By Benjamin Njoku
Comedy merchant, Opa Williams, got married officially to his wife, Patricia, a pastor in Foursquare Gospel Church, Surulere, in 1994. But, before then, they had been living together as husband and wife for four years. Their marriage is blessed with three kids. The couple speaks on their journey into marriage….
How I met her
I got married officially on 24 September, 1994. Come next year, I will be 20 years in marriage, though I have lived with my wife for 24 years. I met her in my sister’s saloon in 1988.You know when a man meets a woman, the next thing is for them to strike a relationship. We became friends before we started staying together. She had her first child in 1990, two years after I met her. I told her then, if I’m going to marry her, you must become born again.
I wasn’t born again but I think I knew my weakness. I felt that if I’m not strong in faith, I needed somebody who will be strong in faith. I think that was what delayed our marriage in the first place. I insisted she must be born again before I would propose to her. Then, she was more of a church goer.
She was innocent, young and respectful. These were the things that attracted me to her.
Proposing to Her
I don’t think I proposed to her. One thing led to another. I just said to her ‘let’s go and see your family’. That was it. I didn’t kneel down with banquet of flowers and a diamond ring to propose to her. But I knew I was going to marry her. When I insisted she must be born again, that’s when it dawned on me that she was going to be my wife. We had been living together, even before we had our first child. I’m not influenced by the western culture.
20 years after marriage
I think tolerance and respecting each other’s space is what has been keeping us in marriage. I am a showbiz man, I hold a lot of meetings at odd hours, and she’s a pastor. We agreed to pursue our individual careers. She told me she has a desire to become a pastor. I encouraged her to go ahead and actualise her dream. But she must not disturb me when I am pursuing my own career. Our marriage has been built on tolerance and allowing each other to have his/her space. I respect her space as well as she respects mine.
How we live
Most times, I’m domineering because I have to dominate my house. And she respects my decisions. Sometimes, she makes her own decisions as well, and I respect them. I think problem sets in when one party wants to lord it over the other. Even though we are married, we have our different destinies. She has her destiny as a human being just as I have my own destiny. It is for her to fulfill her destiny just as it’s for me to fulfill mine. I will help her to fulfill her destiny and she will help me to fulfill mine. When my wife was setting up her school, she told me that’s what she wanted. I had wanted us to set up a farm. But she asked me to support her and I did. As a man, you must be in control of your house, but you must not oppress your partner. In fact, most times, it’s oppression and assertion of ‘my will and not your will’ that leads to the break up of most marriages.
I am waiting for him to join me in my ministry — Wife
I am children’s pastor at Foursquare Gospel Church, Surulere. I became a pastor in 2003. I attended a Life Bible College in 2000, and graduated in 2003. Our relationship started when I was living with my elder sister. I was very young then. Later, I got a job with Ibru Sea foods. He has been a source of encouragement to me. He is the kind of man that does not interfere in his spouse’s career. He gives you the chance to do whatever you feel would give you happiness. Because of this, I also encourage him in any project he wants to embark upon. I always pray for him and stand by him. I know God is doing wonderful things in his life and I have no doubt in my mind that one day, he will join me in my ministry.
I love him and accepted his proposal for marriage immediately. We had a child before we got married.
What I saw in him
He’s a very brilliant person; he’s full of love and caring. Those were the things that attracted him to me. When I lost my dad in 1988, I needed somebody in my life. I came to Lagos and was staying with my elder sister before I met him. Then, he was like an elder brother to me; he was not only giving me useful advice, but, also, he was there for me. As a matter of fact, I had no choice than to fall in love with him. When you are with him, and you are faithful and committed to him, he will definitely bend his back for you.
What I don’t like about him
Will I say he’s the opposite of what I am? I love him for that, because he complements my efforts. If he’s not the way he is, may be I wouldn’t have fallen in love with him.
He’s the type that doesn’t take his family for granted. He ensures I’m always happy. He is my best friend. We are very close to each other and that’s what marriage is all about.
Advice to young couple
Like what I used to advice my first daughter who is 23 now,. I always tell her that when she’s ready to settle down, she should marry somebody who will take her for whom she is; somebody who will love and cherish her. There are a lot of deceitful men out there. My husband was serious with me and that was why I married him.
Closeness to God
Before now, he was not a strong Christian. But, today, he has come to realise that it’s good to serve God. He goes to church regularly now. He has promised to dedicated more of his time to serving his Maker and I’m very happy for him. I have been praying for God to touch him.