Nollywood actor, Deyemi Okanlawon and his wife, Damilola, have been married for three years. They tell BUKOLA BAKARE about their union.
How did you meet?
Deyemi: We met as undergraduates at the University of Lagos. We were both studying chemical engineering at the time.
Damilola: We went to the same university. We had some friends together. We kept bumping into each other at parties or at friends’ homes. Our paths kept crossing.
Would you say yours was love at first sight or it was friendship that developed into love?
Deyemi: We never really spoke to each other until a few years after graduating from the university.
Damilola: Our love grew during the time we spent dating and having conversations.
How would you describe your courtship?
Deyemi: We started dating sometime in 2011 and spent quite a lot of time together.
Damilola: We courted in the old fashioned way with a lot of time spent to know each other.
How did you propose to her?
Deyemi: I remember I took her out to dinner and I asked a band to sing the classic hit, Endless Love. I joined them in singing, got on one knee and asked her to marry me.
What was your response when he proposed to you?
Damilola: Of course, I said yes to his proposal. I am someone who is not easily surprised, but I did not see the proposal coming. I would say he planned it well.
When did you get married and how has your marital journey been so far?
Deyemi: We got married on January 5, 2013. Our marriage has been an amazing journey of self-discovery and growth.
Damilola: Our marriage has been blessed as we have both grown over the years and become better versions of ourselves.
How have you been coping with marital challenges?
Deyemi: As with all relationships, there would be moments when perspectives differ. At such times, we try to make sure that we communicate and resolve differences in opinions as quickly as possible.
Damilola: Yes, there have been challenges, but we have been able to surmount them by constantly reminding each other of what is important- the success of our marriage.
How often do you have arguments?
Deyemi: When it is clear that our views are not going to be the same, we choose to leave each other with our decisions. For example, I believe the US deserves a Donald Trump presidency while she believes that Hilary Clinton should be the country’s next president. There is no way we’re going to agree on that.
Damilola: We have quite a number of healthy arguments. We are both highly opinionated individuals but it is fun.
When disagreements happen, who apologises first?
Damilola: I apologise whether I believe that I’m right or wrong. I find that it’s the first step to a quick resolution. He usually apologises first though, as he is the more mature and patient one.
As a couple, what are your likes and dislikes?
Damilola: We love being indoors with the exception of date nights and we also try to go on holidays as often as we can. We enjoy spending most of our free time with each other as he is on set most of the time.
How have you been able to fit into your roles as parents?
Deyemi: We have a three and a half months old son and I think we have both successfully managed the transition.
Did you ever think you would marry an actor and how do you feel when you watch his romantic scenes?
Damilola: I never thought I would marry an actor. But I am coping very well. I feel nothing whenever I watch my husband’s romantic scenes. He does not like me watching them though but I know that it is all make-belief.
What do you think are the key ingredients needed to sustain a marriage?
Deyemi: Vital ingredients to sustaining a marriage include love, maturity, communication, humility and finance.
Damilola: Every marriage needs love, patience, selflessness and humility.
Do you have pet names for each other?
Deyemi: No, we don’t.
Damilola: No, we don’t.
How would you describe yourselves?
Deyemi: I would say that we’re both quiet, reserved and moderately social. We try to complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
How do you unwind?
Deyemi: I spend a lot of time reading books and watching Nollywood and Hollywood movies.
Damilola: I spend time reading articles or visiting blogs and bonding with our son.
What is your fashion fetish?
Deyemi: My fashion fetish would have to be shoes.
Damilola: I love shoes, skincare and make-up.
Do you keep pets?
Deyemi: We do not keep pets at the moment but we’re considering getting a puppy soon.
How do you celebrate birthdays and wedding anniversaries?
Deyemi: We celebrate them quietly. Anniversaries are spent alone in some getaway spots while birthdays are spent with close friends and family. Birthdays are times to reflect and thank God, so it’s usually spent with very close family members and friends. Anniversaries are dear to us so we find better ways to celebrate them each year.
Do you assist your wife with domestic chores?
Deyemi: I do that as often as I can. Nowadays, I spend most of my work-free days and nights taking care of our baby.
Damilola: It’s true that he helps out with house chores. I would say that he is an amazing father and almost spends more time with our baby than I do.
What are your wishes for your marriage?
Deyemi: To grow in love and raise a God-centered, healthy and prosperous family surrounded by a lot of love and success.
Do you have a phobia?
Deyemi: I have none.
Damilola: I have a phobia for snakes.
What are some of the memorable moments in your marriage?
Deyemi: The most memorable moment for me remains the day I found out that I was going to be a father.
Damilola: The day we got married remains a memorable moment. I was also over the moon when I found out that I was expecting a child. The day I gave birth to our handsome son was also amazing moment.
What is your philosophy of life?
Deyemi: Don’t just make a living, live out your dreams and as much as it is in your power, be at peace with all men.
What is your favourite food?
Deyemi: I’m not picky about food.
What advice would you give to couples experiencing turbulent times in their marriages?
Deyemi: Marriage is a relationship where two people inspire, motivate and encourage each other in their pursuit of shared and individual dreams. They also challenge each other to be better versions of themselves. Take responsibility for your relationship, learn to forgive daily regardless of who is right or wrong, find purpose for your union and rely on the wisdom of God’s word for the fulfillment of His plan for your lives.