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She was a stranger to me when we got married –Husband , Sometimes he does the cooking and I watch him. I equally run errands in the kitchen for him –Wife.


In those days, when a man wants to marry, he would ask his parents or family members to scout for a wife on his behalf. In truth, most marriages were made in such manner. This was how Prince Godwin Oduwaiye and his wife, Caroline, came together as husband and wife. His parents chose a wife for 
him and they got married. Their marriage has lasted 47 years and still counting. They spoke to BIANCA IBOMA about their marriage experiences.

Tell us about yourself 

Husband: I am Prince Godwin Oduwaiye. I  and was born on July 20, 1947. I am 70 years old by the grace of God. I just celebrated my 70th birthday with my wife and children. It is  a milestone and I thank God for sparing my life and the wonderful family He gave me. I grew basically in the suburb of Edo State though I hail from Bekuma Village in Akoko Edo Local Government. After my secondary education in 1964 I moved to Lagos.  In 1966 I joined the Nigerian Navy and was in the  sailing unit where I spent 35 years before I retired as a Warrant Officer.

Wife: I am Caroline Aina Oduwaiye, I was born about three decades ago. I grew up in Bekuma, a suburb in Akoko-Edo.

Tell us how you met your spouse

Husband: I was already in the Navy and  my parents felt it was time for me to get married, I knew her as a child in the neighbourhood I  left the village for Lagos and later enlisted in the Navy. I really do not know her as a maiden.

Wife: My husband and I are from the same village but I didn’t really  know him closely because he  had been away from the village.

How did  you propose to her? 

Husband: She was chosen by my parents. I would say that she was a stranger to me when we got married because I did not know her character. As a young man I had respect for my parents and I accepted their choice of a wife for me because I trusted their decision and judgment. We paid the necessary rites and  performed the ceremony on the  December 9, 1969.

When you were informed about the marriage proposal, what was your reaction?

Wife: When my parents informed me that some people had  come to seek my hand in marriage, I was a young girl who did not understand what marriage entailed. I didn’t know  much about him, nor did he. You know, as children you may know people in the same environment, but would have a restricted movement socialising with them especially when he is a male.

Despite the fact that we were strangers when we got married, our love for each other grew fast and deep.

What are some of the marital challenges you encountered?

Husband: I engaged in extra-marital affairs as a sailor moving around Nigeria. I had children out of wed-lock. A military personnel proves to be so tough and might want to use his military might at home but I was afraid to inform my wife initially when the result of my exploits came because I didn’t know how to tell her. I summoned courage and informed her. My wife is a gift from God, she was calm and told me to bring the children in, and she raised them with the ones she bore for me. I am married to just one wife that is the Biblical requirement. Those days I was ignorant of the truth. 

The beauty of it was that I had a woman who could manage the crisis without causing me harm. She handled the situation with faith, trust in God and equanimity.

Wife: Marriage is not an easy task. It is an institution that one can never graduate from. This institution is different from all other institutions because you are issued a certificate immediately the journey begins. Once you are pronounced husband and wife, you are issued the certificate but as a wife you must strive to keep the certificate. When my husband broke the news to me that he had children outside our marriage, it was painful but I decided to accept the situation and asked him to bring the children home. I felt betrayed because we had an intimate relationship.

I understand that no relationship is perfect and I know that my marriage must survive this obstacle. Marriage takes hardwork. It is not problem-free. The only person you can change is yourself. Don’t try to change your spouse rather you can ask God to give you the grace to understand your spouse better. I married him the way he is that is why the marriage has been sustained. Success in marriage is determined to a large extent by the woman.

When you got married, what were the things that usually make you quarrel?

Husband: As a Sailor, I was exposed to some kind of food, and I had the opportunity to take some catering lessons, so there were ways I wanted my meals prepared. I like to garnish food because whatever I eat must have an inviting look, but she was used to traditional meals.  However,  she was very patient with me. I was able to teach her and she learnt very fast.

Wife: My husband was exposed to city life but I grew up in the village. The type of food I was used to was very different from his but I had to learn from him. Sometimes he does the cooking and I watch him and equally run some little errands in the kitchen for him.

What’s the secret for a lasting marriage?

Husband: Love even after 47 years of marriage, true love still reigns. Honesty is one of the keys to a successful marriage. I was open to my wife no matter the situation.

