Bolanle And Bunmi Ninalowo: Love Stories Deserve Happy Endings
Many Disney love stories always have the same ending, girl marries boy and they ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after. However, reality gives us different doses of what love stories can be like.
It is not as smooth as the romance novels will like us to believe, not even when it involves a tall and hunky man like Bolanle Ninolowo and his love interest Bunmi.
It was love at first for Nino as fans and his ladylove fondly call the Nollywood actor. Nino and his lover became inseparable with the conversations quickly leading to them planning a future together. So strong was their love that they moved in together just two weeks after they first met.
Undoubtedly a catch for any woman with his dashing good looks, why did Nino decide to give up his eligible bachelorhood to settle down with Bunmi at such an early age?
He knew he had found ‘The One’ when he set eyes on her. He explains this when he describes what love looks like to him.
“Love looks like Bunmi to me. A woman who is very traditional and would do anything to please her man. Only God can give a man Bunmi as I do not think of myself or any man worthy.”
The euphoric feeling of being in love appeared to fade away after years together. As they made their way down to planet earth from cloud nine, the harsh realities of life came knocking on their door.
If either of them were told that despite their strong connection, they will want space from each other, they would have undoubtedly argued with the soothsayer. Nino admits that at a point, he even began to hate Bunmi so much so that they decided it was best they go their separate ways. This separation lasted two years.
Nino’s fine boy looks and career as an actor who is constantly in the spotlight did not help his deteriorating marriage. For every woman the media linked him to, Bunmi’s faith in him dropped a notch lower. Bunmi’s perception of their relationship changed.
This experience is why Nino would pick trust over love. He believes love is never enough because you can love another should you lose the one you love. Trust on the other hand may never be got back once broken.
Although Bunmi enjoys Nino’s celebrity status and an admirer of actress Funke Akindele-Bello herself, she is reserved and an introvert.
She opines that being married to a celebrity can be sometimes overwhelming but being married to one who is “loving, caring, trustworthy, kind, humble and with a great personality,” as Nino helps.
Though she believes he supports and helps her grow, Nino believes that she is every man’s dream and he does not even think himself or any other man worthy enough of her love despite whatever flaws she has.
They agree that they are most surprised at the pain they had to go through to achieve what they currently have. On the most surprising part of married life, Bunmi shares:
“They say no pain no gain. We were very young when we took responsibility for each other. We had dreams of the kind of life we live today, thank God for grace but it took all we got and tested our faith in the most unpleasant way. We fought till we overcame and got the rare chance of knowing how valuable and instrumental we were to each other’s lives.”
Bunmi adds that his “selfishness and impatience” led to their separation as he had become self-centered over the years and in the course of his journey to success. He admits he forgot that Bunmi had a voice that needed to be heard and respected. Realising his mistake, he knew he had to retrace his steps so he chose to take himself out of the box and see things from a different perspective.
“I chose to see things from her view and placed myself in her position. I heard her cry and made a promise to myself never to see her cry again. I humbled myself to achieve a better life and happiness I enjoy with her today.”
How they were able to stay separated for two years and still find the flame to reignite their love may owe some of its thanks to the marriage advice Nino got from his dad before he married Bunmi.
According to him, his dad advised him that every marriage and couple are unique hence he should never compare his marriage or its problems to any other.
Despite the downtime that their marriage witnessed, they would not exchange their experiences for anything in the world. To them, life is “a learning and growing experience” hence, they would not wish to rewrite their love story but rather stay true to themselves so that they can continue “to connect the dots backward.”
“I am grateful to have the wisdom and privilege I have today. It has all been a result of my past. I won’t change a thing ”
With 12 years of marriage under their belt, they both agree that the most challenging part about being married is staying married.
The challenge comes in realising that you have to tolerate some of your partner’s insecurities and remind yourself that they are also doing the same while loving perfectly despite the imperfections. This is why they both strive to listen and not just hear each other as well as always put themselves in the other’s position.
“The only way to stay married is to constantly learn and accommodate and tolerate one another. To respect the other person in a way where you accept their imperfections and love them perfectly well and also realise that the other person is doing the exact same thing.”
When asked how they resolve the certain conflicts that must arise from time to time, Bunmi quickly responds:
“We fight but we resolve it. We finally discovered ourselves and appreciate our past rather than regret it.”
“Honestly I can’t even remember the last time I accused him of a lie. We have grown so much and strong that I doubt nothing from him. If he did though, I do the usual which is to look him in the eye and ask if he is lying and Nino can’t lie for long. The truth will somehow reveal itself or he reveals the truth and I give him a piece of my mind then we move on.”
“Now that I know better, I make it a priority to see things from her view and ask myself if I would ever want her to say the words or do the things that I would recklessly say or do to her. I try to do to her only what I want to be done to me.”
Nino’s career as an actor means he is most times travelling and working on film sets but he attributes being able to keep a work-life balance to his being disciplined and diligent. He is also grateful that Bunmi understands his job.
To Love And To Cherish
When he is not on set working, he spends quality time with Bunmi and their two children, Aliyah and Morakinyo. He adds that he enjoys going out on relaxing dates with Bunmi.
With a better understanding of what marriage entails, Nino and Bunmi protect their marriage by keeping away third parties and family interference. When conflict arises, they remind themselves what they mean to each other with both knowing that separation is never an option. Bunmi chimes in that they put the kids first and everything is secondary.
25 years from now, Nino sees himself making love to Bunmi in a place where there are no mosquitoes as they celebrate being together.
As for others hoping to enjoy the joys of marriage, the couple advice that marriage should not be an option until one understands one’s purpose in life. This is so that whoever you marry shares your vision and purpose.