Our Misunderstandings Don’t Last More Than a Day—Mr. and Mrs. Emmanuel Okpechi
In this exclusive interview with dailyfamily.ng, they both shared their experiences in marriage and parenting. Interestingly too, Mr. and Mrs. Okpechi do music together with their six wonderful children, though they are not doing it professionally and they don’t intend to go professionally at anything.
There are a lot of lessons to learn from this exclusive interview:
Can you please tell us your names?
My name is Emmanuel Okpechi, I am Uloma Okpechi
What do you for a living?
Mr. Okpechi: I am an accountant by profession, I work for an International Organization
Mrs. Okpechi: I am also an accountant; I work for an International Organization too but not the same with my husband.
Why Music, how did music come in?
Mr. Okpechi: Right from when I was growing up, I developed a very key interest in music. At various times, I was choirmaster and my interest in composing and arranging music keep on without any formal training in those areas. I had a group and we produced about three albums, it was when I was in my twenties but somehow, I lost touch with it but as I had my children, I remembered my youthful days and I felt they should also enjoy such great moments. So, they started learning how to play some musical instruments and one of the ways to bring everything together is for the family to start ministering together.
Do you do music professionally?
Mr. Okpechi: No. we don’t do it professionally. We had our first outing recently.
Mrs. Okpechi: since then, we have ministered in two other places, in a camp meeting.
Mr. Okpechi: it is unique. Every member of the family is involved like she said we ministered in a camp meeting, a gathering of over three thousand people and it was well received. There was a concert where some professional musicians presented and we had a slot too.
Were you a Music Minster too?
Mrs. Okpechi: no, I wasn’t but I have always loved music and it’s a channel I relate to God through.
When you got married, it became better right?
Mrs. Okpechi: Yes, actually the song we sang in our first outing was one of the songs we used to sing when we were courting, the song ministered to us. We were singing then during our courtship just on our own and I got into that.
Mr. Okpechi: I will bail her out, even though she did not have a strong musical background, it will be interesting to know that we sang a song on our wedding day which was well received.
When did you meet each other?
Mrs. Okpechi: we met about 21 years ago.
Mr. Okpechi: yes, we met about 21 years ago and got married about 20 years ago.
How has the journey been?
Mrs. Okpechi: beautiful, uplifting, we have sharpened one another, I must confess I am a better Christian and a better person since we got married. I really thank God because it’s been God’s grace.
Mr. Okpechi: I would say I’m a better person. The bible is true when it says one shall chase a thousand and two will chase ten thousand. There is a geometric progression in the synergy that results from marriage. I am far better than I ever have imagined it to be, it’s a blessing to me. When I said that, it does not mean that there had been no hiccups but every challenge becomes an opportunity to become a better person and all the way I can say the Lord has been with us and the children.
How has parenting been, you have six children, how have you been coping?
Mrs. Okpechi: well, it’s been both challenging and beautiful. I was talking to a colleague and I told her I try to enjoy every stage of my children’s life because sometimes, I think back and I wish I can have those past moments again, I wish I can have those times of still carrying and cuddling them. What I do is to try to enjoy every stage, it comes with challenges and I thank God that He is there and you can always cry to him for help.
Do you see any of them going into music professionally?
Mrs. Okpechi: I bless God because recently, about a year ago, we noticed that one of my daughters had the gift of singing and I just thank God for her, she has an outstanding gift. All the others too, four of them now are in the church choir, they sing to the glory of God, they also play instruments, we introduced them to instruments and they have been playing well.
Mr. Okpechi: by professionally you mean making a living out of music, well, I don’t see anyone of them following that. Even though one of them, less than eight years said she will like to be a musician but that is just a wild dream of children. I don’t see anyone taking to music as a profession but I see all of them using music for ministrations and to express themselves.
How do you settle your misunderstandings?
Mr. Okpechi: laughs, it will be hiding from the truth if any couple says they don’t have disagreements because we are different people. Our difference stems from our gender, God created us differently so for us to stay together sometimes we misunderstand ourselves.
Then, she comes from a different background and me also from a different background and many more other things account for our differences. When we have disagreements, for me first, I want to understand her own point of view. Sometimes I will keep quiet to understand her own point of view.
At the end of it, whether I understand it or not there is a point where we try to sort things out. Fortunately, our disagreements do not survive beyond 24 hours why is because we must pray together before we go to bed.
For the past twenty years we have been married, you can count on the fingers of your hands the nights we spent together without praying maybe five or six times, maybe one was too tired and slept off then you realized the person needed the sleep and then you go on your knees and pray for both of us. Apart from those moments, we have to pray.
How does prayer resolve our issues, we understand clearly that the bible says that if you want to come to God even with your offering and you remember that you have something or someone have something against you that you should forgive. So, time of prayer is a time of stopping and resolving the issue before we pray and after the prayer, God helps us.
Mrs. Okpechi: first of all, if I am at fault, I say I’m sorry and if I feel he is the one that offended me, I leave an open heart for him to come in, in the sense that if he comes to apologize, I am ready to forgive and if he doesn’t, I still forgive. Like he said it doesn’t last more than a day, we must pray together, we must resolve it before we sleep. That time of prayer is the time we talk it over and apologize to one another then pray together.
What is your advice for young couples?
Mr. Okpechi: if couples, if any partner does not know God, the person does not have what it takes to make a success out of marriage. God is the author of marriage and it is only by acquainting oneself with Him and His word that you can go through marriage as a journey successfully.
So, I will say God first, God has the blueprint, He tells you what to do even though your nature may not accept it. For example, God says you should forgive when you are offended. It is not in human nature to do so but because God says so, you do it and it reflects in your marriage, you reap the benefits of the happiness thereafter.
I also want to caution couples that before they got married, they loved each other, they meant the best for each other, they should not somewhere along the line change that assumption. Don’t change that assumption that your spouse means well for you.
Even if what you see appears that things are not going well, maybe you are not seeing it the way your spouse does or your spouse is not seeing things the way you do, if one can prayerfully be empathetic, then you can see your spouses’ point of view and avoid conflicts.
Mrs. Okpechi: my advice is that we should support one another, God gave us to each other to support ourselves. Don’t look for your spouses’ faults to match on them, you are there to love and love covers everything, so, learn to cover each other in love, learn to support one another. When you do that even when you feel offended, your love will cover that offense, no offense is bigger than the love you have for each other.