My marriage… with Professor Mahfouz Adedimeji, Vice Chancellor, Ahman Pategi University, Patigi, Kwara State

For how long have you been married?

I have been married for 21 years now.

Where and how did you meet your wife?

I have known her since when she was a little girl as her dad operated a patent medicine store from where we used to buy over-the-counter drugs in my neighbourhood.  She was later admitted to my secondary school, St. Mary’s Grammar School, Iwo, the year I was graduating. Then, she was admitted to the School of Nursing, Ilorin, which was just a stone’s throw from the University of Ilorin mini campus where I was then. I wondered why she was always on my radar as I met her in the neighbourhood, secondary school and university! We became more acquainted in Ilorin, especially before I left for my NYSC, and as they say, the rest is history.

Did you always know from day one that you would end up together?

Not really. It was a gradual process despite the fact that she was likeable with a compelling physical presence.

What is the most remarkable thing you love about your wedding day?

I love the fact that it was a remarkably simple event. It was a nikah session witnessed only by family and close friends, which was the real wedding. She was schooling in Offa then and it was that nikah of February 20, 2002, that formally made her my wife even if we were not living together.

The wedding reception, also known as waleemah, came the following year. It was largely ceremonial and the lectures delivered that day were memorable.

What is the most beautiful virtue you love about your wife?

Many colours actually make a rainbow; there are many virtues that make my wife tick and they are complementary. She is loving, caring, righteous, respectful and accommodating. On the last part, I love the fact that even my family members don’t usually tell me when they are coming or they tell me for the sake of formality. She accommodates everyone. I also love her mum, a woman of faith, a positive influence and an excellent role model. My mother-in-law is my cheerleader.

How has marriage impacted your career as a lecturer and school administrator?

It impacted positively on my career. I started early; I became a lecturer at 26 and got married barely a year after. So, I was able to focus on the core and not be distracted by what distracts many young men who look desperately everywhere like the proverbial thief in the sugarcane plantation.

What noticeable changes have you noticed since marriage happened to you?

Physically, I have added more weight! Well, I used to eat whatever I could lay my hands on. I could wear whatever I wanted to wear because the content is superior to the container. Marriage made me realise that the content and the container should be complimentary.

As a public figure, how do you balance your career, work and home?

It is by giving each one its due.

How do you make sure you keep your marriage out of public scrutiny?

What’s the business of the public with my marriage ab initio? If not occasional photographs together, my family life operates at the physical home. Though we follow each other on social media, you wouldn’t even connect us except you had known us personally.

What has marriage taught you?

Marriage has taught me that it is just a union of two imperfect persons seeking perpetually to make sacrifices and understand each other. It is this quest that makes a marriage last, not giving up on each other and believing that the other person will be better. There are two Japanese idioms – two of the concepts I had a reason to address students on recently – called Kaizen and Wabi-sabi. Kaizen means that you should always try to improve. As marriage is just a work in progress, I am still trying to be a better husband and father. Wabi-sabi entails that we should find peace in imperfection. I am not perfect, and she is not perfect but the fantastic thing is that we are finding peace and harmony in our imperfections. These two concepts are not applicable to marriage alone but to life as its macrocosm.

What tips can you recommend for Muslim men on how to make their wives happy during Ramadan?

I’ll urge them to be 12 things during and even after Ramadan. They should be caring, as women go through a lot, especially during this month of intensive work. They should be kind to their wives as being kind is being ‘king’. They should be patient with their wives because patience is light. They should be empathetic or treat people’s daughters (their wives) the way they would like their own daughters to be treated. They should be more understanding because understanding matters much in making marriages work. They should be forgiving because the one who offends is called the wife – it is in the DNA of that specie and the same thing applies to the husband. They should be committed to making improvements because commitment is critical to lasting marriages. They should be loving because love leads to blessings. Husbands should be selfless because selfishness kills morale in marriage and they should appreciate that the earth does not revolve around them, it revolves around the sun. They should be prayerful because prayers are powerful game-changers. They should be generous because wives love being splattered with gifts. They should also be open because secrecy breeds mistrust in marriages.

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