By Benjamin Njoku
Francis Duru is one of the renowned actors in the Nigerian movie industry. He came into prominence after featuring in the 1994 Amaka Igwe’s action movie, ‘Rattlesnake’. While as a student at the University of Port-Harcourt, Francis Duru met his wife, Adokiye, and by the time he was graduating from the university, they already had a baby girl to show for their relationship. The lovebirds married in 2003, and, today, they are blessed with four kids. Duru narrates what it takes to marry a friend and soul mate. He describes his marriage as one that is made in heaven.
I met my wife while I was an undergraduate at the University of Port-Harcourt. We started dating until I graduated in 1992 and we got married in 2003. I would say I married my friend.
What has changed about her?
Life evolves, so many things would change. Then she was a girl and now she’s a mother. There are psychological and physical changes. A lot has changed about her. As we face the challenges of parenthood, things are bound to change. But the most important thing is that she remains the woman I married 19 years ago.
My wife and I were friends back in our university days and we remain friends till date. We have been able to understand each other’s weaknesses and strengths and tolerate them. But what has made our marriage strong is simply the foundation upon which we built it. Foundation matters in every successful marriage. Most marriages that were not founded on a very strong foundation don’t last. Marriage has its own dynamics; it also has its own ethics. We were well tutored and that’s where parental obligation comes in, spiritual foundation also comes in. We attended the best pre-marital counselling at Family Worship Centre, Abuja, under the watch of the late Pastor Eno Omaku and his wife. We attended the programme and it really helped to enhance our marriage. It laid the foundation for my marriage. Since I married my wife, we have never had marital crisis for one day. We would quarrel one minute and the next minute we have settled our differences. This is because we understand the place of quarrel in marriage. We know how to relate to our family members, in-laws and our friends coupled with the fact that I married my friend. My wife knows me as well as I know her properly. We talk about everything and we don’t do anything to impress people in order to prove a point. That’s the mistake many people make in marriage. That being a celebrity does not stop me from giving the desired attention and mutual respect to my family. It has been a sustaining power for my marriage.
Crashing of marriages
It’s not about celebrity marriages because marriage is marriage. The truth is that nobody has it all, nobody knows it all. But I always advise couples to build a strong spiritual foundation for marriage. It’s very important. People think that marriage is just to come together as husband and wife. No, it is beyond that. Sometimes, things get horrible that one needs spiritual direction to be able to weather the storms associated with marriage.
I didn’t marry at the time I was supposed to marry. But I believe marriage is all about when the couple is mentally ready, not when you are going into marriage because you want to please a particular person. That you married early or late is not important. Rather, what is important is how prepared is your mindset to go into marriage.
Building our relationship on campus
Of course, we sustained our relationship while we were in the university. I was the person that made the first move that we should get married after our graduation. As a matter of fact, we had our first daughter when I was graduating from the university. My wife was in the Theatre Arts Department. So, she shouldn’t have been jealous that other women would snatch me from her. I was already a superstar on campus before I joined Nollywood. There is this tendency that once you are in the entertainment industry, you are to be promiscuous. It’s not so, it’s a mindset thing.
If she’s older than myself
It wouldn’t have changed anything. The most important thing is that, did I really marry someone who loves me and whom I love too? My wife is not an Igbo woman, and I am an Igbo man. You know too well that those of the Igbo extraction, there is always this culture that you must marry an Igbo woman. If that did not come up when I wanted to marry my wife, then age difference shouldn’t have been an issue to us.
She’s a beautiful angel, helper, joyful and happy woman; a gift from God to me.
What has marriage changed about you?
Marriage has made me to be a very responsible person. It has also given me a sense of maturity as well as bringing tremendous respect to me. It has opened new doors for me, in line with the biblical saying that ‘he that finds a wife findeth a good thing and he shall obtain favour from the Lord’. That word ‘favour’ extends to every aspect of our lives. When people know that you are married with kids, they tend to look at you from a different perspective.
How romantic are you?
Romance is relative. If my wife insists that I must eat Amala and that’s what makes her happy, why not? If it means taking her to a five-star restaurant, why not? I will do everything to please her. The whole idea of romance must be an open-ended thing. I believe couples should find out their own way of expressing romance. Every relationship must have an aspect of romance. You return from work and your wife welcomes you home, and the next thing she’s massaging your back and your legs, that’s romance. It’s more or less her own way of expressing deep affection. If she prepares a delicious meal for you and you eat and derives sense of satisfaction, that’s romance. That’s why I said it’s relative.
What I can remember is that Basorge Tariah Jnr. was my best man. When I arrived at the church, lo and behold, my shoes had not been brought to me. Basorge had gone to polish the shoes and never returned before I hurried down to the church. I had to wait until he brought my shoes.
What wife hates
Sometimes, I have the tendency to shout, and when I do, she has a way of making me to realize what I have done.