Pastor Olutayo Samuel, a minister of God with one of the branches of Christ Apostolic Church (CAC), in Ado-Ekiti, and his wife, Mrs. Victoria Samuel, a trader, from Oyo State have been married since 1982. But the marriage which is blessed with four children is one that has many sweet tales to it. They are tales that reveal why the marriage has kept going for 40 years. In this interview with PRISCILLA EDIARE in Ado-Ekiti, they share the story of not only how they met and married but also how they were able to live together all these years.
How did you meet each other before you got married?
Pastor Samuel: I met her through my elder brother’s wife in Ibadan. She had a set of twins and would always take the babies to my wife’s place so that she would help take care of them. Through this, she developed an interest in her. She felt that she would make a good wife and told me about her. I became interested. So, she arranged for the two of us to meet at her place. Immediately, I got there, I sighted her from a distance. I heard a voice within me that said she was my wife. But I didn’t know she was the same person that my elder brother’s wife wanted to introduce to me. But she tried to play a fast one on me. Initially, when I asked her about the lady, she lied that she did not come. I told her that whether she came or not, I had seen a lady at the back of the house and the spirit of God told me that she was the person I would marry. She asked me to describe the lady that I was talking about. I did. She went to call her. But immediately I saw her, I said that she was the one I earlier sighted and that was how our relationship began.
Madam Victoria: What happened that day she invited me to her place was, as I was cooking, I placed a local kitchen stool outside near the kitchen to watch what I was cooking. I later stood up to go into the kitchen to tend to what I was cooking. I didn’t know that he was around and had sighted me from a distance. So when he entered the room, his elder brother’s wife jokingly said that I didn’t come. As I entered the room, he laughed and said: ‘I told you God just spoke to me about this lady.’ The woman introduced us to each other. When we spoke, I replied that I would pray about it. I also told him to pray about it. Later that day, his elder brother asked us to go to one prophet. The prophet said it was good but that we would encounter opposition.
Did the prophecy come to pass?
Pastor Samuel: Yes. The opposition was from my wife’s family. My family accepted her. But her family didn’t accept me initially.
Madam Victoria: Yes, it did. My parents also lived in Ibadan, but very far from his place. So, I went to tell them, and they asked for his name. Immediately I mentioned Olutayo Samuel, they said it was not possible, that how could I, a Muslim go and marry a Christian? Our family members living in the neighbourhood also raised their voices against it. My Muslim name then was Simiatu. On one of the occasions that I visited my parents, I told them that it was just because I didn’t want to disappoint them; otherwise, I would have told him to impregnate me, and maybe that time they would accept him. When I left that night my mother said she couldn’t sleep over the issue. It was that time she remembered what an Islamic prophet told them concerning when I was born. He said they were going to give birth to a baby girl. That’s me. But that God would only use them to bring me into this world. But when it was time for me to marry that I wouldn’t get married to a Muslim but to a Christian. My mother woke up my father and reminded him of the prophecy. That was how they allowed us to marry. But before then my husband wanted me to lie to them that his Muslim name was Fatai. But I did not do that.
Did you have girlfriends before you met your wife?
Pastor Samuel: Yes. But whenever they disappointed me we would part ways. That was why my brother’s wife decided to find a wife for me.
Did you have suitors before you met your husband?
Madam Victoria: Yes. I had many men coming to seek my hand in marriage. There was one that came from Lagos to Ibadan. He told his sister that he didn’t want to marry Lagos girls. But after sizing him up I found out that we were no match. I asked his sister to invite him over to Ibadan so that I could take a good look at him. He came. On my way to his sister’s house, I prayed and asked God to show me a sign that would make me know whether he was the right man for me or not. That day, there was no electrical power when I got to the place. But as I was entering their sitting room, I perceived the smell of cigarettes and alcohol. They filled the whole room. But the moment I tried to sit down, NEPA brought light and with it I was able to see clearly what was going on. In his attempt to hide what he was doing, he threw away the remaining part of the cigarette he was smoking. But he was yet to put off its light before public power came. And while he spoke to me, I perceived alcohol odour from his mouth. His fingernails were all painted as if he was a woman. After our talk, I told him that I would pray about his proposal and that he too should pray about it. That was where we ended it.
What was the first gift you gave to your wife after you got married?
