Pastor Patrick and Pastor (Mrs.) Dorothy Udoh have been married for 22 years. They are blessed with three children. The clergy who is the pastor-in-charge of the Resurrection Holiness Ministry, Amuwo Odofin Estate, Lagos, was once a car dealer, while his wife was a former banker-turned educationist. But as things stand today, the duo have left their different professions to answer God’s call. They shared their marriage story with VERA WISDOM-BASSEY.

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Why did you go into marriage?

Husband: Initially, I did not want to marry. But when I started being very close to God very early in life. He said: “if you don’t marry, I won’t work with you for life.” God insisted that I must marry, so I started praying for a wife, and too fast. I did that for seven years before I got her. There were other ladies coming but I had a standard. I said that my wife must not come from any other religion, she must be a business-minded person and industrious, she must look like a Chinese woman, somebody that can go out with me because I am the traveling type. Also, I wanted a woman whose parents are not divorced, even though the father is late but the mother is still living in the man’s compound. I wanted a woman that would love me more than I love her. So a lot of women coming, but they all failed the test I put before them. My wife passed it 100%. That’s why I decided to marry her.

So, how were you able to ‘edit’ them, as it were, I mean the ladies?

Husband: This one would come, but she was already married. Others would come and would say they didn’t have transport money, and I would tell the person that I didn’t have too. But they would request that I go and borrow to give them. But when my wife came she never asked for transport money. Even when I said I didn’t have money, she would say she had some money with her, not knowing that I was just testing her. She had never asked me to borrow money from anybody. Even when I wanted to borrow from my brothers, she would never allow it but would want us to manage what we have.

So how did you meet?

Husband: It is a different story entirely. I was in the classroom reading and it started raining. My friend and I decided to run to the hostel. That was at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. When we got to the room, God told me to go back to the classroom that my wife was waiting for me there. So I told my friend that we should go back to the classroom. But he refused. So I left for the classroom. When I got there, I saw a fine girl in the class reading, with a yellow Bible in front of her. When I saw the Bible I decided to go inside because I was standing by the window. I went to where she was sitting and asked her to make space for me. She did. I pretended as if I wanted to read. I asked her how come she came to the classroom with a Bible. She said she went for a church programme. I asked her why she decided to carry the Bible along with her. She said she cannot do without the Bible. She gave me a questioner from her department to fill. I said within me that would make me to have the privilege to sit down for a long time with her. From there, we started chatting and I invited her over for a lunch. After some days, I saw her in the school premises while I was parking my car and asked her what her day was like. She told me. Again, I invited her but this time together with her friends to come over and have a lunch on me. It was while out there that I asked her if she would marry me.

Just like that?

Husband: Yes. But when I proposed she said she was not the one that would take the decision but her mother, and her brothers, especially the one in Italy. Within one month, her brother was back from Italy. His consent was sought. They invited me and I went. But something happened that I will never forget in my life. As soon as I entered their compound, her mother saw me and knelt down outside the compound, raised her hands to heaven and began to thank God that she was alive to see her son-in-law. I never asked her anything. The moment she said those words, it was as if cold water was poured on me. She entered the house, gave us plantain and other things before we left. That was how we started the journey into our marriage. I told them that I wanted to do (traditional/customary) “introduction” (rite), but they refused and said that she would finish her schooling first. So it was after she completed her National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) that we got married.

When he joined you on the seat while you were reading, how did you feel?

Wife: You know one thing with students’ life is that students are very funny. I saw him as one of the students that could fill the questionnaire for me. I pleaded with him to fill the questionnaire for me so that before the week runs out I could submit all the questioners. But he started saying things I was not interested in and I was asking him if he was through with the questioner. I wanted to read because my mind wasn’t on marriage, friendship or anything. So, after he finished filling the questionnaire, he left that night. Another day, just as I was moving into the classroom, he saw me while he was parking his car and asked me if I never cared to find out how he was. But in my mind I said what’s my own. It was then he invited me to come with my friends to have a lunch with him and we went to eat free food. After that time, we parted but we met again the third time. This time, he made his intention known to me, that he needed a wife not friendship. I made him to know that I could not get married without my mother and my brothers’ consent. It was then he requested to see my people in the village and I took him down to my village to see my mother. The first thing my mother did when we entered was to kneel down and thank God for giving me a husband. Before this time, men had been coming to ask for my hand in marriage but she had never done that. She was highly spiritual to know who would be my husband. That day she said she had seen the husband of her only daughter. We are four boys and I am the only daughter.

Who handles money in the family?

Wife: When we talk about money in the home, one of the criteria that made my husband marry me is because of this issue of money because I studied banking and finance in the university. When he brings money he hands it over to me.

Is it a joint account?

Wife: No, we also have a joint account, but I am talking about my own account. He puts the money in my account, so when he needs money he asks for it and also seeks my consent to take it. When he brings the money, he would hand it over to me to keep. There is no time he wants to withdraw that he would not tell me. When there is need, we look at it very well to know if it is very important for us to touch the money in the bank. If it is important both of us could agree before withdrawal would be made.

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When there is an issue between two of you, who apologises first?

Husband: She apologises first. I don’t know how to say sorry. I rather avoid it by staying in the corner, because one thing about my life is that I don’t know how to hide my feelings.

What trips you about your wife?

Husband: She is a down-to-earth woman. She is just herself – natural, no attachment. These were what I saw in her that really tripped me about her. She wears no makeup, she is just as natural as she could be.

What is the tonic for a successful marriage?

Husband: Study your wife like a book. Know what your wife likes. For me I know what she wants to eat. I know when she needs to rest, and so most times I tell her to rest. She is my witness. If she disobeys me, she pays for it. It’s not that I would touch her but naturally the punishment would come. After my Bible the next thing is my wife, I study her very well, know what makes her happy. I know what I would do to make my wife unhappy or happy. I know so much about her.

You are a busy man, how do you have time for your wife?

Husband: My wife is my number one issue in my life. So for one to say I won’t have time for my wife means I won’t have time for my life. Since I married her she has never left my house for one day. When she went for her sister-in-law’s burial, they cried for one month and appealed to me before I allowed her to travel, for three days or so.

How did you feel about this?

Wife: I just look at it that God binds us together; he doesn’t let me out of his sight since he married me, if he goes out and I don’t see him, I would not rest. I would be calling him until he comes back. I look at it that after God he is the next person. If I need anything spiritual he would supply it through prayers. Physically too, he would supply. Since I lost my daddy, he has been there for me. I am the only girl and my brothers are far away, so he is my brother, my father. He is like the voice of God. Whenever there is an issue I ask him, and whatever he says is final, and that is what I would do.

What’s your advice for new couples?

Wife: The young ones want to look at their husbands as their mates, that shouldn’t be. God has made the man to be the head. The woman may be older than the man, yet respect is expected. Never bring a third party into your home. Settle any quarell yourselves. In the past 22 years, we have never invited any third party into our home to come and settle any problem for us. No mistake whatsoever should make either of the couple quit the marriage. They should settle their differences together.

Advice to intending couples

Husband: Know the kind of woman or spouse you want before you marry. Before I married I listed the qualities I wanted in a woman I want. Again, know the needs of your spouse, know what he or she wants. Try to meet up with what your wife wants. If she is the type that needs attention try to meet that need. Know her language. I am writing a book titled, Know How To Marry Without Being Mad. So, a man should know how to marry without being mad. Make sure you are prayerful.

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