(Okyeame Kwame, his wife Annica and two children)
The hiplife artiste and his wife, Annica celebrated their 11th marriage anniversary in Kumasi yesterday, something you hardly hear every day as far as celebrities are concerned.
Blessed with two children, a boy and girl, the couples are one of the few celebrity marriages in Ghana that has stood the test of time and continue to be one of the enviable couples in the country.
Okyeame Kwame used the opportunity to school us on 11 ways to keep a relationship successful reflecting the number of years the two have stayed together in marriage.
- Enjoy the period of attraction. I remember 11 years ago all I could think of was my Annica. We said so many nice things to each other. She used to say “Kwame U have the softest hands “and then one day I gently touched her neck and she said “ Aiii your hands are painful ! “ lovers can make u feel like a romance god until she hits your buttocks one day and says “we have become like brother and sister. To be attractive is crucial it makes you feel good but like beauty, it fades away.
- Enjoy the partnership. I remember when we were ready for marriage. Nothing could separate us. Not class, not family, not religion, not friends not personalities. In fact, nothing could separate the bond. Then the children appeared and suddenly they became the priority. I lost my nights, lost my romantic trips and lost my privacy. The sudden intrusion of children stole my wife and turned her into a mother and a protector. The more mother she displayed the less of a wife I enjoyed until I learnt to appreciate the partnership of all four of Us.
- Learn how to fight well. Anni and I barely fight. We have a few misunderstandings then a sorry is said and then our lives return to good old default. The few times we have fought in 11 years almost ruined the relationship. It wasn’t the cause that caused the problem. It was the nasty words that we spew when angry. The words of an angry soul kill love from within. As you tell her the brutal honesty that breaks her spirit. So now my advice is instead of “Your action was foolish” I say “your action was disingenuous” Instead of “You are wicked” I say “you are inconsiderate”. Fights are accepted in relationships but insults are not.
- Communication is not key it’s the door. Transparency is not communication. Communication is an honest discussion of all things. From intent to the negative thoughts of I wish I could kiss my crush just once. An honest discussion about emotions, finances, actions, inactions, whereabouts, flirtatious messages both intended on unintended and even gossips should be reported to your spouse without hesitation. Except of course when he or she has proven to misuse such sensitive info. When communication is regular and consistent people open up in relationships. Body language is also crucial. When nonverbal coms is good in a relationship you can look at the posture of your spouse during her sleep and tell the mood she is in. People will tell you to be selective with how much you tell your wife but I say if you have nothing to hide and you talk about everything, you never run out of juicy gossip. I mean to tell her your password and even tell her about messages on your phone you have deleted including the reason. Communication is the door leading to everlasting peace.
- Say sorry even when you are right. I learnt this the hard way in my fifth year. One time I took offence for something that I thought Anni had done wrong . And I sent her harsh messages to scold her. Then she apologized for her actions and then explained the reason for her action. Which was to protect my interest. I felt so stupid. One for misjudging her and two for the leadership she had shown by apologizing for doing nothing wrong. From that day on, when I can I apologize for every misunderstanding in my home. After all, I am the oldest in the family. The logic here is everything u do whether good or bad must not offend your love. Plus saying sorry before a discussion has a humbling effect on anger. The other time I woke and said “Anni sorry “ She said for what and I said for all the wrong things I will do during our sweet but tough journey.
- Perfection is an illusion. If u are looking for a perfect person to love, The question is are you perfect yourself? If you want a perfect relationship before You are happy then your intelligence is working against You. Two different people from two different homes cannot create a perfect home. Unless the meaning of perfect changes from lack of blemish to constantly working on lowering the effect of the blemish, the few times I feel my relationship is perfect is when We are conscious of the troubles that abound and feel we are intelligent enough to overcome it. But I am an extrovert with an introvert wife and that is the definition of imperfection in my house. However, understanding is a sure cue to solving it.
- Disillusion is real – it gets to a time in a long term relationship when the illusion of attraction and romance is ‘cleared off your eyes’. At this stage, u know your partner. They have done and said things to u that u thought was impossible in the earlier stages. This is the time to re-evaluate your relationship and acknowledge it’s true value. Cheating at this stage is very possible but most people who cheat focus on the pleasures that are outside than the peace that is inside. There’s nothing out there which is sweeter wholistic and wholesome than a partner who just showed u their real colors. This is the time that real true love starts in the relationship because at this point you are not together because you are delusional but you are together because you are consciously aware of his or her flaws. But you love the fact that this ‘troublesome’ one is your choice.
- Be careful, the children are watching. Parents here know that children do not listen to what we say they do what we do. They are great imitators. They are able to decipher moods and hidden language. So watch how you treat your spouse because your children may treat their spouses the same. If the idea is to make the world a better place let’s start by treating our closest friend well. I asked my son what is his greatest wish: he told me his greatest fear… that one day mummy and daddy will be living in separate houses.
- Stay sexy – 11 years ago I have 6 packs… I just had a nice one pack that I used to brag about. But now my chest is a little broader, biceps and triceps are good enough for a female to cry on! The 6 packs cry “hold me” whenever I take off my shirt. But even with these exaggerations my wife still sees me as old cargo! I must still beg and push and push before I’m ‘doors open’. So don’t lose yourself! The ageing relationship is bad enough for your lover Stay exciting! Be charming!
- Upgrade yourself – always keep going, keep knowing, keep rising, keep learning, stay refreshing. Change is the only constant! Don’t stay stale! Keep evolving! Keep shocking your spouse pleasantly! When I met my wife I was a high school graduate and she was getting a masters degree. But now I also have a masters degree so she’s no more a master of me. Even though marriage is not a challenge, exposure and experience can create ever-evolving excitement.
- Do unto others!!!! My role model for morality and deep spirituality is Jesus Christ. After all, he said, he summarized a three-year sermon into 2 sentences… Love your God and love your neighbour. The closest neighbour to u is your spouse! So if u make her cry you have failed this simple spiritual test! My song FAITHFUL was birthed in Nigeria when I almost picked up a ‘chic’. Then this concept hit me. Then I asked myself if someone is picking my Annica how would I feel! The argument of polygamy and monogamy is laid to rest when love your neighbour is activated effectively.