We love weddings but we love beautiful marriages even more. When we featured Liz and Yomi Black’s wedding we loved the beauty of the event. What’s even more beautiful is the fact that one year after their marriage their love still blossoms strong.
The first year of marriage can be a rocky road! From adjusting to living together, learning to tolerate each other’s quirks and vices and let’s not forget the big F – finances! In a world where we see a lot of young couples throwing in the towel, we’re very happy to celebrate two people who have chosen to stay true to what they believe in and themselves. In our chat with Liz and Yomi Black; the couple shares what makes them tick, what they discovered about marriage, how they resolve tension points and what keeps them going strong.
What do you know about him/her that you didn’t know before you got married?
LIZ: Hmmn, Yomi is spoilt, he can’t eat the same food more than 2 times in a week.
YOMI: I didn’t know the extent of her happiness, I see her glow.
What would you say is the high point of your marriage so far?
LIZ: Everyday has been fantastic, however, getting better at communicating with each other, seeing our projects come to life, learning how to be better business partners, and respecting each other is very fulfilling for me.
YOMI: I know this will sound cliché, but Lizzy is right…the journey is the reward.
What did you do for Valentine’s Day this year?
LIZ: We were to travel but Yomi’s work with VHS didn’t let us go, so we basically had dinner at our favourite Chinese Restaurant, exchanged gifts, and loved each other.
YOMI: hahaha at “loved each other”.
How do you deal with particularly difficult challenges you face together or individually?
LIZ: It depends on the type of challenge, but usually because of our friendship, we talk to lengths about things, sometimes we pray about them, sometimes we get into arguments about things, but at the end we either sacrifice, negotiate, or equally agree on decisions.
YOMI: Being best friends helps a lot, we already talk about almost everything, so we face most challenges together. Beside two heads are better than one. We also understand that above all, we love each other.
How do you spice things up?
LIZ: We travel. We take ourselves out on dates. Yomi makes Stir-Fry Noodles for us, especially in the mornings (best I’ve eaten ever). We love watching movies, at home and at the cinema. We visit and hang-out with friends and family. We also play competitive games against each other. I always lose, but not at Ludo
YOMI: Lizzy always buys me gifts, she is the generous one.
As a couple in the eye of the media, how do you keep up with that?
LIZ: We don’t really see ourselves like that, however, we try to be ourselves no matter what, being happy with ourselves, focusing on the relationships that are important to us, our businesses and career paths.
Lately, we received serious heat from people online, which only explains one thing- humans beings will always be human beings. I will still buy my roasted corn on the road, go to the market to buy food stuff, nothing changes.
YOMI: I am not going to act surprised , because it happens is this line of business, personally I am comfortable in my skin. I can’t shout.
How do you handle your newly adopted family members?
LIZ: First of all we are from different backgrounds – I am a mix of Scottish/Lebanese/Hausa while Yomi is a full Yoruba man so you can imagine, nevertheless my relationship with my husband’s family is a lot better than before we got married, and it keeps getting better. Being married to a family with all women only one son.
YOMI: Lizzy is the first born, she has the finest siblings ever, and I mean that literally. Anyway, they make it so easy to love them.
Do you pick out what he/she wears?
LIZ: 70% of the time, I select what Yomi wears and sometimes we argue about it. Yomi likes to be free casual and comfortable most of the time, He is a strong choleric, so he hardly cares about his appearance, he’s always focused on his work or the task at hand, so I have to hide some old clothes that he won’t let go off, beg him to comb his hair or end up combing it for him at times, sometimes I literally stand at the door not letting him go out till he changes something he’s wearing. He’s my big baby.
YOMI: Everyday, Lizzy comes to me with two options of what to wear, and also goes with the one I don’t pick, Besides she always looks good, so I don’t mind.
Do you have a say in hair styles/hair cut?
LIZ: Yes I have a say sometimes, because he likes me coming with him to the barber’s shop, and he also has the way he likes my hair to look: either I carry my natural or fix really short weaves. He doesn’t care much for big hair do which I like.
YOMI: l only have a say when it’s a short hair style and also, she never keeps her natural hair for as long as I want.
What are the added perks of marriage that you feel you just found after you got married?
LIZ: A new different kind of respect from Yomi and vice-versa, and from people. We’re closer and more intimate, we spend so much time together every day. We can’t help but feel a special Grace of God now that we’re married. Now I can easily play ”good cop/bad cop”. Other married couples will understand. Generally I am happier now, more at peace, knowing that every day and night I have someone who cares for me and has my back no matter what.
YOMI: In Nigeria , when you are married, other people take you seriously. Had I known, I would have married since.
“Nobody told me this about marriage” – Share a few of these:
LIZ: Well I’m glad we attended one of the best pre-marital class at Family Worship Centre, Abuja, so they basically enlightened us on several challenges that married couples have, hence, nothing has really startled me.
YOMI: Nobody told me that I would never get tired of constantly fighting for love and keep asking her to marry me over and over again. I love it though.
How have you guys been able to deal with the issue of finances?
