Love happens anywhere and in any circumstance, even in holy places where there may be strict rules guiding its expression. The thing about love is, once it is proved to be genuinely mutual and selfless, it can lead to deeper relationships, namely marriage. And, so it was when that between Pastors Sunday and Adenike Dada of the Chapel of His Glory, with branches in Nigeria and overseas, led to marriage. In this interview with VIVIAN ONYEBUKWA, the couple, blessed with three children, two boys and one girl, shares some experiences from their over 26 years marital relationship. They also have some words of advice for intending or newly married couples: watch your expectations in marriage. Enjoy the interaction.
How did you meet your wife?
Sunday: I met her in the church while working for God. We were members of the church choir. We also used to meet at the house fellowship level. She was the fellowship leader while I was her assistant. But it came to a point when I began to get closer to her. It was then I began to pray to see whether God has a plan for us about marriage relationship. When I discovered that He has, I made a move to propose to her.
How did you do that, I mean propose to her?
Sunday: The day I did, I remember that we just finished from a programme, our annual convention, in the church. I told her that I would like her to follow me to a place. It was an eatery. I got something for her and for myself. And those days, you know, were not the days of kneeling to propose. I told her I would like her to join me in a journey of life. She said she was going to think and pray about it.
What attractive qualities did you see in her that made you propose?
Sunday: Before I made the move, I had been watching her in the church. I noticed that she is truly a child of God. Secondly, I saw her as somebody that has a heart for God. That is there, even till now. She is somebody that is very respectful. She is not the shouting-and-fighting-and-quarrelsome type. You know there are people in the church you settle quarrels for. She wasn’t among such group. I also saw her as someone that has a vision for the future. As a student then in the polytechnic, she also learnt fashion designing. She is someone that is goal-oriented; you know, combining such things.
How did you feel when he proposed?
Adenike: I felt happy because he was one of the well-respected pastors in the church then. I felt, well this is not a bad idea, and that it is something I can pray about. You know, there are some people that would approach you on such matters and you would be asking yourself: am I really interested in this person?
What was the attraction?
Adenike: First, he is God-fearing. He is gentle, I mean, cool-headed. I knew him as a caring and friendly man. I felt that he was the kind of person I could spend the rest of my life with.
What would you say has held your union together in the past 26 years?
Sunday: The first is our love for God. When somebody loves God, things fall in place. We listen to God. We are both children of God. And I wouldn’t hurt her, not only because she is my wife, but also because she is a child of God. I know that if I hurt her as a child of God, God is going to deal with me because we are both children of God. So that has helped me in relating with her. Another thing that has kept us together is that we settle quarrels on time. There is no family where there are no conflicts. Several things bring conflicts such as money, sex, and others. As a family, we make sure we resolve our conflicts on time. I don’t have any difficulty in settling the issues with my wife. I usually pet her by saying: “pele”, which means, “sorry.” It has become our lifestyle anytime there is conflict between us. That has helped us over the years.
How do you settle quarrels?
Adenike: What I would do first is to have an open conversation with him. I would say, ‘you have done this particular thing.’ and if he has anything to tell me, we would discuss and iron it out. If I need to say sorry, I would say sorry. He also would say sorry whenever any issue like that comes up and he discovers that he was in the wrong.
What is that thing that you would want your spouse to continue doing, and those you would want your partner to do away with?
Sunday: I want my wife to continue to show me love. Again, I want her to continue to give me good sex. More so, I want my wife to continue to assist me in whatever I am doing in the ministry. This is very, very important. I am also a career person. She should help me in my visions.
Adenike: I want him to be more understanding. You see, when a woman is getting older, there are some things she would not be able to do any more. When you are newly married, the joy will be there. You would want to do many things. You would also love to give your husband some surprises. But as your marriage is growing old, you would be saddled with some responsibilities like taking care of the children, work, taking care of family members. There are responsibilities in the kitchen, church and of doing many things in the house. All these can affect many things, and, as a man, you would be thinking whether she still cares or likes you. So in that case, I need him to understand, to be more patient and to encourage me more by not thinking that the woman is not up to what she used to be before.
What value or behaviour has continued to attract you as a spouse to each other?
Adenike: One major attribute I like about him that really makes me to love him more is that he is a peaceful person. He doesn’t like to bear grudges. He doesn’t keep people in mind for so long. If he is having any problem with you, he would not be happy until he has settled it. Even when you are ready to fight him, he is not ready to fight back. He would come around you and he is ready to say sorry at all times. I love that attribute about him so much. He is a peace-loving person. Secondly, he is a God-fearing husband. Because of that, there are things I don’t do so as not to hurt him.
