In What is wrong with us?, Anne Muyiwa digs into nuggets about mature singles indeed. According to the author, the 11 chapter book was birthed via an article on Facebook, the popular social media platform. In her caveat, which many would title preface, she declared that the book has been written for the Christian community but that it would bless every person who is yet to connect to God’s will in reference to marriage. I found the statement true at the end of my first reading of the book.
The title chapter, “What is wrong with us?”, is a rant about how easily mature singles could connect to love if we all were sensitive enough and realistic about their emotional, psychological and sexual needs.
Ms. Muyiwa has a knock on the head for every one in the book. The church received a sledge hammer treatment for the hypocrisy with which the issue of mature singles are approached and the judgmental stance of the church in cases that arise by the day going by the sheer number of this group of people in church.
The book challenges the norm by citing examples from familiar stories in the Bible, it is at once sarcastic and satirical. It draws heavily on the biblical examples of the sovereignty of God in the process of choosing mates. Top on the list are Esther, Rebecca, Eve, Boaz and Ruth’s unusual routes to marriage. Of Esther she writes on page 28, “..the only reason Esther became a celebrity is not because she held an ace or a joker, it is simply because it was God’s will”.
Ms. Muyiwa’s personal stories in her calling to minister to mature singles resonate through the book and lends both humour and insight into the challenge that a mature single’s life is. At the core of Anne’s message is the chapter titled ‘the error messages’. It contains 7 nuggets namely who should cleave, whose people shall be your people, who seeketh and who findeth, does it matter, marriage – a contract or a covenant, vows: biblical and required and unequally yoke.
Each nugget is backed by scriptural principles and biblical stories which the author believes have been distorted on most church altars and podiums.
The author also addresses the emptiness of most singles summits, fellowships and conferences in the second chapter, titled ‘Create the Garden’. In it, she draws on a biblical story; the role Naomi played in creating an atmosphere for Boaz and Ruth to become married. Their connection according to the author was “the generational root of Jesus Christ, the saviour”. She warns that the more mature singles out there, the higher the divorce rates would be; because “more applications for relationships on the table of unmarried mature singles come from the stable of the married”. She hinted that this was the idea behind birthing her monthly programme for mature singles – Divine Connection.
She continues with the issue in the chapter, ‘The Letter Killeth’ trying to unravel what is wrong with us. This time she tackles married folks who believe the unmarried are not smart enough to figure things out. She opines here that most singles seminar had become an event where the married try to tell the singles how to survive a marriage they are yet to sign into and may unfortunately never do. In her words on page 25, “they have succeeded in proving to themselves that they have marriage maps! Another successful event has been recorded by the church (TGBTG) many people attended, the speaker put up a beautiful speech yet no direct connection, no seed has been sown towards the time of harvest”.
Here is another quote on the issue, “I have never attended such events where even 15 minutes was devoted to interactions.The speakers talk and talk and there is no meeting of minds…..at 30 something , a man or woman has listened to enough theories and is more interested in the practicals which begins with woman meets man.”
She draws on two leading men of God, both of them in the recent top 5 list of richest pastors in Nigeria. She reiterates the question what is wrong with us and informs and I quote, “we tell singles not to marry unbelievers yet Pastor Ashimolowo was probably a Muslim when madam said I do. We tell singles not to marry into polygamy but Pastor Adeboye is not the child of a first wife…. we celebrate Obama but Michelle married a smoker.”
My favourite example in this chapter is on page 28, and I quote, “How many ministers would let their members enter into a competition where virgins have to undergo a one year training which ends with having sex with a foolish king, as a ticket to assuming the position of the first yet-to-be divorced wife? Not forgetting that the virgin girls who lost the bid were remanded as concubines in the kings court! She opines that the will of God is often left out in the rules and when they are included we become traffic wardens on how it should play out.
In the chapter “Hypocrisy Are Us”, Ms. Muyiwa addresses the issue of commitment to church activities by mature singles. She offers that mature singles become engrossed in church activities thinking some guy or gal would notice and then states that fewer Christians meet their spouses in the church. The chapter deals with the selfishness of the clergy in using these willing ones in church work and sparing no thoughts for their connection to a mate.
