She’s a Christian Counselor, a Wife, a Mother, a Singer, a Sister, a Writer, a Ministry Leader, a Daughter, and a friend. I want to introduce to you my wonderful sister/friend Nicole Efunnuga (who goes by Nykki). She is a woman anyone could look up to and admire. Not only has she grabbed a hold of her dreams and birthed them into reality, she gives back on so many levels to help others do the same (myself included). In the midst of all that goes on in her life she sat down for a minute and allowed me to pick her brain a bit on the topic of marriage and stuff and I wanted to share that with you!
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: I am so excited and filled with Joy to have you sharing with my readers today! I’m very grateful. You have so much to give and I thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to share with them.
Nykki: I am so honored to be interviewed! I count it a great privilege to share from the well of grace that I’ve been swimming in through this life of mine!
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: You have so many hats and I could go on and on trying to explain who you are, but could you briefly tell my readers who you are please?
Nykki: I am first a wife of an amazing man of God, Korey, and mother to two beautiful children, Daniel who’s an adult at 25, and little Anaiah who just turned 4. While I find my deepest fulfillment as a wife, mother, and keeper of my home, I am also blessed to serve as a professional Christian counselor in a private practice; as a co-leader of my church’s women’s ministry through which I counsel women as well as co-teach a weekly Bible study; and assist in leading worship and singing with my church’s amazing worship team. I’m also a singer/songwriter who ministers as a solo artist under the name “Nicole Danielle.” Over this past year, I have been blessed tremendously to form a singing/songwriting trio called Beautifully Broken with two sisters who have wonderful hearts for God and amazing vocal prowess, Amanda Davis and Taiye Oludapo. We are currently in the process of recording some music that we hope to have released on an EP in 2013.
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: AMAZING you are! When you were growing up was it more important to be married or to chase your dreams?
Nykki: Honestly, when I was a young child, the only thought I had about marriage was that you needed to be married to have kids. I pretty much only thought about getting married because I eventually wanted to have children and because that’s just what you did when you grew up—got married and had kids. I didn’t really have any romanticized notions about it at all. Thus, it wasn’t very important to me.
Chasing my dreams was probably more important. And, while I sang on choirs when I was a little girl and really had this passion for it, I never dreamed of pursing singing professionally. The dream that I chased as a child was to graduate college and become a nurse. And because I was gifted academically, I was greatly influenced in the direction of reaching that career goal by my parents and educators. Overall, it was more important to me to pursue a career than marriage.
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: When you became a mother did all of your priorities change? If so how?
Nykki: I became a mother at 16 years old, so my priorities definitely got shifted around a bit. I still desired to go to college and become a nurse, but being a mom became my identity, really. I was able to have fun and party and do most of the typical fun things that teenagers do, but I certainly was no longer as carefree, to say the least. Raising my son and guiding him into a successful future became my number one priority. I was thankful to have the consistent help and support of his father, but the weight that parenting bore on my soul caused me to live more day-to-day rather than work harder at setting a solid educational foundation for a future as a nurse. What I mean is that, as a mom, I wanted a job to contribute to my son’s well being, although his father carried pretty much 100% of the load. This meant that instead of continuing in college full-time after my freshman year, I chose to get a full-time job and went to school part-time. School and the pursuit of a nursing degree became secondary and work was primary. Thus, educational/career dreams were pushed to the side or put on hold altogether. And, as a mom, I was okay with that back then.
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: Are your beliefs about marriage the same as they were when you were younger? Please explain.
Nykki: Wow. No, not at all. Like I mentioned earlier, I viewed marriage as a means to an end—to have children. I did not look at the companionship or romantic aspects of it and certainly not the spiritual aspects of it. Most of my beliefs about marriage now come from a biblical world view since I became a born-again Christian (which happened when I was 23 years old), but even that has evolved over the years. When I was young, I only had my parents’ marriage as an example. Their marriage ended when I was 11 years old and that fact really damaged my view of marriage. I then came to the realization that marriages could end and that they can end through adultery (my father committed adultery). And I became fearful of getting married after that, although I was still open to the idea.
