‘Friendship and understanding key to sustainable marriage’
Chief Joseph Adeyemi Olalusi, a native of Iyin-Ekiti, living in Oke-Aro Ogun State, would turn 87 next month but looks quite strong for his age. On retiring from Healthcare Product Nigeria Limited in June 1994 as a senior accountant, he went into pig farming for a few years before bowing out to take a rest.
Recalling how he met his wife, he said, “It was God’s grace. It happened in my last year in primary school as I was leaving for college.
“That year, her dad brought her to school to register her and I don’t know how, but the name, Adedoyin Olaleye, just sank into my head. Eventually, when I was thinking of marriage, the name was the only one coming to me, even though if I saw her then, I may not have recognised her.
“Not that I was thinking of marriage then, but when I started thinking of marriage that name started ringing a bell. And then incidentally I mentioned my intention to one of my cousins, she said she had a good friend and I said that name, I will look for her. That was how it started, and my cousin was our middle person.
“While courting, the devil wanted to disturb us, but God took control, as all attempts to disturb the marriage didn’t work, instead, it speeded up the marriage plans and we have been together since then.
“Naturally, we have quarrels, disagreements and challenges, but we have never been violent with each other. In fact, I find it strange when I hear people say they beat their wives, it is ridiculous to me. I ask how they beat their wives and what type of offence she committed for him to even slap or beat her, because I have never had such a moment with my wife.
“When we started, we did everything together. In fact, there were days when I worked late, especially when I was at Apapa, she will not eat until I got back. Till today, we are still eating together.”
Mrs. Olalusi, now 78, also from Iyin-Ekiti, the first child of her mother and the second of her father, passed out from Standard Six in 1955 and had to start working immediately, teaching in Ibadan for a year before going back to Ado Ekiti for another year before joining her husband.
“My dad really liked my husband so much. He and his father were friends. At that time, if they tell you somebody in Agege wants to marry you, you won’t like to pass that area.
“By the grace of God, I went to join him at Ebute Irele in November 1957. When I was leaving, my daddy prayed for me and it was difficult getting transport in our town to Ado Ekiti that day, but since they had prayed for me, I didn’t want to return to my fathers’ house, so we stayed on the main road.
“We couldn’t get to Ebute that day, but the second day, he was so happy to receive us as he had been waiting. Since then, we have been living together happily.”
On the secret of their successful marriage, he said: “When you marry, you are not going to marry your sister. Even if you marry your sister, you will quarrel, but if you are determined to make the marriage a success and God is in the marriage, you will make a success of it.
“We give glory to God for making our marriage a success. Patience, understanding and endurance are key in any marriage.
“We sleep together, so that we discuss our matters at night as challenges can only be addressed by discussion. We don’t lose contact; we discuss together and we get over our challenges.
“We are blessed with children- Chief Victoria Olufunmilayo Obadare; Mrs. Oluwakemi Bada; Mrs. Aderele Titilola; Olugbenga Olalusi, an engineer; Mrs. Bose Oruvwuje; Mrs. Oluwatoyin Labinjo; Mrs. Olubunmi Aluko; and Mrs. Olufisayo Badmus, also an engineer, as well as grand and great grandchildren, and they are all doing well.”
She revealed that several things almost broke the marriage, but they didn’t allow anything to come between them.
“We did not allow anybody to come between us, because I know what I want and he knows what he wants. With friendship and understanding, we built our marriage and it sustains us till now.
“Though the mouth and tongue may quarrel, nobody can separate them and they will always settle. That is our case. I love him and he loves me and we understand ourselves. I respect him and he gives me respect too.”
How best can marital conflicts be managed? He said, “By understanding, patience and determination to make a success of one’s marriage. If one decides to make a success of his/her marriage, definitely there will be opposition and challenges, especially in a journey of about 60 years, you don’t expect that everything will be so smooth, but you can overcome. In fact, a journey of six months will be full of ups and downs, bends and turns.”
Regarding the roles of friends and outsiders in a relationship, Olalusi counseled, “Even though our sincere friends should be there to advise us, that should not involve coming into your marriage.
“We do not allow any third party come between us. In fact, since we got married, I think it’s only once that my parents intervened. My wife was annoyed and she ran to my parents and my parents brought her back the following day. That was the only time we allowed anybody to come in.
“If the husband and wife are determined and believe in their togetherness, especially a marriage that is blessed with many children, they want to see the children grow together and will not allow any outsider disrupt the marriage, mislead or advise them wrongly.”
She noted, “Couples shouldn’t allow friends come in between them, they should remain as one. Since the wife has left her house and gone to her husband’s house, they have become one.
“Your mother-in-law is your mother, your father-in-law is your father. When you quarrel, try to settle between yourselves. If the wife offends the husband and he is annoyed, she should apologise. Men don’t always like to apologise to their wives, but if he offends you, during the night, call him and talk things over. Never allow anybody to come in between you.
“I never allow anybody to know the secrets between my husband and I.”
On the role of the church in a Christian marriage, he said, “If one is a Christian and attend church, you should be careful of the one you attend especially as you listen to sermons there. There are many churches these days and most are after prosperity, not necessarily the peace of the family.
Mrs. Olanusi, a member of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Idioro, Lagos and the Anglican Church in Iyin-Ekiti, as well as a member of Young Women Christians Association, Mothers Union and Egbe Aya Bishop, stated, “The wife should not say she is higher than her husband, because the husband is the head of the house.”
The couple recalled that the day of their marriage and when they had their first child remain their happiest moments, just as the fact that their children have attained great academic heights makes them glad and thankful to God.
“May be some of the quarrels we had, we wouldn’t have had them if we had exercised more patience at the early stages of marriage.
“I don’t think there is much I would do differently, but if my wife comes to the world again, I would marry her.”
If she were to live her life all over again, would she still like to live it the same way? “Yes,” she says, “and marry my husband again.”
Asked what is special about him, she said, “He is kind and a gentleman. He takes good care of me and my people and loves all my people.
“My mother was with me for one and half years here. A week after I took my mother back home, she died. He really loved my mother.”
Reminiscing on the past, he said, “Life has changed so much; people are now after money, wealth and prosperity without working.
“There was so much trust. You didn’t close your doors and no thief came around to steal anything. If anybody came around in the night, he/she only came for help or something like that. There was no fear anywhere and things were easier.
“We need to be honest with ourselves and not over-ambitious, especially when it comes to money, people should believe in God and trust God for everything. You are rich if you are satisfied with what God has given you honestly.”
On lowest moments, Mrs. Olalusi recalled, “In 1983, my first son, our second child, died in an accident just a few days to his graduation. It was a very terrible occasion that can never be forgotten. That was the only moment of sorrow we have till date. Up till now, the effect has not gone. I feel sad whenever I think of it, but I still thank God.”
On the younger generation, she said, “Children of these days don’t have real love, but I thank God for my children. I have seven girls and they are all married and happy with their husbands, because I know they follow the way I taught them, as I was taught by my mother.”
On how she relaxes now that she is old, Mrs. Olalusi explained, “I have been trading even as a teacher. I started with petty trading, selling beer and minerals and later went into catering. I really enjoyed the business of baking cakes.
“All my children, I baked their wedding and birthday cakes. I baked for so many weddings and I trained so many people in catering, which makes me very happy.
“Till now, I still like catering. I cook for myself. There is no food that I can really enjoy as my own.
“When my children come around, I go to the kitchen and cook for them. I thank God that I am happy with myself and with the children God gave me.”