Although, Elizabeth Ehigiamusoe, popularly known as Ehiliz is a gospel artiste and host of Vivid View with Ehiliz on TVC but what many do not know is that she is also a marriage counsellor.
In this exclusive interview with glamtush, Ehiliz who intends to celebrate her 50th wedding anniversary counsels partners to talk about their dos and don’ts before signing the dotted lines having it at the back of their minds that they are from different backgrounds.
How long have you been married?
I have been married for 28 years. There are challenges but we worked at it.
What were some of the compromises you had to make just to make your marriage a success?
Partners should start by talking about their dos and don’ts before marriage. I told my husband what I like and what I don’t like and he did same. In areas that may pose a problem in future, we agreed that we can manage it. For instance, I sleep without light but my husband sleeps with light on. But we managed it well. Sometimes we sleep with light on and sometimes with the lights off. Also, I told my husband if I do anything to you; please do not shout at me especially in public. I told him to just pretend until we get home and then I will listen to you. Again, beans is his best food and I don’t eat beans at all. But I told him for your sake, I will learn how to prepare it. Because I don’t like beans, I don’t even know how to prepare it. But he taught me how to prepare beans. Once I hear the smell of beans as it begins to boil, I feel like throwing up, it was that bad. While growing up, my mother would prepare beans for my siblings and boil yam for me. I prefer to eat boiled yam with ordinary red oil than eat beans. Also, I don’t eat pepper but my husband does. Back then, he will throw up after eating my food because there is no much pepper but gradually we had to come to a compromise and we are both managing fine.
Personally, before I ever knew that my husband will come into my life I told God that I want to get married and if I get married, I will make a good wife. It is not that we don’t quarrel but I have made 28 years in marriage. And I told myself I want to celebrate 50 years wedding anniversary, it then means that I’m not looking forward to divorce. It is what you say to yourself and the kind of man you also want to marry that matters. The question is what kind of husband do you want? You should be specific about it. I told God I want a man that is more learned than me, he must be a Christian and not a church goer, a young man that we will start life together and not a ready-made man and finally, I want to marry an Igbo man because I’m one and so that he can easily discuss with my mother but my husband is not an Igbo man. That was the only difference.
We are both not perfect, we disagree but whenever we do, I remember these things I mention and I keep telling God, we will make 50 years together. We also do not demonstrate in the presence of our children no matter how annoyed we are, we go to our room and sort it out. Although, I have my room where I keep my personal effects but there is no bed there. I and my husband sleep in the same room. And yes when we quarrel, I will face north, he will face south but it gives us the opportunity to always talk about the issue and reconcile. Also, you have to tolerate each other because remember you are coming from different backgrounds.
What do you think about divorce especially among celebrities and what is your advice as a marriage counsellor?
First and foremost, if any man wants to marry a celebrity so to say, he knows her profession. So in your time of courtship, you need to discuss your dos and don’ts. People don’t say it but in my time, we clearly stated our dos and don’ts. So what I find out for the celebrities like I was trying to say earlier, you know this woman acts films and that was what she was doing when you met her and decided to marry her. It will be wrong of you after marriage to tell her to stop acting because the woman will resist. This is where they begin to have issues and if not well handled, it will escalate to separation or divorce. Marriage is supposed to be enjoyed and not endured.
I also realize that it’s not what works for A that works for B 100%. But when you get married, other things will start unfolding, so, you also need wisdom on how to handle the unexpected in marriage. There is a way you will talk to a man; he will not see it as an insult. And there is also a way you talk to a man and he will tell you he is the owner of the house. So approach is very important. As a woman even if you are the breadwinner, you should respect and regard your husband because he is still your head. Also, he is your choice in the first place.
The best their partner can tell them is that if they were acting nude or semi-nude before, now that they are married, they shouldn’t be taking up such roles again but not totally stop her from acting because that is your partner’s professional life. Look at Mercy Johnson for instance, her marriage is thriving, it’s one of the best, it’s working because I’m sure they must have discussed these things before. Most of the films she’s acting now, she acts as a married woman or even plays a role where she is decently dressed. In all, I don’t believe in divorce, it is not the end of it. I believe for any problem, there must be a solution. Celebrities should say things the way they are and try to find solution to the issue at the moment, don’t allow it to escalate instead discuss issues and bring a closure to it. Marriage is not garbage in, garbage out; also it takes two to make a home. Bringing in relations and friends into your problem will worsen the situation, so it’s better for the partners to discuss when they are both calm.
Also, no man wants to be nagged. If you had issues in the morning before you both leave the house, when you get back in the evening do as if nothing happened. You should prepare food for your husband to eat and not carry a long face or start nagging immediately he returns. When you both get into the bedroom, you should talk about the issue. Some men are worse than women as they think punching their wives is the best way to get solutions, but it’s a no, no.
Everything in life is about dialogue. Nothing good comes out of violence, that’s my belief. When a problem is not properly handled from the beginning, it escalates. Marriage is tolerance, you must tolerate because you are coming from two different backgrounds. Two people can never behave alike even identical twins can never behave alike. It is actually in the hands of the man and woman to make their home alright even if you feel you were deceived before you got married, love can cover it. If you don’t like how your husband chews, teach him and vice versa, that is love. Now, I don’t only prepare beans but I also eat it. It is one of my best foods now. Even if you catch your spouse cheating, you can talk about it.
Every married man and woman, not just celebrities should settle any issue when it is just starting and not allow it to escalate. If you allow it to escalate, it problem will start increasing. Marriage is not something you wake up one morning and walk away from. The worst part is that it is the children it will affect the most. So, before you make any rash decision, you should think about how it will affect your children. Like I said, I don’t believe in separation or divorce as every problem has a solution.