Nike Folagbade is a Family Life Coach and Counsellor. She teaches and empowers both single and married people with godly and practical strategies — on how to build a blossoming kingdom relationship and marriage through Nike Folagbade International.
She’s a Master Practitioner of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Results Coach; an Associate of Family Systems Engineering and a Certified Emotional Intelligence and Anger management coach, and an SYMBIS facilitator, who helps engaged and married couples prepare for the ‘before and after’ of their marriages.
Nike is also the President of ‘The Life in the Ark Global Ministry (LIFA)’. Her signature course, Warrior Brides Network, has created a movement of single and married women (in over 10 countries) who are happily hosting God’s presence in their homes — while elevating their discovering purpose, and building their marriages. She is also the convener of the Love and Life Hub platform that equips singles with the right knowledge on dating, and other initiatives.
Nike has written seven books and she is a contributor to different media platforms across the globe. She was listed in the 2019 Edition of the 100 Most Inspiring Young People in Nigeria.
The multitalented amazon is also the Human Resources Manager at WORITAL, a top-tier book branding, and publishing firm owned by her husband, Fola.
In this interview with Esther Ijewere, Nike shares her inspiring journey as a Family Life Coach and why she loves bringing couples to a place of awareness and understanding.
While growing up, I lived in a neighborhood where most of their marriages were characterized by emotional neglect, physical and emotional abuse, financial irresponsibility, lack of affection, and communication breakdown. This raised concerns for me as I couldn’t understand why these relationships were average.
Beyond the issue of marriages, I also became worried about the toxic lifestyles, relationships, and poor choices made by many young adults. I often wished I could sit down with them and encourage them to be more intentional about their lives.
As I matured into my teenage years, I started to feel that there are a lot of roles that modeling and parenting play in how adults grow up to interpret love and emotional decisions.
I also noticed that I was easily drawn to reading newspaper columns, books, movies, and songs that explored love and relationships. My father was concerned about my lack of interest in current affairs and politics, as I seemed to always have my head buried in love-related matters. I had a natural inclination for writing on topics related to love, which only fueled my interest further.
While in university, I felt a strong urge to help people via writing and speaking, especially in the area of love and dating. I attended seminars, gained knowledge, and started blogging and speaking at my church, while also discovering more of my skills. I utilized various platforms such as WordPress, BBM, Facebook, and Twitter, which allowed me to reach thousands of people in 2013.
One of the ways that my childhood helped to build compassion in me is that, at a young age, I didn’t know how to process corrections. I always took every mistake, pain, sickness, failure, and criticism as rejection from life, so I began to seek love and validation externally. This spurred me into dating for the wrong reasons until I was able to truly discover myself. Now, when I’m helping people, I can see through the lens of their past and how it forms their decision now. I understand how childhood trauma can impact one’s mindset and love life and how important it is for one to heal to fully embrace love.
It’s been 10 years since I started and I’m so happy to have helped thousands of people to discover themselves, heal from past hurts, choose better relationships, make better marital decisions, and grow spiritually.
Inspiration behind Nike Folagbade International
It started with a strong burden in my heart. I wanted more out of life. I knew from a young age that I was meant to make a difference in people’s lives through my writing, speaking, and other means that I would discover as I continued to grow. However, I was unsure of how to take the first steps toward launching my career. I lacked the knowledge and understanding of how to build a platform, connect with an audience, and make myself visible to the world.
It started as a hobby with blogging in 2013 but the more I started to interact with people and real-life issues, I knew that I needed to get trained and certified. As I began to step into the relationship industry, I found the necessary training for my field and became a part of it.
I got certified in Emotional intelligence, Anger management, Family Systems Engineering, Master Neuro-Linguistics Programming, SYMBIS, and other coaching skills. I decided to intentionally build a coaching business and not just a hobby. Hence, I registered with Nike Folagbade International, to anchor my brand.
Now, we are focused on helping singles and married couples via coaching, therapy, group programs, counseling, mentorship, speaking, blogging, podcasting, authoring books, and other media.
My vision is to establish an institution that caters to families of all types, including singles, and engaged, and married couples. We aim to provide support for intentional parenting and healthy relationships. We have developed an online academy that provides training for individuals seeking to prepare for a healthy relationship and marriage here: www.loveandlifehub.com
As part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, our goal is to promote well-being and build stronger institutions. By nurturing whole and healthy individuals who are mentally, spiritually, and emotionally stable, we believe that we can foster better marriages and raise happier children—leading to a better society in the long run.
Managing my role as a Family Life coach, Counsellor, Certified Emotional Intelligence Coach, and SYMBIS facilitator
All of these roles fit in properly in my workflow. I use the skills I have acquired in my private sessions, classes, and programs while interacting with singles and married couples. I know when to deal with the emotional aspect and when to get personal or spiritual. It makes my work easier.
Save Your Marriage Before It Starts (SYMBIS) tool is also a premarital coaching tool that helps me work with couples on how to adequately prepare for and position well in marriage. I use it in my work with engaged and married couples and it simplifies my process and helps me discover the problems and solutions head-on.
