by ‘Damilola Oyedele
Celebrated inspirational speaker and author Fela Durotoye recently released a book on relationships titled ‘Mr Fantastic’. He’s been married to successful beauty entrepreneur Tara for over 10 years, and was inspired by the massive response he received to a Facebook note which he wrote on the subject – How to know if he’s the right man. FD, as he is fondly called went ahead to turn the points into a book which has already garnered a lot of buzz. YNaija caught up with the busy author for a few words on his recent work, and he didn’t disappoint. We are very pleased to present you this exclusive interview!
What is the one salient point you want readers to take away from reading Mr Fantastic?
Actually, there are quite a few points, but let me touch on a couple of them.
If I had to give this book another name, it would be “Shine Your Eye!!!”.
The big idea is to get singles (especially the single ladies) to look before they leap. They say LOVE IS BLIND BUT MARRIAGE IS AN EYE OPENER.
I’ve seen too many young couples get into marriage and then begin to SEE and complain about things that were always there but they just hadn’t paid enough attention while they were single. Why? Because they were blinded by the romance and infatuation of ‘love.’
I’ve spoken to far too many crying young couples. I’ve tried to dry far too many tears. My ears are almost full of complaints about how they are surprised by the obvious (something that was always there) but they simply didn’t pay attention and give enough consideration when they first saw it as singles. The result is usually a broken heart and sometimes, a broken home.
I want readers to understand that Marriages do not fail because of the things you can live with; marriages fail because of the things you can’t live with. Most times people knew they couldn’t live with certain things but they said maybe they could. It is true that in the course of marriage, there is nothing that cannot change. But to bet that something will change may be asking for too much. If the situation remains the same, can you live with it? Because your spouse is going to turn around one day and tell you “But you saw me like that before you married me,” and there’ll be nothing you can do then.
Then for me as a nation builder, I think that the link between the family as a unit in the nation and the general well-being of the nation is extremely critical. So, first and foremost, I want every reader to understand how extremely important their decision of who to get married to affects the larger picture of a great nation. If each family works, then the entire nation has a better chance of working because the family produces the individuals who will run the nation.
They say the divorce rates are as high as 54.8% and that 50% of the marriages end in divorce in the first five years. It has also been found that in 64% of all the marriages that end up in divorce, the partners were from broken homes. So there is a very strong chance that if your marriage breaks up your children’s marriage will break up. Interestingly, it has also been shown that 80% of the young people who are in prison, come from broken homes. So, do you now see how broken homes and failed marriages can affect a nation? Mr Fantastic is to ensure that fewer marriages are dissolved because the link between strong marriages and strong nations is so critical.
The book speaks mostly to young, unmarried people and will undoubtedly be life changing for many. How do you believe married people can benefit from reading it?
I think that Mr Fantastic will be as useful to married people as it is for singles but in different ways. For singles, they are not yet into the marriage so they can still shine their eyes and decide whether to ride or not. But for the married ones who are already into it, what Mr Fantastic will do, is get them to see clearly where the challenges are coming from and the differences that has resulted in that situation. Once that is clear, it becomes easier to tackle the challenges. And for those who are having a jolly ride, it also helps them to be able to know for sure why their marriage is working and be able to strengthen it.
Where did you draw inspiration for the book from?
Just like every other work I have ever written or spoken about, my number one inspiration is God. For Mr Fantastic, it was God who helped me to develop the 17 qualities of this dream guy, each one beginning with an F. I put it up initially as a note on my facebook page where there is a combined following of about 130,000 people and the comments were simply overwhelming. That was when we decided to make it into one of the next set out books and thankfully it came out before the others.
How did the process of writing ‘Mr Fantastic’ impact you personally, as a husband and father?
By the grace of God, Tara and I have a wonderful marriage and a home that many people point to as a model family. I give glory to God for that. But there are also challenges just like in every home. So, writing this book has also helped me to check myself because again, you cannot give what you don’t have.
For instance, Tara and I are from broken homes, and working on this book and the facts and statistics about broken homes and the effect further strengthened our resolve to make ours a unique exception. So, you’ll find that I made reference to my marriage a few times in the book so people can understand that these things are practicable and not just fairy tale.
The book highlights the qualities of the man. Will there be a sequel which focuses on women?
Mr Fantastic is not just about the man. In fact, it is actually written for the women; for them to be able to assess the man in their lives based on the 17 qualities I touched on in the book. But then, if you look closely, interestingly, more guys are likely to read the book because if a guy finds out that his ‘Mrs Fantastic’ wants or already has a copy of ‘Mr Fantastic,’ he wants to know what she knows so he can meet her standards and that for me, is the essence – attitude change. So, he begins to check himself, “Am I focused? Is my fashion sense good enough? Can I be a great father?” and before you know it, he starts to make adjustments.
And then for the ladies, I stated clearly in the book that it is also a matter of compatibility. Before you begin to remove the speck in your man’s eye, you should check yours for the log. So I said in the book that, “It is one thing for you to know how to assess this guy; it is another thing not only to be able to assess yourself but also to be able to ask yourself how he sees you too.”
But as for whether we’ll one day have ‘Mrs Fantastic,’ maybe not so called, because there is actually another book I’m working on which is called ‘Becoming the woman of his dreams’ where I talked about the three types of men we have and the qualities of ‘Mrs Fantastic’ if you like. That book will also be out very soon.