25 Laws of marriage

Singing couple, Tunde and Wunmi Obe (TWO), as frank and down to earth as ever in this interview with SAMUEL OLATUNJI speak on the dos and don’ts of relationship and marriage. Enjoy it…

What is actually wrong with marriages? Some say the devil is on rampage while others say the marriage institution is under siege because women are becoming fiercely independent?

Wunmi: I actually want to agree with both explanations to some extent. If you don’t drop God in your marriage, the devil will definitely come in big time and will scatter everything. It is very important to have God in your marriage. The fact that women are becoming fiercely independent is also a threat. I don’t know if fiercely independent is the phrase.

I think it has come to a stage that some time women have decided that I know am supposed to submit to you, I know you are my husband, but am not your slave. It doesn’t mean you should abuse the authority or the power, which you have been given from above to maltreat me just because the world said that I am to obey you, it doesn’t mean that you should make ridiculous demands of me . I think women are coming to the realization that they can fight back. For instance maybe you offend your woman and instead of you to apologize, you just tell her to take it or leave it, that she should count herself lucky that she is bearing your name, instead of just saying please forgive me, I will not do it again.

In the past, the woman would accept it but not any longer. I think that is what’s happening now, and coupled with the fact that some women feel that, why do I have to put up with all of this, I can cope on my own, I am a career woman; I have all it takes to be on my own, why do I have to put up with this, he doesn’t even appreciate the fact that I am making sacrifices and all that. Now this is where the God factor comes in. Rather than saying no, I can’t take this anymore, why don’t you come together and talk about it, instead of saying I have had enough, I quit. Then we also have the men who allow themselves to be hijacked by somebody on the outside and by the time he comes home, he’d start misbehaving. He throws her things out or some men who actually maltreat their women. In the past, wives were supposed to be ‘long suffering’.

Marriage is not supposed to be endured. Marriage is not what you are supposed to spend your whole life making sacrifices for, or you are supposed to suffer for, it is supposed to be a union where both parties enjoy each other, not one suffering, while the other one happy. If a man physically abuses his wife and he says look just think of the children, just manage, continue to pray, e go better. I mean these days, just lay one finger on a woman, she will strike back or she will leave or she will say, see no come kill me for my papa. So there are many factors but at the end of the day, it is the fear of God on both sides, that helps a lot.

Tunde: Yes, women are fiercely independent and what causes that is because women say a lot of things when they hang out together; what they can take and what they cannot. You hear things like my husband can’t try that with me oh, and when a woman begins to listen to this kind of talks, she will no longer want to follow what the word of God says as regards marriage.

There is also the GSM breaking a lot of marriages. We know that Facebook has broken a lot of marriages, this e-mailing thing and the fact that you can be sitting with your wife and be communicating conveniently with the mother of three children that you have outside and she will not know. It is so easy to get in touch with people.
Sometimes people over react to different situation that you find yourself and there should be a lot tolerance and patience in marriage and people should communicate more, really, really more. Because I think a lot of the time if you have something against your wife in your mind, you should let her know. If you let your anger fester, you’d soon be planning your revenge.

What I try to do as a man is I swallow my pride a little bit when it comes to my wife and I sit down with her to always let her know where I am emotionally. I make her understand that I’m a human being also, that I also have feelings and I can be hurt if she does XYZ and we find a meeting point. She is a reasonable person too and we walk through it. Love is also missing in a lot of marriages because people get married for the wrong reason.

If you marry a woman because of her beauty, or marry a man because of his wealth, these are wrong reasons for people to get married and people will find out that ultimately money or beauty don’t make a marriage. You will just find out that every morning you wake up with this monkey whose touch makes your skin crawl, but because he is feeding your own family, you just continue to endure. For how long will you do that before you put something in his food one day? How do you convince me that a 70-year-old man married to a 30-year-old lady, is in love with him genuinely?

If such a man is convinced that such a woman loves him genuinely, I think he has been taking the wrong medication. Forty-year age bracket is happening between a man and woman in this country. Older women are even marrying younger men. These things point to the end time, that everybody should start holding tight to his Bible because Jesus will soon come back. ( laughs).

