bout 12-15 years ago, when I became a noted writer for Nigeriaworld, my inbox was full with folks wanting me to look into domestic violence resulting in death among diaspora Africans. I did, I looked at 10 cases (all within two years) and 8 of them had a similar patten. I wrote an article on it, and that article is still circulating and i've even received it a few times (some making it look like it happened recently - with my name missing).
In the past year - with my travels, i'm starting to notice another EPIDEMIC, this time it is silently killing many marriages and ruining the lives of children, but it is NOT getting much attention because there is no physical death, as with domestic violence. The emotional toll is excruciating and lasting.
I know many of you in this situation, I want you to know that this is nothing personal, rather my call by God to ensure His people have a healthy godly home (the mandate He gave me), and as most you know - I usually err on the side of (obedience to) God - as I see it, even if it means losing friendship (which is not my aim).
The epidemic i'm talking about, and i'm hoping is corrected or reduced (just like the domestic violence situation) is African Couples, coming abroad (or going back home) and LEAVING their families (wife, husband, children, etc.) behind either in Africa or in a Western Country.
Mostly for ECONOMIC reasons, many in third world countries are immigrating to Western countries for the betterment of their families, better standard of living, better education for the children, ability to earn a decent income and take care of things, etc., however, other circumstances are NOW making the family separate, and this is creating tremendous strain on the marriage and the requirement by God to raise Godly offspring (together).
This well intentioned separations, is causing adultery by both the husband and wife, and in some cases a poor child is brought into the situation. It is also causing conflict between the absent parent and the children, as that parent misses important events in the life of the children, or if the adultery become known - adult children resist the adulterous parents, sometimes causing long term damage. Although, I have described the problems in one paragraph, the damage it causes are usually very deep emotionally and last much longer.
I understand temporary separation due to immigration status, what I don' understand is separation with NO timeline, i'm hesitating to use examples, but i'm very much aware of many homes ruined by these long term or permanent (not status) economy based separations.
By His grace, I have not been separated from my wife or my children in 25 years of being together, a few times I could have made such choice but one of the things I determine earlier on, with the understanding of my role as a husband and a dad - was to be obedient to God. I cannot wait for the next season of life, where Ola and I can get up and go, like we used to do before the kids came.
Being together does not guarantee perfection, but statistically it give you, your marriage, your children a better chance of godly success. It gives the children the opportunity to have both of you at home, even if you don't agree - no income or fame or whatever would ever replace been warned by the referee at soccer games that you are yelling too much or counting scores (guilt as charged).
Separation is not all bad either, but it increases the chance opportunity adultery, it reduces emotional bonds between parents, it create attachment issues - either between the couple or the children. Conflicts are avoided - hence issues are punted knowing that we'll be apart soon, and this creates spiritual and emotional divisions that eventually lead to divorce.
Here is my take, do not let money, position or whatever keep you operated from your spouse or your family, you might think the financial benefit outweigh other issues, but I bet you in the long run - emotional issues outweighs all the gold in Ghana or oil in Nigeria. It is my prayer that the Holy Spirit would speak more to you individually on the subject.
William Femi Awodele is the Executive Director of Christian Couples Fellowship International, Inc. and a Vice-Chair of Embrace the Heartland in Prayer (http://www.prayheartland.com)