Nollywood veteran actor and politician, Bob-Manuel Udokwu rolled out the drums on Thursday to celebrate his 15th marriage anniversary to his wife, Cassandra Udokwu at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Festac Town, Lagos. It was an occasion for selected friends, Nollywood hotshots and a number of media executives. In spite of the exhilarating atmosphere of celebration and merriment the couple found time to speak with Potpourri and here is what they say, concerning the success of their marriage:
By Kehinde Ajose
What exactly did you see in your wife that made you marry her?
When I met her, she was and still outstanding. She was walking like a trained model .I met her at the University of Lagos when I went to do my Masters degree, she was doing her first degree then. I stopped her and asked her if she was a trained model and she said she wasn’t. She asked me why I asked and I told her she walks like one. She said her mother taught them to walk lady-like and I said okay. Gradually, we got to know each other and I found out that she was well brought up. These are the qualities most of our young girls lack and that got me more and more interested. Fifteen years down the line it’s been exciting.
How has the journey been so far?
The journey has been good, interesting sometimes intriguing. You know when you get hitched with somebody from different backgrounds, you are two separate individuals but as adults agree to set up a home together. There are bound to be points of friction, disagreement and points of serious agreement as well. You have to find a way to navigate those narrow areas and be able to overcome prejudices, doubts or influences. The key is dialogue; we talk. If you close the door of dialogue, just welcome the deterioration of your relationship. We determined from day one to make our marriage work, some don’t think like that. Some get into marriage for marriage sake. If both parties agree to make things work, it makes things better. I think that is what we have done.
When you initially got married, were you shocked at some of the things you discovered about marriage or about your wife?
When I got married, I was so pleasantly surprised that I wondered why I didn’t do it earlier. I found out that it was a beautiful thing to do. If you don’t get married at a certain stage, you won’t be able to check the excesses that we men have. Beyond your mother, its only your wife that can make you come home at a certain time. You don’t do things in excess because you have someone who looks after you beyond your mother, somebody you left at home who cares for you. It’s also a sign of maturity for us as Africans. You grow from being someone’s child to being someone’s else husband or wife. It’s a responsibility. Our society thrusts on you and hopes you handle it maturely. When you succeed in marriage, its always very good
Can you state one quality you admire about her?
She is a home-maker. She is there for the long run. There are some people who come into marriage as a mercenaries. They come to grab as much as they can and if it doesn’t work they run away. She is there for the long haul, in other words she is here to give it all. And make it work and make her home. For example, if you visit us at home here in Lagos, you will see that I have a stable home. More so, when you visit my country home you will see the hallmark of a place where the woman has taken time to build, saying,”This is my heritage and I must make it comfortable for my family and anyone who comes”.I won’t go beyond that because there are some things you can’t find words to explain.
What lessons have you learnt in 15 years of your marriage?
I have learnt that being a man you have a huge responsibility not just to your wife, but also to your children. This children come into the world and see you as their hero.The very first foundation of life starts from the family.If you don’t get it right, then the society will be worse off for it. The joy of family life is when you see your children grow in life and they are able to do certain things based on the knowledge you pass to them.
If you don’t give love, you don’t receive love -Mrs. Cassandra Udokwu
What is that one quality you admire about your husband?
What will you regard as the greatest gift he has given to you?
What lessons have you learnt in your 15 years of marriage?
I have learnt a lot of things like patience, focus and perseverance. A lot of things like endurance, because when you have somebody that knows your faults and takes your faults as his what else can you do than to be humble. He is just a wonderful person. My marriage of 15 years has taught me a great lesson that love is what you give .What you give is what you will receive. If you don’t give sincere love you won’t receive sincere love. If you give pretense, you will receive pretense.
For intending couples and those who are already married, what will be your advice to them?
They need to know what they want as couples. Do they want their marriage to work?Do they want people to praise God because of their marriage? That is what we wanted and that is what we have achieved .We believe in dialogue and communication.
When you have issues, discuss it among yourselves immediately. Don’t leave it for tomorrow, because when you leave it for tomorrow, seeds of discord might be sowed. Once that seed is being planted, then you start analyzing and digesting .The mind starts thinking about different things .Communicate when you are together and when you are not together. Marriage is friendship.