Monday, December 31, 2012

Alero Roberts on Marriage - Marry your Friend

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Being a doctor, wife, mother, teacher, relationship expert and columnist with Genevieve magazine, Dr Alero proves that love, understanding, patience and wisdom are the basics for maintaining a good marriage.

Definition of Marriage: For me, marriage is exactly what the Manufacturer planned it to be: there’s the man and then the wife, who is designed to be a ‘help-mate’ for the man she marries. Think of the head and neck relationship; he’s the head and she’s the neck, separate yet inseparable, distinctly different and yet inextricably intertwined. He’s the leader but she gives him permission to lead and shows him where to lead.

How they Met: I met my husband Dr Seyi Roberts in ward A2 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) on the morning of Monday, 8th of November, 1982. It was a consultant’s ward round and it was my first day of Neurology posting. He was a senior registrar just returned from his year’s training in Harvard. It was sparks all the way! I thought he was an over-rated, arrogant, bumptious creep and he thought I was a little miss ‘know-it-all’, too big for my boots!

The Proposal: Anyway, long story short… we were married within two-and-a-half years, although I’m still not sure if he actually proposed. On our fourth date, which was more like a one-on-one tutorial, he sort of said, “You are exactly the person I want as the mother of my children!” And I kind of answered, “Oh… Okay.” But to be fair, he courted me the old fashioned way and I got the flowers, candle lit dinners and chocolate galore and four (wonderful) children.

Marriage so Far: Our initial opinions of each other have been reversed. I must confess that having Damola with Down’s Syndrome made us focus our energies on him and the other children, which meant that we felt united in a common cause – to ensure that he had a good quality of life. That meant we were more often pulling as a team and not nit-picking each other’s fault.

Building a Family: However, the main challenges in our marriage have been about finances really. I had three children in three years and Seyi was elated. I remember he was like a little boy on Christmas morning when each child popped out (and yes! He was there in the delivery room each time). But then we had the fourth, he got worried. One of the most effective contraceptives I know… the cost of SCHOOL FEES!

Is there a Manual to Marriage?: Seyi is a great DIY (Do-It-Yourself) person and as with every appliance, tool and device we get, he always has the manufacturer’s manual handy. The same goes for our marriage; we consult the Manufacturer’s ‘manual’ and regularly return the marriage to the factory for ‘servicing’ and ‘overhauling’(laughing). We try to fill in the gaps and cover the lapses as quickly as possible.

One of the biggest misconceptions people have about marriage is that life owes us a good time, meaning that we are somehow entitled to a good life, fulfilling relationships, fantastic jobs, great husbands and achieved children. I really do not know where or how people form these misconceived ideas. So who then has to marry the man who does not have a super duper job, or the one who lives in a dense neighborhood or who will have children who come bottom of the class? Get real! We all have dreams and aspirations and the guess what? Life happens.

To the brides-to-be and their knights in shining armour, smell the roses, smell the coffee and remember that when the shining armour comes off, the knight will have a whiff of body odour, feet of clay, blind spots here and there, be intensely dense about the finer points of a lady’s needs, still want hot dinner, cold beer and Saturdays out with the boys. But hey, so what?! He will also love and cherish you. Make sure he gives you what you need to get dinner on the table and beer into the fridge and work all the hours God gives to ensure the children’s fees are paid as long as he gets a little space to watch Arsenal, Chelsea, Man U, etc on TV or at the viewing centre with ‘the boys.’

Women Empowerment and Sex: Women have recognised that they need to become, and remain economically empowered. When girls grow up seeing their female relations disenfranchised in marital relationships, they don’t have to be rocket scientists to realise that they need to have better than average income generating skills to ensure the same doesn’t happen to them.

The latest development of the desire to ‘play the field’ is not something I’m outraged about, as my profession allows me exposure to the seamy undersides of human behaviour and the desire to ‘sample variety’ or simply ‘put the spice back into our marriage.’ This is universal and more widespread than we think.

Now, on if it is right to ‘Do it’ before the “I do,” let’s be honest, sex complicates matters when it is the focus, rather than when it takes its natural place within a marriage. Seyi always says, “In a good marriage, sex contributes 10% but in a bad marriage, it suddenly contributes 90%.” I can now see how true that is!

Final Words: Before my wedding, my parents’ advice to me was to be patient and not jump to conclusions – from my dad and from my mum it was to “always make sure dinner is available.” But I would say the secret to a more lasting marriage, honestly is, “Less of me and more of Thee, Lord.” Also both my mothers were right when they said, “At the end of the day, it certainly remains patience and wisdom that work in favour of any marriage,” oh yes! And marry your friend.


Click their names to read the feature on Betty Irabor and Joke Silva.

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  1. The pressure is still on the woman ensure all that needs to be done is indeed done to put dinner on the table and make room for the man to play with the boys. Does the woman not have her own needs too? Just like the other day, I was going shopping with my sis and had thought her hubby would be okay to look after their children until we got back. Her words were: I'm not sure if he would be able to cope! My reply: did he not give birth to them? And she's a doctor too. Equal responsibility please! The woman has needs too.

    1. I meant: Is he not their father? Not literally give birth to...of course.

    2. I agree. I think the three women featured were not just being true to themselves and their marriages, but also to their times. I love Joke Silva's outlook most, but each has some experiences younger women may want to consider.

    3. ƔεA̶̲̥̅Ђ Joke made alot of G̶̲̥̅Ơ̴̴̴̴͡.̮Ơ̴̴̴͡D̶̲̥̅ points

  2. Love this! There are lessons that I can take from this. Thanks for sharing!

  3. The woman still makes the marriage...some lessons to be learnt here.

    Happy new year in advance.

    1. Happy New Year to you also :)

    2. Two people make a marriage, Lara. The woman and the man (or whoever she is married to). Happy new year to you.

  4. marry ya friend na correct advice

  5. I love joke silver outlook on marriage too,sometime I wonder why women are expected much, just thinking a loud. Nice post Myne.
    May new year bring many opportunities your way, to explore every joy of life and may your resolutions for the days ahead stay firm, turning all your dreams into reality and all your efforts into great achievements. Happy new year! Happy 2013!

  6. There are diverse experiences from the marriage institution and Dr Roberts has shared a down- to- earth story of her marital life. Good one.

  7. From Genevieve December 2011 wedding edition.


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