Mr Nestor Nzekwe, a businessman from Adazi-Nnukwu community in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State and his wife, Mrs Bibian Nzekwe (nee Enukora), a nurse from the same community have been married for 30 years.
Mrs Nzekwe, an Assistant Director of Nursing Services at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi and her husband, Nestor, popularly known as Blessed Nze-Nes, tied the nuptial nut in 1991 and the marriage has produced seven children – three male and four female.
In this interview with OBINNA ODOGWU, the couple told Saturday Sun the story of their love life.
How did you meet?
Mr Nestor: I went to see a patient in the hospital, St. Joseph, in my community, Adazi-Nnukwu, with my friend and I saw her. I never had her in mind when I was going to the hospital. However, I had always prayed and wished that I would marry a nurse because I liked the profession. So, that my friend, Peter Arachie, told me that she is from his area. All of us are from the same Adazi. When I got home, I told my father, Ichie Ikenwanne, that I had seen someone I would marry. The next day I left for Mubi in Adamawa State where I was based. I even forgot the interaction I had with my father the previous day. I just told him about it in a carefree way. When I returned from Mubi the following week, my father told me that he had gone to their house and spoke with her father, Mr Enukora. He was popularly known as Corporal. I was surprised. I returned to Mubi but when I came back the next time, I went to see her myself and, of course, told her my mind. I paid her dowry on October 15, 1988. She was still in the School of Midwifery in St. Joseph. She later proceeded to Ihiala where she did her general nursing. Some peopletold me to stop her from further schooling because I was rich but I disagreed with them. I told them that the money they see today might not still be there tomorrow. So, I allowed her to continue with her education. It is good for a woman to have something doing. We planned to wed on December 15, 1990 but my mother died on November 22 the same year. I had to cancel the wedding ceremony. After the burial, we wedded on August 24, 1991. God blessed us with three boys and four girls.
Madam Bibian: That person he came to the hospital with was our neighbour. And he was his childhood friend. Before we met in the hospital, he used to come around my area but I don’t know if he didn’t see me or something. But that very day he came to the hospital, he took interest in me. I think God had a hand in it. Incidentally, his people usually get married from my side. More than five people from his side married people from my own side.
What was your reaction when he proposed to you?
Madam Bibian: I will not tell you that I was excited because something about marriage is that, if you know actually what you’re going into, you know that you have to pray over it. I liked him but I told him that we would have to pray over it to be sure that it is God’s will so that one would not end up marrying the wrong person. I prayed over it and my family encouraged me to go ahead. In fact, when my relatives who were earlier married to people from his place heard about it, they couldn’t wait to have me over there. They told me that the coast was clear. They encouraged me to marry him; that his people treat their wives well and we treat them well too.
What do you remember most about your wedding?
Mr Nestor: Everybody that attended that wedding was well entertained. And the priest that wedded us, Chetauya, an Awka man (Adinchezo) showered encomiums on us. He is now in the USA. When my mother died, many people thought that my wife was already pregnant. When your wife is pregnant, people would expect you to expedite action so that you wed before she put to bed. So, people were surprised when I cancelled the wedding. It was not easy. My mother died two weeks before the wedding. So, people were impressed with our virtues.
Madam Bibian: Our wedding was classy and I will never forget that experience. We had so many guests, including Catholic priests and others.
What was your reaction when your wedding was cancelled? How did you feel?
Madam Bibian: In a way, I was not happy. In fact, let me tell you. The day our photographer came for a pre-wedding picture shoot was the day my mother-in-law died. During that time, people used to share their wedding pictures to their guests on their wedding day. So, I was not happy because already, we had been preparing for it. Everybody was wearing a gloomy face. So, when the photographer came, he was asking if we had not finished preparing for the picture shoot; we told him what had happened that morning. So, I was depressed. Nobody was happy because already we had been preparing for it. We were supposed to wed on December15 1990. She died on November 22, 1990 but we wedded on 24th August, 1991. It was about 10 months’ gap.
What was your first misunderstanding in marriage? And how did you handle it?
Mr Nestor: I used to drink beer that time and she didn’t like it. She would always admonish that I should drink very little, but I couldn’t help it. When you drink beer, anybody who comes very close to you must perceive it. So, one fateful day I came back home reeking of alcohol. She got angry and kept a straight face. That was our first misunderstanding. In fact, the first time I visited her at home, I drank beer before going so that she would know that I drink. And she knew I drank beer. I don’t pretend. I like to be real. But that was then.
What’s your wife’s favourite food?
Mr Nestor: She likes okra soup very well.
Madam Bibian: Before now, I don’t like okra soup as such. But when I discovered that okra soup was his favourite, I switched over. He can eat okra soup for 100 years. I needed to blend with what he likes. And again, being a nurse and health practitioner, I discovered that okra soup is five-star when it comes to health matters.
What advice do you have for a young bachelor who intends to marry?
Mr Nestor: Forgiveness is very important in a marriage. As for getting you angry, women must make you get angry. Secondly, if you’re rich or well to do, avoid intimidating your wife. Never maltreat her because you feel that there’s no rich person in her family that would speak for her. Like I said earlier, forgiveness is key to a happy and peaceful marriage. A husband can annoy his wife and vice versa but the two must learn to forgive each other. I often advise those I have sponsored their weddings – about 17 of them. I invite the man here and advise him on the way to go. Again, prayer is very important in a marriage. Since I got married, I have always attended morning mass. If there was a time we didn’t attend, it could be that I wasn’t feeling strong. We, as a family, don’t miss morning mass. In 2014, we were named the ideal couple at the cathedral.
What advice do you have for a spinster who intends to marry?
Madam Bibian: The issue of marriage is not a rocket science. It is like a parcel. Once you open it, whatever you see, you take. However, any spinster who is about to get married should be prayerful. This is because it is a life contract. For the Catholics, divorce is not an option. Somebody once described marriage as a house on fire. Some people are rushing in while some others are rushing out. When you see a beautiful marriage, you would want to get married. But if you see a troublesome one, you would prefer to remain single. So, it is like a house on fire. A young lady preparing for marriage must be prayerful. If you don’t know how to pray, you better go and learn it. Without God, you can never make headway. So, God is the ultimate glue that will glue you people together. It is not about being rich, being educated, beautiful or whatever. Both the man and the woman should be praying but it lies more on the woman. Women pray more than men. The woman is the coordinator of her family. They must build their marriage on Christ.
In the olden days, intending couples never courted before tying the nuptial nut and their marriages lasted. But children nowadays cohabit in the name of courtship but still divorce cases are on the rise. What is your opinion about courtship?
Madam Bibian: Courtship is good and it is also not good. It is good in the sense that you need to study your future partner. Christian courtship is okay. When a man and a woman are cohabiting, there is no marriage. They’re not legally married. The real marriage starts when they officially get married. Christian courtship is good and it shouldn’t last for more than one year. One year is enough to study someone. And anybody who wants to get married must not seek perfection or expect the person to be a saint. They were not made in heaven. You have to look at the character of the person you want to marry; the quality of the person matters. So, Christian courtship is okay for you to know the character of the person you want to marry.
Mr Nestor: It is good for the intending couples to know each other, character wise. Some people meet on social media and conduct their marriage there. There is a need to conduct some findings about the person you want to marry; make some findings about their family and the rest of that. Courtship is good if it is conducted in the right way.