E.E. Effiong as he is popularly referred to, from Ikono in Akwa Ibom State worked as sales and marketing practitioner and insurance broker of about 40 years experience before he retired. Born in June 1943, and now retired, he still does insurance brokerage on a freelance basis. His wife, Christiana. nee Idiong, born in Atimbo, Calabar in 1952 was proprietor of the well-known Christy Fashions. A retiree of the fashion industry, she has, to her credit, more than 30 fashion designers who passed through her tutelage and are established today in several towns across the country. The duo, of Jehovah’s Witnesses, are a couple to admire. They recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary during which they played host to their children, grandchildren, friends and relations from far and near. In this interview with JOE EFFIONG, in Calabar, Cross River State, they shared the secrets of what held their union together these past 50 years. Excerpts:
While we thank God for keeping you together as husband and wife all these years, could you tell us how you met before two of you got married
Husband: I was transferred by my organization from Lagos to Calabar in 1969 and that is when I met her. She was quite busy in God’s work of evangelization and preaching of the good news of God’s kingdom. I liked that.
Was it the same thing with you, or are there details you would like to add, at least on your own part?
Wife: It was exciting when he arrived on the scene in Calabar and I was very happy to work with him. Of course, the rest is history (smiles).
Was there any opposition from anywhere, relatives, and friends concerning your marriage?
Husband: No, we did not experience opposition from anywhere.
Wife: No, there was no opposition at all.
What qualities made you choose your spouse above other ones within that period?
Husband: She had the necessary requirement that I looked for in a wife, so I had no reservations at all in choosing her and making my choice known to her.
Wife: He was spiritually minded. He loved God and was very diligent in doing God’s work. That was a very critical point for me.
How did you propose to her? What exactly did you say to make her accept to marry you?
Husband: I first asked her whether somebody had ever asked her hand in marriage, that is, if she was in any such relationship with the intention of getting married. When she said no, then I went ahead to tell her my intention to marry her and take her along with me in the work I was doing as at then, which was circuit work (traveling evangelism) and supporting the congregations within the circuit of oversight.
What did you say when he proposed? What exactly did he say and what was your reply?
Wife: I accepted without objection, especially when he said that he will soon move to circuit work. That was quite exciting for me and so I had no reservations and wasted no time in accepting the proposal.
What do you remember about your wedding?
Husband: Our wedding was very simple. There were no frills or flamboyance as seen in some weddings these days.
Wife: Ours was quite a simple event.
Could you remember your first misunderstanding and how you handled it?
Wife: Well, we have had our own share of ups and downs, but no, I can’t remember the first one.
Husband: It has been quite a long while, you know.
What is your spouse’s favourite food?
Husband: Do we really have any favourites? No!
Wife: We have no favourite, whatever God gives us, we enjoy it equally.
And, what do you like most about him/her?
Husband: Her sincerity
Wife: His industriousness
What areas would you like to see him/her improve?
Husband: Well…I can say that some things are expected as persons get old and so some of these things such as periodic illness and so on, have been a source of strain in our relationship. But we can’t reverse age, so we learn to live with ourselves.
Wife: Due to old age he cannot work to provide money for the family like before.
What advice do you give to a young bachelor who intends to marry?
Husband: A bachelor should let the Bible guide him. The focus should be “the secret person of the heart,” as the Bible directs, that is the person’s attitude and character, and not the outward appearance.
Wife: Spinster, please be guided, don’t rush to men at random because of money or other material attractions.
In light of rampant divorce cases these days, based on your personal experiences, what pieces of advice would you want to give to newly married couples on how to make their marriage last as long as your own has lasted?
Husband: One, if you start your marriage at 50 years of age you will clock 100 years when your marriage is 50. So, start early. Two, whenever you sign a marriage register, you sign for tolerance, endurance, love, forbearance, forgiveness, maturity to mention but a few. Above all, draw close to God and He will draw close to you.
Wife: These will surely make your marriage last.
Source: Sun News