Thursday, May 16, 2013

Ogor Winnie Okoye - Never Go to Sleep With Unresolved Issues

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Ogor Winnie Okoye is an inspiration to me. I agree with her introduction on her blog which reads, " I love my job! I love my clients! I love life! I love people! I love LOVE in its various manifestations." In addition, Ogor is "a spunky and vivacious mother of four amazing children... married to a truly wonderful man, Victor... an attorney and counselor at law by profession... an author..." Check out Ogor's website for more about her, and I hope you enjoy her marriage avowals;

How did you meet your husband?
I met Bubu ( I call my husband that and don’t ask me the meaning because I don’t know :)through a really close friend of mine, Uche. Uche had met Bubu and his friend, Chike, who were both dashingly handsome young man visiting Nigeria during the summer of 1994. She came running to my house and wasted no time in telling me that she met some really great guys vacationing from the States and one of them looks like my type. She suggested that it will be fun to hang out as in double date! We ended up double-dating for the evening and the rest they say became history. We all looked ridiculous in those first pictures we took, Myne. . OMG! You should see. . .

How long have you been married?
15 years into the journey, Myne; almost 20 years together and still counting. . .

How did he propose?
He proposed almost four years after we met. I guess for him, he knew right off the bet that he wanted to end with me as his “mrs.” For me, I guess it took me a little while longer. We did trans-continental dating for a while and then he proposed to me in 1997. How did he propose? You know, Bubu is every inch an Ibo man. I remember that we were having lunch in our favorite restaurant in Enugu and he had opened up a box and when I saw what he was about to do I was scared to death!

Honestly, I knew that I loved him but was not sure that was the kind of love for sustaining a fully committed marital relationship. I was about 22 years at the time and honestly was not looking to settle down. I loved that he had the perfect six-pack physique, he was fun, etc. I said; “ yes” first of all, he was really cool and I honestly had no clue what marriage entailed at the time. It was an exciting prospect and I have always had that sense of adventure! Fast forward to me today, I would tell another 20 something year old a totally different thing per the rules of engagement.. . I have been very lucky,. . .may be blessed cos I made the right “gut” decision.

What do you think is the “key” to a successful relationship and marriage?
I would say that divorcing your ego is the strongest key to a successful marriage. The ego makes you touchy feely and unnecessarily reactive; ultra-sensitive, etc. Your ego makes you want to always have the last word; your ego makes you want to change your partner to become a clone of yourself! Over time, I realized that my marriage became a lot more seamless and a lot more fun when I began to divorce my ego by coming to terms that Bubu is another person with his own unique set of individual traits that might differ from mine, sometimes significantly in a lot of ways.

With the divorce of the ego, one comes to the full realization that you must respect and honor your spouse’s individuality and resist that human tendency to make them more like what you wish for them to become. But seriously, why do most people want to change their spouses to become more like them? Why should they be and why are you the gold-standard on what the perfect partner should be? When you let your spouse be and begin working whole-heartedly on you becoming the best that you can be, your spouse would somehow meet you at that very high standard that you dared to set. That is one thing that I believe has sustained and nourished my marriage till date and I thank God I found out sooner than later because the truth is that there were years that were lost in the battle of the egos.

What is your favorite part about being married to your husband?
Oh Myne, I loooove this question. . .great question . . . personally, the most exciting question for me. Bubu literally gives me wings to fly! He is my biggest cheer-leader and would believe in me even when I have no faith left in myself. He trusts me whole-heartedly and lets me explore and pursue my passions. What to say about a man that will go to the ends of the earth for your literally. He would leave his busy schedule and take me throughout the country for multiple auditions multiple times simply because he believes in me unequivocally. He does not stifle me at all and encourages me to pursue my passion. He trusts me a 110%. . .He is one insanely supportive spouse and for that I just adoreeeeeeeee him. I also love that he is very driven and pushes me to the limits of physical endurance sometimes ( We often run together). He buys almost all of my clothes as I hate shopping. I love that about him too.

What is the hardest part about being married?
LOL should I say? Hmmmmmmmmmmmm. . .; Ok, I have to say it! Being an African man of the Ibo race makes him predisposed to that stubborn, alpha male syndrome! (he is gonna kill me for saying this) But seriously, I hate that he is so stubborn!!! With a capital “S” (funny that even in the midst of that stubbornness, I can still sense that he loves me to pieces) He hardly ever budges and will not say sorry even when he should say it. I hate that he does not cook but is gradually getting better at cleaning around the house with me. Listen, I spoil this man and take full responsibility for that! Case in point, if he is hungry, rather than going to the refrigerator to take his meal out and warm it or make his fufu, he will be starving to death while waiting for me to get home and get his meal. (I honestly HATE that soooooo much). . .(I do. . )

Do you have children?
Yes Myne! God has been sooo kind and gracious to us! We have four children (2 boys and 2 girls) and can I say that the children actually prefer Bubu’s parenting style to mine because they tend to get away with a lot more from him . Our kids are very close in age (13, 12, 10, and 3) with exception of our little 3 year old daughter who is a lot younger than the rest.

