They have been married for 60 years and their love is stronger now than ever before. The secret? Not keeping any secrets from each other. When they speak of their achievements, they each recognise that the other has been a big part of that success and this is the reason they are able to weather the storms.
It was a double toast for senior citizen Martin Aliker as he celebrated his 90th birthday, but most importantly 60 years in marriage with his better half Camille on Saturday February 23, at their home in Gulu Town.
Aliker is by and large a successful man. He is an accomplished businessman, dentist, former minister, presidential advisor, Victoria University Chancellor and has served as board chairman of several organisations, including Monitor Publications Ltd and Uganda Breweries Ltd.
Aliker says one of the reasons he has spent 60 blissful years in marriage and counting is because he shares all his financial details with his wife and she can withdraw any amount of money from any of his bank accounts without consulting him.
“Our finances are one and the same. We have no secret accounts. Camille can withdraw money from the bank and all of it,” Aliker told his guests. “If for 60 years she has not withdrawn all of it, I do not think she will,” the ever humorous Aliker said, sending guests into bouts of laughter.
For many couples, the issue of financial details is a closely guarded secret, but if the Alikers have been financially open to each other, then that is a lesson to pick.
How they met
Aliker met Camille more than 60 years ago when he went to study dentistry in America and not only returned with a degree, but also a wife.
“I have often asked Camille why she married me because at that time, Africa was the Dark Continent and a number of people did not want to be associated with Africa. Camille had many suitors in Chicago and beyond, but she chose to come to Gulu,” Aliker recalls.
He said Camille’s American brothers were also against her marrying an African and leaving America, but they later turned out to be very good friends. For Camille, coming from America to Africa was a whole new experience and she admitted it was a bit frightening.
To Camille, their marriage has been nothing short of bliss. “Marriage has been fantastic. Men should take some lessons from him (Martin). God has been present in our lives. It has been wonderful, fantastic, fulfilling ... every superlative you can think of,” she told gets at their anniversary.
But of course, every marriage has those trying moments. “It has not always been rosy but when you put God first in your marriage, you can succeed,” she said.
The bigger interview was published in Daily Monitor on March 7.