Of course from the topic of the seminar, you can imagine that it was a hit. Many people participated, including students and young professionals. The setting too was very warm, it had the appearance of a mother catching up with her numerous daughters. The mother in question was Mrs. Yinka Nnaedozie. First, everybody present had to answer two questions: when would you want to get married and what are the core characteristics you want in a husband?
She started with dating and talked about what it was and what it wasn’t. Surely it all starts with friendship but then again, goes slightly beyond that. It’s a period to socialize and assess the other person’s suitability as a partner in marriage. Not all relationships lead to marriage, so that’s why it makes sense to start this business of dating when we are sure there is a likelihood of settling down. According to her, the ideal period between dating and marriage should be about two years. Some questions have to be answered before making the decision to date. What is my proximity to this person? At this point in my life can I handle this added responsibility, is there a possibility of getting married to this person? Will this person add value to my life? It is a collaboration between the heart and the head. On the other hand, dating should never be equated to premarital sex, neither should it be an excuse to indulge in such. That will defeat the reason for dating in the first place which is to get to know this other person better because we become blinded by emotions and feelings that we fail to see the qualities or lack of qualities of our partner. It requires a lot of self-control but if we want a happy and lasting marriage, then it is worth the while. This implies that we may have to set up some ground rules right from the beginning and also put in the necessary measures to ensure compliance.
She told a lot of stories and anecdotes to encourage the girls. Then she talked about marriage and the likely challenges one might face. Giving a lot of personal examples, she told the girls what to expect and how not to fall into the usual traps. The rules are more or less the same but each person has to adapt it to her own situation. She also mentioned the 3Fs in Marriage: Faithfulness, Fidelity and Fruitfulness, each leading to the other. One other issue she dwelt on was waiting for the right man. A lot of girls because they are under a lot of pressure to go into marriage end up with the wrong person for the wrong reasons. Values and morals are thrown out the window once a man looks their way, hence, the high prevalence of premarital sex. She gave a very graphic demonstration of the implication of premarital sex especially with multiple partners (The thought of it makes me shiver!). The girls got the message! She further gave very practical ways to avoid premarital sex while dating and especially during courtship and as usual there were more stories for emphasis.
After one and half hours of talk, it was time for questions. The girls raised some vital issues like dating someone from a different tribe or faith and also on the need for parental consent before getting serious with anyone. One asked about the pros and cons of dating a classmate/course mate while yet another asked about long distance relationships. These questions were all tackled in detail to the delight of the girls. Of course there were more questions but we had to call it a day! It was a very successful session. Veronica who had been in a relationship for a while could not agree less with what the speaker had talked about. She said she has gotten new ideas she can input in the relationship. Chioma has taken the 3 Fs of a happy marriage to heart. With that and other things she has learnt, she is better prepared for marriage. Chizoba said she has learnt so much in such a short time and is better off for this enlightenment and that the advice she got from Mrs Nnaedozie is the realest she has ever heard in any marriage seminar she has ever attended. The best of it all for Ngozi was the short stories and the demonstrations. These, she said gave her a deeper understanding of what marriage is all about. For many others, they were impressed with the way she answered the questions especially those that have to do with faith and culture. In all, each person left with something new.