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The Price I Paid Just to Have a Church Wed­ding

My hus­band and I were at a wed­ding recep­tion that Sat­ur­day after­noon when the MC sud­den­ly demand­ed that every guest should get up from their chairs. At first I thought it was a way to wel­come the new cou­ple or prob­a­bly an invi­ta­tion to prayer. I nev­er knew that the MC had oth­er plans. When we had all stood up, he laughed rather cyn­i­cal­ly and said;

We are going to do some­thing now,”

We won­dered what he was talk­ing about. Every­one stared at him as he spoke into the micro­phone.
“If you know as a cou­ple that you have wed­ded in the church, sit down.

If you are yet to do so, remain stand­ing.”

This came like a rude shock. I was sur­prised that some peo­ple took it like a joke and laughed over it but I saw in James’ eyes that he did not feel com­fort­able with that dec­la­ra­tion. When all the wed­ded cou­ples sat down, only a few of us remained stand­ing.

The MC, laugh­ing sheep­ish­ly went on; “Now, those of you who are yet to do your wed­ding, I give you one month to start plan­ning to do so because I can’t under­stand why you will con­tin­ue to leave as cou­ples with­out a church wed­ding..”

I didn’t under­stand how that was sup­posed to be fun­ny but a lot of peo­ple guf­fawed as we were made jest of that day. I could see on my husband’s face that there was reg­is­tered anger there. He was a very shy per­son. He was not angry with the MC but with him­self. By the time we got back into the taxi that took us home, he told me that we were going to start plan­ning for our wed­ding imme­di­ate­ly.

I hope it isn’t because of what that clown said at the wed­ding recep­tion that informed your deci­sion to do this,” I mum­bled but he sim­ply shook his head.

It is some­thing that we must do.”

I heaved a long sigh; “James, we are mar­ried. Our par­ents con­sent­ed to our union. You did not pick me up from the street like a com­mon whore. You paid my bride price. Church wed­ding or no church wed­ding, we are hus­band and wife. Don’t give your­self headaches over the issue please.”

Although I tried to make my hus­band calm down and not both­er about the church wed­ding issue, the mat­ter was fired up the next day when we went on invi­ta­tion to the church of the new­ly mar­ried cou­ple. The new cou­ple had gone for thanks giv­ing ser­vice that day.

The pas­tor while preach­ing said any cou­ple who hadn’t done their church wed­ding were like strangers to each oth­er and also hin­der­ing the bless­ings of God from pour­ing on them. He admon­ished every young cou­ple to imme­di­ate­ly begin to plan to do their church wed­dings if they hadn’t already done so.

On our way back home that day after the ser­vice, James, my hus­band had already made up his mind on the issue. He sulked all day and refused to eat his food.

At home, he picked up a paper and began to scrib­ble some­thing on it. I was to find out lat­er that he was draw­ing a bud­get. On the paper, he had a bud­get of about eight hun­dred thou­sand naira. My heart skipped a bit the moment I saw it. What was he think­ing? I thought to myself. Where were we going to get that sum from? There was rent wait­ing to be paid. The land­lord had been on our necks. There was a loan I took from my office to buy a plot of land joint­ly with my hus­band. That too had been on our necks. We had been feed­ing like pau­pers to help sta­bi­lize our frag­ile cash flow. Why would he want to incur more debt just to make peo­ple feel good and hap­py? I sim­ply told him that it was nev­er going to work. It was an imma­te­r­i­al deci­sion.

I will not let you do this,” I screamed dis­pas­sion­ate­ly. “You can­not do this to us. We have lots on our heads. We just got mar­ried last year. It is not too late yet for us to plunge mon­ey into a church wed­ding now. That can wait.”

He was livid. He turned to me and in a cold voice mut­tered; “We are doing this wed­ding Dear. I can’t stand the insult any­more.”

I just couldn’t under­stand the ratio­nale behind us spend­ing eight hun­dred thou­sand naira just to make peo­ple feel good in one day. Did he real­ly know what he was talk­ing about?

In order not to aggra­vate the mat­ter, I sim­ply let him be. That evening, I went to see Pas­tor Emma. He was the assis­tant pas­tor in our church. Pas­tor Emma was a very under­stand­ing fel­low who usu­al­ly advised me on many occa­sion. He was in the church alone pray­ing when I came to see him.

Sis­ter Glo­ry, what was the prob­lem? You sound­ed very fran­tic.”

He walked towards me where I sat on one of the pews. I quick­ly told him what it was; how my hus­band had sud­den­ly begun to behave very fun­ny because of what he heard from the pas­tor in anoth­er church and because of what the MC had said the pre­vi­ous day.

Why?” he echoed. “Your hus­band is smarter than that na. Why would he both­er about such things?

I tell peo­ple all the time that what has been agreed here on earth will def­i­nite­ly be endorsed in heav­en. The day your par­ents accept­ed him and gave you to him was the very day that God signed it in heav­en. I don’t under­stand why peo­ple both­er them­selves over elab­o­rate wed­dings when the only thing that we do here in the church is to bless the union. There is no pas­tor that will join two adults in a holy mat­ri­mo­ny if their par­ents’ con­sent had not yet been sought after. So long as you have done the nec­es­sary thing already, what is now required is just the church’s bless­ings and endorse­ment. And it is not some­thing one needs to kill him­self over. I have met cou­ples who came to church after they had been mar­ried for years.”

