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For the last year, we’ve been gripped by a global pandemic. Figures in the UK currently stand at more than 2 and half million confirmed cases and 75,000 deaths. Despite having endured two previous national lockdowns and the shifting goalposts of localised restrictions updated almost weekly, we’re now entering a third national lockdown with no end in sight. Some of us have been held hostage to fear of the virus, many have lost friends and loved ones, but all of us have suffered severe disruption to our lives and plans.

On this episode I interview Chukwudi Ugbomah and we talk about what it was like trying to plan a wedding during a lockdown and crossing the threshold into marriage.

Chukwudi and his then fiancé did not live together prior to getting married, and so had to practice social distancing for much of the first half of 2020 and the period leading up to their wedding. The transition from bachelor to husband was a particularly profound, and so we discuss what that journey has been like for him.

Chukwudi was one of the very first men I interviewed back in season 1 of the podcast where we talked about his preparations for marriage. You can listen to it here: Ep. #2 – Legacy, Money and Managing Conflict. Back then, reports of the Coronavirus had only just begun to emerge out of Wuhan, China and we couldn’t have imagined just how much our lives would have been affected by it in just a few short weeks afterwards.

While for many of us, it may seem as though our lives remain in a state of perpetual limbo, Chukwudi’s story encourages me to believe we can still hope for new beginnings and I hope it does the same for you too.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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This is the final episode of a 3-part series titled, ‘Paternal’. It is honest, funny and heartfelt. If you haven’t listened to the previous episodes, then I’d recommend you click the links below to do so now:

  1. In the Beginning
  2. The Beginning of the End

Last year I wrote a blog post titled Am I Enough… It was my attempt to articulate more than 20 years of hurt and anger for what I perceived as my father’s unwillingness to fight hard enough to keep me in his life.

Maybe it’s unfair to have placed all of that at his feet. Maybe in some situations, regardless of best efforts or honest intentions, collateral damage is just an unavoidable consequence of relationship breakdowns. Maybe there are innumerable shades of grey that I had never been able to consider before.

Whatever the reality of the situation, it was my commitment to breaking the cycle. And I think the conversation you’re about to hear is our commitment to each other. A commitment to be better men.

On this episode, my father and I talk about the impact of our family’s breakdown and our struggles in forging our own identities in manhood.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

NEW EPIOSODE OUT NOW: Paternal - The Beginning of the End.

This is the second episode of a 3-part series titled, ‘Paternal’. It is honest, funny and heartfelt. If you haven’t listened to part 1, In the Beginning, then I’d recommend you click the link to do so now.

When I was 9 years old, I had a teacher called Miss Bryant. In class one day, she noticed I had become withdrawn and subdued. She took me aside to ask what was wrong and after some prodding, I explained that things at home between my parents weren’t great. It wasn’t long afterwards that I moved to a different school, largely owing to the financial pressures under which my newly single mom now found herself.

A couple years later and entirely by chance, mine and Miss Bryant’s paths crossed again. We talked for a little while, and she asked whether things had improved at home. It was difficult to find an answer. I mean, things were certainly different; my father was no longer living with us and the volatility of my parents’ relationship had now moved into a space far less accessible to me. But I couldn’t honestly say things had improved. We just had different challenges now.

For me, chief among them was trying to help mom pick up the pieces of our broken home.

On this episode, my father and I talk about the circumstances that led to the breakdown of our family and our father-son relationship.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

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My parents split up when I was about 10 years old. The last eighteen months of their relationship was, as I perceived it, a traumatic, disruptive and chaotic mess.

In the years that followed, my relationship with my father broke down. There were many reasons for this, but it mainly boiled down to the fact that I didn’t feel emotionally secure in the situation to continue loving him as I did before, and I didn’t feel like he put enough effort into providing that security for me.

On this episode, my father and I have a direct, real-time conversation with each other for the first time in over 20 years.

We talk about his childhood, the abuse he suffered at home and the circumstances under which I came into this world. This is the first episode of a 3-part series titled Paternal. It is honest, funny and heartfelt.  

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

Isaac returns for this episode which also features Maurice and Chukwudi as we talk about our experiences and ideas of sex, relationships and marriage.

