It's the third edition of Married and Loving It!!!! If it's your first time here, welcome! You can read a background to the series HERE.
Today I present to you a very wonderful couple.. When this series started, they were the first couple that came to mind. It was easy to think about them because they have one of the best marriages that I know and admire. They are one of my marriage mentors and I have learnt un-quantifiable things/attributes from them.. Not just words that have been spoken, but by observation as well.
Their marriage is a huge influence on my outlook on marriage and my desire for the kind of man to marry as I illustrated HERE.. Good men (and women) and marriages are not myths but are very real.... You can desire and have one too by God's grace.
This in itself is the inspiration for Married and Loving It - To show that an excellent marriage is obtainable by God's grace, love, understanding and other things that the couples we feature here fortnightly share with us.
I am incredibly blessed to know this beautiful couple and to call them my second parents. I could try to aptly introduce them but I believe I won't do them justice. However, it is my delight to have as our first guest for the year on Married and Loving It - Dr and Mrs Andrew and Uzo Iwobi... If you love 'Love stories', then please grab a drink and some food, sit tight and enjoy this very beautiful interview!
Welcome to Married and Loving It! It's a real pleasure having you speak to us today.. To be honest :-) I have personally looked forward to it :-) Could you kindly introduce yourselves?
Andrew and I have been married since the 28th of October 1991 and we actually got married at the marriage registry in Lagos Nigeria. After qualifying as a Barrister & Solicitor I enrolled in the Nigerian Bar, thereafter, I joined Andrew in the UK.
Great! How did you meet?
Andrew and I met at the University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus Law School lecture hall in 1989. Andrew was a dashing young and extremely handsome man with a bright future ahead of him. Andrew comes from a mixed heritage background – his mum Letty is from a white English / Jewish heritage and his dad Charles is a black Nigerian man. He was highly sought after by many young ladies in our university and by other young women within his circle of friends not just for his dashing good looks and charming personality, but he had an outstanding academic background.
Andrew had achieved a First Class Hons Degree in Law from the University of Jos and qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor at the Law School in Victoria Island Lagos -graduating with the best overall result in the Nigerian Law School in his year 1981. He was awarded the Teslim Elias Prize for “The Best Overall Performance” at the Nigerian Law School and was also awarded a second prize which was the Nabo Graham-Douglas Prize for Commercial Law at the Nigerian Law in the same year. At 25yrs he produced a well acclaimed thesis on, “Legal Pluralism in the Land Law of Southern Nigeria” and achieved a PHD in Law from Birmingham University UK in 1987. Andrew was a brilliant, intelligent and well-read young man and was serving at the time as the Associate Dean of the Faculty of Law at Enugu Campus. He was lecturing within the Law school at the time and taught my classmates and I the much dreaded “Equity Law”. He was noted as UNEC’s most eligible bachelor and many of the ladies in our class gawked at Andrew, wanting to date him, marry him – whatever… well so did I. He was 28yrs old and I was 20yrs old.
His achievements are very impressive! I'm sure we all can almost imagine how many ladies would be giving him the 'eye' lol.. How was it for you? I was a rather plain and ordinary young lady – who always had a passion for justice and equity (no pun intended)! I had a spring in my step and worked hard to do well in my studies and graduate as a Law graduate. I recall that early in my third year of Law studies in UNEC, we had to study some core law subjects, one of which was “Equity Law” taught by our then Associate Dean of the Faculty of Law called Dr Andrew Ubaka Iwobi. At this point, I had never seen this lecturer in passing so had no idea who he was. When my friend Tessy Ohahuru and I walked into our very first Equity Law Lecture (a little late) Dr Iwobi looked up (his irritation palpable at the disruption to his lectures by the “two late stragglers” – as he called us both; all I could do was return his gaze, but mine was in pure unadulterated puppy love!) and I turned and whispered to Tessy – “There is the man that I will marry”! Dr Iwobi then sternly reprimanded us for turning up late and asked us to sit down quickly and then stated that next time that happened, we had to stand outside as we would not be allowed in. He said, “No stragglers will be allowed into my lecture”. Thus severely reprimanded and absolutely embarrassed, we sat down quickly and throughout that Equity lesson, prayed earnestly that he would forget our first meeting. It was not a favourable introduction and so I sat down quickly beside Tessy who promptly settled down and started taking notes as the lecture progressed. I can honestly say that I heard nothing, saw nothing, and understood nothing - apart from staring in awe at the face of the gorgeous Dr Iwobi! I was so lost in wonder that Tessy nudged me a few times and said, “Uzo! stop this at once and face your book ooo, with all the people interested in him – such a man will definitely have a lady in his life”. I totally ignored Tessy and stared at him for the entire lesson – I do not recall writing anything down during that first lesson. As you may guess, I got only a C for Equity Law following the assessment that year (but later when we got engaged) I asked him why he had given me such a low score when I did so well at the other law subjects, he said (with an amused grin), “I didn’t give you a C, you deserved a C – you probably hardly listened during my lectures – you were too busy admiring the lecturer”! I have not let him forget that he marked my paper extremely harshly! That was how we met!
