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UNDERSTANDING KEEPS MARRIAGE FRESH – RASHIDAT GBADAMOSI

By NBF News

If you describe Alhaja Rashidat Gbadamosi a dyed in the wool civil servant, you would not exactly be mistaken. Like most of her colleagues, she has 'memorised' all the nprovisions of the Official Secrets Act and thereby mastered the art of keeping sealed lips on matters that concern the intricacies of the workings of government.

After all she is a full director in-charge of finance and administration in the office of the Auditor-General of Lagos State. But then there is no provision in the civil service rules which forbid her from talking about the loving relationship is enjoying with her husband for over 30 years.

With nothing binding her hands, she revealed all the 'secrets' that have made her marriage successful in this interview. She spoke on myths about sex and much more. Excerpts…

Why is it that men are perpetually unfaithful?
It is a matter of choice. It is because they want to have variety and they tend to forget that women are the same. We are the same, whether a woman is tall, black, short, she's human, women are women. A man who likes varieties will always go for it.

If you should discover that your husband was unfaithful to you what would you do?

I will close my eyes to it. That is the bitter truth because all my children are grown ups, so what do I want to cry over? I will just pretend as if it didn't happen.

How did you react at the beginning of the marriage?

Of course, I reacted like this: 'despite all I have done, and I have done my best for you, so what else do you want?' But a man will retort: 'what have I done? I have not done anything'. It is the usual thing and when he will not allow himself to be caught on the bed in the house then you wouldn't have anything to say because he is will deny that he is having an extramarital affair.

The best thing is to leave it to God and let Him judge. But when it gets to a stage where a man starts saying, 'I did it and so what?' then you should know that there is no love there anymore. But the truth is that most men who still love their wife will not admit that they are having an affair, they will say that you are just listening to rumors; he will ask you, 'have you seen me with your own eyes? When they ask this question, you get confused and don't know what to say.

What do you do to keep your relationship fresh?
You will have to understand yourselves. When there is understanding, then every other thing is solved. My husband is the gentle type and when he's angry, he just keeps quiet. If I notice that he's been quiet unnecessarily, I'll know something is wrong and I have my way of resolving the matter. I will not pretend as if I don't know something is wrong, but after sometime, I will ask him what's wrong, he will tell me and we talk it over.

People say the sexual drive of women peaks after 40 while that of a man nosedives. How do you handle the sexual contrast?

That aspect is like two children playing. Let's be honest with ourselves, what strength will a man have after 30 years of marriage if not just playing. Even for the women, the women think more about their children and grandchildren.

These days, you get to think more of your children and grandchildren rather than sex. I don't know of the beginning but after 30 years, a truly serious-minded couple would discuss more about their children and grandchildren. Love life is there, you play, you joke but it is not as if it's a 'do or die' thing. The sex part would have reduced greatly; you just do it to keep each other together.

Is that not the reason older women now look around for younger guys?

I will want to say that the person will fall amongst the unserious women that probably did not have a home before now. If somebody has had a good home all along, I don't think there would be a reason for such act. That is why I said, by then you should be talking about your children and grandchildren.

What were your early years like?
I went to Lagos Anglican Primary School; and for my secondary education I went to Abeokuta Grammar School. Those days hold good memories for me. In my secondary days, I lived in the boarding house. Being in the boarding house then was a great thing because the school was run by missionaries not like the ones we have these days.

We had a working disciplinary system and even some of our teachers were white and they were very strict. Then, I moved on to study in France. I was married by the time I graduated with a degree in economics and it all went well. Life then was very tough, but by the grace of God, we scaled through and my husband was there too. Initially, we started with part time; we work in the morning and went to school in the afternoons and evenings. After we got to 300 Level, we started studying as full time students.

Were you in Paris with your husband?
Yes, we were together in Paris.
Why did you have to go to Paris?
Actually he went before me and I joined him later. We had our ups and downs, but we thank God. We had to do petty jobs to keep body and soul together. Like I said, he's the understanding type. I remember that we didn't cook in the house then; we ate in the restaurant.

We used to buy canteen chicken. It got to a time that people were wondering why we met there everyday, at the same time to eat. Later, we explained to them that we were married and worked in different places. There was no time to cook. I really appreciate the fact that he was considerate. It was only on weekends that we had time to cook.

Why didn't you just start a career there?
You see, in those days, we travelled out of the country to learn, get a certificate and then come back home. Nigeria was very good then. When you got back, you would get a job, a car loan, and everything you needed to live a good life. There were no problems like we have now. There was no reason to stay abroad.

So, did you get a job immediately you came back?
Yes, I did my youth service in the Lagos City Council and immediately after the service year, I began working there and I got N3400 as a car loan. Life was sweet then; Nigeria was good and people who were abroad were eager to come back home. For my husband, he was lucky; he was employed by the Federal Government directly from France and that even made life easier.

There is this perception of civil servants as lazy, promiscuous people? How you feel about this?

That is a very wrong and unfortunate stereotyping. Maybe people say this because of the environment and atmosphere of friendliness we exhibit. For us here (Office of the Auditor General), we operate as one family. You wouldn't even know my boss unless he's sitting on his desk because we see ourselves as a family. That you married someone who works in the same place with you does not mean that you are a promiscuous person.