By Essie Wambui.
Death Did Us Part by Rev. (Dr.) Florence A. Juma is a short story about the tumultuous marital relationship of a couple at the brink of divorce. The author speaks to Essie Wambui about the book.
What inspired you to write this book?
This was mainly motivated by my work with couples and families and the desire to generate inclusive conversations that can lead to healing and restoration of relationships.
Can you tell me about the book?
The book is a fictional characterization of some real-life events; a reflection on some of the pitfalls that plagued the marriage of Akawd and Muka and brought it to its deathbed. The two were committed Christians and leaders in their church when they immigrated to Canada from Africa. The book serves as a case example that can help couples reflect on their own relationships, especially couples of similar backgrounds.
Why the title Death Did Us Part?
The title is taken from the words in the vows that couples make to each other during a wedding ceremony. The traditional vows states “till death do us part”. I’m playing with those words to indicate that the marital contract is an entity on its own and has a life of its own, a life that can also thrive or die, causing the end of the relationship.
Being a person of faith and a therapist, what are your thoughts on separation and divorce among people of faith?
The ideal situation is for two individuals who enter into a marital relationship to thrive and grow in love as they develop and mature in life. Marriage is a special relationship that requires investing time and effort for individual and couple enrichment. Sometimes however, a marital relationship can be a source of so much pain that separation and divorce may be the best possible option. In any case, where possible, couples should seek counseling and support when circumstances force them apart.
What is the interplay of faith and culture in resolving marital conflicts?
Faith and culture play important roles in resolving marital conflict. In some cases, cultural ideals provide necessary resources in the form of extended families and social structures that promote peaceful and respectful interpersonal relationships. Faith is foundational in any interpersonal relationship but mostly in a marital and familial relationship. Where faith and culture clash, faith should prevail.
Immigration in itself is challenging for anyone. What do you think are the greatest challenges for newer immigrant couples?
Some of the greatest challenges include finding relevant resources to continue developing simultaneously as individuals and families while in transition. Sometimes individuals shelve their needs and desires in order to help their loved ones and their dependent family members back at home and that can lead to accumulation of stressors.
What do you hope that readers will gain from reading your book?
I’m hoping that readers use the book as a mirror and in all cases come out looking way better than the couple in the book. However, should they spot issues of concern that need their attention, that they will feel comfortable enough to have the difficult conversations and seek therapy where necessary. I also hope that the book will lead couples to celebrate their love and resilience at a time when relationships seem to be facing a myriad of challenges.
About the author
Juma joined full time Christian service in her youth and is a Ministry Associate and a Registered Psychotherapist based in Waterloo, Ontario. She is ordained with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada and trained in the integration of spiritual disciplines in therapy. Juma is also an Associate Professional Faculty at Martin Luther University College in the department of Spiritual Care and Psychotherapy.
After migrating with her family to Canada in the late 1990s and settling in Southwestern Ontario, Juma sought opportunities of service and continued her ministry within Ontario and into the United States. She has served in various capacities over the years.
The author of six other books for both adults and children says her writing journey evolved out of reflective practices on her personal and professional experiences. You can find Juma on Facebook at Flojumabooks, Twitter @flojuma2, Website at florencejuma.com and Blog at florencejuma.com.
Death Did Us Part, retails in Canada for $10.99. It is available in print at Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, Word Alive Press, and wherever fine Christian books are sold. The eBook can be bought through Amazon’s Kindle Store, Apple iBooks, Kobo, Google Play, Scribd, and in Adobe PDF format for additional vendors.
Essie Wambui Twitter @westesita