Lack Of Communication, Responsible For Increase In Divorce- Ngozi Okonkwo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Lack Of Communication, Responsible For Increase In Divorce- Ngozi Okonkwo

Rich and Ngo Okonkwo
Posted: Apr 3, 2016 at 3:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Richard and Ngozi Okonkwo, a husband-wife team better known as Ngee & Rich by friends are volunteer habit instructors and founders of Keeping Marriage Alive Initiative; a non-profit organisation which caters for married couples.

The two love birds believe that the oneness in marriage brings out the beauty in marriage and reflects a healthier society, as God originally intended.

In this interview with RITA OKOYE, the KMA couple shared the story behind the formation of the NGO, the virus affecting Nigerian marriages among other issues of relationships.


Excerpts: –


I have heard so much about KMA, what does it really mean and project?

Ngee: KMA means; Keeping Marriage Alive. It’s a habit shop. It’s place where you come to understand the power of habit in your life, relationships; especially in marriages, your lifestyle and how you also relate with your immediate society. We cater for the needs of family.


It sounds quite interesting, ?how long have you been doing this?

Ngee: This is the third year. And God has been faithful throughout the years. Keeping marriages alive, is what we love doing. It’s our passion.

To make our society a better place, we have to start from the small unit, which is marriage. If we get it right from the inside, then the outside will look awesome. The DNA of the society is the family and we try make it right for them no matter the circumstances.


What prompted the idea to launch KMA?


Rich: Four years ago, we had a major quarrel, in fact it was a big fight and we headed for divorce. But we had to go for counseling and we learnt some basic principles of marriage and relationship. Some of those principles are fundamental and ‘do-able’, so we started applying them. From there we started being friends again, then back to lovers which made our marriage stronger. Now divorce is a thing of the past.

We decided to teach other people these same things we learnt that helped our marriage.


How long have you been married?


Rich: We have been married for 12 years but had that major quarrel that almost ruined our marriage four years back.


Before the major quarrel, how was your marital life?


Rich: Our marriage life has been average, we do have small quarrels but we were able to manage them until the big one happened four years back.


Ngee: At a point then, we stopped being friends. And I noticed it earlier. I saw the crack in our marriage and I knew it was getting deeper.

It led to my husband having an extra-marital affair and it further deepened the crack. My husband was cheating on me and I also started getting emotionally attached to other people. That was when the thought of divorce popped up.


How long did you actually date before marriage?


Ngee: We didn’t date. He proposed to me after a week we got to know. It was so unconventional. We simply got married as strangers. But we were working on it then, but didn’t give it our 110 percent until four years ago. It’s not about how long, but how well and your mind set.


Rich: It’s good to have a good relationship before marriage, but you still need to work more to make the good relationship work. You have to convince yourself that no matter what, you want to stay married, then so it will be as long as you work towards that.


What should young people look out for in their intending spouses before they agree to go into marriage?

Rich: For a relationship to work, do a lot of talking; communications matters to strength the prospective couple. Then watch out for his or her goals, aspiration, family background, his habits and core values.


From your wealth of experience, what do you think is the problem of Nigerian marriages?


Rich: I think the major problem is communication and the way you communicate. Then finances. The pressure of life can make marriages break. But if communication is applied properly, then the issue of finance will not be strong enough to crash a marriage.


Ngee: Couples should mind their lifestyles and how it is affecting their marriages and spouses.


KMA is 3 years, what has been your major challenge?


Ngee: One of the major challenge is for people to believe and have a need to keep their marriage alive. Some men believe it’s a thing for the women but it’s not for wives alone, husbands too need to know more about his marriage and how to make it work.


Rich: You can’t give someone knowledge if you don’t hunger for it. In marriage, you must deliberately do something new and special every day to make your marriage sweet.


How about Finances?


Ngee: We have been talking to companies, we need support. We have lots of Programs to assist marriages, but we are doing it on our own for now. We need more sponsors to help out. If we are getting it well in the family, then the society will be a better place.

We also plan to be on TV and radio to reach more people, based on this we really need supporters and sponsors for the programme. We promised God that if he gives us a happy home, we will make sure we replicate that in every home we touch. It hasn’t been easy financing all the programs, but God has been faithful.

So far, it has just been between my husband and I. We are handling the finances alone, the little supports from our Excos.


Do you have a testimony of the family you have touched their lives?


Rich: Of course! We met this young man, who was boasting so much about his wife. As God may have it, we later met the wife in a gym, we didn’t know she was his wife, not until she told us about the plans she had to poison her husband so she can end their marriage. By the grace of God, they are now part of us; they have learnt to restore love and peace in their marriage.


Ngee: Then there was this other couple; they feel they were very okay, because as at then, they have been married for 10 years. But by the time they had an encounter with KMA, they realised that they have not laughed together for over six months. Now they are one of the best couples we have here.

Another example is a man that likes clubbing and club girls, so we convinced the wife to give her husband what he wants at home.  She bought all sorts of clubbing clothes and started dressing like a club girl at nights for her husband. Surprisingly, the man stopped clubbing; he would rather be home with his wife.