For Mr and Mrs Enilolobo, marriage is a lifelong commitment. Guided by this philosophy, the couple found joy in loving each other unconditionally according to God’s precepts. In this interview with BIANCA IBOMA, they amplify the necessity to rely on God, and the benefit of commitment and hard work in a marital journey.
Give us a brief detail about your background?
Wife: I am Mrs Funmi Enilolobo, a teacher by profession and hail from Epe,in Epe Local Government Area of Lagos State.
Husband: I am Abiodun Oluseun Enilolobo, a 1998 graduate of Accounting from Ogun State University, Ago Iwoye. I was born and bred in Agbado Railway Station. A Christian from Abeokuta, Ogun State. I have worked in several organisations including Limca (as depot manager), Coca Cola, Vital Products Plc, and now Africa GB Foods Manufacturing Nigeria Limited as the Account Manager.
How did you meet?
Wife: I met my husband in my house at Iju Water Works, on my 21st birthday in 1997. He was the Master of Ceremony (MC) of the event. He later asked why I was not yet in a higher institution and I explained that I had my result but JAMB was the problem. As the evening progressed, we spoke at length. I explained my plight to him and he advised me to take another University Matriculation Exam (UME). He advised that I should go to College of Education for National Certificate of Education (NCE) programme. I did not like the idea. Being the last born of my family, my elder siblings insisted that I should go to the university and I had stayed at home for five years. He advised me to take a Polytechnic JAMB, get the admission and thereafter proceed to the university. Based on his advice, I changed my mind. I wrote JAMB exam and was admitted into the Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Husband: A senior colleague invited me to her birthday party and I was the Master of Ceremony (MC).
How did he propose?
Wife: After the birthday party, the relationship blossomed. We kept in touch. He was interested in my getting an admission into a higher institution. He was monitoring my progress and I appreciated the fact that he cared. I knew he wanted me to be his wife, not a girlfriend. He made his intention known to me that he wanted to settle down
Husband: I proposed six months after we met.
What was your reaction?
Wife: I accepted that we should be friends only at first because of the role he was playing concerning my admission, assisting me to get the admission by filling the form and submitting the forms on my behalf. The relationship continued as we wrote letters to each other, exchanged cards on festive occasions and went on a date occasionally. The relationship was my very first experience. We courted for a while and wedded shortly afterwards. After my first issue, I decided to go back to school with my NCE result. I gained admission into the University of Ado Ekiti where I studied Guidance and Counselling and I graduated in 2008.
What was the attraction?
Husband: She sang like an angel, she was God fearing, very simple, straightforward and she had determination––whatever she sets out to achieve, she ensured that she achieved it. She was a goal getter.
What are your individual differences, considering your different background?
Wife: When we first wedded, he always complained that I came back late from school and it almost caused an issue. After a while, I adjusted because I discovered he didn’t like a late homecoming, even up till now. When I was younger and living in Lagos, I liked leaving a place late in order to avoid traffic on the way. He didn’t like it at all.
Husband: I was able to blend with her because she knows how to say sorry, it makes it easy for us.
There is an increase rate of spousal abuse. How do we stop such violence between married couples?
Wife: There is no perfect marriage. Only God makes it perfect. Let me use myself as an example first. I personally do not like third party in my relationship. When we have issues, we settle it amicably between us. When he’s angry, I’d tell him my mind; I don’t hide my feelings. However, the moment I discover that he’s angry, I keep quiet. In all those few times we have our misunderstanding, he never for once raised his hands against me. On my part, I was conscious not to say or do anything that will make the situation go out of control. Many factors contribute to domestic abuse between couples. Regardless of the factors, my appeal to couples is to learn to accommodate each other. They have to make the decision to build their homes. Women especially should bridle their tongues. They should not allow violence to be the order in their homes because children in households with domestic violence experience abuse or neglect, and such children become abusers in future. Couples should not allow threats of violence from a partner––it starts from name calling, blaming or criticism.
How have you been able to stay together?
Wife: We grew together in the marriage as a young couple. When we were courting, he took one or two bottles of beer and wine but I didn’t like beer at all due to my own upbringing, so I started praying about it even after the wedding. I made barbeque and we had various wines for visitors but since 2006 till date, he does not take any alcohol (beer or wine), except fruit wine. We became church workers and are now ministers in The Redeem Christian Church of God.
Our children have never seen us fight. Even though we have misunderstandings, we settle amicably when we are alone. My husband knows I hate the word divorce. We are of the same mindset. We reason together. When I entered into my marital relationship, I had it in mind that it would last for a lifetime. My belief is that there’s no ingredient, therapy, treatment, or cure that can create the atmosphere couples want in their homes. The partners must do it themselves, day after day, and year after year. That is a piece of wisdom I got from my mum about marriage. Elders tell us you must enter into a marriage believing it will last forever. And they believe that it’s a goal worth striving for. I married my husband because I love him and I entered into the marriage with an unbreakable commitment.
Husband: We built trust from the beginning. We communicated with each other and prayed. We decided to have a strong relationship; there was no agreement to be committed to a few years. After we fell in love, it became the relationship for our entire life. Marriage should be treated at every stage as a lifelong commitment. Marriage vows represent an ironclad commitment; that is the way I think marriage should be viewed. During tough times, we recommit ourselves to each other. Our approach to marriage is to forgive, to be innovative and to get better in our attitude.
How do you resolve conflicts and misunderstanding?
Wife: Many things you can’t tolerate ordinarily, you have to humbly take them because you are determined to make the marriage work. When I’m angry he knows because he would see it on my face. I would always keep to myself and drastically reduce talking. Most times, he calls me into the bedroom and we trash it out and apologise to each other.
What is your advise to younger couples?
Husband: Pray before marriage and be sincere to each other. Don’t marry out of pity. Learn to tolerate each other.
Wife: A woman should reduce nagging and know what can make the man violent. Avoid whatever will make the man raise his hands on you. If it’s too much talking and abuse that can cause it, avoid it or stop it the moment you know the anger is getting out of hand.
Trust one another and stop checking your husband’s phone for any reason because it causes unnecessary suspicion in marriage that can lead to a problem or divorce.
When my husband’s phone rings, I give it to him or pick on rare occasions, that is if he’s not around with the phone and I have never asked or questioned him over any call or text messages except he decides to tell me.
We open up to each other and we don’t hide anything from one another. This has really gone a long way in making the marriage work.
Both parties must be determined to make the marriage work. If one party doesn’t want it to work, then it won’t work. The woman should be very supportive at home––let the man feel your impact in the marriage as a virtuous woman.
As a young couple, the woman should see the man as the head and when there is misunderstanding they should not seek advice from a third party because some would say negative things about them until they are separated. Of course, they may seek
counsel from their parents or a genuine minister of God, as the case may be, but the best advice and counsellor on marriage is God, the Most High. Whatever you don’t want or like in your spouse, settle it on your knees by praying to God always.
When marriage storms rage, be it financial, loss of life or what have you, when couple stand together in oneness the storm will blow over. Make sure you are a praying woman.