Dr. Tarilayefa Ebimo Dadiowei, from Obunagha in Gbarain clan, Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, and Mrs. Fancy Timiniebieri Dadiowei, from Polaku, in the same local government area, have been married for 29 years. Blessed with children, Tarilayefa, a lecturer at Isaac Jasper Boro College of Education, Sagbama and Fancy, a retired matron with the Bayelsa State Hospital Management Board shared the secrets of their blissful union with FEMI FOLARANMI, in Yenagoa. They also left some words of advice for spinsters and bachelors.
Tell us how you met before you became husband and wife
Tarilayefa: It is a long story but let me recollect the part that I can. Before we got married, we met at the primary school where I did my First Leaving School Certificate. In those days, knowing each other in school was from a distance. I knew her in primary school. But we were not that close, and we were not in the same class. After my primary school education, I went to a secondary school. But during holidays when everybody came home, we used to have a get-together. and this was when I felt her presence as someone from my area. However, the idea of getting married was not there. It was after exchange of letters began between two of us that we became very close. That is to say, we were friends until the need to get a wife came up. I had no hesitation in picking her as my wife.
Timiniebieri: His recollection of how we met is correct. After our primary school education, we became closer after both of us had gone to secondary school. This was the period of letter writing, pen pals, exchange of pictures and all that.
Was there any opposition?
Tarilayefa: As far as I know, there was no opposition. If there was any, it was behind my back. Personally I did not notice any opposition. Even the day I presented her to my father, he spoke a parable that whether this woman I wanted to marry can hear the sound of a bell. The parable is biblical in meaning.
What was the attraction?
Tarilayefa: There is a biblical meaning that out of the eater comes something sweet. Yes, there were many women around. But there were some qualities that made me go for her. She is thorough, homely, very tolerant, of good character, and she believes she can manage herself even when I am not there. She does not believe that the husband must do everything. Also, she has deep interest in religious issues and a solid spiritual status. These things endeared me to her.
Timiniebieri: We were friends for a long time, and during this period, I saw a very hardworking and God-fearing man.
How did you propose to her?
Tarilayefa: A lot of us while growing up were very shy. I had to discuss with my brother and friend, Ebitimi Okoko, that this was what was going on in my mind. He encouraged me to go for it and even volunteered to go with me. I went to her place of work and proposed to her. I said “I want to marry you”. But she said I should give her some time to think about it. Later, she came to see me in Port Harcourt and wrote her answer on a piece of paper. Her answer was yes. That paper is still in my archives.
When he proposed to you, how did you receive it?
Timiniebieri: We had been friends. That day, he came with his friend. He was the one that spoke. I listened, and then asked his friend why he is speaking for him. I said: “does it mean that he cannot speak?”(laughter). We laughed over it. It was then he told me that he wanted to settle down with me. I then told him that I would give him an answer. I later wrote it and went to give it to him in Port Harcourt. Many years later, he is still keeping the letter, as a reminder of what happened then (laughter).
What is the most memorable thing that you remember about your wedding?
Timiniebieri: Aside the running up and down during that period, there was issue with finances and it was like we should shift the wedding but we said we would go ahead, that God would provide. Eventually we had it because friends rallied around us. There was a white man at our wedding and people were very excited to see him at our wedding. People still talk about it.
What is his favourite food?
Timiniebieri: He likes KKF (unripe plantain porridge), then yam and stew.
What is your wife’s favourite food?
Tarilayefa: She likes KKF. Once she takes KKF, the world is in her pocket.
What advise do you have for young bachelors that intends to marry
Tarilayefa: My advice for young bachelors is that they should not rush into marriage. Some people rush into marriage because ‘his face is good’. But do they know what the person is made up of? Some have gone into marriage because of physical appearance but at the end of the day, they encountered a lot of crises. For me, the best person suitable for marriage is a man or woman with a good character. And, knowing the person, even though you may not be so close at the beginning, but asking questions around can help. Some people marry the devil and that is why spiritual status matters a lot. If your spiritual status is strong, you will be able to identify hiccups in prayers. We have heard of instances where people married from the marine world and when they settled down they began to see manifestations. I think there is need for caution for both young men and women not to rush things so that they would know the choice of God for them. In our own case, although we knew each other a long time ago, we did not rush into marriage; it took us time. In a way, part of my life was known to her. I also knew part of her life. Good character is very essential in marriage.
What advice do you have for spinsters?
Timiniebieri: Young ladies should not be too excited to get married because of handsome faces. As a young lady, I also had a picture of the ideal man I wanted to marry but when God directed me, it was not to the picture that I had in my head. I am happy today. Marriage is not where you go in and come out. You go in and stay, and handle the challenges in it. I will advise any spinster not to marry because of riches. Rather, they should seek the face of God.
Can you recall your first misunderstanding and how you resolved it?
Tarilayefa: For me, I cannot recall any misunderstanding. Yes, it took place but I cannot remember because it was inconsequential. We were always open to each other and discussed issues. The Bible gave us a commandment that the woman should be humble. And so if a woman is humble, and the man is also humble, there won’t be problem. We are yet to experience a major crisis, and I know that God will not allow us to go through any.
What can you say are the secrets of successful marriage?
Tarilayefa: There is need for understanding. Whatever you want to do, you need to put heads together. Don’t feel that the opinion of your partner does not count. You must work as a team. You must also realise the importance of God in your marriage. Marriage requires endurance. If you can’t endure and you run away, you would encounter greater problem. Martin Luther King said we should be courageous in whatever we are doing. And if there are problems around you, you should be able to attack the forces of evil. As husband and wife, you should be able to sit down and discuss what the issues are, and jointly resolve them. My wife and I have our children’s school fees to pay. So we operate a joint account for it. If she gets her salary, she pays in some money. If I get mine, I do so too. She operates the account and she is doing it sincerely. We do it in such a way that before the new term begins, we already have their money ready. In some marriages, this cannot happen. This is because everything would be pushed to the man. This is something I admire in her. She is open and does everything with sincerity. Openness and sincerity are very crucial. It is good for couples that are always in trouble to learn from those making progress. Marriage is a continuous learning experience. You can make mistake. And, when you do, correct it! Don’t invite third parties always to settle your problem because when they do, they take it outside your home. And, before you know it, a lot of damages have been done.