By Faith Igbudu
At a time when marital vows are no longer considered worthy of being kept and are broken almost as soon as they are made, then it calls for celebration when a couple have been married for fifty years. That was exactly what happened when Sir Moses and Lady Margaret Ugye gathered family, friends and well-wishers to renew their marital vows and offer thanksgiving to the Almighty God in celebration of golden wedding anniversary of their marriage at Our Lady of Perpetual Help cathedral in Makurdi. The ceremony was also combined with the 70th birthday celebration of Lady Margaret Ugye.
According to the couple, their marital vows were exchanged on the 24th of December 1970 when they were joined in marriage and since then, apart from the normal friction experienced in every marriage, it has been fifty years of relative bliss and peace.
The husband, Sir Moses Ugye told The Voice that the way and manner that he met his wife and eventually got married may have played a part in their long years of married life, and he recommend that there should be greater involvement of family members in the choice of spouses for their children.
He said: “It was through my elder sister that I met my wife. She was friends with the lady’s mother and she saw her and felt she is good enough to be my wife.I recommend that if you have parents or elders always carry them along because they see the intended spouse in his or her vulnerable state. They see the character when nothing is covered so they will make a good choice for you but there should be a balance as sometimes relations only want to impose. Mine started as an introduction by my sister, the lady too when she saw me did not object. Let’s say I have been lucky” he noted.
Speaking on their experiences as a married couple in the last fifty years, they both agreed that there is bound to be disagreements but there have been nothing so fundamental that was capable of threatening the marriage.
Lady Ugye explains: “You have hills, you have low lands, you have mountains, you have valleys, and that is the interpretation of the word challenging. Between two of us definitely there must be some differences but it becomes no difference when you dialogue over them and resolve them. There are also the challenges of ill health. I personally have been involved in an accident that ripped off four of my ribs which affected the lungs and the heart, then in that same accident I lost three cervical bones; I have only two supporting the neck.
I have a bump in my chest resulting from hitting a hard object and God saw me through all that, I appreciate him and that is what have strengthened me in life that if you trust in the Lord He will keep you just as it is written in Psalm 91.
“When you come in as a couple, you make up your mind to marry someone you love, stick to it. The thing is, many ladies and men come into marriage not being decided whether they want to make it or not. It is not that there are no temptations here and there but determine to make your marriage work. You have a passion to raise a family, if God blesses you with children thank Him and grow together as husband and wife. For people who drop out of marriage, it is because they never really knew what they were going into. At the foot of the altar when you exchange vows, you are telling the congregation, the priest and signing an oath before God that it is for better for worse”.
Sir Ugye attributed the success of their marriage to God and their ability to overcome their differences without recourse to a third party.
“The good Lord made it possible.Marriage is a union of two persons so what happens is that whenever we have a disagreement between us, we always pointed it out and dialogue on it. We never had a conflict whereby an outsider came and settled us.
“I am lucky that my wife has been a very cooperative woman, she’s industrious, she always finds something doing to improve the family’s income. We’ve never had quarrels over financial issue, I think I am blessed. In my challenges of ill health, she always gives me good care. I almost died in 2017 and she has always shown me love and care.In fact if I’m to rate it over all, we have not been having problems compared to others, ours has been very fair”.
Speaking on the rampant cases of divorce and how this trend can be changed, Lady Ugye blamed the trend on lack of patience on the part of the younger generation and an unwillingness to consciously work to make marriages work. She said young couples must be patient with each other and be determined to make their marriages work.
“There have been a lot of divorce cases in the society because many people coming into marriage have not decided they want to make it work. They have a lack of passion to raise a family; they don’t honour the marriage covenant. Of course there will be challenges and differences, but couples should possess the virtue of patience, humility which is capable of averting all forms of strives in the home and remain prayerful together.
“Patience, prayerfulness, humility are key. Even if you have a larger share on the expenditure of properties, there is no need boasting as you did it together, under the cooperation and understanding of each other; that is a union, and it is cooperation. When a marriage is devoid of these then you find problems coming up. The younger generation is not patient. You have to be patient with your partner, you have to weigh each other’s interest. These are the key words in marriage and then of course dialogue when you have a difference.
Earlier in in his homily, the Catholic Bishop of Makurdi Diocese, Bishop Wilfred Anagbe celebrating the mass called for fidelity in marriages with the view to building sustainable and strong families in the society.
According to the bishop, the length of the celebrated marriage can be linked to fidelity by both parties, saying fidelity is a pledge word which is one of God’s attributes that everyone should imbibe as it is needed in human relationships.
The marriage is blessed with three children and eight grandchildren.