We have been married for 50 years without interference from family

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My name is Mrs Ezinne Okeogwu. I am a 75-year-old retired teacher. I am from Itu, Ezinihite, Mbaise, Imo State. I retired as a Head Teacher in Community Primary School, Itu. After primary school, I attended Modern School in Lagos where I stayed with my brother who is dead now. It was from Modern School that I went to Teachers’ Training College, Ehine, Imo State.

My husband is 95 years old and he retired as the Head of Special Class, which is the highest title in primary school teaching at the time. He retired at Ngo Okpala, Imo State.

Of course, I loved to be a teacher. It was a talent that I was given by God from birth and he has blessed me beyond measure with numerous rewards.

I have been married for 50 years. We celebrated our golden jubilee on December 25, 2021. It has been 50 years of bliss. I am so happy with my husband and his family. My immediate family is a happy one. We are blessed with six children. The firstborn is now 49 years old. The last one should be around 31 years old.

I was about 25 years old when we got married. It was the handiwork of God. As I said earlier, he was a teacher too. He was working with a school in the same area. We met at a church. He and his friends had approached me. He told me that God had shown him that I was his wife. I told him that I would pray about it and if God’s hands were in it, then it would come to be. Indeed, it was the handiwork of God.

I had already told my God that I would not marry any man who would not meet the needs of my family. That was what God did. He gave me someone that gave my parents all they required at the time they needed them. He was not so young when we got married. I didn’t look at his physique, to be honest. My mind didn’t even go there. I just wanted someone who would love my parents, because they were all I got at that time. When he came and it was shown to me in my dream as well that he would be my husband, I no longer had fears. He took care of my parents till they died.

One thing I am always happy about in our marriage is that there is no day he will see me and he will be angry. Whenever I wake up in the morning and I see him, it gives me so much joy. That is the handwork of God. Whatever I want to do, as soon as I tell him about it, he would tell me that he also was trying to tell me the same thing. We do everything together. We go to the farm together, bathe together and even cook together. When he was much younger, whenever I want to cook, he would come to the kitchen to assist me. His sons have learnt this from him – how to assist their wives in the kitchen despite his being a teacher as well.

Nothing changed when children came. Children started coming exactly one year into our marriage. I had already told my God that I didn’t want to wait for long. God already said when two people come together, they must produce. It was the hand of God. God gave me what I wanted.

My mindset, as I told you, was to see someone who would see my parents as his and take care of them. I knew that one day, riches would come. I didn’t consider it (riches) at all. As a teacher, I was already used to improvisation and adaptation in any condition I found myself in. In fact, every woman must learn to adapt when they get married to a man, whether poor or rich. It is a skill. If you cannot adapt, the marriage may develop cracks. I knew that as God had joined us together, he wouldn’t  let us starve. This is why I advise the younger ones to focus their attention on God and ask him for clear direction when it comes to marriage. A man who is riding a car today may be poor tomorrow. The same thing with a man who may be poor today; things may change tomorrow for the better. If your attention is focused on his internal virtues, you will see that it would create a lasting union. If you go in with the mindset of coming to enjoy money and you don’t see the money you had in mind to enjoy, this may create issues that may lead to divorce which has become rampant these days. Some women will even use the opportunity to look for alternatives outside wedlock.  It is really terrible these days. No patience at all! I can tell you that since I married til now, God has never failed. He answers our prayers when we pray no matter how hard things are.

My achievement would be that our family is happy and we are content. It has rubbed off on our children. We both groomed them to be so content with life and what they have. They know that we only focus our attention on our creator; we go to him and ask him for our daily needs and he has never failed us. We don’t look at what we cannot afford. As a teacher, we still used to go to the farm to cultivate crops which we used to support our monthly income. Sometimes, when the income didn’t come as and when due, we wouldn’t go begging, because the cash crops we planted must have grown and yielded fruits. My family never lacked anything. We fed well and had something to spare.

Everyone should humble themselves –  both the husband and the wife. If things become hard in the marriage, don’t be too proud to take up odd jobs. It is where you work that you eat. Being teachers didn’t stop us from going into the bush to farm. If we didn’t go to the farm, how would we have coped? I am proud to say that apart from one of my children who an in-law offered to sponsor, we (my husband and I) trained all our children for university.

