Juliet Musoke is visibly a smitten newlywed. Apart from her glow, she describes her husband’s traits with superlatives as, “extremely empathetic, loving, very caring and respectful and takes a mature approach to life. Most of all he is my friend.”
Mitchel Oliver Obi is equally awed by what he considers to be the best of luck in finding and tying the knot with Musoke whom the Nigerian family named Chioma.
“Chioma as we have named her is an amazing person, extremely humble and full of respect. She is someone that I can be very vulnerable around with. She is an amazing soul in and out and most importantly my confidant,” he adds.
The couple met in South Africa where they are both students at University of Witwatersrand.
“I first spotted her at Clearwater Mall in South Africa where I was having my watch repaired. I did not know how to approach her so I chose to use the colourful bangles on her wrist to start a conversation,” Obi relates. He asked for her number purportedly to help enable him get some of the bangles from her source. Although she was reluctant at first, she later gave in and the two started communicating.
“We spoke for a while then stopped for several months and when we spoke again, his question was “why are we not together?’ and it made me realise that we both wanted the same thing but just probably we were too fearful to accept it so for me that was it,” Musoke recalls.
Obi found so many things he loved about Musoke but most irresistible was the respect with which she treated him. “The way she humbles herself and how genuine her humility, is blew my mind. Even when there is a situation between us, she still understands that I am her man,” he shares. Musoke’s loving and respectful character also won over Obi’s mother’s heart almost instantly.
“It was actually a shock to me, it was like love at first sight between them and we got her blessings instantly,” he further recounts.
Going the extra miles
During their dating phase, she used to drive about 28 kilometres to visit him. That was around time when South Africa was locked down due to the covid-19 pandemic. “We successfully managed this for the entire lockdown period,” she elatedly adds. One day, they went out to a park to talk and they ended up talking for three hours and those hours the couple cemented their future together.
“She was everything I wanted. She is the finishing touch needed for my life,” he says.
He proposed to her in their bedroom. That was after he had even set the wedding date. She adds, “Only an Igbo man will do that! I guess he still owes me a proper proposal such as in the middle of the park or something.”
On their wedding day, he drove his bride to the church. “The 40 minutes’ drive to church made us realise that we were getting married and we were ready for it. That drive and everything we spoke about was real and memorable,” she joyfully recounts.
Seeing her walking down the aisle was his wow moment on their wedding day and he struggled to contain tears. “We are eager to learn. Two people who are serious about each other can always make it work. Oh, and by the way my wife cooks Nigerian dishes,” he adds.
She confirms her cooking delights him. “The food, language, culture, dressing are different but love teaches one to be accepting and adaptive. I mean being able to learn to eat Nigerian food, make some of it even, are things I never envisaged five years ago. I think that is my biggest lesson so far; accept those you love and adapt for everyone’s comfort. He also has tried Ugandan food, the Katogo thing did not go so well but he at least loves the matooke,” she explains.
To the lovers
Her relationship tip is there is no love without mutual respect, friendship and empathy, and advises couples to value each other’s acts of kindness however small. “If he is the one, he is. It can even take just months and he commits and also it takes two to make it right. Give your all.” Obi says honesty will eliminate outside influence.
“I do not think anyone can tell me anything about my wife that she has not told me herself. In less than a year of dating, we got married. Many people will say it is too soon, why don’t you get to know each other . But knowing someone is a lifetime process. There are marriages that happened after five years of knowing each other and still crashed, so for me as long as you have made up your mind to spend the rest of your lives together, go for it. I would also say transparency is one thing that keeps us going,” he says.
Obi also notes that not being ready does not make you a bad person. “It saves you from doing things out of wanting to please the other person and it ending very badly, ” he adds.