It’s no secret that men think and talk about sex a LOT! But for most of us, we value real connections too. Love, commitment and building something greater with our partners. Our conversation offers an insight into our differing perspectives and our journeys towards achieving that.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime click the link above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.

Jonathan Gardner grew up as a devout Christian. His upbringing at times put him at odds with the desire to fit in with his friends, sharing in their experiences and figuring out adolescence without much of a guidebook to follow.

In this episode, Jonathan recounts some of his experiences growing up, being raised by a single mother and also how the devastating news of a sudden diagnosis changed the course of his life.

As we face a global health crisis, more so now than ever, we reflect on having taken relationships for granted but also the importance of being intentional about remaining connected with the people in our lives.

Jonathan is married and has a young daughter who celebrated her first birthday just this last weekend. We discussed how fatherhood has changed us and the beauty of seeing our daughters come into the world. My conversation with Jonathan lasted well over two hours, and there was much I wasn’t able to include in this episode. One of these was our recognition of the incredible roles the women in our lives have played. This was something Jonathan was keen to express, and I think it’s necessary to mention it here especially as we celebrated Mother’s Day in the UK on yesterday (Sunday 22nd March).

So, to all the mothers out there from those who do it alone to those who share the role of parent with their children’s fathers, a partner or other family members, we see you, we applaud you, and we honour you.

In this episode, Jonathan mentions a video that was sent to him by a couple and which inspired him and his family to move to Scotland. If this is something that interests you or you want to learn more about their story, you can view it on his YouTube channel here.

59% of young Christians disconnect permanently or for an extended period of time from church life after age of 15. A 5-year research project carried out by the Barna Group sought to identify some of the factors which significantly contributed to the attrition rate among teens and young adults.

One of the key reasons highlighted, was that:

“Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.”

Six Reasons Young Christians Leave Church, September 27, 2011

The weight of the church’s expectations around chastity and sexual purity, and its response to individuals who do not meet those expectations is an issue that resonates deeply with the guest featured on this episode of Man Ting.

Andrew Williams is 24 years old. He is single, a committed Christian and at one point, harboured a desire to study to become a minister. I’ve known Andrew for something like 18 years – he is the second of three boys and his older brother was one of my best friends throughout secondary school… Oh, and Andrew has a daughter. She’s deeply affectionate, inquisitive and the love of his life.

She’s also 6 years old.

Andrew and his girlfriend at the time found out she was pregnant when he was just 17, and as you’ll hear in this episode, he confessed to me that he was more scared of what he thought his church’s response would be, than he was of his mother’s. His experience with the church in this regard has been one that continues to affect him to this day and very nearly resulted in him leaving it altogether.

At 16 years old, Andrew started preaching in his local church and discovered a passion for ministry. For such a young man at the time, the experience of being entrusted with that responsibility helped him grow immeasurably both personally and spiritually. We start this episode with Andrew talking about his ambition for ministry and his research into universities that could offer him a route towards achieving that goal. But, as you’ll hear, those plans were derailed when his girlfriend fell pregnant with his child and his church took the view that he should be ‘censored’ in response to their indiscretion.

This meant that he was banned from leading or participating in any part of the church service in an official capacity.

For me, the issue of censorship does far more harm than good, and listening to Andrew’s story, you’ll hear why.

This was one of the most riveting conversations I’ve had on the Man Ting podcast so far. So much so that Andrew and I went wildly over time and I’ve had to split this episode into two parts.

Part 2 of this episode will be released on Monday 9th March, so make sure you’re following the show on Spotify so you don’t miss a thing. We delve further into how the church has inadvertently socialised us into believing sex to be dirty or disgusting, and something we certainly can’t have open conversations about. We also talk about growing up as children to Afro-Caribbean parents for whom conversations with their children about sex is not something that was commonplace. We discuss the accessibility of sex, the impact of young people’s exposure to sex is having on them, and the pressures they face from their peer groups.

If you like the podcast and want to give us some feedback, or if you want to be featured on the show, please use the contact form in the ‘About’ section.

In the meantime, click the button above to start the episode now and thank you for listening.