Wife: A hot meal and good chat each day is a  secret to good marriage. We had lived together lovingly, arguing or fighting with love because I  decided to love my husband as a young woman  unconditionally. The seed of my love for him started early. Honesty is one of the keys to a successful marriage. My husband was open to me. No matter what he did, I forgave him.

Your spouse engaged in some extra marital affairs. How were you able to cope?

Wife: It was by the grace of God. I think my background equally contributed to the success of our marriage. I made a resolution that, if my spouse falls in any way I would always pick him up. As a sailor, he moved from place to place because of the nature of his job. I was able to manage the situation. I handled the situation with patience, and I prayed fervently too just to win the war.

What is your view about marriage considering your personal experience?

Husband: It depends on the individual.To me, marriage is a covenant  between couples. Some might feel it is a contract and when the relationship has problems they begin to find a way out of it. Marriage should be regarded as a covenant that when it faces challenge both party begin to take adequate steps to put it in order. 
Wife: Conflict in marriage is normal. I see it as a testament of committed love, trust and loyalty between the partners that have decided to connect themselves for life. What individual does with marriage is a personal choice. Marriage exists to bring a man and a woman together as husband and wife, to be father and mother to the children their union produces.

What do you think is the cause of divorce these days?

Husband: When people are attracted to each other, it is not that they won’t disagree. They will, but the basis is, where did you build the foundation of your marriage? Most of the time people get carried away by the beauty matrimony  and all its trappings. But after the thrills it fades away.  A lot of people do not prepare for marriage. God should be invited into every marriage.

Again, people come from different backgrounds and have diverse upbringing. What is required is asking God to teach you how to love and understand your spouse. A lot of patience is needed. If  the understanding is not there, there would be frequent fights and some fight they won’t be able to resolve. This is one of the major reasons people tell you they want to be separated from their spouse and eventually have a divorce.

Wife: Initially, they can be in love with each other but when they start living together, certain character traits would begin to unveil. When this character traits are revealed  a lot of people do not know how to manage them.

On their wedding day, the bride and groom promise to be faithful to each other. There  are certain difficulties couples face and if one do not understand these factors, it can create constant fight.

How can lost family values be restored?

Husband: When spouses display a lot of disrespect for their union, it affects their children negatively. Some parents even abandon their children at day care centres in order to pursue their career. Some fathers  spend much time at work that they hardly spend time with their children and spouse.

Some women are just concerned with fashion rather than fashioning their children’s character through good morals. That is what led to a lot of societal ills because parents have already abandoned their primary duties.

They can be restored when families learn to seek the face of God. Parents should put up positive character for their children to emulate. They should not be rude to each other and maintain divine order in the home. The father is the head of the family, then the mother and children. In that order rules should be made to govern how each person plays his role. There should be respect in presenting issues and spending time together as one big family.

Wife: Parents are the best examples to their children. A lot of traits that children display is as a result of some negative attitude they have taken from their parents. Watch what you do because children are watching especially mothers. They should be very careful because 90 percent of a child’s well being depends on the training they have received. A lot of women cover up for their children, some would not allow their father to scold and correct their children. When any of the couple wants to correct the child with whatever means, both of them should be in agreement so that the child faces penalty for misconduct. If both of them do not agree on the best method, it would affect the child especially when it comes to female children, they can lose moral values. Children are entrusted to us by God and we can make them a pride or disgrace to the society. It all depends on the values that have been inculcated in them. Parents must understand that their responsibilities are great. It is impossible to shield children from all negative things that can influence their thinking and behaviour but as parents, we should show them better options by being a worthy example and set them on the right path

You just celebrated your 70th birthday. Tell us what ageing parents want from their children?

Husband: Parents, especially aged ones, love their children so much and always want the best for them.They worry about them because their expectations for them are usually high. And if things are not happening the way we had designed, we judge and punish them,  but as an aged parent my expectation for my children is for them to be patient with me and try to understand my challenges.

Wife: I am happy that my husband is 70 years old and I am equally ageing. I expect my children to show us much love no matter our behaviour. That is all I need from them. You know when people are ageing a lot of changes take place. We are not inclined with technologies so they should be willing to assist us.

What’s your advice to other couples?

Husband: My advice to couples is honesty and transparecny. They should never hide anything from each other especially when they spend money. The spendings should be made clear to each other. When someone steps out side a stipulated spending, the couple should be aware of such spendings.

Wife: Couples should reserve time for one another. They should spend only what they have because financial stress kills romance in marriage. When there is no money, friction takes place in the home. There’s no fun without finance.

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