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I’m not proud of how I proposed to my wife —Gbolahan Odukoya

Gospel singer, Gbolahan Odukoya, and his wife, Lola, in this interview with Spice, talk  about being married to each other in the last eight years.

How did you meet?
Gbolahan: We met at her home. I went there to  look for a mutual friend who went to visit her. We met in 1997.
 How long did it take you to woo her?
Gbolahan: A few months
actually. I was 20 years old and I just found her irresistible and
compelling. She was studying to gain admission to the university at that
time. I was already a student of UNILAG.
 Was it love at first sight?
Gbolahan: No. The love grew but I was definitely smitten the first day I met her
 What attracted you to each other?
Gbolahan: Her outgoing
and feisty temperament plus her beauty. Of course, her ability to speak
good English helped set me at ease with her.
Lola: His intelligence, friendliness and height.
 What was your reaction when he told you he was interested in courting you?
Lola: We were young when we first started dating so, it was quite exciting to know he was interested in getting to know me better.
 How long did you court for?
Gbolahan: Our courtship
was on and off with many years in between. She was my girlfriend when I
was 20 till I turned 22 and we broke up. Then I chased after her again
when I was 27 but she wasn’t forthcoming and I lost patience. We
reconciled when I was 30 and we got married when I was 31 and on her
30th birthday.
 What convinced you to propose marriage to her?
Gbolahan: The fact that
she knew me. The fact that even after a decade of dating  on and off, I
still found her irresistible. The fact that even after 11 years, we
were still compatible and hadn’t grown apart even though we had spent
many years apart and in other relationships.
 How did you propose to her and what was her initial reaction?
Gbolahan:  My proposal
was very unromantic and I’m not proud of it at all. We had gone to watch
a movie and I was driving her home when I simply asked her in the car,
“Do you know what? Let’s get married.” She immediately said yes. After a
few seconds, what had just happened dawned on her and she complained
that I didn’t even try to be romantic about it. I replied that we had
had too much history for me to have the emotional energy to be romantic
about the proposal.
 Did any member of your families oppose your relationship?
Gbolahan: There was no
opposition whatsoever. In fact both our parents were so happy and
approved  of our relationship. I was actually shocked at how easily our
parents gave their blessings.
How would you describe the years of being married to each other?
Lola: There have been
good years and there have been bad years. Just like life, there have
been highs and lows. Days when we are grateful to God we got married and
other days we wonder why on earth we chose each other.
 What are those things marriage has taught you?
Gbolahan:  Marriage has
taught me responsibility. It has taught me the virtues of patience. It
has also taught me that love is a verb, not a noun or an adjective. When
you truly love someone, there are things you will do regardless of your
emotional state. Love is commitment, pure and simple.
Lola: Patience, tolerance and compromise
 If you had to change anything about each other, what would it be?
Gbolahan: I would
change her reluctance to go out with me instead of always staying home. I
would increase her involvement in both my business and music.
Lola: I would change
his reluctance to go on vacations with me and his overtly passionate
views about political issues; I would really like to tone that down.
 Are you also music inclined and how much has his career rubbed off on your love for music?
Lola: Yes, I am musically inclined. I used to be in the choir.
 What time do you create for the family and how do you spend this time together?
Gbolahan: We talk a lot
at home, watch TV together and go to watch movies once in a while.
Lola’s work schedule causes her to always want to stay home during the
weekends while I am busy as a musician and guitar tutor.
 The first few years of marriage are sometimes described as turbulent, how did you manage yours?
Gbolahan: We managed
our turbulent years with the help of our families and our trusted
friends. I have dear friends Lola knows she can report me to if I
misbehave. We followed the instructions given to us during premarital
counselling and never slept in separate beds. She always cooks my meals,
no matter how bad the tension is. It took lots of time in prayer,
talking with each other and a conscious effort to tone down offensive
attitudes to help us survive those years.
 How do you handle the challenges that come with marriage?
Gbolahan:  The
challenges are handled one day at a time. Handling one issue at a time 
and as it comes, has been a safe way to maintain balance in our lives.
Most of all, not harbouring bitterness and resentment towards my wife
,has helped maintain a good attitude in all the challenges that come.
 How do you deal with conflict in your marriage?
Gbolahan: We deal with
conflict by first shutting down and cooling off. Hours afterwards when
the emotions have simmered, we talk about the issue that caused the
friction and resolve it.
 How do you keep romance alive in your marriage?
Gbolahan: We attend programmes and concerts together once in a while and I also take her out to dinner and movies too.
 How do you feel about your spouse now compared to when you first got married?
Gbolahan: I feel she
has grown as a person with amazing multitasking abilities and tenacity
that leaves me in awe; and she has also remained the same in many other
aspects, like her personality which was the major attraction point for
me.
Lola: I loved him then, and still love him now.
 Do you believe in couples maintaining a joint account?
Gbolahan: Not really. We never had a joint account and I don’t see us opening one anytime soon.
Lola: I believe it is
relative. Gbolahan and I don’t operate a joint account but we most
definitely won’t discourage couples who want to do so.
 What are your pet names for each other?
Gbolahan: I call her ‘Baby’ and ‘Ademi’ .She calls me ‘Gbolly’.
 What must celebrities do to uphold their marriages?
Gbolahan: The most
important thing after choosing rightly is for both  spouses to commit to
keeping their marriage. I can’t emphasise this enough. It takes two
patient, kind, thoughtful, selfless, forgiving, loving and committed
people to keep a marriage.
 Does his popularity constitute a source of concern to you?
Lola: Not at all. We
kind of complement each other. I am quite conservative while he is quite
outspoken. He is the popular one, and I am happy being a homebody.
 Describe each other using three words.
Gbolahan: Tenacious, beautiful, and kind.
Lola: God-fearing, intelligent, and friendly.
 How supportive are you of each other?
Gbolahan: She tends to
stay aloof from my work but at critical periods, she always says
something or asks pertinent questions that usually alter the course of
my work. She has this intuition which I’ve learned the hard way never to
ignore or dispute. Now, even if she asks a question that irritates me
concerning my business, I have learned that there is usually something
around the corner when she speaks up. I also support her work, by being
her sounding board when she has ideas for her workplace or whenever she
just wants to rant about all the people that irritate her.
Lola: He supports me
every single step of the way. Be it with my job or my yearly hangout
trip with my friends. He does not stop me from taking the time out for
myself and he encourages me to always reach for the skies.
 What advice would you give singles on finding a life partner?
Gbolahan: The first
advice would be  to find yourself. Until you know yourself, your gifts,
the trajectory of your life, before you can then see clearly to know the
kind of person you need who will fit you and walk the journey with you.
Most of all, marry your friend.
 Has religion played a role in your marriage?
Gbolahan:Yes it has. If
not for the times we prayed together and the godly counsel I received
from dear friends, our marriage would not have survived the turbulent
years.
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Tireni Adebayo

Tireni Adebayo is the Editor of Kemi Filani News. She has BSC in Mass Communication from the Redeemer's University and M.A in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos (2014 - 2015) where she majored in Public Relations and Advertising and Digital Media.  When she is not writing, she is either listening to music or reading her favorite books. Tel: +2348061000090 Address: Herbert Macaulay, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria Email: [email protected]

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