By Benjamin Njoku
Sola Fosudo does not need introduction as one of the pioneer actors in Nigeria, who became popular following the roles he played in several movies and the now rested TV sitcoms such as ‘Ripples’, ‘The Third Eye’, ‘Sound of Destiny’, ‘True Confession’, ‘Glamour Girls I’ among others. He later delved into the academic world, and, today, he’s not only a scholar and a dramatist, but also a director and Professor of Theatre Arts at Lagos State University, Ojo. He shares the story of how he met and fell in love with his wife, Yetunde, while they were students at University of Ibadan, and what has kept them going 30 years after they got married.
When we got married
By the time I was getting married, my patents were no more. We met in school, at the higher institution; we were course mates at University of Ibadan. One thing led to the other and here we are today. In fact, almost everybody on campus knew us at that time. We were together in the Department of Theatre Arts before she changed to the Department of Language Arts. Back then on campus, we were known as lovers. Our relationship was an open thing. It wasn’t something that was done in secrecy. We got married when we were doing our master’s degree programmes because she became pregnant for me. While on campus, we were living together. Our relationship grew in such a way that if we didn’t get married, a lot of people would have been disappointed in us. We were dating and we graduated like that. Then I used to visit her parents in their family house in Ibadan, while she also used to come to my family house in Lagos during holidays. That’s why I said if we didn’t get married, a lot of people would have been disappointed. Apart from those bonds, those of our friends wouldn’t have forgiven us. We have come a long way with our friends and family members.
Advice to young people
Anybody going into marriage should understand that it is a lifelong commitment and should be prepared for different encounters that he or she might face in the marriage. It is important for intending couples to know that there would be different moments, so when there is a moment when disagreements come, all they have to do is make up with each other and forge ahead. The two of them are supposed to work together to enjoy their marriage. They should learn to know that people have different personalities, upbringing and orientations. Therefore, there are moments when you would not understand each other. What is important for young people is to know that disagreements are not meant to break up the marriage, but to make them understand each other better and become stronger.
What keeps marriage after 30 years
There’s nothing anybody does to keep his marriage going. If God is not in your marriage, you can’t possibly keep it going. I’m still invited to chair marriage ceremonies. The advice I always give is that every couple should learn to pray together every day. The world is full of evil in different guises. So, families or couples must find time to pray together. Secondly, in accordance with the biblical injunction, wives should submit to their husbands as well as husbands are expected to love their wives. If any wife submits to her husband, you hardly have any trouble in that family. But if you have a wife that is heady, troublesome and always wanting to take over the leadership of the family from her husband, that marriage is bound to have a problem.
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However, if you have a wife that gives her husband the right to leadership in the family, the marriage will be devoid of issues. Thirdly, you should be very conscious of the influence of the third party in your marriage. The couple should be very conscious of seeking advice from friends, neighbours, relatives and well-wishers; telling them stories of what is happening in your family. This is because the moment you start telling people what is happening in your family, they will, in turn, tell you what their own ideas should be. Maybe, whatever they are doing in their families may not be appropriate for your own family. No two marriages are the same. The model that is being used by family A may be totally inapplicable to family B’s lifestyle . So, the method applied by family D may be unworkable for family E. The models can never be the same. Bringing the ideas of one family into your own family will cause confusion. My advice has always been that when couples have issues, they should try to settle the issues themselves.
Making out time to stay with family
I am not the only person who is busy in my family. My wife is also working; she goes to work in the morning. We have children who are also working. So everybody in my family is busy. We all leave the house in the morning and return in the evening. I watch television a lot. I’m lucky that my children love football. We watch the Premier League together; we argue and prophesy against our interests. Two of my children are Liverpool fans while I am an Arsenal fan. So, they tease me all the time, telling me that my club is going nowhere. And anytime Liverpool is losing, I will be dancing in front of them. I just create that fun in my family. For us, it’s not a big deal because we have been doing it for years. Seeing my children around me gives me a feeling of joy; a feeling of gratitude to God. Once in a while, I travel abroad with my family on holidays.
Naturally, something would draw you to the person you want to marry. You may not be able to explain the thing. I think it’s something much more spiritual than physical. But in my own case, I met my wife and we started out as friends. One thing led to the other, the friendship grew into love and marriage. You may be right to say I married my friend. If you didn’t start out as friends with the person you want to marry, I am sorry for that marriage.
Courtship is very important in marriage. It’s during courtship that you understand each other better; know your friends and family members. Are you supposed to meet your partner today and fix your traditional marriage the next day? Though some people do that, I don’t know how they manage to do it.