Marriage in the CoC

by ahjotnaija

I attended Brother Gbade‘s wedding. Sister Kafaya, the Single Mother, was Brother Gbade‘s will of God in marriage. I attended theirs and Brother Sunday‘s wedding ceremonies at the Headquarter of the Church of Christ. The latter was the Youth Coordinator. 

Brother Gbade’s will of God was not a false revelation because not only the two of them reported to the marriage committee that Brother Gbade and Sister Kafaya were each other’s will of God. Brother Mutiu, a long-standing single bachelor, who, if he had declared that he saw his will of God in marriage in Sister Kafaya, not a single marriage committee member would refuse to accept.

Given that Brother Mutiu is not the youngest single bachelor of marriageable age in the Church of Christ, anyone would not discourage or doubt God’s willingness to grant him a wife in Sister Kafaya. Some things are best left unquestioned. Oye Olohun.

That Brother Mutiu confirmed same vision about the intending couple, proved they were meant for each other. Pastor Akinleye announced. And all was set in motion to achieve the marriage in the shortest time possible. It was my first church wedding ever, at least, the first I remember. There are other things I remember about the couple.

Brother Gbade moved. He changed accommodation, from the one-room around Pastor Akinleye‘s flat, to a room-and-parlour, where tenants shared a kitchen, pit latrine and bathroom. They washed their dirty laundry in the open outside; the bathroom is not meant for that. The back- and side-yard of the house is. Brother Gbade moved into the new accommodation in preparation for married life; his wife Sister Kafaya, unlike Sister Rebecca, was gentle and homely, a church worker in the usher unit.

If Sister Rebecca and Sister Kafaya had anything in common, it is that they have traditional marks on their faces; while Sister Rebecca’s was a pele, Sister Kafaya had one-one. Sister Kafaya chocolate, Sister Rebecca light in complexion.

Brother Gbade’s younger sister had newly moved to Ijoko, to resit her SSCE and start a new life. She lived with us. She and Jumoke attended choir practice sessions at the Headquarters church to prepare songs that were sung on the wedding day. They joined other choristers at the Headquarters. It was when I saw them in the choir section on the day, I realised the together-singing at home was for this purpose. Jumoke sang Soprano, Sister Wunmi aka Anti Olohun sang Alto.

The Church of Christ joined three couples in Holy Matrimony on that Saturday. The reception, which followed, was at a Primary School. We sat on benches and the desks served as tables. There was jollofrice, meat or fish, moimoi, zobodrinks filled into ice water nylon. Many people brought gifts. The gifts were opened in the presence of the giver and the names documented to match their gift. Not only to know who and how to thank people later. There are 1001 reasons.

The bride’s attire should be humble, she covers herself as is worthy of a Christian sister in the Lord. It should not expose any physical features as may compromise her faith in Christ Jesus Our Lord and Saviour. Her ears are to be covered with a turban that is permitted to match the wedding dress; preferably a skirt and blouse, the skirt is a free-flowing pleated skirt that reached far down to the neck of the legs. If a gown or a dress, it must be sown according to Biblical specification. The Marriage Committee knows the specifications that will not anger the Lord. Shoes to match and if there is a bag, it is one that contains the Bible. The bridegroom is also scrutinized. At least a week before the wedding day, the clothes must have gotten to the Committee for vetting. Many weddings were canceled and or shifted into the future, couples rebuked and sent on compulsory supplication to seek the face of God Almighty for disobeying open instructions of God. When years later couples were permitted to wear traditional attire at their own wedding, not only were there complaints whether this choice was Godly, there were dissents among Marriage Committee members if the Church of Christ had not committed an error in the permission to dress differently. Until the Man of God stepped in and silenced all ungodly dissenters.

After the hymn came the choir, then the ritual of holy join-together. The father of the bride came forward to hand over the bride to the officiating minister. There was no exchange of rings, an unwanted element in the Church of Christ. Only the declaration of the couple which went like this:

With my body, I wed thee, with my spirit, I wed thee, with all I have I thee wed; to care and cater for you, in season and out of season, in wealth and in poverty, in good and in bad, in suffering and in surplus, just as Christ gave himself up for the church and had first loved us. So help me God.

The Church of Christ said Amen.