Why do men find it difficult to be lovey-dovey?
I think it our upbringing, the African thing. It’s what we grew up with. If Tunde Obe wakes up tomorrow and impregnates one girl, buys her a house and a car, people will raise eye-brows and say it’s not good o, why will he do that to Wunmi. Now but it won’t be unheard of and eventually everybody will stop talking about it and they will move on but if a woman does it in this our own society and then she explains it to the world; Well I am pregnant o, but you see this pregnancy is not for my husband but I love him and I want the marriage to continue. I will have this baby in my husband’s house…

You are already laughing, because it is ridiculous.
That is how it is; the man is king, the woman is queen. It could be the man is king and the woman is servant, where the man boasts I pay for everything, so you are subjected to me. I am your crown, if am not here people will not respect you . A lot of people take that very serious and we see it happen in our society. The way you will address an unmarried woman is different from the way you will address the wife of your friend. The wife of your age mate you call her madam and if that same lady was to be single you call her whatever her name is. That is just how our society is.

So men feel women should be happy they married them at all. But the truth is that as you are supposed to live the rest of your life with that woman, she is also doomed to live the rest of her life with you; how exciting can it be to spend the rest of your life with one man, especially a man who doesn’t love you and doesn’t genuinely care for you, or a man who now treats you as part of the furniture in his house when he climbed mountains and swam seas to convince you he loves you when you started? Such marriages are bound to break especially when people start to say things not positive to the woman.

How do you bring romance back to the marriage because it seems to dwindle after some time? Wunmi: I think it should be a question for the men but as a woman what we expect is that when it comes to romance the man has to lead the way. It is not likely that the woman will say honey get dressed I am taking you to dinner; the man has to take the lead.

What do you think the men should do to bring the romance back?
Wunmi: The idea is they should see their wives as their girlfriends. They shouldn’t take her for granted, do certain things now and again to make her feel special, and don’t wait for birthdays or anniversaries and most importantly make her feel appreciated from time to time because this is very important to women. Imagine all the stress that women have to go through sometimes she’s pregnant with one child and nursing another and she still has to see to the affairs of the house.

They need more of appreciation than complaints. Say thank you to your woman, a pat on the back and all of those little things will communicate to her that she’s appreciated.

Why are men less romantic, especially after they’ve gotten the wedding band on her fingers?
Tunde: First and foremost I disassociate myself from that group of men who cease to be romantic after they’ve gotten the woman. I try my best to always make my wife realize that she will always be special to me. We have been friends for 22years and have been married for 12years and all this time I try as much as possible not to drift away from what we shared from the beginning. But for men I think the whole show is like someone building a house. At the beginning you are so excited but when you finish, the excitement dwindles.

After a while you want to build the next house. The woman in your house has had three or four kids already, you’ve bought her a car and she enjoys some level of comfort. As a man, the next thing you think is why can’t she just allow me to have fun; what else does she want and unfortunately we live in an environment that encourages men to have more than one wife. Those who grew up abroad see their wives as their equals and consult them when making every decision.

When you live like that you buy yourself a lot of peace. Women are very smart, sometimes we men think we are smarter but it is not always true. We’re no longer in the age when women just sit at home to wait for their husbands. They now have friends that are males and all forms of admirers, so before you think you are the only one who is intelligent enough to maneuver, remember your wife is also a James Bond.

With marriages crashing within two years, but here you are married for more than 12 years and have stayed closely knitted still, how easy has it been and what should be done to keep the marriage fire alive?
Tunde: I will say I have been lucky, because I work with my wife I have been forced to see all her positives. I see her shine through all day and I remember why I married her in the first place. I am also lucky to have genuine love for my wife and her happiness is important to me. So if you are someone who wants your wife to be happy once you see her moody or withdrawn you do everything to bring her back. Don’t br the one killing her spirit.

What are the specific things you do to keep the fire alive?
Tunde: I still buy flowers and perfumes, gifts are things you actually never stop giving, no matter how little, it communicates to your wife that you are thinking about her. There is no day my wife and I don’t give each other a peck, in the morning or evening. When she’s coming in, we hug each other everyday, we share ideas all the time and these little things keep us together.

