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Film-makers, James and Theresa Omokwe, talk about their love story
How did you meet your wife?
James: We met at film school in Abuja. When I first saw her, I knew and felt that there was a connection. It took me a few days to summon up courage to talk to her because I did not want to be embarrased. A few days later, I was working on a project and she commended me. That gave me the push to start talking to her.
How did the relationship develop?
James: We met again a year after we first met and we worked on several projects together. Then, I began to develop feelings for her and she also liked me. When I realised we were headed somewhere, we had a talk. I told her that I liked her a lot and I wanted us to start a relationship that would lead to marriage. I told her we were too old to play games with each other and I wanted the real deal. She was shocked. She agreed and two years later, we got married
What attracted you to each other?
Theresa: For me, it was just his excellence at what he does and his warm personality.
While you courted, did you feel he could disappoint you?
Theresa: I was more focused on not disappointing him.
Did members of your families disapprove of your relationship while you courted?
James: Not really. My dad did not want me to get married. I guess he was not convinced that I could take care of someone else.
How would you describe your marriage?
James: Marriage is a wonderful journey. She is my friend and also my lover. We disagree sometimes but because we laid down certain rules before we got married, we always ensure that we abide by them.
Theresa: No matter how much we fight or argue, we can’t remain angry beyond 12am. It helps us address issues on time as lingering problems bring about malice and create distance in a marriage.
How often do you have misunderstandings?
James: We seldom have misunderstandings but whenever we disagree, it has to do with me being stubborn. I have learnt to listen more to her when we argue and that way, I get a deeper understanding of her perspective.
Who apologises first when there is a quarrel and how do you make up?
James: We both do. Sometimes I do and at other times, she does.
Do you occasionally invite a third party to broker peace?
Theresa: We are careful not to invite a third party into our marriage and this is because we are married to each other. Whatever issues we encounter lies strictly between both of us.
Do you sometimes regret being married to someone in the spotlight?
Theresa: No, I do not. He isn’t really in the spotlight as his work is mainly behind the camera. That way, I don’t have to deal with as much as an actor’s wife would.
How do you keep admirers at bay?
James: There is no hard and fast rule. I just behave myself. I make sure I don’t become too friendly or too caring to a member of the opposite sex. Besides, my wife always points them out; aparently she knows and can spot ‘dangerous’ female fans.
How do you react when female fans celebrate your husband?
Theresa: I celebrate him more and I don’t mind female fans celebrating my husband; he does fantastic work.
What are the most valuable gifts you have shared as a couple?
James: My wife got me a bracelet which has our initials engraved on it. Mine, hers and my sons’ and I wear that everywhere I go.
Theresa: Aside from material items we have gifted each other at one point or the other, I think our love for each other is one of the greatest gifts we both share as couple.
Do you operate a joint account?
Theresa: Yes, we do.
Do you have disagreements over finance sometimes?
James: No. Before I spend money I always discuss it with my wIfe. It’s a marriage and it entails some team work. We do a lot of planning in our home, so there is no room for disagreements.
What would you say accounts for the success of your marriage?
Theresa: Understanding is a key factor in our marriage. If you lay down certain things before you get married, you will get a deeper understanding of a lot of things. For instance, we discussed how we were going to raise our children long before we got married.
James: We also discussed if people were going to live with us or not. We talked about how we would spend our lives together. I play a lot of video games during what I call my “me time.’’ She loves watching her favourite TV shows and she also has her time when I do not interfere. We also create time to watch her favourite TV shows and play my video games together. So, we basically have created our own guide for our marriage and it has helped us in no small measure.
What could be some of the reasons some celebrities cheat on their spouses?
Theresa: It is easy to lose your focus when you begin to get attention from people you never dreamt will pass the time of day. It also depends how much you respect yourself first as a celebrity and a husband or wife. As a celebrity, learn to respect and celebrate your spouse. I also think most importantly, you must have the fear of God.
What would be your advice to celebrities who are married?
James: As a celebrity, you must learn to never let the fame or stardom get into your head. You are first an indivual like every other person and also a family man or woman. As a male celebrity, you must also understand the fact that your wife is your primary responsibility. That is why you must take care of her with all your might. A friend once told me that it’s ‘Family over everything’ and that is the mantra that I live by.
What would be your advice to intending celebrity couples?
Theresa: They must remember that their love and respect they have for each other will stand any storm they may encounter in their union. In addition, they must learn to communicate with each other about any and everything.
What pet names do you call each other?
Theresa: We call each other by name.