Igwe George Asadu and his wife, Lolo Monica Asadu are names that ring a bell in Enugu North Senatorial Zone. As the traditional ruler of Ihe Autonomous Community, in Nsukka Local Government Area, Enugu State, His Royal Highness wields much influence and commands enormous respect. Married for 54 years, their union has grown from strength to strength. In fact, their journey which began in 1965, from military barrack and later to palace, seems like it started just yesterday. In this interview conducted in Nsukka by FELIX IKEM, during Igwe’s 80th birthday anniversary, Igwe and Lolo Asadu spoke on the secret of their successful marital journey blessed with children and grandchildren. Excerpts:
How did you meet each other?
Husband: I met my wife in faraway Kaduna State when I was in the Nigerian Army. She was with her parents when I saw her. I got entangled with her and after sometimes, I told her my intention, that I want to marry her. After all said and done, here we are, over fifty years now, to the glory of God.
Wife: Like he said, it was in 1964 in Kaduna State that we met each other. He was in the army in Kaduna cantonment when he came and proposed to me.
What was her response?
Husband: First of all, she asked me where I came from and I told her I am from Nsukka. She then told me that she would tell her parents which she did and after sometimes, the marriage process started.
What attracted her to you given the fact that there were other ladies in town then and also for the fact that your hometown is very far from her?
Husband: What attracted her to me is her high level of obedience. She is very respectful, well cultured, she is also very hard working. As a military officer, I don’t like any person who does not obey my order and who is lazy. Again, my wife came from a very decent home. Her parents are good and practising Christians who don’t joke with their Christian life. So, these were the attractions I had from her that led me to propose to her and eventually got me to make her my wife.
Was there any opposition to your marriage?
Wife: There was no opposition to our marriage by any of my relations or parents. The only thing is that when I told my parents that he proposed to marry me, they reminded me that the place is far. But, I told them that distance cannot be a barrier. They then followed me down here to know his place after which the marriage process started.
What qualities in him made you to accept his proposal?
Wife: The qualities in him that made me accept his proposal are numerous. He is very honest. He is also very hardworking and transparent unlike what we saw and still see in many military officers today. More so, he is a good Christian. He does not joke with his faith, and he is so caring.
What do you still remember most about your wedding?
Husband: One thing about my wedding is that it was so low-keyed. It was not an elaborate one due largely to the nature of my job as a soldier. Again, there was no much money then as a military personality.
Wife: The wedding was hitch-free. Again, it was during rainy season and many people were telling us to consult rainmakers which we refused to do and there was no rainfall despite all the fears. So many personalities attended despite the fact that it was low-keyed.
Can you still remember your first misunderstanding?
Husband: I cannot remember it now but I know so much that whatever misunderstanding that we have, we always resolve it within the four walls of our room. We have not involved any third party in resolving any misunderstanding between us.
Wife: For the period of 54 years we have lived as husband and wife my husband has not beaten me. He has not raised his hands on me. He has not even attempted it despite the fact that he is a military officer. That attribute has kept us so much closer and I have been so much obedient to him.
What qualities in him do you like most?
Wife: He is honest and transparent, a dedicated Christian and hardworking.
Husband: She is very obedient and caring.
You have been in this marriage for 54 years now. What has kept you going in your relationship?
Wife: First of all, let me say it is the grace of God. Secondly, we have been trying and God has been helping us to avoid trouble. We don’t allow any little squabble to degenerate. We try as much as we can to resolve it very fast. When I see the qualities of the man I married, I become so much thrilled. Nothing destroys marriage like suspicion. When you begin to suspect each other, that is when the marriage begins to crack.
Husband: Marriage is more of spiritual than physical thing. When your spirit accepts your partner, it keeps you going. My wife has never disobeyed me even for once.
As a man who has been in marriage for over half a century, what do you think is the cause of high rate marital problems in the world today?
Husband: Materialism is the cause of so many marriage issues. People no longer marry for love but for money or material things. How much does she have in her bank account? Is she educated? Is she working? These are just the questions our men ask today. In the olden days, we ask questions even down to the point of whether the family members die young or not.
Wife: Our girls no longer ask questions about whom they want to marry. They don’t want to know about the family background of their would-be husband. All they are interested in is if the man has money or wealth. That’s all. But, what they don’t know is that money is not the answer for everything. Your husband may have money, but you may not have rest of mind.
What is your advice to intending couples?
Husband: Our young men who want to get married should look before they leap to avoid regretting their marriage. Marriage is a good and difficult thing. One must be patient with the other. They should not see their wives as slaves or punching bags. They should see them as life partners, not as burden.
Wife: Our young girls should look beyond material things in marriage. Marriage is not a business venture. It is a mutual agreement between two persons, male and female. It is very unfortunate that what we see today is no longer marriage, but a shadow of it.
What is your spouse’s favourite food?
Wife: My husband likes all king kinds of food. His major concern is serve him something good once he’s hungry. However, his favorite food is pounded yam with ogbono soup.
Husband: She likes every food. And as I am talking to you, I don’t know her favourite food.