I also use Family Systems Engineering skills and assessments to help married people too. I do all of these via www.nikefolagbade.com
The Journey so far
Having worked with people for over a decade, I have gained a deep understanding of various life issues and experienced a personal transformation. I have evolved and learned to embrace people and their individuality with honor.
As a coach, it is a privilege to gain the trust of people as they share their issues and navigate through life with my guidance. I have witnessed many transformational stories that are very humbling. Working with singles and married couples across more than 20 countries has been a privilege. My experience has shown that when people choose the right path and the right person to guide them on their journey, they can improve and become their best selves
Impact of Warrior Brides Network
Warrior Brides Network is a versatile membership-based community. It is a solution for women who want to grow their intimacy with God, and whose desires are to experience transformation in their lives and marriages. It was founded in 2020 and has cut across many families in over 15 countries of the world.
The network caters to women who have strived to no avail to make their marriages work. They have tried talking to their pastors, family members, friends, in-laws, and counselors, but have seen little or no changes.
Likewise, it is for women who do not feel loved, fulfilled, seen, and understood in their marriages; it is the ideal platform for women experiencing an unusual level of warfare and difficulty in their marriages.
It is a 12-week FAITH-BASED curriculum designed to help women experience emotional wholeness, discover their life purposes, elevate their identities, learn the wisdom for transforming their marriages (because every marriage has a unique blueprint), and then effectively parent their children.
We are focused on a 12-part curriculum that can be accessed via videos (for three months), community support, our signature assessment, workbook, prayer support, prophetic activation, mentors, guest facilitators, and other kinds of resources.
Notably, after the 12-week program, we have a community comprising all past members who continue to provide support, resources, and accountability for one another. Details can be found on www.warriorbridesnetwork.com
My perception of marriage as it relates to the Nigerian society
Many Nigerians are doing their best to prioritize family and make their marriages work, despite the pressure to marry early and have children as a sign of fruitfulness and family achievement. However, we must get some foundational things right. In my experience, issues around marriage are best viewed through this lens:
- Childhood trauma, caused by emotional neglect, is a silent challenge faced by many people whose parents struggled to make ends meet and inadvertently neglected their emotional needs. Unfortunately, many parents have not been trained on how to parent effectively, leading to a large number of adults who are not emotionally whole. These adults may struggle in their marriages and become toxic, further exacerbating the problem.
- Another issue is patriarchy, which involves subtle control and dominance over women, often manifesting through the expectation of submission. Due to this, many women feel disempowered by the limitations imposed on them by marriage. Also, toxic feminism can sometimes creep into households under the guise of equality and is susceptible to abuse. Therefore, we need to strike a balance between the true meaning of love and submission.
- There is also ignorance. While more Nigerians are becoming open to knowledge, the percentage of those who actively seek to learn is still relatively small when compared to those who remain closed off to knowledge. This may result in a significant gap between the educated and the uneducated.
- There is a dire need to create new stories with our marriages and stop using traditional and cultural scripts that haven’t worked effectively to build successful homes.
- The government needs to also create policies that promote a healthy and balanced home environment, which can prevent abuse and manipulation.
- Marriages are also breaking due to wrong priorities and wrong reasons for getting married.
We are doing great work in helping people, I believe that if we become open to knowledge and humble ourselves to deal with our emotional trauma, there will be progress.
The role of the church in helping young couples navigate their marital journey
The church can help young people navigate their marriage by providing the following structures:
- Access to structured knowledge: Pre and Post marital counseling will be helpful if we take it more seriously. It has to be structured and professional—not just based on theories and experiences that are not holistic. At The Elevation Church (the church I currently attend), I have seen how such a structured approach benefited many singles and helped their marriages thrive.
- A community that encourages young people to seek help, be vulnerable, and learn from theirs.
- Spiritual support: Strategic prayers are helpful as usual, we should teach young people how to build their walk with God, and not just depend on pastors for spiritual survival.
- Support for financial and mental help: This can include access to resources for building their business and achieving financial stability. Churches can provide platforms to make it easier for couples to access such resource
- The church should encourage young people going through marital challenges to share their issues without shame. Young couples should also be encouraged to seek temporary separation and legal and governmental intervention when there is abuse without them facing shame.
This help can be offered through coaching, conferences, spiritual programs, and other structured opportunities.
I have had my fair share of challenges, rewards, achievements, and space for improvement.
Challenges have come in the area of:
- I have observed that many people need help but cannot afford it. In my program, I run scholarship schemes that allow us to raise funds to support those who truly cannot afford it. Through this initiative, we have been able to help many individuals experience the transformation they need.
- We need to persuade those who can afford it to invest in their emotional and mental health, in addition to acquiring business skills, because money alone is not sufficient for a successful marriage. Many marriages suffer due to individuals making poor emotional choices that negatively impact their lives. While emotions are important, they can fade when faced with frustration, leading to impulsive decisions. It is crucial to teach individuals important skills like communication, understanding love languages, exercising self-control, and building strong values. These skills are necessary for maintaining healthy relationships, alongside prayer and spiritual practices.
