDED UP ON THE MARRIAGE COURSE
EDET: What compelled us to attend our first marriage course was a certain couple at our Church, Kunle and Ese Daniel were just the magnets. Apart from their joyous demeanour reflected in their contagious smiles, they were always together holding hands like a courting peer though married for over 13 years at the time. This sparked off a curiosity in us to know their secret. One day, Kunle walked up to me and invited me for the Marriage course. I mean why should I refuse such an invitation when it was exactly what we needed to boost our relationship and improve our marriage. I, therefore, informed my wife and ensured we were registered for the next course. We were tired of the routine and wanted things to be positively different in our home.
JASPER: (Interjects) We were actually at a point when we were praying for something more than the usual for our marriage that the invitation came, so we saw it as a direct answer to our prayers.
EDET: We didn’t regret our decision though it was not very convenient for us to get to the venue because of the long distance and the heavy traffic. But our wiliness to go through that hassle showed our resolve to make things better for our marriage and home. It was an awesome experience! We can't forget that we were actually sponsored to attend by the same couple that invited us. Food and necessary materials were paid for to ensure that we were a part of it! We were really shocked at their commitment to the betterment of our home.
IMPACT OF THE MARRIAGE COURSE
EDET: It was an eye-opener. It made ‘scales’ falls from our eyes
JASPER: You think you know enough to go by until you attend The Marriage Course.
EDET: Whatever you read in books may not really work until you go through a practical course like the marriage course. It taught us how to talk with each other, to communicate even when we are angry, how to handle misunderstandings, forgiveness and tolerance. The hardest part was to bring out bottled up emotions and talk about it instead of always going into a silent spell when I am Angry. It helped me come out of my shell
JASPER: For me, I had to learn how to control how I bring out my emotions. By nature, I am quick to blurt out when I am hurt. It really worked for the improvement of ourselves. What some people do not realize is that the course while seemingly simple, gets quite complicated as you navigate through its layers of many practical truths which hurt at the initial moment but heals if you allow yourself go through its process. It is like an onion that as you peal makes you teary-eyed, but until you peel and cut in bits, would not give your food the flavour it needs. You are either in it 100% or you are not for it to profit you.
EDET: I happened to meet someone who went through the course with us recently. This is someone who hardly greets anyone before. However, after the course, he is a completely changed person! He is so happy and free; Most probably because things are much better in his marriage.
AFTER MARRIAGE COURSE
EDET: After our course, we realized two things. First, we have to work out the truth we had learnt in very practical ways. It is easy to go through a course and just get caught up in the Euphoria of completion but fail to realize the responsibilities it places on us. The success of a marriage course is actually when one begins to appropriate the truths there into everyday situations and circumstances. Secondly, it gave us a passion for other homes and marriages. We felt like "why don’t we share this truth that has so impacted us with others?". With this passion, we decided to organize and run the Marriage Course for our friends. It wasn’t easy with all the logistics and provisions that must go into a successful course, but it was indeed worth the stride.
JASPER: In fact, a couple who had been living separated after constant misunderstandings and deep seated issues, came back together after our course! They had already resorted to divorce and were waiting for the papers to arrive. It wasn’t easy for them for the first few weeks. However, as the Lord will have it they stuck to the program until it brought their home back together! Praise the Lord.
EDET: Participating in the marriage course gave us the platform we needed to help homes that are just crying out for help. And this is something we hope to pursue for a very long time; Helping homes to heal and to get back on their feet. Today, homes are in a very dire need of intervention. Too many families are breaking up not because they would want to work things out but because they lack appropriate tools to make it happen.
EDET: To all in broken down homes, never consider calling it quits or divorce except for physical abuses, I suggest that you try the marriage course and watch your dying homes blossom again. In 7 weeks I can assure you that the Lord would turn your mess into a message of hope. Go through the course and stick with it and it would heal your home.
JASPER: General counselling is good but the Marriage Course is better. In fact, the marriage course complements any other form of counselling. Because of the non-judgmental atmosphere that doesn’t seek to interrogate the participants as some counsellors do, but actually creates a safe platform where the couples can interrelate with one another and work through their issues together, makes the Marriage Course a must go through for every couple.