Comedian and radio presenter, Roby Ekpo, is married to Mayowa, a media personality. They share their love story.
How and when did you meet your wife?
Roby: I met my wife on Instagram. I usually like celebrity pictures on social media. I did not know I had previously liked her pictures on Instagram about a month or two before that. Unknowingly, I liked several of her pictures one morning and she just sent me a direct inbox message saying “uncle please send us your number.” When I saw the message, I sent her all my contact details. She called me and we had a lengthy conversation, although I was travelling that day.
How did you cultivate a relationship with her?
Roby: She was what I wanted in a woman. She has a good sense of humour and asked me awkward questions like if I snore when I sleep and she was excited about my response. After about a week, she said she wanted to visit Calabar. When she reached the arrival lounge and I saw her, I told my brother she was the woman I would marry. I proposed to her on my birthday last year and we got married in November.
Why did you send him the message on Instagram?
Mayowa: I wanted to find out why he liked my pictures, only to find out it was how he generally likes pictures. I did not want to be rude to him, but I did not think it was normal for a young man to like my pictures 70 times in one day. The fact that I was curious got his attention because he also wondered why anyone would get upset because their pictures were liked.
How did he propose to you?
Mayowa: It was during his birthday. After the party, he insisted on going to sleep in a hotel. I wondered why he wanted to do that because his house was comfortable. His excuse was that he wanted some time alone. Together with his friends, we went in search of hotels. The hotel staff said they had only one room left and I ran to the room because I was tired. I entered the living room and as I was about to enter the bedroom, he was on the bed with a ring and petals asking me to marry him. Out of reflex, I ran into the restroom and locked the door. Then I realised it was all planned.
What was the initial attraction?
Roby: She is a pretty woman and the humour in her direct message got me too.
Mayowa: We do the same kind of job, so that caught my attention. He is a jovial and friendly person. No matter how stressed he is, he always has control of any situation.
How long did your courtship last?
Roby: It was from June to November.
Was it not somewhat short?
Roby: No, it was not. It does not matter how long you court someone. The important thing is to be compatible. I know couples who courted for a long time and the marriage did not last.
Did you plan to marry an entertainer?
Mayowa: No, I did not. I was so sure I would marry a lawyer or doctor.
Was your family in support of your decision to get married?
Roby: My parents are late; my dad was a journalist before he died and my grandmother was the famous Margaret Ekpo. If they were alive, the pressure would have been more, especially from my mum since she was Igbo. My brother knew he had to let me take my time.
What qualities do you admire about your wife?
Roby: She is down-to-earth, fearless and not easily intimidated. I always prayed to God for a wife that would curb my excesses because I am hyperactive and she does that by mere looking at me.
What initial challenges did you encounter?
Mayowa: We are still getting used to them. You never know someone completely but it is a lot easier when the person is totally fond of you. The first few months were quite tough but the fact that I genuinely love him and had the desire to make our marriage work saw me through it. God was there for me too.
How do you spend time together?
Roby: I travel to Lagos most weekends but I plan to relocate to Lagos.
How often do you have misunderstandings as a couple?
Roby: We argue a lot about little things but people do not believe we do. I have a hot temper but I have not raised my voice at her. She brings out the best in me.
How does your spouse get you angry?
Roby: She is independent and does not like to talk. She likes to bottle things up when she is not happy and it annoys me. She keeps saying she is fine and I wish she could open up more.
Mayowa: The fact that he does not take things to heart sometimes gets me angry. The way he smiles when he tells me not to worry annoys me the more. Also, the fact that we are apart is frustrating.
How do you make up when you have a misunderstanding?
Roby: I married my friend, so we do not pretend. I do not know how we do it but I know it does not take too long and everything comes back to normal.
How do you spend time together as a couple?
Mayowa: He does a lot of jobs in Lagos. We have been able to manage depending on how desperate I want to see him.
Has marriage robbed you of any privilege?
Roby: I used to enjoy a lot of female attention but now most of them have disappeared. It is a good thing for me as I have always dated one woman at a time.
How do you separate your marriage from your private life?
Mayowa: We both have the same mindset on what we want even before we met. Working does not mean I will neglect my responsibilities at home.
Do you quarrel over finance?
Mayowa: My husband tells me about every penny he makes, just like I do. I hope nothing changes and I will back it up with prayers.
Do you have access to each other’s social media accounts?
Mayowa: No, we don’t. Not because it is a big deal or matters to me, but as human beings, we need privacy. We do not hide anything but there are things that could be misunderstood even though they mean nothing.
Are you not worried that you live apart?
Roby: No, I am not.
Mayowa: I used to be worried shortly after I knew I would marry him. But his attitude and firmness has completely gotten me relaxed.
How do you ward off erring fans of the opposite sex?
Mayowa: He gets that a lot. But what works for me is to shut it off in my mind. Also, the way he responds to them or the situation makes me have nothing to worry about.
What advice do you have for celebrity spouses?
Mayowa: It would be nice if they can shut their marriage out of the entertainment scene. Once in a while it might get out there but shield it as much as you can, because it is your private life and not entertainment.
What pet names do you call each other?
Roby: She calls me Bobo. And I called her Baby or Mayowa.
Mayowa: He calls me Babe or any other name depending on his mood.