Pastor Samuel: It was a cloth. Its name was Salinsile. It was in vogue that time. Its name was coined by a man called Sali who used the cloth as ‘Aso Ebi’ for his housewarming ceremony. Many people who attended the event wore the cloth and that was how people arrived at the name. Sali was the name of the owner of the house and ‘sile’ means housewarming.
How did you feel when he gifted you with the cloth?
Madam Victoria: I felt very happy. I loved it. It was called Salinsile. It was the cloth in vogue then. That was in 1982.
Could you remember your first misunderstanding in marriage?
Pastor Samuel: That was when we were expecting our first child. My wife had gone for an antenatal. When she was returning, I was going to work. I met her on the road with another woman who was also pregnant. I thought she was her friend. I gave my wife money for transportation and went my way. I had it in mind to query her when I got back home that day because I didn’t ask her to go make friends at the hospital. Unknown to me, she also had it in mind to challenge me because the pregnant woman claimed that she knew me very well. Because of that the two of them shared the money I gave my wife. She said the pregnant woman mentioned my name and the name of our family house. I didn’t know her. My wife thought I was secretly married to her and believed that God had used my meeting with them on the road to expose me. When I got home, she served me food. And when I was done eating, I asked her where she knew the pregnant woman. Immediately, she answered and said that I wanted to play a smart one that God had exposed me and the woman I was secretly married to. We argued at length about it and later settled it. She believed I could not have lied to her.
Madam Victoria: What happened was that while I was coming back I stopped by at the market to get something. I met my husband on the way and he said he was going to work. As we were talking, a pregnant woman stood by me. My husband put his hands in his pocket and gave me some money which he said I should use for transport.. After he left, the pregnant woman cajoled me into sharing the money with her by mentioning his name and their family house. She claimed that she and my husband knew each other. But to be fair to my husband, he did not talk to the woman while we stood there and the woman did not greet him nor say anything to him. But as I flagged down a taxi and entered she too entered with me. Inside the taxi she started telling me to give her own share of the money my husband had given me. She said it repeatedly. When I got to the place I wanted to alight I told the driver to help split the money into two. That was how I gave her half of the money and took the remaining half. When I got home, something told me that the reason two of them did not talk to each other was that they didn’t want me to know what was going on between them. I said once I gave birth to the baby in my womb we would go our separate ways. When my husband got home that evening, I did not serve his dinner on time. But when he asked for his food and I served him, I refused to sit beside him which I usually do. In short, I went back into the room. After he finished eating, he called me and asked about the pregnant woman he saw me with on the road. He accused me of starting to go out with unknown friends. In turn, I accused him of trying to play a smart one by asking the question after his secret had been exposed. He was surprised and said he didn’t know her, that he had never met her until that day. We later settled the matter.
How do you normally settle your differences?
Pastor Samuel: What I do is I usually call her and ask her to do something for me. And she does it.
Madam Victoria: Whenever we had a misunderstanding, he doesn’t allow it stay for long. He may not tell me directly. But when he is saying, ‘please, do this for me, do that for me’ and I would do it because I too cannot keep malice. That is how the matter would end.
The rate at which couples divorce these days is becoming alarming. What advice do you have for couples and intending couples?
Pastor Samuel: They should have patience and trust in God. Not all that glitters is gold. And whatever is good today does not mean that thing was good from the beginning. With endurance, they will achieve so many things together. They should believe in God, and continue to pray, understand, love and trust each other. The husband should do to his wife what he wants his wife to do to him and vice versa. The husband should provide for his family. The wife should be supportive of her husband. She should know when the husband has and when he doesn’t have. Also, marriage is not a bed of roses. Whatever they invest in their marriage is what they will get out of it. They should be there for their children and teach them in the way of the Lord. They should correct each other in love. If couples and intending couples will try and put all these into practice, they will see that marriage is beautiful.
Madam Victoria: They must accommodate endurance, perseverance, patience, trust, love and understanding. Every marriage has its own challenges. The wife should be submissive and the husband should love his wife sincerely and provide for his family. It is the responsibility of the two to cater to their children. They should be prayerful and engage in healthy communication. They should not compare each other with any other person. The woman should be supportive of her husband. They should not see divorce as an option because when two elephants fight the grass will suffer. That will affect so many other areas too.