I also saw divorce as a viable option for marriage. Even before my parents’ marriage ended, I had this view which I think came from television. My childhood best friend and I used to actually say that we were going to grow up, get married, have two daughters, and then divorce our husbands. And we were only about 7 or 8 at that time! The only examples I saw of divorce at that time were on television.
I now look at marriage as a covenant relationship between a man and a woman. I believe the man is called to sacrificially lay down his life for his wife and love her as if he was loving himself. I believe the wife is called to respect and support her husband, to willingly choose to submit herself to his loving leadership as head of their home. And I believe this relationship should not be ended except through death or adultery that is ongoing and there is no movement toward change and reconciliation.
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: Powerful stuff! Do you find it difficult to wait on and serve your husband at times? Why and why not?
Nykki: I find it difficult to wait on a husband who is demanding, authoritarian, unkind, unloving, and selfish. I think anyone would feel that way; it’s only natural. It would be odd to see a woman willingly “waiting” on a husband who is that way. However, I know it can be done by God’s grace.
My husband is a wonderful, kind, and generous man…always ready to serve me. I enjoy serving him in the ways that I do and it doesn’t feel difficult at all when he’s acting wonderful, kind, loving, and generous towards me. But even when he’s having a bad moment and may choose not to act as loving or kind, I have “waited” on him by God’s strength. It certainly has felt difficult during those times, but I constantly pray for God to help me be a wife after His heart. And He answers those prayers by helping me to wait on my husband–even when it might feel difficult.
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: Do you think that many women have a misunderstanding about what it is to wait for sex and marriage?
Nykki: In this day and age, I do believe many women have a misunderstanding about what it is to wait for sex in marriage. I mean, it is difficult not to in a society that deifies sex and sexual expression, where people parade their sexuality like it’s a part of their wardrobe (i.e. they need to put it on display everyday whenever they go out in public). Of course, I’m a Christian and I’m coming from a biblical perspective so my thoughts on the matter will reflect that.
While I understand the difficulties of denying yourself the fulfillment of your sexual desires as a single person (been there, done that!), I will not go along with the mainstream culture and agree that a sexual relationship with a person other than your (current!) spouse is okay. It is not. Waiting until marriage for sex is so utterly beneficial to your mind, body, and soul. We bring enough baggage to our marriage relationships. Sexual involvement before marriage only adds another duffle bag (or suitcase!) to the lot.
I think many women (and men!) view sex from an unhealthy, worldly, and faulty perspective. I talk to women all the time who have views about sex that lead them to believe they must have sex with a man to get him hooked, to get him to marry them, to simply get his attention, or even to feel worthwhile as a woman. Some women even view sex as an expression of their feminine identity and, while it is in part, it certainly is not it in totality. Whatever the case, all those perspectives are based on lies and are surely the speedy route to disappointment—whether now or later.
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: Wow, shut it down with the knowledge did ya! That was very meaty. What would your advice be to women who are doing all the right things, but still are not being approached by worthy men?
Nykki: Well, part of that depends on what “doing all the right things” means. If you are not being approached by worthy men, first do some reflective personal inventory. In other words, check your heart…your inner world. What are your beliefs about marriage? What is your value system? What is your worldview? Do you know who you are and what your purpose is in this life—that unique aspect of yourself that only you can bring to this world?
I believe a woman must know who she is and have some idea of what her God-given purpose is first and foremost because from this comes her sense of security. She needs to be secure within, knowing who she is and WHOSE she is. As a Christian, of course, my view is that our security and the knowledge of who we are and what our purpose is stems from our relationship with God.
Yet, if a woman is secure and knows who she is and she is still not being approached by “worthy men”, she needs to continue in whatever God has called her to and rest in Him until she is approached. Of course, this is not a passive activity. She needs to be growing inwardly and fulfilling her purpose outwardly. Be busy living your life—whether you are approached or not. That in itself is attractive to many men.
