Love Is Commitment And Sacrifice
At the beginning of this year, I promised myself to tour the country, visit places I have never been to, create new memories and make friends. And right now, my resolution has taken me to Lagos, Nigeria, in the home of an amazing couple. Their love story affirmed my belief in fairy tale marriages. Thirteen years into their marriage, their story is a classic Cinderella love story.
I met Nene and Chuchu (as requested by the couples, I won’t use their full names) 10 years ago, when they lived over in our house, because of the financial crises they were going through at the time. But what I found most intriguing about this couple was the fact that they did everything together. They had their bath together, they ate from the same plate, they cooked together, and they washed together. They literally did everything together. Initially, I felt it was weird because I never saw my parents display such kind of love or open affection.
As a child, I always thought that kind of love started and ended in telenovelas. My parents were your typical African couple; I knew they loved each other, but there were times I wished they were as expressive as the Okoyes. Ten years later, I found in the home of this wonderful couple in Lagos, and as they shared their story with me over a cup of tea, I not only saw their love story as an interesting read, but an inspiration to many.
“The best advice I give to young people is to marry their friend. Because after the sex, the initial flair of marriage, and innuendos have fade, what will last is communication….and I am proud to say I married my best friend”. Wow, if you didn’t feel chills at this statement…
They moved to Calabar when Chuchu was transferred to his company’s branch in Calabar. Things became quite hard for them in Calabar, you can imagine what a test this would be for this young couples, barely 3 years into their marriage. According to Nene, there were times when they were so broke that they had to go to bed hungry. And in the middle of the night, when they pangs of hunger kicks in, they will lay awake gisting till they fall asleep. Gisting????? Just to fight of hunger? That part shook me to the bones…..she went as far as selling her wedding ring just to make ends meet….that was a trialing moment for them, but also a redefining moment in their relationship, because true love is known when it comes out of tests and trials stronger and brighter.
Now, they are out of the water and their financial life is buoyant as ever. As I looked at this beautiful couple in front of me, I couldn’t help but wish for that same fairytale marriage they had. No fairytale marriage comes without its share of villain. The rose we admire and cherish is not complete without the thorns…. The thorns and petals are what make a complete rose flower. So don’t run away from them, accept them, face them, and work your way through them.
The most important thing I have learnt from this amazing couple is this – a family that prays together, stays together. The God factor in every relationship is the most important. Believe me, if it was by their strength, the Okoyes won’t be able to overcome such trials…. because sometimes in the face of trials, it takes a lot more than your love for your partner to make you stay with him/her. I know of so many couples who end up divorced, despite the love they have for each other. You need a love greater than you; the God kind of love, to keep you strong and to remind you of the essence of it all.
I really hope you got some amazing lessons from the Okoyes. And I hope you apply those lessons in your relationship….I love you all’
PS- I would be so excited to hear your own love story (by the way, who doesn’t love love-stories!). Share with us so that we can all learn something new and inspiring.