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Couples' Conference 2015 Report

Theme: Godly homes - Back to Genesis

This year conference was held in Novotel, Birmingham on 14th November 2015, with couples arriving from Birmingham, Aberdeen, Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Ireland. Registration commenced at 10am with tea and coffee service.
At 10:35, prayers were held for Sis Kemi, the Sobowale family and Bro Aroba who are bereaved at this moment. Prayers were also said for those affected by the Paris attacks. Assurances were given that none of our brethren in Paris were affected.

Conference commenced properly after a short opening prayer led by Sis Nike Adeyemi, which led to a feed back and review of last year's conference which was themed "Working Together as One".The conference was based on working together as one, which reinforces 'leaving and cleaving'.

This year's conference was themed "Genesis of marriage"
Rev. Adigun introduced this session by defining marriage as NTI - "Nonsense Tolerating Institution".  Based on an article titled 'Have you really left'. He proposed two key questions.
· What was God's original purpose for instituting marriage? 
• Is my marriage fulfilling that purpose?

Spouses were then asked to discuss various questions among themselves, some of which are:  · Do you express your inner feelings more easily to your parents or spouse?
 • Do you ever complain about your companion to parents?
 • Do you find yourself pressuring your spouse to 'see things' the same way your       parent's do?
• Whose advice counts most to you, that of parents or that of your companion?
• Have you considered going home to your parents when you had a disagreement with your spouse?
• Are you closer to a parent than you are to your spouse?
• Have you sent money to parents without informing your spouse first?
• Have you requested for financial assistance from your parents before discussing it with your spouse?After the discussion it was established that various thing causes communication break down between spouses among which is parental influence:
• A spouse is likely to be upset when money is sent to in-laws.
• If the spouse is lost spiritually - communication with another person who is spiritually sound may be a better option so that the person can pray along. Speaking to spouse who is lost spiritually may result in more problems.
• Spouses may act spontaneously, unintentionally sometimes without discussing with their partner.
• Protecting one's spouse either emotionally or physically is recommended.
This session was ended with a tea and coffee break.
How the family began: identifying God's purpose for marriage
Couples were divided into four groups consisting of 2 women group and 2 men group at the beginning of this second session to discuss 'how family began' by identifying God's purpose for marriage. Rev. Owolabi moderated this session. The group discussions ended with a lunch break at 13:00.       
After lunch, Bro Lazarus who moderated this session requested that all the groups should provide summaries of the discussions and these are outlined below:


 Group 1 feedback (Women)
God's purpose for marriage is:
· For men and women to support each other
• For fellowship
• Spouses should be an anchor for their children
• Spouses should accept their God-given roles, which are not culturally defined. The man is the head (leader not the boss) of the family and the woman should be submissive
• Spouses should respect each other
• Spouses should always forgive whole-heartedly, just as the relationship between Christ and the church• Spouses should be open and always 'let things go'
• The home should always be considered a place of refuge where spouses and their children will want to be.

Group 3 feedback (Men)
God's purpose for marriage is:
· Spouses must live as a family and not in a solitary way - marriage is for companionship
• Age differences should not affect marriage in anyway
• Openness - no secrets
• Issues should be settled at the time they happen
• Relationship should be both vertical and horizontalo Vertical - preference and submission to the heado Horizontal -  supporting each other
• Spouses should make themselves likable and try to always please each other e.g. remembering birthdays and anniversaries
• Spouses should sacrifice for each other• The husband should provide for the family.• When spouses have jobs, they should always support each other - the wife should not be left to do all the house chores
• Spouses should take responsibility for wrong doing• Spouses should take on their roles despite shortcomings

Group 2 feedback (Women)
Why do people marry?
· Spiritual relationship
• To have children
• The societal norms
• Crave for a Christian home
• To avoid fornication
• To leave parental home
• God wanted companionship and help-mate for man
• For the propagation of the gospel
• For procreation
• For spouses to complement each other
• To teach one another life lessons as saved souls e.g. tolerance, forgiveness

Group 4 feedback (Men)
· To make heaven together as a family
• The husband is the head of the family and the wife should help man achieve his responsibilities
• The wife should not see herself as the head of the family if she is the breadwinner at that time
• There should be a clear distinction between pride and ego - wives need to respect and submit to their own husbands
• Biblical standards should be followed in the marriage - the environment and civil laws should not affect the marriage
• Spouses should confess their faults on one another - imperfections should be accepted
• Spouses should always forgive each other
• Spouses should communicate; however, there may be some information that may not be divulged because the spouse may not be able to handle the situation properly
• Spouses should renew their love for each other over and over so as to prevent things from falling apart and consequently, divorce.   
At the end of these discussions, group 4 posed a question to men at the conference: 'Do men still love their wives'? Is there a limit to tolerance? 
Practical ways of fulfilling God's purpose in our marriage was moderated by Rev. Ola-Odudu and Rev. Ola Balogun. They expatiated on the points previously discussed and bringing practical examples.
· Working together as a team to build up good finances, for ongoing projects as well as being able to clear outstanding debts. Cut down on life style and living expenses in order to save.
• Men are encouraged to ask for the input of the woman in a marriage as it will not only help with the present situation but also for future. 
• In difficult situation, the woman should encourage, support and do everything to uplift. This can only be achieved if there is love.  It was emphasized that women should adore their husbands, see them as God-given person in their life and even when people around do not believe in them, they should and should always show by words of encouragement. 
• It was also reinforced that spouses should work together as a team and no one should be domineering.  The importance of humility was emphasized in dealing with each other; there should be no secrets and confess your sins one to another.
• Concerns were raised about the few instances of divorce in the church. Clarification was sought on how the church is dealing with this as well as its stand on divorce.
o Response: The church definitely gives marriage counseling through spiritual advice using the word of God as reference. Spouses can also go for professional advice if not satisfied with the Church counselling. They need to know the mind of God regarding divorce and remarriage. The Apostolic Faith Church doctrine is based on the word of God -"No Divorce, No Remarriage".  The church will be limited if after all advice and appeal the couple still determines to go ahead with the process. Once the Bible counsel is set aside, nothing will persuade a mind that is made up to divorce.
• It was emphasized that Divorce stems from the heart; spouses are advised to pray and ensure that all issues are resolved immediately. As such, spouses are enjoined to make it a  
• Priority to pray together on all key issues. To establish a family altar at the outset of marriage is of utmost importance if the marriage is to succeed as God planned. 
Rev Isaac Adigun gave a closing speech to wrap up the program and the meeting was closed with prayer by Bro Moyo. 
 
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