Popular child singer, Benita Okojie-Adeyina, and her husband, Olawale, speak recently on their marital experience in a no-holds-barred manner.
Can you recall how you met your spouse?
Benita: We attended the same school, Redeemers University. We started as friends and our relationship grew over time. In the course of our friendship, we got to know a lot about each other.
Olawale: When we first met, friendship was all I had in mind. It was in the course of our friendship that we began to develop feelings for each other.
What were the qualities that attracted you to your spouse?
Benita: Most importantly, he has a relationship with God and we both have the same values. He believed in what I was doing and he was a big supporter of my music career. Sometimes, he went with me whenever I had to attend events. He also loved my family. He had the qualities I wanted in a man but I had to be his friend first to know about those qualities.
Olawale: She has a good character and she is God-fearing. What really won me over was her love for God.
How long did you court?
Benita: We courted for about four years.
How did your spouse propose to you?
Benita: From the beginning of our relationship, he made his intention of marriage clear so I knew it was going to come at some point. However, I didn’t know when exactly it would happen. I knew that whenever he wanted to propose to me, my sister would know about it because she used to be my best friend. She is now my second best friend.
On that particular day, we were supposed to go on a movie date. Meanwhile, my sister had called that she wasn’t going to come home early because she had something to do. My husband (then-boyfriend) also called me, saying that he wouldn’t come on time. At that point, I was already getting agitated because there was a particular movie I wanted to see. When he eventually came, my sister was with him. I then went into the house to get my bag and when I came outside, he was on one knee. Of course, I was excited; particularly because I didn’t see it coming at the time. It is a memory that I still cherish.
How would you describe your marriage experience so far?
Benita: Marriage is a journey and it is a beautiful experience, especially when you are married to someone who loves God and is your friend. There are times that there would be misunderstandings but knowing that you married your friend makes it easier to resolve such issues. I always joke that if I knew that marriage would be this sweet, I would have gotten married earlier than I did. However, one keeps learning every day in marriage.
Olawale: We are young so we are still learning. So far so good, I am happy that I married her. We are growing.
What were the initial adjustments you had to make when you got married?
Benita: The first few months were weird because I was used to sharing the same room with my sister. Sometimes, I’d wake up, thinking it was my sister, only to realize that it was my husband. Also, I am very close to my sister and my mum so we used to talk almost every day. However, at a point, my mother told me to reduce the calls and focus on my marriage. I also had to adjust to cooking as a wife, and not as a daughter like I used to do. I also had to get used to letting my husband know my whereabouts at all times.
Olawale: I didn’t have to make many adjustments; everything just blended. However, before I got married, I used to spend a lot of time in the office. But after I got married, I had to reduce the hours I spent in the office. Before there wasn’t any motivation to go home but now that I know that my wife is waiting for me, I go home earlier.
Can you recall the first major disagreement you had as a married couple?
Benita: I really cannot remember.
Whenever you have disagreements, who apologizes first?
Benita: My husband usually does. However, I apologize first if I feel I was wrong. We are always ready to apologize to each other because we have learnt to resolve our issues immediately.
Olawale: I don’t really dwell on things like that. Whoever is at fault usually apologizes first.
How often do you quarrel?
Benita: Not often. We are friends and we have learnt to resolve our issues as friends.
How do you cope with your spouse’s opposite-sex admirers?
Benita: We do not see that as a major issue. We have mutual friends that have been with us since before we got married. Besides, his friends are my friends. However, despite the relationship we have with our friends, there are boundaries. We are each other’s number one priority.
Olawale: I don’t pay attention to things like that. I don’t even know if she has male admirers. Whenever we attend events, a lot of people come to greet her, including males, and I don’t think that is a big deal. I know who I married and I trust her.
Why do you think most celebrity marriages don’t last?
Benita: I don’t know. I cannot say what the hard and fast rules of successful marriages are. God is the only one that can sustain a marriage. I am not in anybody’s shoes so I cannot tell what caused their marriages to collapse.
Olawale: I don’t think it is an issue of celebrity marriages; it has to do with the individuals. When marriages fail, it usually boils down to things like inadequate communication, dishonesty, and other things.
Do you keep a joint account, and would you advise couples to do the same?
Benita: We don’t keep a joint account. We have our personal accounts and we don’t see it as an issue. We know what goes on in each other’s accounts. We are transparent with each other.
Olawale: If a couple feels comfortable with keeping a joint account, they can do that. The most important thing is for them to understand and trust each other.
How do you celebrate wedding anniversaries?
Benita: We go on dinner dates and we usually try to do something special to celebrate the day and make it memorable for both of us. We make it a point of duty to go on dates, and not just on our anniversaries.
What’s the most romantic thing that your spouse has done for you?
Benita: Whenever he travels, he always buys something for me. Sometimes, he could just call me randomly to let me know that he is thinking about me. He also buys me a lot of gifts.
Olawale: On my last birthday, she got Banky W to talk about me and wish me a ‘happy birthday’. I didn’t expect that from her.
Do you think marriage has affected your music career?
Benita: I don’t think marriage has affected my music career. My success is a thing of pride to my husband and vice-versa.
Olawale: I am even more excited about my wife’s career than she is. Whenever I come across opportunities, I immediately let her know. I knew what she was doing before we got married so it wouldn’t make any sense if I try to stop her. I will continue to support her career.
What are the greatest lessons you have learnt in marriage?
Benita: I have learnt that it is important to put God at the centre of one’s marriage. He should be in the know of everything that goes on in your home. Communication is also very important in marriage.
Olawale: Prayer is the number one thing if you want to have a successful marriage. There should also be constant communication. Also, don’t keep things to yourself. If you bottle many things inside, you can explode one day. I have also learnt to be patient and humble.
What are some of the challenges you have encountered in marriage?
Benita: I don’t dwell on challenges. I feel marriage is basically about adjusting and if you do that, there wouldn’t be too many issues. Rather than focus on challenges, I have learned that communication is key. Also, make your spouse your best friend and ally.
What has been the most memorable moment of your marriage?
Benita: That was when we had our son. It is still the most beautiful moment of our marriage. Our son has been a blessing to us.
Olawale: That would be our wedding day and when we had our son.
What pet names do you have for each other?
Benita: We call each other ‘babe.’
How do you unwind as a couple?
Benita: We spend time with our family.
Olawale: We could go to the cinemas, restaurants or any other fun place. We also travel.