When two people live together, there must be misunderstandings. When that comes, how you handle it matters a lot. For us, whenever we have disagreements, nobody even knows. We don’t let it show. We settle it inside. None of our family members has ever come to settle any matter between us. It is not possible. Understanding is everything. He had his rules; I had mine. If we crossed each others’ lines, we are always quick to say sorry so it doesn’t breed hatred. I have never had any issue that made him raise his hand to hit me not even for one day. That has never been done to me.

Challenges will come but you must learn to handle them together. As teachers, we had ‘bush allowance’ – farming. So, no matter how it went, we always managed to scale through. Most importantly, we did it together. We were never lazy. I remember that when I finished my TTC, I even entered Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Imo State, for a National Council of Education programme, which I did for three years but stopped before I could finish because my son had just gained admission into the University of Calabar and I knew that if I continued, it would affect us all. It is better I forward my child than myself. I made a lot of sacrifices for my children to go to school. I do deprive myself of certain things like expensive clothes and wrappers. All that mattered to me was my children’s welfare and how they would all graduate and become great people.

What I would tell young couples is to be careful the way they pursue material possessions because inordinate ambition makes most of them go beyond their boundaries and this may begin to strain their lives and complicate things in their marriages. Everyone should do only the things they can afford. Don’t fret that your neighbour’s wife bought a particular gown and then run to your husband to buy you the same gown else the ground will open and swallow you both even when you know that your family’s income cannot afford it. That is not right. Be original. Be yourself. Invest in your family and your children so they can be greater than you. That should be your prayer – “God, let my children be greater than me!” The fact that another couple that got married same time as you already has a child while you don’t have one yet doesn’t mean you will not have your own. The fact that they have a car before you doesn’t change anything. Focus on your own life. I was so surprised by what my children did for us. They celebrated us in such a big way. That is the gain of having a family. We have trained them (children); it is now their turn to take care of us, and they are doing it marvellously well.

Whatever suffering you are going through now raising those children, forget it. When the time comes, you will enjoy the dividends. If they consider these in their marriages, most of the issues they are having will be solved 50 per cent and things would not be too difficult for them.

I thank God for my kind of husband. If you are around, you will use your eyes to see. My house is an open place. Enter, take anything you want and go. These things are material things and shouldn’t cause an issue between spouses. If you notice this about your wife, call her and talk to her. As a wife, if you are truly a child of God, you should know that both your parents and your husband’s parents are yours to care for. If it is the husband that does it, the wife too should not keep quiet. She should call her husband and talk to him. That is the only way both of them can live happily. Communication is the key to a strong marriage. If I come to this world again and it is the will of God, I will marry him again and again.

My wife was revealed to me in a dream

My name is Nze Jonah Okeogwu. I am a retired teacher. Oh yes! We had a golden jubilee! Everything went well as planned. I am very elated. Even my children are getting to 50 years. It is such a joy. I got married when I had grown very well. I was about 45 years when I married.

I had a plain mind. Oh! I had a friend before I got married. (Laughs) My friendship with them was restricted because I got engaged to someone who disappointed me at the last minute. This lady was very close to me, but she left me and got married to another person. It is God’s plan. You won’t believe that up till now, she has got no kids. God is with me (Laughs)!

I couldn’t have married her, because I made up my mind to marry a very tall woman but God has made it better. This is why I say you cannot predict what you will be until God has shown you. She was revealed to me through a dream?

Somebody got near me and introduced this lady (my wife) to me. My reply to that person in that dream was, “Is she not tall?” The person didn’t respond. But I saw her face in my dream, but I thank God that we have lived happily together for these 50 years.

If you are a man who wants to marry, leave everything to God. You may have some challenges but try to endure them. Don’t say, “I must do this or I must do that!” Any woman with you who cares for you is nearly your god (laughs).

The world has changed. Children, these days don’t listen to people like me anymore. They’d say I am an old man while they are in a modern world. After all these things, you will lack what to say. That is why it is difficult to give any advice these days. I would advise parents to always guide their children when it comes to marriage when they are wrong.  One thing I wouldn’t fail to tell the young ones is that if somebody wants to marry, he shouldn’t think so much of his financial strength, because only God gives. Marry someone who loves you whether or not she has money. The world has changed so much. In our time, it was easy to find a wife, but now these ladies are only after money.

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