Hahaha... I lovee your story so much! I could read it again and again! The rest of my study life revolved around using all of my genteel womanly wiles to draw his eye, so I started wearing a little dash of make up with talc white powder to stop me sweating in the heat. A little lipstick here, eye pencil there etc… but very subtle and understated (loud makeup with foundation was never my thing). As an ardent Pentecostal (though from a very Catholic background originally) I prayed earnestly that if it pleased God He would cause “Dr Iwobi” to notice me and spark the same interest in me that I had in him. I also asked my eldest sister (a medical doctor) who was newly married and had just returned from the UK on honeymoon to lend me some of her “posh” UK made dresses – just to be worn during “Dr Iwobi’s lessons” and I looked really sophisticated too – dress to impress was my motto! Also I often went to borrow his law textbooks after lectures (most of which I never actually read) and when returning them I’d slip in a tract or two telling him to accept Jesus as his Lord and Saviour. Every opportunity I got I preached to him and he was always very polite telling me that he was already a Catholic and a Christian and he encouraged me to return to my Catholic roots.
Thank you for those tips.. Pulling a 'Ruth' :-D I was the Vice President of the Christian Law Student’s Association (CLSA) and so I invited him (in his capacity as our Associate Dean of law Faculty) to our Law dinner which involved approximately 200 attendees. My younger sister was a medical student then in the University and a brilliant cook – so my sister and I and two other students cooked the three course dinner for the CLSA and surprise surprise “Dr Iwobi” and his younger sister turned up (I suspect to hear a newly converted Christian Judge address the students) and I was skipping with joy. They had a personal welcome from a beaming and exuberant me as I led them to sit at their table! (when we got engaged he admitted that he had attended the dinner because he was beginning to notice that I liked him and he thought he would take the opportunity to see more of me) but he brought his sister as a cover. I had assumed she was his girlfriend until he introduced her at the end as his sister :-)! I could have hugged her! At the end of the dinner – as he was leaving with his sister, he called out to me and thanked me for the invitation and complimented the chefs saying he had never tasted such delicious jollof rice and fresh fish pepper soup in a mass catered event and asked for the chef’s details and I told him I made the food! That was it… a few months later he asked me to date him – it was actually happening finally – but I have to say, that though I absolutely loved every bit of Dr Iwobi, I was raised by very strict parents and had really strong moral values… we both came from very respectable families and neither of us wanted to let our families down or dishonour each other. I was determined never to ask to date him, that was his job, it would not be appropriate in my mind (this is not to take anything away from courageous sisters who actually ask their spouses to date, it just wasn't something I felt I could do) and so after he asked to date me, I accepted but straightaway told him that I would never have pre-marital sex as I could not compromise on my standards; being the gentleman he is, he wholeheartedly supported my decision and never pressured me in anyway during our two year courtship – though it was very hard to resist. I actually believe that standing on my Christian values made him admire me more because I stood on my moral principles and never compromised. He actually said (after we were married that he knew I was “wife material” thereafter)! Sometime after that, he proposed with a song by John Denver called, “Annie’s Song” which remains my favourite to this day.
