Deacon Samson Falana is the son of a Baptist pastor. But he ruffled some feathers, especially among his then wife-to-be relatives when he decided to get married to a Muslim lady in 1975. Not surprising, his choice generated some heat but not light from his fiancee’s family members. But not being a religious bigot, he insisted on marrying his choice – former Miss Morounmubo whose father is said to be an Alhaji. While his wife is an indigene of Ila-Orangun in Ila Local Government Area of Osun State, Deacon Samson hails from Iresi in Boluwaduro Local Government Area of Osun State. Although his fiancee’s people had their say, he was glad that he was eventually allowed to have his way. Today, the marriage is blessed with four children, two sons and two daughters who are not only married but also successful professionals in their chosen careers. The couple shared with BAMIGBOLA GBOLAGUNTE, in Akure, how they weathered the storm in those days. They also talked about their lives together as husband and wife. Excerpts:
While we thank God for keeping you together as husband and wife all these years, could you tell us how you met before two of you got married?
Husband: To the glory of God, we have been together as husband and wife for over 40 years. It started with friendship initially but the relationship later turned to marriage and the two of us have lived together in peace for years. I met my wife in Akure when I was a student at the Federal College of Agriculture, Akure. She was, at that time, a student, as well. We were living in the same area and I was fascinated by her hard work and beauty because she was always doing one work or the other anytime I saw her around our area. Initially, I was discouraged because of the religious difference between us. She was a Muslim while I was a Christian. I am a son of a Baptist minister of God and her own father was an Alhaji, though she was not living with her parents at that time. She was staying with one of her relatives. When it became difficult for me to hold my feelings, I told some of my friends who initially discouraged me. But I didn’t allow that to turn me off. I later opened up to her and after some months she agreed to marry me and the two of us eventually agreed to marry each other. That was how the journey started. I must add that we had a very long courtship because of our education pursuit and economic factor. We didn’t marry until after four years after we met. We still had issues but we always settle it between ourselves and we have a good Christian home today. I allowed her to practise her religion for some time, but after two years she began to follow me to church willingly on her own without anybody talking to her about it.
Was it the same thing with you, or there are details you would like to add, at least on your own part?
Wife: My husband had said it all. However, let me add that I met him in my final year and we didn’t marry until many years after. Like he said we had a long courtship. He assisted me in my education because I am from a very poor background. He is the best person for me and I have enjoyed every bit of our marriage since we have been together for over 40 years.
Was there any opposition from anywhere, relatives, friends, concerning your marriage?
Husband: There was no opposition from my own family, despite being a Christian. Like I told you, the only opposition we had was from her relatives and we overcame. My father was a good Christian and when I told him of my intention to marry a Muslim, he did not oppose to it. The only thing he said was that I should not forget my faith in all that I do.
Wife: We had serious opposition from my family. In all honesty, my parents were not opposed to our marriage but I have an uncle who was vehemently against marrying a Christian. He insisted that I should not marry my husband because of the differences in our religion. It’s unfortunate that some of my people did not attend our wedding ceremony because of the religious differences. They were opposed to our marriage, but today, the story has changed. They are now with us and we always visit each other. Some of them have their children staying with us and many of their children also married Christians eventually.
What made you decide to go for your wife out of the many ladies available for a pick within that period?
Husband: I have said it before and let me repeat myself, I was fascinated to her because of two things and they are her diligence and beauty. Like I said before, she is a very hardworking person and there is no work she can not do. I met her at a time she was staying with a guardian and she was the one doing all the chores at home. Besides, she is a beautiful person and all these made me fall in love with her.
What qualities made you choose him above other eligible bachelors or suitors within that period?
Wife: He was God-fearing and very caring. He would always visit me in school and anytime he came around, he would buy different things for me. His generosity endeared me to him. He was generous to a fault. There is nothing my husband could not give out. As a young person in school, my friend always prayed that he should pay us a visit because they all knew that anytime he came we would cook and we would have something in our purse. Up till today, he still maintains that high-level generosity.
How did you propose to her? What exactly did you say to her as to make her accept to marry you?
Husband: I studied her for quite some time and when I discovered some things about her, especially her school and residence, I went visiting one day and I asked one of her sisters to call her for me. I later told her my mind but she did not respond positively until after seven months. In fact, it was after a year that we really commenced our relationship.
What did you say when he proposed? What exactly did he say and what was your reply?
Wife: I was shocked when he told me that he wanted to marry me because I was not thinking in that direction at all. I was after my education at that time and felt that any relationship could cause some distractions for me. More so, I was living with a guardian at that time, so, I could not have time for any other thing aside my studies. When he told me I was shocked and I responded that I was not interested but he kept pressurising me till I agreed. However, my response was after some months when I had already completed my studies. His pressure and continuous disturbance made me develop interest in him gradually. When I told my people about his proposal, they discouraged me because of religious difference between us but with time, we were able to surmount the challenge.
What do you remember most about your wedding?
Husband: It was a low key wedding and this was occasioned by our religious difference. We did traditional wedding at my wife’s home town and it was a great success. My family including my dad who was a Baptist Reverend was at the wedding and my wife was also with her people who were Muslims. Despite the difference in our religion, we had a good outing and the rest is now history.
Wife: We thank God for everything. We never knew the wedding could be as successful as it was but to the glory of God it was a huge success. It was not a big event because we envisaged our relatives would not show up. It was a low key event. But the joy of the marriage is the peace we enjoy in our home till date.
Could you remember your first misunderstanding in marriage and how did you handle it?
Husband: We always settle every issue at the dining table. I am somebody that cannot play with my stomach, so whatever the issue may be, I will still eat. I can’t remember the exact issue that caused misunderstanding with us at the early stage of our marriage but I knew we always had issues and settled them without involving the third party.
Wife: We do offend ourselves but we don’t hold any grudge against each other. The moment the misunderstanding came, we allowed it to die a natural death and we forget about it immediately. So, I can’t remember any misunderstanding for now because we don’t put such in our minds in our homes. We allow every misunderstanding to die immediately we resolved the matter.
What is your husband’s favourite food?
Wife: My husband loves pounded yam with egusi and that is what he eats every Sunday till date.
What do you like most about your husband?
Wife: I have said it before. He is a generous man. I love his generosity and that is one major thing that endeared me to him. I also appreciate his care and love for the children. He can visit the children two times in a week when they were in school. He likes visiting my relatives. I am the type that doesn’t go out, whereas my husband likes visiting people and I love that in him.
What do you like most about your wife?
Husband: She is the type that doesn’t keep friends and I love that. She is always at home. If you don’t find my wife at home, she is either in church or in her shop since she retired from the teaching service.
What advice do you have for a young bachelor who intends to marry?
Husband: The number one thing is love. They should ask themselves: do I really love this lady I want to marry? If they can answer that question positively, then there will be no problem in their marriage. Also they must seek the face of God before they go into marriage. They must ask God whether or not the person they want to marry is their God-ordained person. They must not do things through carnality. Also, I want to advise the bachelors to have good jobs before they go into marriage.
What advice do you have for a spinster who intends to marry?
Wife: It is a good thing to marry but marriage involves a lot of things. They must be submissive to their husbands. That is the number one thing and they must be helpful.
In the light of rampant divorce cases these days, from your own personal experiences, what pieces of advice would you want to give newly- married couples on how to make their marriage last as long as your own has lasted?
Husband: Satan is the master of divorce and divorce is devilish. Marriage is a life contract and the Bible is clear on that. There should not be any reason why couple should think of divorce. It is not the solution to any problem in marriage.