- As the business grows, I have had to experience refining and transformational processes in my life so I teach from a place of experience and research. Managing my team has come with a lesson too. Finding people who understand my work ethic and values is important for me but thanks to remote working, it has been easier to manage people from different locations when necessary. I also enjoy volunteering support sometimes.
Other projects and activities
I run various programs that provide support to both singles and married couples, including the Marital Breakthrough Hub for Matured Singles, the Love and Life Hub platform, the Warrior Brides Network, and the Young Couples Club, among others. Most of my programs for singles and married are found here www.loveandlifehub.com
In 2023, we will be running a tour for Warrior Brides Network and my spiritual ministry where we would be reaching out to men and women on repairing marriages, redeeming lives, rebuilding foundations, and renewing hopes.
Many marriages are experiencing difficult challenges and many spouses are losing hope, and their identities, and experiencing despair, hopelessness, and confusion. It is time for them to rise and experience emotional, spiritual, and marital liberty. We would be going across different cities and countries to teach families who need this intervention. It will be free and we seek partnership and support in every capacity.
Why I love my job
I find joy in the person I become when helping others. Meeting new people and guiding them out of their struggles and confusion brings me immense satisfaction. Witnessing their transformation as they engage in the solutions they need is a process that I cherish.
3 women who inspire you and why
The list of the women who inspire me is inexhaustible, but I will just stick to 3 for the sake of brevity.
Joyce Meyer inspires me greatly because she simplifies many areas that we struggle with in her books and other resources. We share similar visions too and I’m happy at how she has influenced my mind positively, especially with the book, “Battlefield of the Mind”.
Ibukun Awosika is another woman who I strongly admire. She has built a formidable business and brand and has managed to balance this successfully with her home and family life.
Debola Deji-Kurunmi is a constant source of inspiration to me. As a visionary woman, she demonstrates what is possible through her leadership style. She teaches from a place of personal transformation, and every interaction with her challenges me to improve my mindset and execution. She is a woman who is solid in spirituality, business, marriage, and influence.
To young women who are trying to find the right partner? What should they look out for
I would encourage women to invest time in themselves and not rush into pursuing love and relationships too early. They should focus on personal growth and become self-aware, as well as address any childhood traumas to achieve wholeness.
When it comes to dating, clarity is key. As such, they must reflect on important questions such as: What do I want? Who do I want? What are my goals? What are my deal breakers? What are my values?
Choosing a partner should be an intentional act, not solely based on the promise of marriage and money. Observe patterns and be deliberate with your marital choice.
- Marriage is about cleaving not about imposing your expectations. You need to leave your past, ex, and family and cleave intentionally without shame and secrecy.
- Marriage requires communication for intimacy, friendship, and growth to occur. To pursue this, you need to be willing to talk and listen to each other. If you change your attitude towards each other from competitors to a team, you would view every conflict as an opportunity to troubleshoot your upbringing and your differences. Love yourself as a team. Be humble and teachable enough to make corrections.
- Marriage is a trans-generational decision; you cannot just marry for yourself alone. Whatever decision you make should impact your children and their marriages. The change we desire in society starts from the family unit but many people don’t understand this. It explains why we hardly build a structure around our marriages.
- Most people are still suffering from the trauma and patterns of their own families. You can be the one to change that cycle by seeking help and applying the necessary wisdom in your home.
- If your marriage will work, it starts with your mindset and the decision to permit yourself to be responsible for it. Don’t always focus on your spouse only, be the change you want to see and things will start working well when you have the right mindset, heart, and actions in place.
- Don’t suffer in silence, engage healthy third parties like professional counsellors, when needed. It is safer to engage a neutral help instead of friends and families.
- Learn the right skills and be willing to implement them. Be patient to see the change you desire. Be content with your spouse, people keep thinking they will find a better love out there if they keep flirting. The grass may look greener on the other side, but focus on your home and make it work just like you would do for your business. Be willing to speak your partner’s love language, keep dating in marriage, and evaluate your progress periodically.
- Be prayerful because marriage is warfare and you don’t always have to fight with words. Learn to deal with some issues in prayer and let God rule your heart. I think that some marriages will work better if there is an application of wisdom and a healthy faith life.
Managing my role as a wife, mom, and support system for several women
This has been a journey of reinventing myself every day. I believe that priority is seasonal and balance is based on what I can focus on per time. As a mom, I focus on quality time with my child and use it to connect, teach, impact, and pray with him. I also create a structure to teach, empower and lead people in all my expressions. As a wife, I manage my time with my spouse as I play my role in the home and with my spouse. It’s not perfect but it’s progressive.
I have also learned to delegate and outsource some work so that I do not get overwhelmed in the process. I take my time to rest when I need to, and I set time aside for personal retreats.
Being a Woman of Rubies
As a woman who is making society better through her work, programs, books, mentorship, and stewarding various assignments, I am refining hearts, minds, and homes. I actively engage many men and women and challenge them to be better than they are currently, and when necessary, work with them to repair their faulty foundations. I help people live healthy lives emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. For these reasons, I am a Woman of Rubies.