Rev Chris Okotie’s second marriage has ended after only four years. The Head Pastor of the Household of God announced in church yesterday, that he has separated from Stephanie Henshaw whom he married in August 2008. He told his congregation that he wanted to be the one to break the sad news to them and hoped for their understanding. He also said there was no going back,that the marriage was over!
This is Rev Okotie’s second failed marriage. It would be recalled that a lot of controversy trailed his marriage to Stephanie, a widow and mother of three. Pastor Okotie had earlier divorced his first wife Tina, who is now living in the United States of America.
The marriage between the estranged couple started during a thanksgiving service held in his church on August 10. Okotie created a stir when he told his congregation that the Holy Spirit revealed to him that his bride had never been married before. The woman, who was married, was dead and this one is born again, a new creation and quoting the bible, he said, “old things had passed away”- so also was the fact that she was once married. Okotie had also dispelled the belief that the bible is against re-marriage after divorce in a situation where the spouse is still alive. “There is a difference between a man abandoned by his wife and the one that divorces. The only thing that breaks a relationship is a divorce and even when there’s a divorce, the bible says you can re-marry,” he said.
It was gathered that Okotie ignored opposition from his church members and other relatives concerning his decision to wed Stephanie, claiming he had heard God clearly this time. Members of the church had even organised secret vigils and prayer sessions for their pastor to change his mind, but when their prayer did not materialise, some relocated to other churches. Some of his followers claimed his actions were contradictory and confusing.
At a press conference, Okotie said his new bride was destined to marry him from her birth and that people really did not appreciate what love is. He said he began ‘walking closely’ with Stephanie in 1999, a year after his divorce and he had asked her to marry him many times. “She was not particularly certain whether it was what God wanted for her. So I had a situation where I had to get the Lord to persuade her that he is part of this agreement,” he said.