Carnival done and gone and the shops are focused on red and white displays of hearts - my excuse to treat chocolate as its own food group. For many it is a moment to reflect on the status of romantic love in one’s life. My friend Ricardo is fresh from a wedding in St. Lucy where the Reverend did some straight talking on these matters. I’ll try to tell the story as it was received – no lie - although the names of the happy couple have naturally been changed.
It started in the usual way. The radiant bride Alicia and her anxious groom Keshorn bowed their heads as the first hymn came to an end and Dr. Reverend Jonathan H. Joseph stepped forward. He looked at the forty-strong congregation sweltering as they sat squashed into the tiny church.
‘Marriage is a great institution and it rests on four pillars. Is like a temple and the temple going fall down with an almighty crash if any of them pillars was to crumble to the ground. So I ask you, Keshorn and I ask you, Alicia, to listen. I going give you the key to a long and happy marriage.’
Turning to Alicia he glared down.
‘The first pillar is money. Yes money. You need money. I need money. Alicia, you must accept that Keshorn is in charge of the way the money going be handled. You must trust in he wisdom. A loyal wife never questions the authority of she husband in this matter. Yes I know you have a little food business pon a weekend down by Six Mens Bay but Keshorn is the man. Accept that or mark my words, this marriage go be over before you could say macaroni pie.’
The Reverend’s words had managed to silence even the bawling baby in the last pew. Everyone waited wide-eyed to see what would come next.
‘As we think about this important pillar of marriage, the money, join me in singing the hymn, Jesus Paid It All.’
There was a collective exhalation and the gathering threw themselves into the singing. As the hymn died down the Reverend stepped closer to the couple. His piercing dark eyes looked keenly into those of the petrified groom.
‘We have learnt that the first pillar of marriage is money. Now the great temple of marriage has a second pillar and that is communication. I does meet a set of young people getting married and they don’t know how to talk to one another. They busy emailing and could spend the whole day on Facebook or texting. And it does be the man them who does forget to communicate. Keshorn, you must talk to Alicia every day. Many wives come by me and they say, Dr. Reverend Jonathan H. Joseph, my husband doesn’t communicate with me. When he reach home from work and he does put up he foot in front the TV watching Dancing With The Stars and then he does start snoring hard hard. So I am warning you Keshorn. Take heed of my advice. If you do not she will shut up the shop. When the shop shut down and you will get nothing.’
Keshorn looked suitably chastised and slightly embarrassed. Most of the congregation were glancing at each other or twittering to those close by. No preacher of any denomination had ever spoken like this from a pulpit in Barbados. But they were too hasty. There was much more to come.
‘The third pillar holding up the roof of the temple of marriage is sex. The adult male and adult female must have a good and regular sex life. Even I, the Dr. Reverend Jonathan H. Joseph, could not carry out the ministry of Our Maker if my wife, Gloria, did not attend to my sexual needs. I sure she will agree with me that she is also well looked after in that department.’
He paused and turned again to face Keshorn directly.
‘Keshorn, by now you should have located her G spot. If you ain’t done your homework I promise you my friend: someone going do it for you.’
No one knew where to look. People were staring open-mouthed while others were stifling the giggles. The older folks looked outraged. Most were staring in disbelief while the good Dr. Reverend Jonathan H. Joseph continued, refusing to acknowledge the restlessness he had created.
‘The fourth pillar that you Alicia, and you Keshorn, must pay attention to is the one and only Lord God All Mighty.’
The congregation exhaled. At last the big guy was getting a look in.
‘I feel sure the Lord will reward you with riches and bless you with many children,’ continued the good Reverend. ‘In fact when I was praying earlier today the number five came to me. I think the Lord was trying to say you going bear five children.’
The ceremony concluded in a more traditional manner but Ricardo said the gathering remained agitated, exchanging glances and covert smiles as they digested the four pillars approach to marriage.