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From Their 26 Years Experience In Marriage, The Itinagbedias Share Key To A Lasting Marriage

From Their 26 Years Experience In Marriage, The Itinagbedias Share Key To A Lasting Marriage

Tony Efe Itinagbedia, a retired staff of Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS), from Orerokpe in Delta State, and his wife, Augusta, met in Asaba in 1992 and got married in 1996.

In the past 26 years, their love for each other has grown and become stronger amid marital challenges. In this interview with DailySun, the couple shared the experiences of being together in a marriage that has produced five children: three girls and two boys.

The couple also offered some pieces of useful advice for younger couples as well as bachelors and spinsters aspiring to get married one day.

How did you meet?

Mr Tony: I was working at the Delta State Library Board, Asaba. She was working at the Toll Gate then, and she was always coming to the library; she was in school. I eventually fell in love with her. But she gave me a difficult time (laughs). But that was how we met. When I saw her, she was beautiful. She still is. Her dress sense made me fall in love with her.

Madam Augusta: It was in the library, like he said. Then I was working with the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing. I was posted to the Toll Gate. I didn’t have many friends. We were working in Benin. But when they created Delta State, they moved us all down. So I have this habit of going to the library to read.

That was where I met not only him but also his colleagues. Anytime, I was reading, I usually gave my bag to one of his colleagues to keep for me. One day, he came and we spoke. He introduced himself and we became friends. Afterward when I came to the library, we would just greet and I would go and do my thing.

Was it his colleague that brought the two of you together?



Madam Augusta: No. They were just colleagues, and we were just friends. Nobody introduced anybody to somebody. We started growing the friendship from there.

When you decided to marry her, was there any opposition from family or friends?

Madam Tony: There was no opposition. She was liked by all. The first day I took her home to visit my father, they liked her. While we were watching TV, she was busy working in the kitchen, washing plates and all that. That endeared her to my family.

It was as if she had visited my home before. She has the ability to mix well. Even when my father saw her with me in Asaba here, he said: ‘you have actually gotten a good woman’ because when we were in Benin, I had this nurse girlfriend. But she was short and I am tall. I didn’t know my father noticed the difference in our heights. So when my father saw her (my wife), he was pleased.

So nobody raised the question about the tribe?

Mr Tony: No! My father married somebody from Anioma in Delta North. So he would not have the audacity to ask me about that.

Madam Augusta: There was no opposition from my side at all.

You were young and handsome at that time and must have had other girls flocking around you. What other qualities did you find in her to make you prefer her to other girls?

Mr Tony: Before she came into my life, I was not cooking by then. I was just buying food every day. When she came in, she was surprised that I didn’t have pots.

Madam Augusta: The first time I visited him at home, we went out to eat. The second time, I said ‘No. You are a civil servant and your salary is really small. If you are earning like N1,000 and you eat N500 every day, maybe N150 for breakfast, another N150 for lunch and another N150 for dinner, calculate it and multiply it by the number of days in a month.’

I said it does not make any economic sense. You could take N500 to the market, buy little things, make stew and use it to eat yam, rice or eba. You will be cutting costs. As a civil servant, you should learn to economise and live within your means.

SEE ALSO: Why Marriage Goals Are Key To The Survival Of A Marriage | Marriage Experts

Did you not see it as a challenge going into a relationship with such a man?

Madam Augusta: I was not doing that because I wanted him to marry me. I felt that as a friend, I should help him in the right direction, and help him to grow. I even told him that since he was in the library and runs shifts, he could do some other things to help himself. In fact, marriage was not on the cards at the time. It was much later that the issue came up. We were just friends.

Then what were the good qualities that you found in him?

Madam Augusta: He is teachable and humble. He was not assuming. He did not have much. But I saw him as someone who had prospects. My friends were telling me, ‘this one? No. How can you go for such a man?’ I said why should I leave a man because he does not have material wealth?

I should leave a man maybe because of attitude, or his character, not because he does not have a car, a house or money. These things will come if you plan your life well. He was living in one room at that time. My friends were not really happy about it.

He said you gave him a tough time before you accepted his proposal. Why did you do that?

Madam Augusta: We became friends. After a while, he said: ‘can you come and visit me in my house?’ I said as what? I can’t come and sleep in your house when you have not defined our relationship.

Like I said earlier, we were just friends before the friendship grew into a relationship. I didn’t actually give him a tough time. I was just being careful and sincere. I didn’t know he had other girlfriends.

Mr Tony: But I discarded them.

How long was your courtship?

Mr Tony: Our courtship was not a long one because I was trying to protect myself.

Madam Augusta: It was a long one. I was in school when we met. We met in 1992 and got married in 1996.

Mr Tony: She had a man friend outside the country.



Madam Augusta: Not a man friend, a boyfriend that I wanted to get married to.

Mr Tony: I didn’t know how that guy wrote his letters. Every week she received his letter, I would be troubled. 

