Julius Agwu, a comedian/musician, has been married to his wife, Ibiere for five years. The marriage is blessed with a daughter, Zahra.
They talk about their marriage in this interview.
You have been married for five years. How has the journey been like?
Ibiere: It has been good.
How did you meet?
Julius: We met at a wedding in year 2000; she was part of the bridal train. Incidentally, Okey Bakassi and I were the comperes at the event, and both of us competed on who would be the first to ask her out. I made the first move but she was too little, she was underage.
Ibiere (cuts in): I was 18, I was not underage.
Julius Agwu: Well, she was 18 but she was a baby. I just saw one beautiful girl. I was smarter, I was faster, and I was able to get her contact.
We became friends but she started putting up an attitude whenever I tried reaching her. At a point, I called her bluff and wondered who she was. In fact, I forgot about her.
Ibiere, why did you put up an attitude?
Ibiere: I was not putting up any attitude, I just concentrated on my books, then, I was in my first year in the university.
Was your attitude as a result of his profession as a comedian?
Ibiere: The fact that he is a comedian had nothing to do with my decision, I wasn’t just interested.
So, at what point did you change your mind and show interest?
Ibiere: After the first meeting, we lost contact for two years; we met later and became friends.
When you met her later, what was your reaction?
Julius: I met her two years later in 2002 when I lost my father. I was very angry because at that period, my career was just kicking off. The day he died, I went to Chioba, my village to settle his hospital bills.
On getting there, I saw a crowd of mourners at our gate. I was so angry that I made up my mind to drink myself to stupor. I went to a town in Port Harcourt to have drinks with some friends who had come to commiserate with me. When I left our table for the toilet, I ran into her on the corridor. She informed me that it was the eve of her birthday and she had come out for some drinks with her friends.
I informed her that I had just lost my father. We moved from there to another club and since it was her birthday, I decided to buy drinks for everybody. After all the money I spent at the club, they wanted to leave. So, I asked her, “are you leaving without even giving me a kiss?” She said, for what?’ I realised she was still putting up an attitude and that got me very angry. This was in addition to the fact that I was tipsy. Again, I called her bluff.
During my father’s burial, she came, but she was still a baby because she still had her curfew and she was not supposed to stay out late. But I was impressed that she made out time to visit me.
At what point did it occur to you that he might propose?
Ibiere: At no point, when he proposed, I was not actually thinking about marriage because I had just graduated and was not even thinking of marriage.
But Julius, do you agree that part of this attraction could be the fact that she was not really interested?
Julius: One thing about me is that I like to have my way. I have always had my way and she posed a challenge for me through her lack of interest. But I did not just see a beautiful girl, I saw someone who was intelligent and stern. She was principled from the outset. She is actually my greatest critic.
Since he is a jovial person and makes money out of telling jokes, are there times you expect him to be serious about some issues and he is not?
Ibiere: He knows when I want him to be serious and he sees it on my face. Most times, I don’t even need to say anything, I just look at him and he knows I mean business. Also, I know when he is serious. When I see his facial expression I know.
His job entails a lot of publicity. How do you deal with that especially being with him almost at every event?
Ibiere: I am always with him but I am not in the public glare because I don’t bring myself out there to be seen. I am always in the background.
Do you laugh at his jokes when he is on stage?
Ibiere: If it is funny I laugh, if it is not I don’t laugh.
You must really enjoy his jovial nature?
Ibiere: He could be very annoying; forget all these things he does on stage. He gets me annoyed.
Ibiere: Not even at home.
What does he do to annoy you?
(At this point, the couple stared hard at each other).
Ibiere: What does he do to annoy me? Hmm… I don’t want to go there.
Julius: Go there now.
What does she do to make you angry?
Julius: She is an introvert; most times I am the one who would ask, ‘are you okay? What is the problem?’ She would just keep to herself and that really gets at me.
Sometimes, I would expect her to ask me how I am faring but she never does. Though I like the fact that she really doesn’t have friends; but I still don’t like the way she treats me. Before we got married she would ask me, ‘baby, have you eaten? Try and eat something please.’
Since we got married, she has not bothered to ask me if I have eaten! These days, I have to beg her to ask me if I have eaten.
Is this true?
Ibiere: No. It is not true.
When was the last time you asked him if he had eaten?
Ibiere: I asked him day before yesterday.
Julius: When was the last time before the day before yesterday?
How do you settle fights?
Ibiere: We fight until one of us is tired; usually he is the one who gets tired first.
Is it true?
Julius: It is true. The kind of job I do is to give laughter and joy. So, each time we quarrel, I don’t feel comfortable, I can’t claim to give people joy when I am not happy. I thought I was an expert at keeping malice. until I met her.
Ibiere: You are worse than me. I might not be happy but if I am angry, I can still talk to him but if he is angry, he can go on and would not even say a word to anybody.
Has your bond grown stronger?
Both: Yes it has. Funny enough it has.
What has kept your marriage?
Julius: We just decided that we would not engage in stupid quarrels.
Ibiere: Before the situation gets to the stage of quarrelling, we speak about our feelings instead of bottling up issues.