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Married For 30 Years, The Onos Share The Beautiful Journey Of Their Love Life And Advice For Intending Couples

Married For 30 Years, The Onos Share The Beautiful Journey Of Their Love Life And Advice For Intending Couples

Prof. Nwannọnyelụ Matthew Ono and Dr. Nneka Gloria Ono marked their 30th wedding anniversary last December.

The couple, who hails from Nise community in Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, became married on December 30, 1991. Blessed with children, they are both lecturers at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka.

In this interview with Daily Sun, they narrated the journey of their love life in advice to intending couples.

How did you meet?

Prof. Nwannọnyelụ: It was providential. We met in Aba. I didn’t know her but she knew me from our community. So, when she saw me in Aba when she came on a visit, she recognised me. At that time, I was staying with my elder brother and she also was staying with her elder brother’s wife.

So, from there one thing led to another. We courted for about four years. At a time, it seemed that it would not work. That time, I hadn’t started working. After four years, we got married. That was on December 30, 1991. 

Dr Nneka: In those days, there used to be this holiday class organised by the Federated Union of Nise Undergraduates (FUNU). He happened to be one of the teachers. He was teaching Mathematics and I happened to be one of his students. I knew his face but I didn’t know his name.

So, on coming to Aba, I was in a taxi and saw him with two or three boys. I recognised him. Then going to my brother’s wife, I found out that my brother’s wife and his brother’s wife were friends. Eventually, the woman came to visit my brother’s wife and saw me. She was excited to hear that I was from Nise.

On investigation, we found out that she was even from the same kindred with my own mother. There and then, she said: ‘Thank God, I have seen somebody that my brother-in-law will marry.’ She invited me to their place. I refused to go on the ground that she had said that she had found somebody whom her brother-in-law would marry.

I wasn’t thinking of marriage. I was too young. I was thinking of how to further my studies. At that time, we had not even known each other. But one thing led to another and today, we are husband and wife.

In what class were you when this happened?

Dr Nneka: I was about entering the Anambra State College of Education. I just got admission then. I was thinking of how to accept the admission and start lectures. I wasn’t thinking of marriage at that point in time.

How old were you?

Dr Nneka: I was between 19 and 20 years old.

What were you doing at that time? Were you working?

Prof. Nwannọnyelụ: I wasn’t working. I just finished my Master’s degree. I was helping my elder brother in his business. I did my Masters at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria.

Did you face any opposition when you told her father your intentions?

Prof. Nwannọnyelụ: There were oppositions, but not from my side but from her side. It was not even from her parents. But from her brother-in-law and another person who said that I had attained academic heights far above her. They feared that I might exploit her and leave her. But they later supported the marriage when they saw that we were serious. But before then, we first made enquiries to be sure that we were not related in anyway.

Dr Nneka: Actually, the opposition was not necessarily that he had masters then and I was about doing my NCE. The opposition was mainly that there were many suitors who were richer than he was. But I knew what I wanted. Many of them were businessmen. But from day one, even when I was ignorant of anything academics, I insisted that I would marry somebody who went to the university.

He didn’t have a job. My relatives were like: ‘How could you marry someone who is not gainfully employed while there were suitors, some of who owned cars and houses at Onitsha then? And you are insisting on marrying a poor man because he has a certificate?’ It was a very serious challenge. At a stage, I lost interest and told him that I wouldn’t continue with the marriage.

In fact, our marriage is just divine. Luckily for me, or as God would have it, my aunt intervened. I also wrote my eldest brother residing in America and he told me to marry who I love. He also called to find out if it was infatuation. My husband convinced him that he meant business.

Even my immediate elder brother, IK, told me to marry who I love amongst my suitors. That was when I called him back and told him that they had given their approval.

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Prof. Nwannọnyelụ (cuts in): Is it that they gave their approval or you came back? (laughter).

Dr Nneka: Whichever way. It’s okay nah, abi? (laughter). Eventually, the marriage was held on 30th December, 1991. That was the day my bride price was paid.

There is a video where a man was advising men to marry two wives. Do you buy that idea?

Prof. Nwannọnyelụ: No, I don’t. I don’t believe that person because if you marry two or three wives, that’s where the trouble lies. I pity men who marry more than one wife.

If your husband decides to marry another wife, what will you do?

Dr Nneka: There is no way I will support polygamy. Apart from the biblical injunction that a man should marry a wife and two of them should become one flesh, if you interview people who married more than one wife, they will tell you stories. Some of our forefathers who married more than one wife were farmers and needed more hands on their farms.

I support one man, one wife. There is this common saying that women are troublesome. If you cannot manage one, how can you manage two? Marrying a second wife is inviting more trouble to yourself. In fact, the moment you marry a second wife when you are living well with your first wife, that would be the beginning of unforeseen problems because that woman would not want another woman to come in, especially if she has children and living peacefully with you.

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But men marry more wives because of their desire for women. Whenever a man marries two wives, those women are never there for peace. Go and find out. What is she coming to do? To produce the children I have not produced? To take care of my husband or what?

If I am not taking care of my husband, will he even be fine for her to accept to be his wife? So, what is she coming to do in my home? So, I see her as someone who is coming to cause trouble. And, if my husband should have a second wife, that means he is shortening his lifespan.

Definitely, I can’t accept the woman. My children cannot accept her. And, if she is a Christian and honest, she cannot accept to marry him.

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I once interviewed a couple that kicked against courtship. Do you support it?

Prof. Nwannọnyelụ: You are thinking of courtship to be one that involves sex. Dating has its advantages. When we were courting, we were not living together. We were not even living very close to each other. We communicated through letters. Within those four years, we understood ourselves and wanted to stabilise.

I didn’t even have a job when we met. And she gained admission newly at that time. At the point of coming out, she picked a job as a teacher. So, we faced the future and eventually when we felt that we had stabilised, that’s when we took further steps. Courtship should not last too long. But if you know what you are doing, you wait for yourselves.

Dr Nneka: I will encourage courtship based on some facts. Forget about the present-day connotation of courtship. Courtship simply means getting to know each other better. You can court without having sex.

I support courtship but the boundaries must be clearly defined. And even the parents of the two intending couples should be part of that courtship; they should be counselling and guiding them. But it is good to know each other for some time before thinking of marriage.

Is it good for somebody to help a young man or woman find a wife or husband?

Dr Nneka: Nobody knows God’s thoughts or plans. When God creates a man, He creates his wife. And it is only He that knows how He would connect the two of them. So, I won’t say that recommending a wife or husband to someone is bad. I won’t also say that it is bad for a bachelor or spinster to find their spouse because God knows how to connect the two of them. It is just like in my case.

My late brother’s wife and his brother’s wife were friends. So, when she saw me, she declared that she had seen who his brother-in-law would marry. I believe that that woman was instrumental to our coming together.

God placed her in a position to ensure that we meet ourselves and eventually marry. I believe that God has designed a way through which couples can meet themselves.

It could be through their parents, friends; or they may meet themselves. However, people are sceptical now in recommending wives or husbands. Personally, I am. This is because the orientation these days is not the same as ours.

Before you recommend someone, you should be sure of the person’s character because if that marriage succeeds, you become a saint. But if it fails, you become their worst enemy. For me, it is better for them to meet each other and get married. So, I won’t say outright that recommendation is not good. It is good. It could be how God has designed it for a particular couple to meet themselves.

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