LIZ: Well… from what we have been taught and also what has worked for us so far in the issue of finances is the knowledge that the lack of money or the abundance of money can cause problems in a marriage, therefore understanding finances is very vital. We have made plans and semi-rules to work by so as to avoid unnecessary conflict. We made a list of what we use money for, such as:
– House Bills
– Car Maintenance
– Home Maintenance
– Family & Friends
– Projects/ Business
– Personal Effects
Since Yomi is the bread-winner and makes more money than I do therefore he has the responsibility of taking care of major bills, like rent, house bills, travelling, etc. While I take care of Home maintenance, Feeding, Leisure and personal effects. Then in the case of family & friends, we have a set out amount of money we agreed to allocate to them every month( Except there is a major issue). As for projects and business, because we are business partners, the business account takes care of all matters relating to that.
Finances in marriage is a very wide and deep subject, we won’t be able to explain everything, but basically, this is the summary. The most important things are trust, being transparent about money, everyone comes clean about how much they make or have, agree on who is responsible for what, and save together. This does not restrict you, it only guides, so even if I can’t take care of my own bills for a period, Yomi helps out and maybe vice-versa.
Is there a unified family fund? If so, who manages the funds?
LIZ: Apart from our individual accounts and business accounts, we have a joint account where we save for the future and we are both signatories to the account. As for personal accounts, we both know each others passwords and pins. This helps put one in check, not over spend, or waste money on frivolous things. We aren’t saying we can’t be spontaneous or spend as we like, but it cautions us and because we are no more single, being married means responsibility and accountability.
Best part of being married to…
LIZ: The best part of being married to Yomi is knowing that you have someone who is strong as a rock to rely on, Yomi loves me unconditionally, I feel it everywhere, every time. He makes me laugh a lot, most nights we stay up laughing till our tummies hurt or sometimes I start losing my breath. Yomi is very mature and understanding, he knows how to communicate and handle me especially when I start throwing tantrums for no reason (Hormone things). He respects and encourages me, and very supportive. (He’s not at all perfect, but his positive side weighs far more) Yomi is a good human example of how Christ loves the Church and how men are to love their wives.
YOMI: That is a tough question. I think it will be the part of her that understands and tolerates me. Lizzy might not be nice to you, but she is super nice and lovely to me.. Every time she makes me feel good, like a sort of high.
Do you have arguments? How do you resolve them?
LIZ: Yes of course we have arguments, serious ones o, and sometimes it lasts the whole day and a few times it drags to the next day. However, over time we learnt to deal with it, knowing that the major issue was with how we both communicate, so now we hardly have arguments. We learnt that when the other person does something you don’t like or something that hurt you, your first reaction shouldn’t be outburst of accusations, it should be silence, then go somewhere to calm down (if the heat is too much) if not control yourself and express yourself to the other person from the perspective of how you feel, for example; If Yomi does something I don’t like, I will say- “Baby I know you love me and I do too, however, when you said bla bla or did bla bla..It hurt my feelings, it made me feel bla bla… I know you didn’t mean to, but I just thought you should know”.
Once you talk from the perspective of your feelings and how what happened affected your feelings, no one can argue with that-not accusations. (Yeah so something Like that, it may sound ridiculous but it works, the other party doesn’t get as defensive)- That is the sandwich approach taught by Pastor Sarah Omakwu (Bread with butter then ”Beef” in the middle and bread with butter again).
YOMI: We wanna argue die? I know most people think that Lizzy is fragile because she looks innocent. Joker! The truth is, she is a bull inside. Luckily I know how to handle her most times.*wink*
Advice to young couples planning to make the leap.
LIZ: My advice to couples planning to get married will be:
– Please marry your best friend, someone you are not afraid to be yourself with 80% of the time.(No such thing as 100%)
– Marry for the right reasons and only when you are sure you are ready.
– Know who you are and find yourself before becoming one with another person. Have your own dreams, vision and goals.
– Let both parties come clean about their expectations of what a married life is to them before getting married.
– Be ready to not always have your way, but also not to become a doormat.
– Marry someone that respects you( woman/man).
– Choose someone that you like being around, and be sure that you can enjoy their company for long periods of time.
YOMI: Marry your friend. Don’t let family, prophets or people make a choice for you, have your own convictions and be led by the Spirit.
Fun things you do together
LIZ: For fun we like to be in each other’s company and just talk about any and everything, play cards, Ludo, video games, go swimming, or to the beach to just get refreshed by nature, watch movies, mimic ourselves, take walks in the evening etc…
YOMI: Lizzy forgot to add that every Saturday morning we eat Amala and special Yoruba soup. We took her Mom there too when she came visiting and she loved it.
Do you have “Me Time” in your Marriage? If yes, what do you do during the time.
LIZ: Yes sometimes we have the “Me Time”. Those times I’m usually oil painting, or reading a book, or doing one of those girlie things.
YOMI: I wake up super early every day, so I am able to have some time for myself before Lizzy wakes up, I do most of my creative thinking then and work which is great for me.
Fun facts you discovered about marriage
LIZ: – You learn how to be disciplined and responsible with money.
– The intimacy is great, and it only gets better (If you work at it).
– Once you get married, you realise you begin to have other married couples as friends and hangout and talk about marriage stuff…which is fun, because you begin to share experiences and learn from each other.
– In marriage you learn something new about your partner every day, no matter how insignificant it is.
– You have a spiritual partner, praying together is important and it has a romantic touch to it.
– You start completing each other’s sentences, taking the words right out of their mouths, talking like the other person.
YOMI: I’m still discovering so much…The person becomes your super best friend , and you feel a deep feeling of care that you have never felt for anyone else, and you are so soaked into her that you start to annoy your homies. Also in-laws can be the perfect alibi.