Rodiyah met Frank on the University Campus in her final year as a student of dentistry. Frank was pursuing his Housemanship at the Teaching Hospital and was completely “blown away.” After a couple of years courtship, the lovebirds got married and settled down to raising a family. Five years into the marriage, with two children – Sandra and Cynthia, cracks started appearing in the marriage. Pressure set in from Frank’s family for him to marry a second wife. The reasons given were threefold:
- Rodiyah had only given them female children and Frank being the only son of the family, they needed an heir to carry on the family name.
- Rodiyah was from a different culture and they found some of her traditions alien and contradictory to their expectations.
- She had an Islamic background even though she had converted to Christianity, out of love for her husband.
Consequently, both she and her children were often ostracised at family engagements in spite of Frank’s disapproval of their descrimination.
Soon, the pressure from his family got to Frank and he started spending more time with friends, drinking after work. This continued and he made a new set of friends at the bars he attended. On one of the nights he was drowning his sorrows in alcohol, one of his newly acquired friends (nicknamed “Magic man” for his ability to proffer solutions to EVERY problem) commented on his situation and advised that he follow the advice of his family and have a son even if outside wedlock. He promised to introduce him to a woman he was sure would fit the bill. Shortly after, Magic man introduced Frank to Ngozi and they hit things off. After six months of dating, Ngozi announced to Frank that she was pregnant. Frank’s joy knew no bounds as he now spent more time with Ngozi, to the neglect of his family. A hitherto happy family now became tense and unhappy. Rodiyah was no longer welcome at Frank’s family events and he showcased Ngozi instead, confident that she would be the mother of the heir they sought. Rodiyah was devastated but turned to God in service and prayers.
Needless to say, Frank’s financial situation deteriorated by the day as he had formed a habit of drinking, which took a toll on his resources and maintaining Ngozi was by no means cheap. Rodiyah had to take on the onerous task of running her home with much of the children’s expenses devolving on her.
Sadly, Ngozi suffered a still birth and the much awaited son was dead on arrival. Frank’s sorrow knew no bounds especially as Rodiyah, who had suffered the brunt of neglect in the nine month span, was now ready to move on with her life. Frank’s life was in shambles, his marriage was seriously under threat due to his neglect and infidelity, he had taken to alcohol for solace, his old friends no longer associated with him, his finances were drained and his work output suffered.
Hope however came in the form of an old school friend of Frank’s -Dozie – a Marriage Counsellor who had recently returned from a four year sojourn in the U.S.A, and ran into Frank (who was looking disheveled) at a bank ATM. Dozie scheduled a counselling session with Frank and Rodiyah to help them resolve the issues that were putting a strain on their relationship. At the end of a session of twelve visits spanning three months, Rodiyah and Frank resolved that it was in both their interest and that of the children to pick up the pieces and salvage their marriage.
Dozie started by referring them to the Bible and reminding them that the book of Songs of Solomon 2:15 refers to the “Little foxes that spoil the vine”. He likened marriage to a vine, an institution which like the vine is expected to produce sweetness like the grapes of the vine, but which can be attacked by seemingly inconsequential , mundane things that impact the health of the marriage. After analysing the deterioration of their marriage, he identified “Three foxes” at play which were responsible for the state of the marriage:
- Family: Frank had allowed himself to be swayed by the dictates of his family. He needed to display maturity and establish his independence. If he was happy with his family status he should have guided it and shielded his wife from their targeted bigotry. Gen. 2:24 of the bible states that “A man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
- Friends: Friends can have a positive or negative influence on a person depending on the type of friend. Good friends have a positive impact while bad friends have a negative impact. Clearly, friends made at drinking houses usually do not have deep roots and their advice should be treated casually. Magic man’s advice was a couterproductive solution to the problem. Frank was trying to tell God he doesn’t trust him to do what is best for him so he will help himself. If his attitude was that God will always work in his best interest, he would wait for God to provide the son and if he didn’t, would accept it as God’s will. Helping God has never been a solution. Suppose the male child would cause the parents much pain, shame and reproach? Why not trust the God who knows the end from the beginning?
- Finances: The responsibility of marriage calls for Financial prudence as finances must be properly harnessed and managed by the couple, to achieve the corporate goals of the family. Where either party is reckless or unable to contribute to the financial wellbeing of the family, this creates a strain on the marriage. Frank’s foray into alcohol and keeping a mistress, undoubtedly impacted on the finances available for the family.
Nevertheless, the holy books all talk about the importance of forgiveness especially where an erring party realises their mistake and is prepared to make reparations/corrections. He therefore appealed to Rodiyah to forgive her husband and help him pick up the pieces. God never gives up on us once we retrace our steps, he forgives us and gives us a second chance.
As Rodiyah, what would you do…accept the counsel of Dozie or leave Frank to his fate?
8 thoughts on ““The Little foxes””
May God give us wisdom to identify these little foxes and how to deal with them before they consume our family peace.
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This is exactly the way 80% of African men behaved.
The sad thing is African men are full of their ego . It is very difficult for them to apologize to their wives. A man that is feeling too big or too good to apologize to the wife is not a man.
As for me I will only forgive if he do what is required of him and change his ways. They always take us wives for granted. We are human beings and we can feel. It hurts , we feel the pain very deep.
I hear you Sylvia. The adage “it is a man’s world is changing” and women being emotional beings, need to guard their emotions jealously. A lot of wars are fought and won on our knees. Let’s keep at it.
After the counselling I wonder if Frank is genuinely broken or is playing along because he is down and out. The prevailing issue of no male child is still there. I pray he will not nature yhe idea again when he is established again…had the male child lived would he have come back? Nevertheless Rodiyah should calmly take him back trusting God to make things work out. But be cautious and secure her self financially and emotionally with God. I pray it works out fine.
I do hope Frank is genuinely repentant and not playing along because he is down and out. The issue of no male child’ is still there and needs to be properly addressed. If the child lived would he have come back? Rodiyah should forgive and give another chance BUT should ensure she has some financial security and be emotionally secured in Christ. It’s tough but it can be achieved. I pray it works out for them
Thanks Kunbi…wise counsel indeed. Financial and emotional empowerment are key. That way, regardless of the way the cookie crumbles she will not be caught napping.
My advice is that she forgives her husband and repair their marriage for the sake of the innocent children. Infidelity in marriage is very rampant these days and the couple should allow nothing but death to separate them. It seemed neither of the couple had accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior before now but this situation is an opportunity to do so.