Marriage is a longtime commitment and a partnership forged and strengthened slowly over time. It is upon these beliefs the Eyiowuawi couple has built their matrimonial home. They take the days as they come–– hard days, easy days, good days, days to forget––without losing focus on their main objective of having a solid, peaceful and productive marriage. In this interview with BIANCA IBOMA, the couple disclosed the little steps they take daily to build a better marriage. They also offer tips on how couples can improve on their marital lives.
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Can you give us a brief background about yourself?
Husband: My name is Olarenwaju Eyiowuawi. I was born over five decades ago in Lagos, though I am from Ogun State. Our marriage is closed to 30 years now. I came from a Muslim background and my father instilled the Islamic value into my life. Our marriage is blessed with three kids.
Wife: I am Olushola Eyiowuawi. I was born in Lagos several years ago. I am from Ogun State. I worked in the bank before resigning my appointment to start up a personal business in other to care for my family.
How did you meet your spouse?
Husband: I met my wife at Ijesha, Surulere, Lagos. Our family house is still in Ijesha as we speak because it is a large family. She was living in the same area, and I normally see her in the neighbourhood.
What was the attraction?
Husband: My wife was a very quiet and calm woman. Whenever, she went out, maybe to church, market or on errands, she behaved well. They were actually Christians. This attracted me to her because whenever I saw her, she would just be walking to get home. I fell in love with her personality. I said to myself, “Lanre, this is your wife.”
How did you propose to her?
Husband: I just spoke to her and she agreed, despite the fact that we had different religious backgrounds. She has been a Christian since birth and I am from a Muslim home. She accepted my proposal.
What was your reaction when he proposed?
Wife: I liked him so I accepted when he proposed to me
It’s been close to 30 solid years. How did you come this far? Can you share your success story?
Husband: We made effort to establish our relationship and ensure that we bond and reconnect to each other daily. Despite our busy schedules–– other aspects of life normally draw the attention of married couples––we are focused.
Wife: Other aspects of our marital life did not take away the romance in our relationship. We stand together, no matter what––just my husband and I, no third party, including our three kids. For instance, if my husband intends to discipline any of our children, I would support him. My children watch us unite in the course of our parental duties and other issues. We don’t argue in the presence of our children. We dialogue over issues. He does not lord his decisions. We agree on things. That is part of the reasons the love is still glowing. We gave the relationship enough time than other aspects. We did not centre our life on other things while the relationship suffers.
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How do you resolve your conflicts?
Husband: Conflicts occur in any marriage but the ability of those involved to handle it right when it occurs is very vital. When we have issues or disagree, I would be angry but my wife would apologise, calling me my pet names. Even if I were angry, I would laugh. Marital relationships need effort from both parties if you want to enjoy marriage.
Wife: When there is a misunderstanding, I apologise to my husband. I use every means to calm him down so that the relationship becomes more productive. If he comes home and he does not smile I ensure I find out what is making him frown rather than add to his trouble. Sometimes, people can experience difficulties; they must learn to handle such challenges without fighting dirty and involving the whole neighbourhood. Every marriage has its challenges; the way it is handled makes or mars it.
There are many common problems in marriage and a lot of them can be avoided. Can you tell us some of the things that affect a marital relationship?
Husband: Cheating and extramarital affairs occur in a marital relationship for many reasons. These are some of the things that many couples are struggling to find a lasting solution to.
Physical intimacy can be the reason marital relationship experiences turbulence. Your spouse may prefer different sexual things and the other spouse can be uncomfortable about it.
Also, many people do not consider their life stages when it comes to a relationship. In some cases, marriage issues occur simply because both spouses have outgrown each other and want more out of life from someone else. This is a common issue among married couples who have a significant age gap whether it is an older man and younger woman or vice versa. Personalities change with time and couples might not remain as compatible as they once might have been. Couples with age difference, who are in different phases of life, face this problem in marriage.
Wife: Values and belief can differ in a marriage relationship. One may have a particular religion while the other has a different belief. When I married my husband, I knew he was a Muslim, so I submitted to him including his religion. I follow his God. That made us closer. Most women do things that bring division in the homes. Again, the way people are raised and the things they were taught during their childhood can affect their core value. Since everyone does not grow up with the same belief system, morals and goals, there is a lot of room to dialogue rather than fighting.
Moreso, when couples go through traumatic incidences, it just adds more challenge to their married life problems. Traumatic situations are other problems that couples may experience. A lot of traumatic events that occur are life-changing.
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Jealousy is another common marital challenge that causes a marriage to turn sour. If you have an overly jealous partner, being with them and around them can become a challenge. Jealousy is good for any relationship, as long as it does not degenerate to the person being overly jealous. Such individuals will be overbearing: they may question whom you are talking to on the phone, why are you talking to them, how did you know them, how long have you known them, etc. Having a spouse that is overly jealous can put a strain on the relationship.
Tell us some marital recipe that can make a marriage last?
Husband: You should always see the best about your spouse, nothing else. You have to work together. That is both should have a team spirit. It seems obvious that it is imperative for a married couple to operate as teammates, but in reality, it’s hard to practice these days. One or the other would often think the other spouse was purposely trying to offend when they can actually share beautiful moments together.
Wife: Our lives are so busy, but my marriage is important and deserves time and attention. I ensure I spend time with my husband as well as my family, even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Every day, I take some time alone with my husband simply to be together. I am extremely thankful to God for my husband. I try to tell him or show him that I appreciate him, I do this whenever I can, though I often forget––Don’t we all? We have made a habit to do this every night. Before going to bed we tell each other one thing we appreciate about the other person and we share something we do that we are grateful for. It takes a few seconds, but it is a small way to strengthen our bond daily. It makes us feel good too.