By Ifeoma Ezenyilimba
Fifty-five years ago, precisely on June 2, 1964, Dominic and Nympha-Mary Okoli, exchanged their marital vow to become husband and wife, and on their 55th Wedding Anniversary, the duo who are grateful to God, described the anniversary as the celebration of their togetherness.
Speaking to Fides after the concelebrated Holy Mass in which they renewed their marital vows at St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, Awka, Anambra State on Sunday, June 2, 2019 (World Communications Day), the wife, Mrs Nympha Mary Anayo-Okoli, said the 55th Wedding Anniversary was the celebration of her togetherness with her husband.
According to her, she would have died some years ago, but she had lived because of the husband, who she said was everything to her. Mrs Anayo-Okoli said, ‘I am handicapped due to my current health challenge. I don’t even go to the market. But my husband does virtually everything at home, and allowed me to do very little. He has been my backbone, very supportive and very understanding’.
The visibly delighted Mrs Anayo-Okoli continued, ‘I can’t believe that a sinner like me is the one celebrating 55 years weeding anniversary, because I least expected it. During the war, we ran from pillar to post, and didn’t know that we will be alive. But, to the glory of God, we survived the war, and lived to celebrate our 55th Wedding Anniversary’.
She identified prayers, especially the holy rosary, Holy Mother Mary and their understanding of each other as what have been sustaining their union for the 55 years, and still counting.
On her advice to the young couples and upcoming couples, Mrs Anayo Okoli, enjoined them to embrace forgiveness, saying that forgiveness was the recipe for successful and happy marriage. According to her, having read how forgiveness had sustained a couple’s marriage for 50 years in a magazine called Woman’s Own while a spinster, she had vowed to forgive the husband in any way he might have offended her.
She agreed to the fact that there were some problems they encountered in the course of the union, but she forgave the husband in any way he might have wronged her, and they lived on happily.
The husband, Mr Dominic Okoli on his part, said he was celebrating his wife, who according to him, had been everything to him.
He identified trust and patience as what sustain every marriage, saying that their marriage was able to last long and happily too, because they started from the onset to trust and patiently understood each other. According to him, ‘From the day they met up to their 55 years in marriage, they have been the same person to each other’.
Okoli, who decried the alarming rate of divorce and broken marriages in the society, charged intending and young couples to firstly, learn how to trust themselves, and with patience, allow their marriages to grow.
He thanked God for His many blessings of the gift of four successful children, six grandchildren, healthy good life and many more, He blessed them with.
Earlier in his remarks, the auxiliary bishop of Awka Diocese, Most Rev Jonas Benson Okoye, who led in the Holy Mass, thanked God for the successful union He blessed the couple with for the 55 years. The bishop congratulated the couple for the witness which they bore to successful marriage, saying that the golden jubilee plus five wedding anniversary was a source of encouragement to young and upcoming couples.
Bishop Okoye, who decried what he described as the alarming marriage cases in the Ecclesial Marriage Tribunal, said the 55th wedding anniversary was a pointer that couples could stay married for 50 years and more, without divorce and broken marriages.