It is not always that people fancy marrying from another ethnic group or tribe. But the cord of love is so strong that once you are attracted to each other, once the attraction stays and later blossoms into love, every other man-made rule is bound to crumble before its altar.
Such is the case between Mr. Matthew Agunna from Anambra State and Comfort, his jewel of inestimable value, from Bayelsa State.
In this interview they had with DailySun in Port Harcourt, the couple who have been married since 1987, said the marriage started like a joke. But before they knew it, the joke transformed into genuine love, and love later turned into marriage. Like they always say, the rest is now history. But how far or widespread is its geography?
Find out below as the Agunnas tell their unique love story…
How did you meet your wife?
Husband: Well, it started like a joke. During the time we were much younger, she used to follow her mother to market. Her mother happened to be my customer. She was a very beautiful girl . I used to call her my wife. Life is just like that. When I became a man up to the age of marriage, she and her mother were regularly coming to buy goods from me. So, I decided to propose to her. She accepted. This happened in 1987 because my first child, a daughter, is 29 years.
Wife: My husband is a trader and I remember when I was a little girl, my mum and I would go to buy things from him. I was around 10 years old at that time. He would always call me his wife. Each time my mum wanted to buy anything from him, she would always take me along and he would always tell my mum, ‘’Madam, na me go marry this your daughter o’’ and in turn he would call my mother his in-law. In summary, it all started like a joke. That joke became love and that love became marriage.
Any opposition from relatives and friends?
Husband: Definitely, there was, especially when your people felt you wouldn’t be rendering help the way you used to do. There were oppositions and ill-feelings. But I was able to overcome the situation by taking care of my immediate family and also reaching out to those who were not happy. In fact, it was like the saying, ‘giving to God what belonged to God and to Caesar what belonged to Caesar’.
Wife: Yes. There were oppositions from my family, especially from one of my uncles. Even on the day of my traditional marriage, he was telling my guests of how my mum (his sister) did not allow him to go out with a girl from another state, now she is letting her own daughter marry a man from another state.
Why did you pick her as your wife out of many ladies out there that time?
Husband: Why I decided to go for her in marriage is because this life is by choice. That time, the way she took care of her mother’s business endeared me to her. She was very intelligent. In fact, I loved and still love everything about her. She has wisdom. What marveled me is that, as a child then, even if her mother was not around, she would took care of the business very well. At the end, I found her to be suitable for marriage.
Wife: I had so many suitors at that time, old and young, wealthy and average but he was just different. He was smart, kind, caring and a very loving person. I could tell we were meant for each other.
SEE ALSO: Intertribal Marriage: Five Tips On Meeting The In-laws
How exactly did you propose to her?
Husband: The day I proposed to her, I asked her out. That day, she was free. She came to my shop. After talking to her severally, she did not accept my proposal that moment. But, I continued to persuade her. I didn’t give up. Finally, she accepted me.
Wife: He told me he wanted me to be the mother of his children. I was so excited.
What remarkable thing happened on the day of your wedding?
Husband: Wedding has to do with hustling and bustling. Before you get married, your banns (proclamation) of marriage would be sent to your village church. They called my own in the village. But, in my wife’s village, they didn’t have Catholics like mine.
Their mass (church service) was at the Palace of the Mingi (King). It’s like during the time the banns of marriage was supposed to be announced, he was not in town. On the day of wedding, the priest in my parish refused to wed us because he did not get the banns of marriage from my wife’s village. The priest insisted that it was the tradition of the church.
Can you imagine the trauma, after all we had spent and people invited? It wasn’t easy. I’m telling you, the Reverend Father stood his ground. He said the only advice he would give to us was that we should take our guests to the reception ground and entertain them there. That nobody would know what has happened. I refused to accept such an advice.
I had to find my way to the Mingi’s house in Port Harcourt. When he saw my wife and I, he apologized for what had happened and the pains we had passed through. He promised us that the wedding would hold. Hope returned to us again because there was already tension and confusion.
He called the then Bishop of Port Harcourt, and at the end, we were wedded by the same priest. That was the sacrifice we paid that day and God saw that we were determined to live as husband and wife. And He has been with us all these while.
Wife: What I will never forget about my wedding especially my white wedding was how the Reverend Father almost cancelled the wedding because I did not bring banns of marriage from my village. We went to church very late that day because of that.
How did you settle your first misunderstanding?
Husband: Before I went into marriage, I believed that I could do it. And I asked myself, how long would I live in this world that I cannot stand my ground as a man, to make my marriage and family happy? So, the obstacle that came up that time was when she had the second pregnancy. That time, my sister-in-law took my first child home without my knowledge and I wasn’t happy at all. I argued with my wife that I was supposed to be aware. But, as a man, I made sure we settled the matter.
What’s your spouse’s favourite food?
Husband: Tea and bread.
Wife: My husband’s favourite food is Ogbono soup.
What do you like most about your spouse?
Husband: What I like most about my wife is her wisdom. In fact, she has an extraordinary wisdom. I had nothing when we married. But, with her touch of excellence and wisdom, we are where we are today. I rely on her and I give her time to operate. I do not intimidate her and she is putting in her best for the progress of the family. So, her wisdom is just exemplary.
Wife: There are lots of things I adore in my husband. But, most especially, I love his ability to forgive.
SEE ALSO: The Nwabuezes Share Principles That Kept Them Together For 45 Years While Counseling Newly Married & Intending Couples
Which area in the life of your spouse would you want an improvement?
Husband: The area I would want her to improve is her temperament.
Wife: I really can’t place my mind on anything. But, I can say that he can be very lazy sometimes. And once in a while, he loses his temper at little provocation. I just want him to improve his temper.
What advice do you have for young people that want to go into marriage?
Husband: My advice for bachelors is, first, they should be religious, whether as Christians, Muslims or any other religion. They should seek the kingdom of God first and God will add every other thing. God will take care of the situation Himself.
Wife: My advice for spinsters intending to get married is simple – learn to be tolerant and don’t take every little thing to heart. Learn to overlook some things and be patient with your spouse.
What advice do you have for couples that can help them achieve a lasting marriage like yours?
Husband: My advice is that they should be tolerant because you would surely offend each other. Even persons born of the same parents offend each other, let alone two persons from different backgrounds. Tolerance is the foremost thing. Second thing is forgiveness; Couples must be prepared to forgive and forget whenever they offend each other. These two points are very essential in building a marriage.
Wife: From my personal experience, all men and women are the same, because God created one man and one woman. So, I advise newly married couples not to listen to third party; they should avoid third party in their marriage. Everybody have his or her own weak point. Couples should learn to overlook flaws, forgive each other and most especially, trust each other.
Both of you are from different ethnicity. Has this, in any way, affected the relationship?
Husband: No. I am an Igbo man from Anambra State, while my wife is from Bayelsa State. Our different ethnic backgrounds constutue no impediment in our marriage and it will not. One thing I believe in life is that we are created by God and we are resemblance of God, according to the Bible.
And, there is no discrimination among us children of God. I’m from here, you are from there, is immaterial in a marriage. Once you have agreed to marry, there is no reason to differentiate. What matters is your goal in life, what you want to achieve in that marriage, because this life is a journey.
Once you are embarking on a journey, the person accompanying you should not be discriminated against. Once you are in that marriage, you must make sure there is love in that relationship.
Wife: No. For instance, in my family, my grandfather’s second wife is from Imo State. One of my uncles married from Abia State. That relationship is already there. The different ethnic backgrounds never affected my marriage negatively.
Tags: Comfort Agunna, Inter-tribal marriage, marriage, Mr. Matthew Agunna
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