To Leave and to Cleave: Components that make marriage work

Book Review: To Leave and to Cleave
Reviewer: Her Excellency, Erelu Angela Adebayo
Wife of the former Governor of Ekiti State
Authors: Angela Uponi and Dr. Nnezi Uduma Olugu

A book review is not supposed to be a book report or our comprehension as our children write in school. A book review is more for me to tell you what jumps out at you from this book and then to finish up by telling you if it is a book you might want to read or a book you might not want to read.

Unfortunately, due to some technological progress if we want to call it that word we are not reading as much as we were. We find that we can find answers to everything at the tip of your fingers, you can google it. You hardly ever sit down as we call it the olden days to read a book. But then, sometimes you require a reference book and a hand book. And in something as important as marriage I don’t think you should be googling or watching a film and this is why I think this book is very, very important.

To Leave and to Cleave is a delightful book that I predict will be a reference book, a companion book and a comfort book for couples as they plan to wed, as well as those who are already married.

The unique aspect of To Leave and to Cleave is that apart from been experienced based, it is faith based with no apologies. The book refers to the scriptures and to the Bible and therein you find the major strength of this book, because man is fallible but God is infallible. So if we take the Bible as our reference book, To Leave and to Cleave is the natural progression from that.

The book consists of 195 pages, divided into 14 chapters. It is written by 2 authors but it is not exactly a collaboration it is that they have written it together, so there is a free flow of ideas not a comparison or a competition as it sometimes happens when two authors write. So, what you have here is you can sit down and read the book and find that prayerfully going through it a lot of your problems and issues will be resolved.

The book begins with a legal framework of marriage which in Nigeria of today is extremely important. Because you will be surprised to know that some people still don’t even know what exactly it is to be married and from there, they don’t know what their rights and privileges are especially the women. So, the authors gave us quite a good insight into the legal aspect of marriage. I find that the book was made very easy for me to review because it ended with conclusions. The conclusions I find to be very, very important. For instance, at the end of chapter 3, they tell you about courtship. And after going through what constitute a courtship, they tell us in conclusion that a failed courtship is better than a failed marriage. And after reading the chapter, you will see exactly how they came to this conclusion. This will help you if indeed you have wards, children, sisters, brothers who are going through this, you will be able to get to the book and quote meaningful parts of the Bible that will tell you what to say to them to comfort them at the time of broken heart, that later on when the right person comes they will realize that what they learnt from To Leave and to Cleave is indeed that a failed courtship is better than a failed marriage.

Something I found very important in this book is communication. They told us about how communication is important in marriage. For me, this is a key message that I took away from the book. This is what I will use for my children, my wards and my mentees. And you find that when you can communicate with your husband indeed that is the key to a very, very successful marriage.

They say for themselves, they say that couples should note that if they can attain effective communication between themselves, there cannot be any challenge that will be able to come between them. By the time you read that chapter definitely you will agree with them.

They spent some time on the roles of the man and the woman which I will ask you to take some time to read and to make sure that you read not only your role but also your spouse’s role. Then they took a bold move that I discussed with Angela, and is a kind of move that sometimes you will not find in a Christian book and they talked about sex and fornication and I gave a nickname because I called it the God kind of love. Because it is when you read this chapter you will understand what these two aspects mean in a Christian marriage. It is very, very invaluable especially in the world of today and it should not be ignored and they did not ignore it. And in this as well, there were a lot of references to the Bible which would make people feel very comfortable in this area which could be rather uncomfortable area.

They talked about pregnancy which I think will be more for the women although the men might want to read it. And they went on to talk about children. You’ve heard from Angela’s children so we know Angela is well equipped to tell us about how to bring up our children, our wards and our mentees. But there is a little area that I noticed in this chapter and it really, really ministered to me Angela, because, you told us that we should take not only our children to be our children but people that live with us, that is, our house-help. I remember some years back in church; our Vicar in our Church said to us that in your house do they know that the mother of the house is a Christian. Are they aware that their case is different because they live in a home of a Christian? And it has always ministered to me that it is not good enough to be a mother to your own children. Angela, I’m so proud of you and that is the testimony your children gave of you today, and that is what comes across in your book, well done! They gave us core values to train our children, love and obey God, be honest, work hard, be respectful, fellowship with brethren, avoid materialism, pray and worship God. You can see, as I said, this is a handy book, something you can refer to. This might be what you want to talk to somebody about. You can pick up the book and just turn to that page.

A chapter on finance which having heard of the story of the eggs, I see how that came about and I can refer that chapter to a lot of women.

As I said, the book actually consists of 14 chapters but I decided to end at the chapter that deals with handling difficulty in marriage because I believe that this book would help a lot. It is one thing to prepare yourself, it is one thing to read books and read the Bible but difficulty will come and I was very pleased and gratified to find that the authors of To Leave and to Cleave had dealt with that in a whole chapter and give people something to go to and not feel too bad because in every marriage, there will always be difficulties.

Finally, to me, the strength of this book is in this line that I will quote from the book and it said “God is the author of marriage; remember to always go to Him because he has all the answers”. Indeed He has all the answers and indeed, He may not always come down to tell us himself what to do, so He sends people to us to minister to us and this is what Angela and Nnezi has done and I commend them and I recommend this book to all of you to read it and pop it into your library and use it in your day to day life.

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