The young pas­tor and I talked for a long time and he assured me that he was going to dis­cuss it with the senior pas­tor.

See me after the fel­low­ship on Tues­day so that I will tell you what the pas­tor said.”

Thank you very much Pas­tor Emma. May God bless you so much.”

The pas­tor and I part­ed and I went straight home that day. My hus­band was at the din­ing table still doing some cal­cu­la­tions. He had arrived at the sum of one mil­lion one hun­dred and forty thou­sand. I didn’t both­er to tell him any­thing more after hav­ing dis­cussed with the young pas­tor. I still could not under­stand why he want­ed us to waste all that mon­ey just for a day’s event.

That night as we were about to sleep, he sug­gest­ed that we sell the land to raise the mon­ey for our wed­ding. I felt as if I had just been stabbed. How could he of all peo­ple say a thing of that nature?
“You are the man of the house my dar­ling,” I mut­tered hid­ing my dis­plea­sure. “I can­not go against what­ev­er you say.”

We slept there­after but I awoke at mid­night and went into the sit­ting room to pray. I prayed for God’s wis­dom and for Him to inter­vene in the mat­ter. I could hear my hus­band snor­ing away as I prayed on.

By Tues­day, I had come up with a solu­tion to the prob­lem. When I returned from work that evening, I went to see Mama Dadi who sold chilled kunu with zobo. I asked how much it would cost to make kunu and zobo drinks for about fifty peo­ple.

That is about five thou­sand naira o,” she intoned when I told her about it.

I dipped my hand in my hand­bag, brought out the mon­ey and passed it on to her.

This is six thou­sand naira,” I said. “Please make it very thick and nice.”

I could sense the hap­pi­ness on her face. “When do you want it deliv­ered?”

Sun­day after­noon by one O’clock.”

Again, she thanked me and I left her. Pas­tor Emma was wait­ing for me after the fel­low­ship that evening. He told me that Pas­tor Edwin want­ed to have a word with me. Pas­tor Edwin was the senior pas­tor.

Min­utes lat­er, I was seat­ed at a chair fac­ing the senior pas­tor.

He looked at me after we had exchanged pleas­antries. “Sis­ter Glo­ry, I heard what you told Pas­tor Emma. Do you want me to talk to Broth­er James for you?”

I shook my head. I didn’t want my hus­band to read mean­ings to it. He had warned me sev­er­al times nev­er to take an issue to a third par­ty except it got out of hand between the two of us.

I told the pas­tor that I had a plan. I plead­ed with him to wed me and my hus­band in the church that Sun­day. I could see the sud­den change of his demeanor. He looked very shock as he lis­tened to me.

I demand­ed that he talk to my hus­band that Sun­day to accept to wed us both and he agreed. The next day, I took a walk to the mar­ket and bought two rings. There­after, I went to rent a wed­ding gown and also nego­ti­ate for the cake. In all, I spent less than thir­ty thou­sand naira.

Sun­day came like every oth­er day. I con­vinced my hus­band to wear his best pair of black suit and he did. I had invit­ed his uncle with the wife to the church that morn­ing while my elder sis­ter with her hus­band would also be com­ing there too. No one else relat­ed to either of us knew any­thing.

Broth­er Matthew, one of the finest young men in our church had been secret­ly con­tact­ed to act as the best man while his fiancée, Eno was to act as the bride’s maid.

Pas­tor Edwin sum­moned my hus­band that morn­ing when we got to church. I was not dressed in my wed­ding gown at that time because I had to know what my husband’s deci­sion would be. We arrived ear­ly to church because I had already planned it with Pas­tor Edwin. Before James would return, the pas­tor had told him every­thing he need­ed to know and he had no choice but to con­sent to it. The pas­tors told him that if he accept­ed, it was going to change the per­cep­tion of many who would want to do their wed­dings in the church.

I didn’t know all the things they told my hus­band but I was glad that he accept­ed to car­ry on with the wed­ding that day. By the time we were ush­ered in, the pas­tor had made the announce­ment and the entire church was ablaze with the eupho­ria espe­cial­ly because they were tak­en unaware.
The choir sang like nev­er before. We were called to the altar after the ser­mon and I could see my hus­band grin­ning from ear to ear. Wed­ding was over in no time and a pho­tog­ra­ph­er took pic­tures of us with a lot of the church mem­bers.

Pas­tor Edwin announced sec­ond offer­ing for us as gift and we were amazed at the num­ber of peo­ple that thronged out. This was dif­fer­ent from the mon­ey that the church mem­bers sprayed on us while we danced. We real­ized about two hun­dred and eighty thou­sand naira that day.
When it was all over, some church mem­bers accom­pa­nied us home for refresh­ment and I served them chilled kunu and zobo which Mama Dadi had pre­pared so well. This, they all drank with rel­ish.

Few days lat­er, we start­ed our project on our plot; the land that my hus­band would have sold.
Today, we too are proud own­ers of our own house. And when­ev­er we remem­ber our wed­ding, we laugh out loud with glee.
.
THE CHURCH WEDDING by Japheth Pros­per

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