How has this affected your marriage and how do you cope?
Children do change the dynamics of a marriage. It is like injecting another dimension of “challenge” to an already challenging situation. The good news is that they also bring enormous sunshine to the family as well! The key is to maintain the balance that works for you. I say, find what works and stick to it! When the kids were younger it was a lot tougher because I still had to run my private law practice and be mom at home and wife and everything else in between but as they got older, I would say that it got a lot easier because they are helping out with chores. You still have to be a good multi-tasker in order to balance out the different hats that you wear during the course of the day. But I am blessed that I married someone who is amazing with the children. Bubu has more patience than I do with the kids and so that helps tremendously.

What do you do to keep the marriage relationship fresh and positive?
I never discount the role of the Almighty in sustaining our relationship! He has come through for us during the turbulent times that our relationship was severely tested and I never forget that! Prayer has been the centerpiece of it all. I pray especially when I have reached the limits of my human ability and find that I have no more strength left in me.

Besides prayer, I consciously try to let Bubu be! Men love their space! It was NOT like this initially but over time I learnt that it worked wonders! Honestly I find that when I am busy investing in myself, I have almost no time to criticize or condemn him and so the fights are far and in between. Also, when I am not always clinging on to him, he looks at me like with that expression of, “who is she” in his eyes and I feel like he is courting me all over again. That adds a whole new level of sexiness to my package. .. (you must know what I mean Myne! )lol...

Myne, I also work out with him a lot and because we share the love of all things fitness together, it is a great balm for our relationship too . I always apologize, Myne. . . Sometimes when I am right and he is as wrong as wrong can be! A relationship advice from my dad before I left my childhood home still rings true today; “never go to sleep with unresolved issues and apologize as often as you can even when you believe you are right; for the sake of the commitment you made to each other”. I let him win as much as possible . . .(Bubu probably is disagreeing with this one. .., but it is true )

What is your advice to those dating or young couples?
Young people, listen carefully to this one as it is coming straight from my heart: “Marry your friend”. I will repeat it for the sake of emphasis and clarity! “Marry your friend” . . Why? Marriages borne from the bonds of true friendship usually fare better than most simply because the threads of true friendship are seldom broken during challenging times. True friends always find the one thing that keeps them hopeful through turbulent times. Most marriages lack that level of understanding. Even if you have to wait a life-time; the safer bet is to marry your friend. .


  1. Lol @' I met Bubu ( I call my husband that and don’t ask me the meaning because I don’t know)" cause my husband calls me Honey poopoo, whatever it means I don't know but I love it! I TOTALLY agree with the marry your friend part, it's the best thing that could happen to someone.

  2. I continue to have issues with this 'marry your friend' as if that solves all the problem in marriage. I read this novel a while ago about a woman that married her friend (this na oyibo books oh). After they married, the man assumed 'husband role' & made expectations of the wife in fulfilment of what he perceived as her wife role. They clashed constantly, cos chick wasn't ready to be dat. She still wanted to be 'his friend' & dude wasn't having it. They later divorced & without the marriage expectation, found a way to be friends again.

    My advice would be, weda ur husband was ur friend or not, build friendship into your relationship. Pple have great expectation from their partners than they have from friends, so itz really inside marriage dat it becomes so much more necessary 2 cultivate a friendship, knowing the whole picture. If both pple are committed, it makes life so much easier for everyone, irrespective of how u started.

  3. @ Ugo, Is it inside the marriage we will start being friends, hian ? How do u even say i love u to someone ure not friends with. I see some couples soo stiff around each other, it scares the hell out of me. Marrying u're friend sometimes makes things easier.
    Dear Lord, please bring my own man ohh!!!!!

  4. Aww i love this interview.
    Her replies show that shes really happy even 20years down d road.
    Oh lord, please give me that too.
    Happy married life to themm:)

  5. Ogor, you are so beautiful and I love this interview. Ogor is such an inspiration to most of us and I really enjoyed this interview. You have done so well and you know your husband so well. Your formula has worked very well for you and him. You are really in a position to give some of us advice on marriage and I applaud you for that. Thank you very much for sharing. Please keep it up. I have enjoyed your book and all your articles. I look forward to keep on enjoying your articles. May God bless you and your family.

  6. Thanks you guys for the insightful and gracious comments...:-) It means a lot.. :-) Myne, thanks for sharing...I had a ton of fun with this interview. Stay BOLD and beautiful ~xoxoxo~.

  7. Izzy, I think perhaps you are determined to misunderstand me. I never said being friends beforehand isn't important. Am saying being friends afterwards is even more important. Has any of ur friends ever had issues with u not submitting to him, or even made dat demand? Even he is ur friend b4 marriage & after marriage he decides d 'husband' role is far more important to him than 'friend', would u not have still married ur friend?


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