While we thank God for keeping you together in the past 36 years, could you tell us how you met your wife?
Michael: It’s God’s choice; it is how God wanted it. It was in our place because we are both from the same town. We grew up together. So when I decided to marry, I just approached her, and she said she would marry me. That is how it started. That was in Isiokpo in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State.
Is it the same story with you or are there details you need to add?
Abigail: No, it is the same story; it was just love: we are from the same town.
When you decided to get married was there any opposition?
Michael: No opposition at all. Both families agreed because we knew each other before we started talking about marriage. Nobody, including friends, raised objection because what God has put together, nobody can put asunder.
Abigail: Nobody kicked against our decision to get married; everybody supported it.
Of all the ladies that might have been available to you at that time, what made you decide to go for her?
Michael: When you are growing up in the same environment, when you see somebody good in character, when you decide to marry, just go for that person. She was schooling as at then. As for me, after my schooling, I went for apprenticeship outside the town. But we were always coming back to the village to spend Christmas holiday. I was observing her character when she was being brought up. So, when it was time, I went straight for her and both families confirmed the marriage.
What qualities did you find in him that made you fall for him rather than other suitors?
Abigail: They are many. For instance, he is industrious and caring, lovable and God-fearing.
How did you propose to her?
Michael: That particular day was Christmas. I went to her place because during Christmas, we always had inter-family visitation. I told that I wanted to see her in my house. She did not waste time in coming. When she came, I made my intention known to her. Her reply was that there was no objection but I should let her family know. So that very day, I went to her house and met with the elders of the household and stated my mission. They asked me if I have discussed with the lady and I said yes. Then they asked me what was her response? I told them she had no objection. It was at that point that both parties agreed for us to go ahead with the marriage ceremonies, the traditional ceremonies, Ikuaka and Igbankwu, and other things.
When he proposed to you, could you remember how you responded?
Abigail: What I can remember is that I told him that we should wait for God to decide. And within a short time, we agreed after confirming that it is the will of God.
What do you remember most about your marriage ceremonies?
Abigail: What he gave me during the Igbankwu. If you accept, that means you have agreed to marry. It’s a parcel with coconut and other items. That was the most interesting aspect of the ceremonies.
Michael: I did all the rites, everything about the tradition.
Could you recall your first misunderstanding in your marriage and how you resolved it?
Michael: There are issues that come between a man and a woman. So when it arises, we have to know how to resolve it. During our marriage course in the church, we were advised never to involve a third party in our matrimonial affairs. You sort it out with your wife. The first time we had quarrel, we settled it amicably.
Abigail: I can still recall that it was my first visit to his house but we settled it later amicably.
What is your spouse’s favourite food?
Abigail: Yam and Ofe-Oha (Oha soup).
Michael: It is the same with her. She just followed me. When she was in her father’s house, I didn’t know what kind of food she liked but when she moved into my house after the marriage, she picked up my favourite food as hers.
Have you ever prepared it for her?
Michael: Well, there was a day I wanted to prepare food for her but she refused, saying that there was no need for me to go that extra mile, that she would do everything.
Abigail: (cuts in): He had never entered the kitchen before, so how could I have allowed him?(general laughter).
Michael: Before that day I used to cook in my village before we came to town. I had wanted to teach her but she insisted that as far as she was concerned, there was no need to waste my time.
What do you like most about her?
Michael: Her behaviour, talking and so many things. But the most important is how she talks. It gives me joy, that she is not garrulous, and that makes me to love her more.
But is there any area that you would want her to improve on?
Michael: In the past 36 years, I have not had any problem with her. She is a quiet person and she lives a simple life. I don’t think at this stage there will be a character default that she needs to change.
What do you like about him?
Abigail: He is always with me; he cannot go anywhere without me being by his side unless when I go to work. But after work, we spend a lot of time together. He is very industrious; he is not extravagant. He is not a difficult person. He is God-fearing.
Which areas would you want to see improvements in him?
Abigail: Thirty-six years is not 36 days; we have learnt to tolerate each other. I cannot bend him at this stage. We are moving forward.
Would you subscribe to long courtship before marriage?
Michael: The social media has taken over the attention of the younger generation; it was not like this during our time. There was nothing like phone to call somebody and discuss matters with him or her. But now, some boys can marry through phone call. What I want to say is to advise bachelors and spinsters to be careful about getting a wife or a husband through that way without knowing each other well enough because marriage is not something you rush in and rush out.
Abigail: I support long courtship so that everybody can know each other. But while it should not be too long, it should be long enough for you to get acquainted with your partner.
What is your advice to spinsters intending to go into marriage?
Abigail: They are supposed to be humble. They should cut their cloths according to their size. They should forget earthly things. They should calm down and manage everything because marriage is managment. Marriage is not a bed of roses; each marriage has its own formula; apply the suitable one. Secondly, let them cut off from friends who would not be beneficial to their homes.
From your experience, how would you advise young couples?
Michael: Marriage depends on both parties, on what you agree upon. People may not agree with you but as far as both of you are in agreement on any issue, you can move ahead. Marriage has no formula; some families have broken because they attempted applying a particular formula in solving issues. When you get your wife, make sure you are always in agreement to avoid issue of comparison. Also, trust God and then love each other. If couples love each other, there wouldn’t be much problems. It is true that we have broken homes. But then we also have those that are intact. So couples should humble themselves.
Was there any time your marriage became difficult may be as a result of lack of funds in managing the home?
Michael: Money is not everything; there were times when the children were in school, that paying the bills was an issue. My wife is a teacher and she received small salary. Whenever financial issues cropped up like that she would go to her account to solve the issue. Sometimes I would promise to refund but I many never get to do so. She did it with love and understanding; that is why we rarely had problems.
Abigail: These high-society wives, they are competing to organise talk-of-the-town society wedding without taking into consideration how financially buoyant the man is. They should curtail such extravagance. In many marriages these days, people do not marry their God-given partners because they do seek God’s favour. Let them seek the face of God and get His favour.