Are you not too big for this entire lovey-dovey?
Tunde: No, it has become a part of our routine, because if there is a problem and for some reason that hug and the peck does not happen then immediately we both know something is wrong, because if you don’t have such a bond you cannot miss it. So if there is a meeting point between you and your wife everyday it will be difficult to have problems that are extensive.

Why is the other woman more exciting than the woman inside?
Tunde: The truth about human beings is that what you don’t have excites you more. If you have a wardrobe full of blazers and you see another color on someone else, your desire rises, you know whatever you have to sneak around or maneuver your ways to do seem more exciting than what is just there, but whatever you see yourself as to have conquered mentally does not excite you anymore.

Wunmi: I don’t know, I think I am exciting enough, but I think what he said is very correct. It is just that element of curiosity. What a lot of men don’t realize is that this thing works both ways, it is also easy for a woman to be bored with a man but women are just more tolerant. So men should also try to be very patient and try to marry someone they can spend the rest of their lives with.

Tunde: Another angle to it is that for a lot of men if you see their wives at home and you see their girlfriends, you wonder what they saw in the girlfriend.

Why is it that most career women now don’t have husbands?
Wunmi: It is very simple, being a career woman can be very demanding. It takes you away from the house a lot of the time and your time is not yours and the man and the kids need your attention. So, it gets to a point when the conflict between the home and the career gets intense and she has to choose between the two, you find out that most career women choose their career.

Tunde: Most women don’t like to agree that men are big babies, most men are their wives’ first born. We want to believe that we own our wives totally and our wellbeing is their no 1 priority and that we are the one they love more than any other thing in the world. If you ask a man, except he wants to lie, he will tell you he wants his wife to love him more than her father. So when a woman shows you there are other things she loves more or have to give attention to more that you then it is not going to work. You can understand to some extent as a man but when it gets to some point she either slows down or you are finding someone to fill in for her.

So what can the career women do?
Tunde: What the career woman should do is to give a lot of herself to her husband at least at the beginning of her marriage. There are a lot of things my wife can do now that she couldn’t do before. Now, the kids are grown and I am a lot matured to see that she has sacrificed a lot for the family so she also can have her time to herself. A man wants you totally at the beginning.

Wunmi: The mindset of most career women is that they don’t want any man to come and scrap their star. They have set goals of where they want to get to and don’t want it disturbed. So, some of them choose not to get married, but suddenly they realize they are all powerful and old and at that time getting married becomes a bit difficult because the men who see them all busy doubt if they will ever be available for them. However I once read a statement Betty Irabor made about her husband, and what she said was that “he lets me fly”, and all that she was able to achieve was because he allowed it to happen. So it is also important that men give their women room to become who they were meant to be, they will love and appreciate you for that.

Tunde: It doesn’t work for most men when their wives are traveling all around the world and he has to be the one to change nappies and see to the children because of fear of neglect. The women should make time for their family.

Can you marry a woman who is richer that you?
Tunde: If I am going to be 100% honest with you I cannot marry a woman richer than me off the book. If when we got married her business begins to grow and she is making more money but she still respects me and treats me like a husband should be treated, I will take it as God’s will and hope to be richer sometime, but from the onset I don’t think I can marry a woman with a bigger income.

Should men marry women richer than them?
Wunmi: Like he said, it depends on how the woman handles it. It all depends on her, if she doesn’t try to make him feel he is inferior to her or try to rub his face in the wealth, there may not be a problem. On the other hand if the man who is making less money is resourceful, ambitious and working hard, there is not going to be a problem, but there is everything wrong with a rich woman being with a lazy man who feels after all she is making all the money so why bother.

Your advice for married people…
Wunmi: I will say they should involve God. God is so important that once you have the fear of God in your heart there are so many things you won’t do, and so many you would because you fear God and He defined your role. Don’t judge your marriage by what is happening in other people’s homes.

Tunde: God needs to play an important role in their marriage and then communication. Married people should talk, there is no other way around it. Don’t talk to other people about your spouse, talk to your spouse about your spouse, both of you should get off your high horses when you are talking to each other , don’t talk to each other from the positions of superiority, try and talk to each other without using derogatory languages and pray together as a family.


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