Awww, that's so beautiful! What was your wedding day like? Please tell us 3 memorable experiences from the day? 1st - After our registry marriage at the Lagos State Registry, we had a church wedding in the UK on the 12th of April 1993 and as we were starting out, we had very little money – so everything was homemade (apart from my wedding gown) - flowers, cake, decorations etc. Our families were very supportive. All that mattered to us was not spending money we didn't have, but having enough to live on after the wedding. 2nd - Walking into the church with a white veil covering my face and looking through the delicate organza/lace material at a gallant, handsome young man gazing at me with so much love that I cried walking down the aisle. Our fairy tale ended with a happily ever after. 3rd - Lifting my left hand to receive the ring and placing a ring on his finger also, then the bit where the priest said you may kiss your bride… hmmmmmm lush!
Hahaha... That's wonderful! Now, some people say that the first few years of marriage comes with challenges, how were your first 3 years of marriage? Exciting, blissful, new, exhilarating, fulfilling, complete and in love! In the midst of all that – learning the habits of another human being who you actually get to know more intimately after marriage, habits, likes and dislikes, best meals, worst meals. It was not always easy and in having disagreements we were keen never to sleep angry or cross with each other – so on some nights we would stay up very late trying to resolve an argument. We prayed a lot together and shared scriptures often; then my daughter was born after a year of marriage and the year after that our son was born also. That meant that we had two children under two… it was very stressful but my mum came for “Omugwo” and helped us so much. So kids combined with law lecturing for my husband and studies and working for me… was pretty tough going, but God sustained us and helped us a lot! Thank God for His grace.. And thank you for being so open, honest and refreshing in your responses. I've laughed many times in the course of it :-) :-)
************************ Now, we come to the part in Married and Loving It where we ask our guest-couple to list according to the number of years they have been married, Things Marriage has Taught Them.. Here goes.. 23 THINGS MARRIAGE HAS TAUGHT US - Dr and Mrs Iwobi
(We've split our responses so you can hear from both sides…)
Marriage is best approached as a partnership where each partner strives to outdo the other in love.
Be patient when learning what pleases your wife
Be prepared that women will change their minds a few times on the same issue
Love and cherish your wife above your life, apply yourself to achieving her joy and well-being in all you do.
Maintain an appropriate distance from other women
I learnt that my wife placed more value on little thoughtful gestures rather than expensive gifts
I learnt early on in the relationship that my wife is the best cook in the world
It is really important to spend time in prayer as a family
Show love to all your children equally and demonstrably because it prepares them to give love to others around them
Try and make out time to spend some quality alone time with your wife away from the bustle of family life and children's activities
Really important to instil strong Nigerian values in the kids e.g. respect for elders etc...from a very young age
Pray for and with your man
Cherish your man
Praise him and speak positively of him
Take time to invest in romance even 20yrs on
Write love notes to each other
Stay faithful and never get distracted
Honesty is critical
Marriage is hard work and being united – especially with children involved helps a lots cause they sometimes play parents against each other.
Have kids early if you can afford them cos when they grow up you’ll still have the energy to roll and tumble with them.
Remember that to err is human and no one least of all yourself is perfect.
Forgive quickly and stop recounting old hurts.
When times are tough remember how you began and what you saw in your man that drew you to him in the first place! I realise that making him sad always remains the farthest thing from my heart.
I wouldn't add much more to this very lovely interview infused with a lot of humour. One thing that their story has taught me is that God is the Author of the best love stories.. Don't think that romance is dead.. Not at all! God can give you the most intriguing, book-worthy love story too!
What's more, a story that wouldn't end a few years after marriage but would get more interesting 23 years on and many more afterwards.
This is my prayer for you today, that God will bless you with an excellent home and marriage that you would love and enjoy being in, that He would bring that man or woman to you according to your desire and His will.
I would also like to pray for those who are already married, that God will make you flourish in your home and that you will experience true love and joy in your home that would grow as your marriage grows in Jesus name.
God is love and where He is, love dwells there.
Do you have any questions or comments? Or do you know a couple that could be featured here? Please send us an email firstname.lastname@example.org