Sunday: What really or actually keeps attracting me to her is that she is a very diligent and hard working wife. She has many capacities to combine many things. She is not lazy. I find it very difficult to relate with people who are lazy. She has initiative; she is very, very good. In fact, you don’t need to tell her what to do at any given time. You can trust her to know what to do. Another thing is that, she is prayerful. Any issue would be dealt with in the place of prayer. One other thing that continues to attract her to me is that she dresses well. She is also beautiful. But she knows that I am not an ugly guy.
What will you say has been your toughest moment in marriage?
Sunday: l don’t really consider any event as tough. We have been managing ourselves ever since we got married. I don’t think I have anything that gives me the pains.
How do you manage the differences between you and your in-laws?
Sunday: I don’t have any issue with my brothers and sisters-in-laws because we relate together. My mother-in-law treats me like her own child. My wife’s siblings in fact, before they tell her anything, I would be the one they would first contact. She gets information about them from me. I am the one that settles things with them. Then, we will come and settle it between us later. We have never fought. We don’t have issues at all.
Adenike: I would not really say we’ve had major challenges in the area of managing my in-laws. My people did not live with us. It was his people who did. So, you know this traditional issue about in-laws. There are ways in which the in-laws expect a wife to behave, because they are living with you; there are ways you will also expect them to behave. So, that may bring conflicts. What I did at that time was, I became harsh in my attitude and behaviour sometimes. Sometimes, I would report to him his people’s attitude, and he would say, ‘if you are having any problem with them, go and pray about it.’ So, I took it up in prayers. Then, afterward I would just see God sorting things out one after the other, taking absolute control. So I felt that it is good for me to put all things in the hands of God. And if there is anyone I felt he should address, I would just tell him to call him or her to order for them to realise their mistakes. Sometimes, he would just tell me the areas or aspects where I needed to adjust. So we lived together happily for a very long period of time.
How do you manage finances as a couple?
Adenike: To the glory of God, we don’t have any issue because, if he is having some money with him, he will make sure that the first thing to settle is the home. It is about the food, family, or about the welfare of the home even before any other thing. He is someone that you don’t have to arm-twist before you can remove money from his hand. He takes care of his home. He did that when I was doing my undergraduate courses.
Sunday: If she wants, she can use my phone to make a call. She uses my phone for browsing and other things whenever she does not have data on her phone. Some men would distance themselves from their spouses when receiving calls so that they don’t get to eavesdrop on their conversations. And their wives would be thinking, maybe he is having an affair. Some wives do use password to lock their phones. And some would be building a house without the knowledge of their husbands, and at the end of the day, she would count it as a surprise. Don’t give such an unusual surprise to your husband.
Adenike: I don’t think it is good not to have knowledge of each other’s phone password or code. Marriage is all about trust. But the woman should relax by not picking her husband’s calls, without giving herself some hypertension. Likewise her husband. Between them, there should be nothing like “secret chatting.” They should open up.
What advice do you have for intending couples, and newly married couples?
Adenike: The advice I will give them is to build their marriage upon the Lord Jesus Christ. You may see someone and think the person is okay, after seeing in him the qualities you like. But you might discover that after marriage, that person is not what you thought he was. At such times, you can always turn to God. Through prayers, God can help you to sort out things, because, actually marriage is beyond human understanding. There are many storms or challenges in marriages, but it takes prayers and absolute trust in God to survive them. That is my number one advice to every newly couple and couples planning to get married. Another thing I would like to say is that, our young must people learn to be patient. You know when you first marry, things will not be the way you really think or expect. As you continue to walk together as one, in unity and agreement, then you will find many things getting better. The trouble with some new couples is that they are not willing to wait patiently until things get adjusted.
Sunday: The first thing I would tell them is to work on their expectations. When people are getting into marriage, they have lots of expectations. Many people think marriage will solve their problems. Whether it’s financial or sexual, marriage does not solve all the problems. They should check their expectations. Maybe, the man would be thinking that after marriage his wife would kneel to serve him food. And then the wife would say: ‘well, my kind of husband is the one that would wake me up in the morning with a cup of tea in his hand.’ If he doesn’t wake you up with a cup of tea, life must go on. We must work on our expectations. ‘In our first year in marriage, my husband must surprise me with a car.’ If he doesn’t surprise you with a car, let life go on. You must not expect too much in marriage because that is not going to help the union. The second advice I want to give is, couples should be friends. Be partners and, at the same time, be the best of friends. That is the best way to enjoy marriage.