For 37 years, Engineer Ray Okoye and his wife, Christy, have been together as husband and wife. What makes their marriage interesting is that the fire of love between them is still burning as if the marriage was contracted recently. In this interview with CHRISTY ANYANWU, they shared their marriage experiences.
Tell us a little bit about yourselves
Husband: I am simply Ray Okoye and an engineer by profession. I run my own private company, Rayon Nig. Ltd, a civil engineering construction company.
Wife: I am Christy Ray Okoye, a businesswoman and national woman leader of APGA presidential campaign committee. Growing up like most young ladies, you come across a lot of men chasing you.
How did you meet your wife?
Husband: I met my wife at a wedding in which I was the best man and she was the chief bridesmaid. It was love at first sight. There was something in her that told me that’s the woman for me. I was very ready to get married and within a year we were married and the rest is history.
Can you recall the first time you met your husband?
Wife: The first time I met my husband was at a wedding and he was quite possessive about me that I wondered if he knew me before. But I must confess that at that point in my life I wasn’t thinking of getting married. By the time I knew more about him and the way he cared so much about me, I started changing my mind. I felt I was beginning to fall in love with him.
Any opposition from any quarters?
Wife: There was no opposition as such, though my parents would have loved me to marry someone from my place but they really loved him and so gave me the go ahead.
Did you experience early marriage challenges?
Wife: When we got married, we had our challenges especially coping with raising the children with our limited resources. But we were able to pull through with hard work and realistic budgeting. Moreover, we so loved each other that we were ready to make sacrifices. He is the kind of person that is ready to give up anything for my happiness up till this day, and I appreciate it a lot. Although he is hot-tempered he tries to control it and that’s not a problem.
Any regrets about this marriage?
Husband: Never! If for any reason I am given a choice to marry again, it has to be Christy. I can’t imagine staying without her, I mean on a daily basis. We do everything together. I give God all the glory.
What has sustained this marriage?
Husband: Family that prays together, stays together and that’s what has sustained the marriage.
Describe your wife
Husband: It is difficult to describe my wife. She is everything to me. I understand her very well. She is very outspoken. She would tell you when she is upset, she doesn’t bottle up. I am not that outspoken, I’d rather keep quiet when I am upset and she gets the message. She doesn’t like hurting people and will go to any length to apologise. I am not the type that keeps singing “I love you” to my wife. She experiences it every day by the way I treat her. They say action speaks louder than words. She knows that I love her dearly. I can’t do without her.
Why do you think marriages crash these days?
Husband: A lot of marriages crash because of intolerance and not putting God first. So my advice to the younger generation is to build their marriage based on Christian values and every other thing will follow.
What’s your happiest moment in this marriage?
Wife: My happiest moment, to be frank is seeing him makes me happy, and he knows. We do everything together. He knows I enjoy vacations and he gives it to me quite often not minding the cost. He, in turn, likes good home-made food particularly bitter leaf soup and I prepare it myself. He will tell his friends that he doesn’t eat out because his wife is a good cook. Till date, I prepare his food and he enjoys it.
Tell us why he still loves you after years in marriage
Wife: With age, the love has gotten stronger because we are so used to each other and we derive our happiness and strength from each other. Above all, it’s by the grace of God. We were awarded the “Ideal Couple of the Ikeja Deanery” by our parish, St. Agnes Catholic Church, Ikeja.
How do you cope with your in-laws?
Wife: I don’t have that issue because I try to accommodate them and they equally know that. In our marriage, we try as much as possible not to allow a third party intervention when we have disagreement. We handle our challenges and pray over it, and God always intervene.
What’s your advice to younger ladies?
Wife: Be patient and build a Christian home. With God all things are possible. Just put your trust in God.
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