Madam Augusta: That did not actually convince me. I work with reality; you can’t be overseas and keep me here. I didn’t want that. Even before he left, I told him to get married if he saw any suitable person because I did not want him to tie me down.

What can you remember most about your marriage ceremony?

Mr Tony: Everything went well. God was on our side.

Madam Augusta: There was nothing spectacular about the marriage because it was just between the two families. Nobody came from the office; we didn’t actually invite people because there was no money. If you gathered a crowd, you would need to feed them.

Mr Tony: But we chartered a bus for my office.

Madam Augusta: That was for your office. The only thing I can remember is that food did not go round. They married me with two cartons of beer and two crates of soft drinks (laughs).

Mr Tony: With plenty of palm wine (laughs). I travelled to Warri, and a lot of my friends promised to help me but it was a disaster.



Madam Augusta: I told him not to work with that false hope. You could imagine that we did not cook up to a half a bag of rice on the wedding day.

Mr Tony: But thank God I paid the bride price (laughs).

In what areas of her life would you like to see some improvements?

Mr Tony: Sex

Madam Augusta: Being disciplined and prudent in managing finance. I don’t borrow. I live within my means. I plan my life. If I want this fan, I would not go and buy it on hire purchase. I would save towards it. If you are my friend and you have an SUV, it does not bother me.

I am not an impulsive buyer. I don’t buy things on credit. If I must buy on credit, I would have made provisions for the payment. I plan my money, I plan my projects. So I am not under pressure.

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What areas of your life would you like to improve if you are given the opportunity?

Mr Tony: I am the direct opposite of her. I am an impulsive buyer. I buy a lot in my office. I borrow a lot too. But it has all ended now. Nobody will give me a loan again. In fact, before I retired, I kept repaying my loans till I left service. I am going through training now since I don’t receive money again. She is the one feeding us.

What is your advice for young men planning to get married?

Mr Tony: They should look critically. Study the person you want to marry and ensure that there is love and trust. When my wife came into my life, I saw changes. I was into laundry services. She brought up the idea. And from the business, we got money to rent a three-bedroom apartment. We moved from one room and parlour. We were making money.

What is your advice for spinsters?



Madam Augusta: They should look out for the character. A man that does not have direction will never make a good husband. I feel that men should be on the driver’s seat; women should only support. So when you have a driver that does not know his right or left, you people will fall into a ditch. You should look out for a man who is focused and knows where he is going.

There are rampant cases of divorce today. What is your advice to young couples on how to sustain their homes?

Mr Tony: Patience, love, communication and intimacy; intimacy is not all about sex. If these are not embedded in the marriage, it will collapse. When somebody offends you, forgive and once you have forgiven, don’t try to haunt her again. Those are the things that make a marriage last. Love is the greatest. Love your wife even when she is misbehaving. Make your spouse your best friend.

Madam Augusta: Marriage is not for boys but for mature minds. People enter into marriage like a project. When you marry like that, you have a shipwreck. How do I mean? People say ‘I am 35.’ ‘I am 27.’ ‘I want to get married.’ It should not be so. You should prepare.

How do you want your home to be? What kind of children do you want to raise? Where do you want to see your family in the next 10 years? You want to be a role model. There are marriages that are like heaven on earth. But there are some that are like cats and rats.

You get married to a woman. You don’t care about her feeling. You don’t give her attention; certainly, the woman will not give you peace. For a marriage to work, there needs to be trust. Once that trust of each other is broken, it is very difficult, unless the person is godly. You talk about forgiveness, real forgiveness is spiritual. It is God that enables somebody to truly forgive.

If you see your wife with another man on your matrimonial bed, how easy would it be to forgive her? You can’t even imagine it. But women see their husbands and they forgive. If you see another man holding your wife by the hand, you will be angry. But men do it.

So forgiveness is one of the things that would help. You just forgive ahead. If you see the man with Martha today,  just have it at the back of your mind that you are probably going to see him with Mary tomorrow. So forgive ahead. When you have that mindset, you will be able to weather the storms. It is painful; it is not easy but you just have to forgive.

How many children do you have and how did you determine the gender? Was it an issue?

Mr Tony: It was a problem because we have five children. The first, second and third were girls. It became a problem.

Madam Augusta: To you, not to me.

Mr Tony: My mother had five, all men, so why is mine the opposite? We resorted to prayer. God answered. So, the last two are men.

Madam Augusta: Was it really a problem?

Mr Tony: In my heart, it was

Augusta: The truth is, I knew God would give me my heart’s desire. I wanted five children. When the first one came, it was a girl. My father called me and said: ‘you are standing on one leg; you know he is an Urhobo man.’ I said: ‘No, I am standing on two legs, that the boys would come when they want to come.’

If God decides not to give me a boy, I have told Him to give me children I would be able to raise in His fear. If He knows that I can’t raise a boy and He is giving me all girls, I would raise them like boys. They would become men. God did it for us that the last two came as boys.




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