Pastor Akintunde Samson Akanji (70) and Mrs. Rantiade Rachael Akintunde, (in her early 60s) of the Truth Gospel Church, Osogbo, Osun State, have been married for 41 years and their union has remained strong and firm, having produced six children who have also become men of God. The two lovebirds agreed to get married to each other on their first meeting in 1971. Although, they agreed it was an arranged marriage made possible by Pastor Akintunde’s elder sister, but the love they shared during the first meeting has endured till now. WOLE BALOGUN met the couple at a function in Ado Ekiti recently and the following is their love story.
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How did you meet your husband?
Wife: It was in 1971 that we met through my husband’s elder sister who had been married to my mother’s family. We only talked briefly and it was that first time that we agreed to be husband and wife. I have been having break-ups before I met him but once I met him, I instantly agreed to be his wife and that was it. I didn’t even say I wanted to think over it first; I just accepted.
How did it happen when you met her?
Husband: My elder sister had told me about her. She was the number five out of other ladies my sister had brought to me had been a wife. The ones who had come before her, l didn’t like them and they didn’t please me, but once I met her, I fell for her and what I said was that “auntie, I see you and I like you, because you are potable, beautiful and dark”.
When he said that what did you say?
Wife: When he proposed to me that funny way, I said I have heard but he asked again if I had I agreed or only heard, and I said I have agreed. Before he came I had wanted a Christian husband. My mum wanted me to marry a Muslim because my mother had been a Muslim before marrying my father. She had been planning to make me marry a Muslim but I had a different plan. My mother’s family were bringing Muslim suitors to me but I didn’t want them. So, once I had been told that he is a Christian, I had prepared my mind to accept him whenever I meet him. My father had always wanted me to marry a Christian because he wanted me to live a Christian life.
Why did she become your choice when you met her?
Husband: I had prayed to God that I wanted a hardworking woman and the first time I met, she was doing some domestic chores very well and I was pleased in my mind that I would marry her and that she is the woman I have been looking for, my better half and I have never regretted marrying her since then. We got married in 1977. We courted for six years. Unlike today, I was the only one going to visit her and I would stay there for three or more days and all that time, I did not see any man with her.
Were there no other men coming, especially for the fact that there was six years courtship before you got married?
Wife: The men were coming but I had made up my mind since I was eight years old that once I made up my mind on a man I would never allow another man in my life. Some men even used charms to lure me but I had hidden him away from my family because I knew they had another plan for me on marriage.
What did you see in your spouse that pleased you to accept each other?
Wife: One of the things I like him for is that his yes is yes and no is no and we always agree together. There was no cell phone or telephone in the villages then but once we had agreed on a matter, if he comes again, some months after, we would simply pick the matter up from there. I was living in Eleyin in a village on the outskirts of Oyo town. He was in Ilobu, Osun State but was always travelling.
Husband: The place where I was working then was about 20 miles away from her. l was working with a company called Anago Projects that erect electric poles. Anytime I wanted to visit her, I sometimes send letters through some people ahead. I had so many girls looking for me because I had money then and was looking robust. Many women were after me. They even went to see some lmams because of me and sent friends to me but I thank God that I didn’t marry any of them. Then I used to hear that I would be a man of God.
What actually made you to be together through those years?
Husband: It’s God that made it possible. I had made up my mind that once I met a woman that my heart chooses, I would never turn back. There were times of turbulence. We were to get married in 1976, but I lost my Dad in 1974 and that shifted our marriage to 1977. I had issue with my own family who weren’t happy that I had married someone who was very respectful. I was through with the contract job and had gone to learn how to bake bread. That time whenever I sent money through my family member, the person won’t deliver the message and my wife was nursing a baby then. Later we had to relocate to Ilorin and then we suffered so much. There were times we only ate once in a day but she never complained. Those things kept us together till now.
What made you stay during those turbulent times?
Wife: The reason why I endured was because we were always agreeing on what to do and what to eat. He was very truthful and never deceived me. This made me to know that things would be better in the future.
Whenever she is angry, how do you bring her back to be happy?
Husband: I always call her in our privacy and talk to her. Those issues are usually settled in the bed. I don’t shout at her in the public and I don’t get violent so my children don’t learn violence to women from me.
Once he is angry, what do you do?
Wife: Once I get angry it shows on me. And when in our privacy I call him and tell him that what he did made me angry. He would beg me and that would be the end. In most times, we turn it into a matter of jokes and it would be all over.
How do you cope with different women coming to consult your husband as a man of God?
Wife: Women always coming to him have been a regular feature even before we got married. He is always having women around him. There are some women who even like to talk to me on phone anytime it was me who picked his phone. Those things don’t bother me. Most women don’t want their fellow women to know their secrets and so I know that and besides I trust my husband and so I don’t want to bother myself with such things.
How do you combine the demands of God ‘s work with that of your family?
Husband: It has always been God taking care of my family and God’s work. I am always coming home whenever I need her or want her to do anything. I don’t joke with my family. We have suffered a lot and if I betray her I have also betrayed God. Whenever I want to do anything I seek her advice and if she says no that is the end.
What advice do you have for today’s women who attack their husbands whenever they are hurt?
Wife: Couples must learn to be patient with each other. With patience and deep thought, no woman or man would kill his or her spouse. Attacking or killing your spouse solves no problems because you don’t know who and what character the next man or woman you are marrying will have. Although, many spouses are stubborn but with patient nothing really is hard to do.
What advice do you have for intending couples?
Husband: We are not all perfect, husband and wife. We need to endure. My wife and I once sold firewood at Oke fia in Osogbo here to take care of our children and pay their school fees. Spouses must endure, we have to adjust to live with each other. We must realize that we have different backgrounds. If you are not patient and enduring, you can’t enjoy your spouse and your marriage. I advise couples to rely on God and He would do everything. Marriage is indeed not a bed of roses. Many terrible things would happen. There would be whirlwind and all that, but with hope in God it will be well.