By Agboola Fesobi
“No pain, No gain” is an adage that aptly describes the life of a couple, Mr and Mrs Joseph Ololade, who have been married to each other for almost five decades and now share their lives’ experiences, their low and high moments with THE HOPE in an illuminating chat.
These days, marriage, which had been one of the most revered institutions in human existence, is going through many crises as people no longer stay married as they used to.
Statistics showed that divorce cases are on the rise and the children of the affected marriages suffer the consequence the most.
So to find a couple who have been married for 49 years, is a rear gem and they have something to teach others on how to have a successful marriage.
Though, not always a bed of roses, their marriage has been fulfilling and produced seven children whom they trained well and are all university graduates, as the couple revealed as they x-rayed their journey so far.
Madam Ololade beamed with smiles as she quietly boasted that all their children are doing great in their various fields of endeavours.
The father and husband, Mr Joseph Ololade is a 76-year-old man who retired as an Assistant Superintendent of Police 21 years ago.
According to him, he went through a rough patch while growing up. He was five years old when he lost his mother and at age 10, his father soon followed, thereby leaving him an orphan at that tender age.
He explained that his paternal grandmother took him in and took care of him since he had no one else to take care of him.
“I suffered a lot but I thank God where I am today. At that time, I couldn’t further my education beyond Standard Six,” he stated.
He explained that he chose to learn the mechanic trade. He, however, joined the Police when he saw their recruitment advertisement in 1966.
He sat for the examination, passed and was shortlisted for the police job; a profession in which he spent 33 years.
He explained that he met his wife whom he later married when he was staying at Sango Barracks in Ibadan. Then, he used to pass time at a mechanic workshop.
“Opposite this workshop, my wife’s mother was selling raw foodstuffs like gaari, rice and beans. After sometime, I discovered she used to help her mother carry her goods to and from the house each day.
“One fateful day, I asked the workshop owner if he knows whether the lady was married or not, and he said she wasn’t.
“Then each time my wife carried some goods to the house I would assist her to carry them. But she did not know why I was doing that.
“Each time I got to the entrance of their house, I would stop. The father, who usually sat at the verandah of the first floor of the upstairs where they lived, would be watching me, while the mother would come out to take the goods inside. That was how her parents got to know me.
“When I proposed to her, it was as if I was just joking, but that was how we started a relationship which led to marriage.”
He said that he had only been married to his wife because of the love he has for her. And because he is a faithful Catholic, he was determined that she would not dabble into polygamy.
They got married in 1969 in both traditional and court marriage.
Mr Ololade said he was able to take proper care of his family because he chose not to marry more than one wife and made sure that he provided all the needs of the family.
He further revealed that while he was being transferred from one place to another in the course of his job, the did not arbitrarily uproot his family to ensure that the children’s education was not unduly affected.
To properly take care of the family, he said he had to complement the meagre salary of 14pound sterling paid by the police then, by trading in firewood with his first son assisting in the business, as he went from place to place delivering to customers.
He advised the younger generation to desist from sexual immorality, particularly when they have found the “bone of their bones” so that they would have a fulfilled marriage.
On her part, Mrs Ayoola Ololade said she encountered several challenges as a married woman.
Firstly, when her husband took her to his home town, his people said “Haa! Lolade, where does your wife come from?”. When he told them, they said “Ara ilekile” meaning, a total stranger.
By then she said that she was five months pregnant.
“At night, I woke up and asked my husband the meaning of ‘Ara ilekile’. That was the first crisis I had with my husband’s family.”
According to her, each time her husband travelled as a police officer, he spent between three and six months at his station.
As a seamstress, she said she sold soft drinks and beers in cartons. So, many times when her husband was away, what he sends home for the family’s upkeep is not enough; so she use the gain from her business or even part of the capital to take care of the family.
She explained that there was a time she wanted to register her first son for WAEC, but had no money. She narrated how she had to sell some of the empty bottles of soft drinks because she had no money.
She recalled vividly that the total pay of her husband at the end of the month was 14pound sterling and that he worked in various states like Akwa -Ibom, Lagos, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Borno, Kwara and Ondo.
One interesting event she could not forget was her experience when her husband was transferred from Lagos to Ado Ekiti.
Whenever the husband was transferred in the mid term or at the beginning of the new academic year, their usual practice was that she would have to stay at the previous location until the whole session ended so that the children’s education would not be adversely affected.
Although, Mrs Ololade is from Ekiti, she had never been involved in farming as her father was a civil servant.
However, in Ado, she resorted to farming because she had already sold most of her empty bottles of soft drinks and beer.
At Ado, she tried to get a place where she could sell things but couldn’t get one.
She explained that a woman later introduced her to a job as a labourer in cassava flour business.
She said that the work was very tedious. According to her, they were supposed to dig up and process cassava tubers from 200 heaps and they would be paid N100, which would be shared among four labourers, with each getting N25.
At this time, three of their children were in the secondary school, so she was doing it purposely to augment whatever the husband gave her to meet the need of the family.
In the journey of 49 years, she reminisced that there had never been any physical altercation or beating between herself and her husband.
Though argument had ensued, instead of the husband resorting to such extremes, he would decide not to eat, she said.
Mrs Ololade said that since her husband retired, she had been living peacefully with him without any interference from any quarters and that they now have grandchildren.
She advised young couples to stay together no matter what. She urged young ladies to imbibe the spirit of perseverance in their marriages saying, whoever is not patient enough cannot stay with a man.
She warned youths against having the get-rich-quick mindset, saying that what their parents spent years to accumulate, they want it quickly, not minding wrong thing they might have to be involved in.
She advised couples to be humble, persevering, contented and keep to their marriage vows.