Also, do not allow disappointment with not being approached drive you to acting in less than attractive ways. A woman does not need to strategize or manipulate or try to influence a man to approach her. If a man is “worthy”, he WILL approach. A “worthy” man is one who knows who he is and what his purpose is. He is secure in his manhood and defines his masculinity based on what God says about him. Thus he has little difficulty approaching a woman and responds to his inner God-given design and drive to initiate connection and pursue a woman of whom he’s interested. He is strong inwardly and seeks to edify, support, and build up a woman rather than looking to her to simply be a support to him. A “worthy” man has integrity and is willing to patiently earn a woman’s trust rather than demand it from the outset. He seeks and strives to live a life of purity. And a “worthy” man looks to Christ for everything and submits to Him willingly—even though he may stumble at times.
Now, I must say this: Women must understand that while there are so many “worthy” men out there, there are also probably a larger percentage of men who simply are not. And that reality means that there will likely be less “worthy” options out there. Second, women must understand more importantly that many men do not know what it looks like to be “worthy” in many of the ways mentioned here and specifically in regard to approaching women. They simply don’t know how perhaps because of a lack of positive examples in their lives, because their getting conflicting messages about what being a “worthy” man looks like (from society and us!), or whatever. Thus, we women need to extend a little grace and allow men to grow and learn…from other MEN. We can’t teach them. Remember this: Men learn how to be “worthy” men in the presence of other “worthy” men…(but that’s a whole other topic!).
Another important thing to note is that the issue of men approaching women to pursue them romantically for the purpose of marriage is a big one in the Church. Women tend to be frustrated with the lack of “worthy” men approaching them and men tend to be frustrated with the lack of approachable women. It is my belief that the underlying issue is really a problem with both genders. I believe that this world and the enemy of our souls has so distorted and deceived us all about our masculine and feminine identities that we generally do not act according to the biblical definitions of manhood and womanhood. Thus, we struggle in our relationships with one another—even in the early stages of simply getting together. If Satan’s goal is to destroy marriages (and anything else that glorifies God), it’s really not a reach to say that he tries to keep people from getting married in the first place. Would it not be a surprise he would throw hindrances in the way to the formation of godly courtship’s and dating relationships? Thus, I also believe he is at work regarding this issue. While it is beyond the scope of this interview (and this question) to delve further into this specifically, I do believe that this reality of Satan’s influence must be considered in light of the struggles that many of us women have with not being approached by “worthy” men despite us doing “all the right things”.
Overall, if you are a woman who considers yourself to be doing “all the right things” and you have yet to be approached by a “worthy” man, do not fret. Without trying to sound trite or cliché, God is definitely in control. Understand that if its God will for you to marry, you WILL marry. Nothing can thwart God’s plan for your life—not you, not any man, and not Satan. If it is not His will for you to marry, you will not…and that is okay, too—even if it feels like death. A full, vibrant life is still possible even if you don’t have a date.
My general advice for any single sister is this: Keep your eyes on God, continue to listen to and obey His voice alone, live out your God-given purpose and enjoy your life in Christ, and trust God to draw that “worthy” man’s attention to you when the time is right. And if you find that somehow the years keep passing by and you still haven’t been “found”, rest in the fact that God “finds” you over and over again—even when you get sick of Him and want to turn your back. He loves us with a love that is relentless. Nothing—not even marriage and the love of a “worthy” man—can compare to the soul-deep satisfaction that comes from experientially knowing the love of Love Himself!
Mrs. Relationship Stuff: That was a mouth full! That was beautiful! Lastly, is this topic something you can offer women help on within your Counseling services?
Nykki: Certainly! I am very passionate about helping single women understand and appreciate the unique beauty they were created to be as well as navigating the single life. I want to help and encourage women—particularly those who find it difficult to feel worthy or lovable or do not know how to relate in healthy ways to men. God poured a tremendous amount of wisdom through other women onto me when I was a single woman. I simply want to “pay it forward” and share the wealth.
Nicole Efunnuga, M.S. Founder of Heart Mission Therapy Services
website: heartmission.org email: email@example.com phone: 267.607.9149
Nicole Danielle Singer and Song Writer
Current Album “I Worship You” is available for download on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and Napster. If you would like to purchase a hard copy of this CD, send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org or it can be purchased from the bookstore in Antioch of Calvary Chapel located at 4721-23 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19139