The author, a minister, relationship coach and media specialist offers the reason for taking up the cause of mature singles in the chapter “Ask Me Why?”.
On page 70 she writes, “being educated, employed or engaged are three milestones which we need more than a book to cover:so we will treat one, or move slightly beyond asking you why you are not engaged to become more intrusive and ask you why you are not married”. She goes further to say, “It’s strange that this is one of the most annoying, embarassing, awkward questions we may want to respond to as mature singles yet it is one we ask the most in the corners of our rooms, one that may come with tears. I’m beautiful, handsome, educated, employed, living a Godly life, ethically conscious but why am I not married?”
She provides a soul searching “Ask Me Why Activity” on page 138-139 complete with “Ask Me Why” profile and response sheet. It’s a 24-question profile sheet for males and females which asks you to shade or leave unshaded the profiles of those whom one would or would not consider for marriage.
The author provides the results of a similar profile/questionnaire administered at a youth and singles fellowship where she had been invited to minister on the theme in the chapter titled “Ask Me Why II’. It is another pointed personal story to drive home the reasons why most single people remain unmarried. The questionnaire analysis from page 108 -111 is stagerring in terms of insight and quite beneficial. It is one of the high points of the book. You will find that chapter illuminating. The brilliance and insight of the author into issues of mature singles sparkled here.
On page 83 -91 of the book, the author restates the 7 core messages of What is wrong weith us. They are difficult to compress into one liners without losing the punch nevertheless here are the highlights: It is not anything you do not have that has kept you unmarried; every busyness and business outside of God’s will is an effort in futility,it is not your effort that will move God; your choice should be based on God’s will, He’s your manual and navigator; God’s will does not have a stiff recipe, it can come in any package and however God desires; you create the home you desire with the man you sign up with regardless of his race, religion or resume; even when God positions you for a purpose, when he sets you on a path to His will, there is a price and your ability to pay that price determines the terms of your ownership and lastly blissful marriages are defined by God’s purpose for us.
On page 98 she employs a powerful analogy of an egg in dealing with the issue of heartbreaks. It seals the debate on who initiates heartbreaks, why are there so many heartbreaks and how do you deal with it. Where is the place of God in it and more.
In “C-Esssentials 1 and 2”, the author provides a brief of Divine connection, she writes that it was borne out of challenges experienced by men and women who are marriageable, dedicated to God’s purpose but yet to connect to God’s divine partner of the opposite gender. You will find excerpts of DC newsletter dwelling on the role of communication, character, culture, career and commitment in buliding a godly relationship here.
The authors voice in the book, What is wrong with us? is informal, friendly, even playful, you will come off reading it feeling like you have been in conversation at a counselling session with her. The book has a dash of pidgin English, Yoruba – the author’s native language and colloquial expressions. It’s interesting that there is no mention of the word sex in the entire book. All through the book she challenges your assumptions and dares you to break deep seated beliefs and embrace change.
Let me look at the flaws in the book; page 71 could do with another paragraph instead of the block of words there, another paragraph could have worked well on page 77, generally thought progressions in the structure of the paragraphs could be better.
Notable quotes in the book What is wrong with us? include, “As long as we continue to see the physical, do the ordinary, the miraculous would be hidden from us”; “Let God work out who you will walk the marital journey with”.
The practicability of the book, What is wrong with us? is striking, astonishing and engaging – the illustration on the cover page is a pointer to that practicability and the unusual offering of the author. The book is full of wit and humour,it makes the truth in the book tolerable. It is a delightful read, you will find yourself smile and sigh.
I hereby recommend it as you seek to create a garden in your corner of the world.
The review above of Omolola Famuyiwa’s What is wrong with us? Nuggets about mature singles, written under the pen name Anne ‘Muyiwa, was presented by Mrs. Funke-Treasure Durodola of Radio Nigeria at the Book Launch on the 12th of June 2011 in Lagos, Nigeria. To order copies, visit www.dckiss.blogspot.com and www.ou-journal.blogspot.com. Thanks for reading and posting comments.