May Victor, co-founder of Two-gether for Ever Inc., a relationship outfit based in Houston Texas, USA is unhappy that women have substituted enjoying sex with their husbands with getting pleasures from sex toys.
As a Christian counsellor with 15 years experience, May Victor is devoted to laying the right foundation for sustainable relationships as well as helping couples enjoy the dividends of marriage as opposed to enduring marriage.
In a recent interview with Daily Sun, she shed more light on why many marriages are hitting the rocks. Excerpts: What secrets have kept your marriage for 20 years? The number one factor is the God factor.
The God factor refers to the place of God in your marriage. Every marriage needs a God and the bible as the most impartial referees. The next secret is the friendship factor, marry your friend and if for any reason you married a stranger or an enemy, make him or her your friend. We can never over emphasize the need to be friends with your spouse.
There is also the renewal factor. Take time out to renew, recreate, and refresh from the daily grind of life. Couples should have low-budget get-aways, picnics, date nights and take advantage of every opportunity to have fun.
Sex is a major issue in marriages, how often should couples evaluate their sex lives? Couples have to evaluate their sex life when there is no romance between them. Whenever you stop looking forward to being together, you need to check yourselves. Good sex is a function of the four intimacies of a relationship which includes emotional intimacy, spiritual intimacy, intellectual intimacy and social intimacy.
Every couple knows when sex is good and when sex is mechanical. If there are reasons for the lack of sex or absence of good romance in the house, then that problem should be summarily dealt with. If you are not satisfied, say so and insist on it. Women are probably the culprits here and the use of sex toys is not helping matters. Don’t say “I let him do his thing and I do mine later”. That is the most dangerous thing in a relationship.
Do you agree that marriage is a bitter experience as many would say today? I don’t subscribe to the notion that marriage has a bitter side. It has it’s challenges but marriage is good. I have been married for 22 years but have been friends for 27 years with my husband and it gets better every day. When you carefully manage disagreements, you enjoy marriage.
Marriage is hard work and it is what you put into it that you will get out of it. What has been your unique experience as a marriage counselor in a foreign land? Helping people gives you an unforgettable experience almost on a daily basis.
What comes to mind now is that many people are not prepared for marriage before they get into it. Most people learn on the job in marriage and try to make it work by trial and error. In fact, we stay longer in our profession or career than we stay in marriage.
The average life expectancy of marriages now worldwide is 7 to 8 years for men and a little less than that for women. It is a complete misplacement of priority that is driven by a society which attaches a lot to money and wealth. Parents are willing to invest more on educating their children to be doctors and less willing to invest in training them to be good husbands and wives.
In cases that involve domestic violence, how do you help your clients handle that? Domestic violence is a cancer that is destroying the marriage institution all over the world. Our approach to dealing with domestic violence clients is safety first. We encourage those experiencing abuse of any kind to seek help, get out of harm’s way and be patient and forgiving. Forgiving the perpetrator releases the victim from further mental abuse. Patience helps the victim think before taking drastic steps.
If your spouse is abusing you, follow the first steps of seeking help, safety and then deal with yourself before you deal with him. In what ways do you help your clients complete the process of healing after major hurts in marriage successfully? We believe that until you deal with the emotional hurt, the patient is not healed. The process of healing starts with forgiveness of self and the perpetrator of the harm.
Forgiveness is the final step that says- I am still standing, I made it in spite of you, and I am a better person than you. Above all, forgiveness is more beneficial to the person forgiving that the person being forgiven.
Once the victim of hurt understands the dynamics of forgiveness and it’s healing power, they become motivated to putting the past trauma behind them. What are the challenges you face as a marriage counsellor? The hardest challenge is the number of people needing help. A lot of marriages are messed up right now in Africa, North America and Europe. In fact, marriage as we know it now is becoming extinct.
The next challenge is not having both spouses in counseling sessions. Most men don’t take part in counseling until it’s too late. Counselling one spouse is like treating one half of the body of a person with sickness.
Have you handled a case where you almost had your fingers burnt in the process? Yes, I recommended a lady to my cousin and that good gesture came back to hunt me from time to time. Some days, I am the messiah and on other days, I am the devil. When things are good, I am the best cousin but when things are bad, I am blamed for the marriage.
As a Christian counselor, your clients know that it’s not your skills that will help them but their determination and the spirit of God in them. You are only a facilitator of God’s word. When is a good time for a couple to seek marriage counseling? All the time, you can never get enough of counseling especially if it’s free. Start reading books on marriage even before you find a spouse.
Good books reflect the thought and ideas of the author. People generally publish their best thoughts and idea on books. Enroll in premarital counseling before marriage and continue with post marital counseling for at least 6 months after marriage. We recommend refresher courses through marriage seminars and conferences. There is a reason why virtually all professions insist on continuing education.
Do you suggest strategies to solve your clients’ marital problems and what are these strategies? We have four main areas that we call the culprits or the heroes of divorce. One is ineffective communication. Most marital problems are rooted in lack of communication. If you can speak the language of your spouse and also understand his or her language, you have a good chance of longevity in marriage.
Secondly, wrong or divergent values of money create tensions. Money is a tool and the more couples see it as a tool for the family, the better. We spend time teaching about what money means to each of the spouse. In every couple, there is usually a keeper and a spender. How couples see money dictate how they spend money.
There is also absence of romance and third party interference in marriages. Romance is a tough one especially in Africa. Women have been trained to suppress their desires in Africa. They substitute their desires to be love with house affairs and children. Men in turn share love by given material gifts and providing for the family.
A man in Africa thinks that as long as he provides and takes care of his wife, she should be okay. Women in America make that money with their spouse and spend it together. Even when they are not making money, they still demand to be loved and cared for dutifully by their husbands.
They insist on family vacations, romantic trips and date nights etc. It amazes me how Nigerian men send their wives and children abroad while they remain in Nigeria. I always laugh when the woman says we are on family vacation and I ask, where is the man? What happens if a partner refuses to work at their marriage, what do you do at such times? Two cannot work together except they agree. We recommend separation for a short period, and also suggest vacation among other things.
Ultimately, if one party is not interested, there is nothing anybody can do but pray to God.We never recommend divorce. Separation is probably the most drastic step we have recommended. Divorce may solve one problem but it also creates many other problems and that’s why fewer second marriages succeed. At the end of the day, you may be better off staying alone than moving on.
This is not a popular suggestion but understand that we are Christian marriage counselors. What can you tell us about yourself and ministry? My husband and I are founders of Two-gether for Ever Inc., a relationship outfit based in Houston Texas, USA for over 15 years now. We have just published our new book on marriage titled: Together for Ever: God’s Master plan for your marriage. We are trained lawyers and have practiced law for over a decade before going into Ministry.
We have been married for over 22 years and blessed with three children. We were recently in Nigeria where we held a relationship seminar. We also had a book signing session after the event to encourage couples to work on their marriages despite the many challenges facing marriages today.