Veteran broadcast journalist, Reuben Okala of the Nigerian Television Authority, (NTA) popularly known as Saint Reuben Okala, is married to Patience Ajuma, a lawyer and Deputy Director/Legal Adviser, Nigerian Investments Promotion Commission (NIPC).
The couple, who hail from the Igala tribe of Kogi State, tied the nuptial knots 20 years ago.
Their romance story started while they were both members of the church choir. The lovebirds, who also love singing, built a music brand and recently released an album entitled Breaking News which was dedicated to Okala’s reportorial odyssey.
In this interview with NKECHI CHIMA ONYELE, they recount their marital journey and offer a glimpse of their projection for the future. They also spoke about the alarming increase in cases of domestic violence and proffered solutions to the problem.
How did you meet your wife?
Husband: We met in a church service in Makurdi, Benue State, in a musical environment.
What actually attracted you to her?
Husband: Her beauty and smiles, of course. She is elegant, beautiful and intelligent.
Could you tell us some of the words you used to woo her?
Husband: Nakedo we, an Igala word for love.
Can you remember those sweet words he told you to possess your heart for life?
Wife: Honestly, my husband is a very romantic man and I adore his great sense of humour. In fact, he always expresses his love to me; either by words like “I love you” or materially with gifts.
Was it love at first sight?
Husband: Yes! It was love at first sight. I couldn’t get my eyes off her on our first meeting, because I found an angel on earth and I kept her for life.
How long did you court?
Husband: We dated for over eight years, before marriage. Interestingly, we have been married for 20 years counting for eternity.
How did you propose to her?
Husband: It was in a bus while taking her home after church service. And she said “Yes”.
What pet name do you call your husband?
Wife: My husband calls me “Rence”, a combination of our names, Reuben and Patience.
Could you tell us about your family?
Husband: We are blessed with three lovely children- two boys and a girl. Our first son, Israel, is a third year Law undergraduate of University of Abuja. Olive is preparing to get enrolled at the university, while David, our last child, is in JSS 1.
What do you cherish most about her?
Husband: I will forever admire her good looks, her beauty and intelligence.
Is there anything you dislike about her?
Husband: She’s not perfect, as nobody is perfect. Of course, we have our different flaws. However, when you truly love a woman, you don’t dwell on her weaknesses, for love supersedes all.
Was there any disagreement from any quarters during the courtship?
Husband: I have perfect in-laws, my father and mother in-laws are also my parents.
Could you share your first labour room experience?
Husband: My first labour room experience was something else. I remember vividly how Dr. Mowette had to trick me to go and buy something when he saw that my eyes were turning red. Before I could return Israel was born.
Could you share those fond memories you shared with your wife?
Husband: Fun memories are uncountable. We are always on honeymoon, even today. We laugh, we quarrel, we settle, we sing, we eat, we travel, we chat, we behave like children really. We are a very happy family, to God be the glory.
Why did you decide to do music with your wife?
Husband: My wife is my manager, accountant, director, my everything. Without her my world is blind. She loves God.
How do you feel meeting your husband in music career and creating a brand with him?
Wife: Music has always been my hobby and I appreciate my husband for his vision in music, giving me the platform to discover and expand myself in musical career.
What were the challenges you encountered in your early years of marriage?
Wife: We didn’t enjoy honeymoon; because we were looking for accommodation in Lokoja, but immediately we got free accommodation, our honeymoon started and still on till eternity.
As a lawyer, how do you intend to handle your profession with music?
Wife: Because of the busy nature of my profession, my music is based in the church for now. Though, it hasn’t been easy managing the home front, especially when my children were tender. But it’s easier now, since they have grown above five years. Also, my husband makes it easier with his love and support. However, I have wonderful children and I feel blessed being a woman.
Tell us more about your life as a career woman, mother and wife?
Wife: My typical day can be crazy most of the time. I wake up early to prepare for work as well as keep the house in place, before leaving for the office. I hardly have time for myself once I get to work to attend to legal issues.
However, every career mother knows the challenges and how to overcome or handle them to live a sustainable life.
Has she ever given you reason to regret marrying her?
Husband: If there is regret of marrying her we wouldn’t be together today. You were at “Breaking News” launch. Don’t you love what you saw? A perfect couple and family.
It is believed that women are help mates, does your wife truly represent this?
Husband: Certainly, I owe it to God for the success of our marriage. If every marriage is like ours, this world would have been a better place. We qualify to be world best couple of the century.
What are your family dreams?
Husband: Family dream is to be exemplary to families in the world. We want to be successful in our music and professional careers.
What is the secret behind your successful marriage?
Husband: No marriage is perfect, but ours is almost perfect, thanks to God. We are Christians, the Bible is our guide on how to resolve issues perfectly. Our parents have never heard of any misunderstanding, a sign that everything is under control without stress.
Some couples have attested to their spouse’s misdemeanour after marriage. Some claim the other is no longer romantic.
What are your experiences like?
Wife: It’s natural that couples try to adjust after marriage. This one is not an exception, but we are coping excellently, and the marriage is working. We are the toast of others, worthy to be emulated.
Does your husband sometimes take care of chores for you, or is he the traditional African man who believes domestic chores are only meant for women?
Wife: We are both good Christians, we manage our home excellently.
How do you settle your differences?
Wife: We settle our differences the way they come. We argue, disagree and make amends, which is part of it. However, we don’t invite anyone to intervene when we are having misunderstanding, rather we settle it amicably. I must say we are excellent couple by every standard.
As busy couples, do you sometimes make out time to unwind?
Wife: We relax at home, visit interesting places together at times. We travel to perform sometimes. We watch television together at home. Most importantly we go to church together.
Describe your husband in one word.
Wife: He is a humble man to the core with a great sense of humour.
Have you ever thought of walking out of this marriage?
Wife: I have learnt to be accommodating and patient like my name. It’s a very sensitive question. Though, there are couples who had such experiences, mine is sacred and patience, like my name says, is my selling point in marriage. Above all, love conquers all.
What is your take on domestic violence?
Husband: Domestic violence is evil, it should be rejected in its entirety. It’s animalistic, ungodly, whoever beats his wife is not a man. Period!
There is drastic increase in divorce, what is your advice to couples?
Husband: Certainly there is increase in divorce. In fact, so many marriages have broken, even though the couple still live under one roof, which should not be so.
Honestly, the fear of God and true faithfulness to His commandments and above all, being prayerful is the rudiments for stable marriage. However, I advise couples, don’t cheat on your couple, stay focussed and don’t allow the devil to manipulate your marriage. Above all, pray all the time. A family that prays together stays together.
As a lawyer, what do you think is responsible for the alarming increase in domestic violence?
Wife: Domestic violence is evil that must be fought against, evil is the cause of domestic violence. How can you beat your wife or your husband?
So, it should be condemned in its entirety.
How do we stop violence against women?
Wife: Solution to domestic violence is Godliness. If you know God and keep His commandments, you will not fight or abuse your spouse, you promised for better, or for worse and proclaimed love to the world on your wedding day; why turn a monster when you should love and care for each other? So, it’s advisable for couples to build their marital relationships, let the candlelight between both of you keep burning for a lasting union. Therefore, forsake sin and live a life worthy of emulation, whatever that will raise issues should be avoided to avert the plans of the enemies concerning your marriage. Every family should endeavor to pray always to avert temptations, because the family that prays together stays together.
Then, couples should never allow third or fourth party into their homes, no matter the situation. They must confide in God, not man, because man will fail you, but God will never let you down.