Gospel artiste and author, Righteousman Erhabor, and his wife, Carol, share their love story with BUKOLA BAKARE
How did you meet?
Righteousman – I met my wife at a recording studio in Benin City, Edo State.
Carol: We met in Benin City several years ago.
What were the sterling qualities that endeared the both of you to each other?
Righteousman – She had an irresistible personality and hearing her sonorous voice also got my attention when we met. Being a very inquisitive person, I got to hear a lot of good things about her within 10 minutes of meeting her. Her best friend, who happened to be my back up singer, also told me all I that I wanted to know and they were pleasant to my ears.
Carol – I am also a gospel artiste, actor and voice-over artiste. His presence is not one you can ignore at a first glance. One would have expected him to come across as arrogant, but he was very humble and truthful.
How did you woo your wife?
Righteousman: I went straight to the point. There was no time to waste because a friend of mine, who is now late, who was a producer in the studio where we met at that time was also interested in her.
What did you do at that juncture?
Righteousman: I begged her to do me a favour; by telling my friend that I had wooed her and she already said yes to me, in a bid to stop the guy from going further with his intentions. Immediately she agreed to do that for me, I knew that I’ll do anything for that dream to come to reality.
How long was your courtship and when did you eventually tie the nuptial knot?
Righteousman: In total, 17 years.
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How would you describe your journey through marriage so far?
Righteousman: It has been fantastic, smooth and enjoyable and we are immensely grateful to God for that.
Carol – I’ll describe our journey as heaven on earth. With every passing day, it gets more beautiful.
How have you been able to handle challenges that have come your way over the years?
Righteousman: Maybe I’m still very young in the marriage institution to notice challenges because I have not encountered any and I don’t hope to encounter any.
Carol: Our marriage has been wonderful and, with all sense of humility, I’m enjoying it. I thank God for that.
Many marriages are breaking up these days, what do you think is responsible for this worrisome trend?
Righteousman: I always say that character is king so there are different strokes for different folks. People tie the nuptial knot for different reasons; the beautiful or handsome looks of their partners, for money or retirement purpose. Others get married because age is no longer friendly and some want to earn the respect that comes with the ‘Mrs’ title. The foundation should be built on God’s principles, genuine love and trust for each other.
Carol: I would say that a lack of faithfulness, trust and humility contribute to the breakdown of some marriages. Staying in a marriage and the zeal to make it work is a choice and one must also remember that patience is golden.
What solutions can you proffer to some of these problems?
Righteousman: One thing we must not forget is the favour from God in our marriages because the bible never said that He that finds a ‘perfect’ wife finds a good thing, but just a wife. Therefore, we must realise that none is perfect. It is the favour of God that perfects every successful relationship; not because we are smart or wise in choosing our partners. Praying, eating and sleeping in the same room together also have a lot to do in keeping a healthy marriage.
Carol: One must make God your foundation and things will change for the better. If we can imbibe the fear of God, it will go a long way to help couples because most of the stories we hear about breakups are baffling.
How supportive has your wife been in helping you grow your music ministry as a gospel artiste?
Righteousman: My wife was born into the ministry because her parents are pastors. She is the only girl out of four children and she grew up under a godly mother who has been a pillar to her reverend father. Consequently, she has the understanding that the ministry belongs to God. I am just a tool that God is using and she has no choice but to do what is needful, not forgetting that she’s into the ministry too.
What specific roles do you play in this regard?
Carol: The roles are not specific per se because the support comes whenever it is needed. I give 100 per cent. We are into the same profession and that makes things easy.
What are some of life’s valuable lessons that you are passing on to your children?
Righteousman: Parenting has been challenging but very interesting at the same time; seeing one’s children grow is a thing of joy and by the grace of God. We have been able to teach them the virtues of integrity, charity, faithfulness, godliness, kindness, patience and discipline through the kind of life that we live.
Carol: We teach them how to stand out, stand up for what is right, dare to be positively different and have a solid foundation in God. It is also important to learn from peoples’ experience so that you don’t have to learn the hard way. I know they will all be successful by God’s grace.
How often do you have arguments in your home and who usually makes the first move to apologise?
Righteousman: Luckily, one of God’s favours that I am enjoying today is that I got married to my best friend. We’ve never had an argument that lasted for 30 minutes, or even slept through the night with a heavy heart. Whenever there is a misunderstanding between us, the peace-keeping meeting can be hosted by any of us. In a minute, ‘‘I am sorry’’ does the magic.
Carol: I’m glad you said arguments not quarrels. God has blessed me with a husband who is my best friend and we don’t deliberate on arguments. Whoever offends apologises and we are never too proud to say, ‘‘I’m sorry’’ to each other.
How do you celebrate your birthdays and wedding anniversaries?
Righteousman: I love giving her surprises and making her shed happy tears. I can go to any length to do the unusual to make that day very memorable and it’s new every season.
Carol: My husband is a master planner. He’s full of surprises that sweep me off my feet and gets tears rolling down my cheeks. In fact, every day is like a celebration to me because we plan at intervals, not just set dates.
Is finance in marriage more important than love?
Righteousman: Money has a lot to do in marriage but it does not supersede the rain of love in my home. Understanding and trust are vital and God has been faithful. Hard work does not guarantee wealth or happiness, at the same time, one must not be lazy.
Carol: Money cannot supersede love. I have seen a lot of couples who are very wealthy and they do not have happy homes.
Do you have pet names for each other?
Righteousman: I call her Cee, but when I am angry, I call her Carol.
Carol: I call him baby, even when upset.
How do you unwind and relax when you are not preoccupied with work?
Righteousman: We love travelling, dancing and sitting by the riverside. However, I don’t love swimming but she does.
Carol: I love swimming though he doesn’t like that because of a past experience he had so many years ago when he almost lost his life. We also love travelling and dancing.
What advice would you give to prospective couples who are about to get married?
Righteousman: Get married to your best friend and don’t look for a ‘‘Miss’’ or ‘‘Mr’’ Perfect because there is none anywhere. Also, you must make your spouse your gossip and prayer partner. Never give room for lies; confess your sins to one another, learn to tolerate and forgive one another.
Carol: Improve on your communication skills, be friends with each other, trust and be faithful to one another and above all, let God be your foundation.
Do you believe that young couples should have mentors as they go through the school of marriage?
Righteousman: Yes, they should because nobody knows it all. First of all, the Holy Spirit must be your first guide, and then the bible should be your hand-out because every home has its wear and tear so we must be careful who we choose as mentors.
Carol: It’s good to have mentors, but be sure to choose the right one because some mentors will destroy than build your home. Look for one with integrity. Having the right mentor will help shape and pattern your home in a desirable way. You must choose someone who would be sincere to you at all times.
Should couples always seek the help of third parties to resolve their differences?
Righteousman: Yes, if they can’t handle it themselves, but understanding each other will go a long way to keep third parties far away because no one is supposed to understand you more than your spouse.
Carol: Yes, if the need arises. But it’s a good thing when one is able to grow above that in marriage. Learn to sort things out issues with your spouse directly and it will help make your bond stronger.
What are key ingredients needed to sustain a home?
Righteousman: The fruits of the holy spirit- love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.
Carol: I agree with my husband. Also, first of all, couples need God then love, understanding, trust, patience, tolerance and forgiveness.
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