A former popular Hausa actress, Fati Ladan, has revealed the secret of longevity in a typical northern Nigerian marriage, saying it has so much more to do than love between a happy couple.
Fati and her husband, Yerima Shettima, the president of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (AYCF), a political pressure group, have recently marked their eighth wedding anniversary, with photos splashed across the social media.
In an exclusive interview with our correspondent, Fati Ladan also revealed how she and Shettima cope as husband and wife. She gives a useful backdrop to the image they have carved as a go-lucky, happy and self-satisfied couple.
The Kaduna-based celebrity couple have a daughter, Humaira.
Openong the discussion with a comment on her eighth wedding anniversary, Hajiya Fati Ladan said, “I give thanks to the almighty Allah for allowing me to witness this epoch. This is not a small feat, as it is said that even if you witness another single day in your life you should thank the Lord, much less all these years.
“I am grateful to Allah for keeping me together with my husband. I am overjoyed.
“I also pray for those that have also gotten married to also enjoy bliss in their matrimonial homes just as I am doing. May Allah bless those who are yet to get married with good husbands.”
While debunking the widely-held notion that celebrity marriages don’t usually last, especially those of Kannywood actresses, she said, “It is not fair to say that actresses don’t stay long in marriage. It is Allah who makes marriage possible, and it is He also who makes divorce possible, so it is not a new thing; it is like life and death: the same way that you’re sure to live you should also be sure that one day you are going to die and become history. Marriage is similarly a living thing, whenever it is predestined to end it will end.
“If you look closely, you will find out that those women who are now unmarried – the divorcees – the ones that are not from the film industry are more in number than the ex-actresses. The ex-actresses (who got divorced) are much fewer.
“But because we are celebrities, whenever something happens to us it becomes big news. But how many divorcees are there in a part of town? Look, you can hardly count one or two houses without seeing a divorcee in it. Everybody knows this is the truth.
“As such, it is not that the actresses do not want to stay in marriage, but every marriage has a life span of its own. Everything in life is predestined.
“Some marriages last till death. You will hear that a particular woman has been married ten times, and it is not because she hates marriage, otherwise she would have been contented with one, two or three experiences. But she would keep on getting married anew until people start counting and go up till ten; it doesn’t mean that she does not want it, she is just experimenting, trying her luck.
“Therefore, there is no woman who would not want to stay in her matrimonial home. Any woman whose marriage collapses was fated to go through that. Everything is preordained; whatever you do the marriage will collapse!
“I pray to Allah to give every woman happiness and peace in her matrimonial home, all of us.”
On the question if she was ever asked about her the success of her marriage by another woman, Fati Ladan answered in the affirmative. She told the New Citizen: “Certainly, yes. Some of my friends who are unmarried and those that are married used to ask me the secret of the amity between me and my husband, and I always swear to them that there is no any secret except the strong bond of love that exists between us. The second factor is patience; no matter the depth of your husband’s love for you, if you lack patience you cannot live together, and vice-versa.
“In a married life, every husband and wife have their own role to play. Even if the husband is not the patient type but the wife is a patient one and is taking everything in her stride, avoiding whatever needs to be avoided and doing whatever needs to be done, you will find that everything goes smoothly for you.
“There is nothing without problems. Everything in life has challenges.
“When I was getting married, my parents kept telling me to go and be exercising patience, everybody was telling me to be exercising patience. And I said why should everybody be telling me to be exercising patience when ours was a love marriage rather than a forced one? Why should they be saying I should be exercising patience?
“It is now that I am clearly seeing their point, because no matter how much your husband loves you and you love him back, I swear living together is not a joke; from one day, two days, three, and you begin to count the years, there is no way that you cannot say you’re not facing some challenges between you and your spouse. No matter what, you should be exercising patience.
“If you do that you will enjoy the fruits of your marriage, but if you do not persevere you will find the thing going in the direction that you don’t want. So, patience is the key, it is everything.”
The retired actress also spoke about the aid foundation she launched last year with the aim of assisting the weak and the needy in society. According to her, “It is still there and continues to thrive. But I have chosen to render help quietly. I could send my manager to deliver assistance on my behalf, and if he sees a need to do something for somebody or somewhere he would tell me about it, and I empower him to go and do it on my behalf.
“These days, people have taken everything to the social network; as soon as you do something it would be circulated widely. Religiously speaking, God says when you help someone you should keep it to yourself, that’s what we are emulating.
“We are not perfect, we have our own shortcomings. Somebody may want to bring a cry for help to you but is afraid you may take their picture and publish them in the social media; it is like exposing them unnecessarily. Such a person may choose to live with the problem or follow some unwanted route to solve it.
“You can see that maintaining confidentiality in the assistance you render is recommended by our religion. If you are going to help someone, it is better to keep it a secret. If the person wants you to publicise it, you may do so, but if they prefer the confidentiality between the two of you, then you should do so. That is our stand. We do not usually expose someone who does not want people to know what he or she is going through.”
On the issue of her own participation in the social media, Fati Ladan revealed that she had quit all her handles. She said, “Sincerely speaking, I am not on Instagram. The only social media application I use is WhatsApp.
“My husband has prevented me from using anything that concerns the social media such ad Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. My husband has stopped me.
“The only one he allows me to use is WhatsApp. It is the only one I use.”
Finally, she advises her former colleagues in the entertainment industry thus: “Any lady in the industry who Allah blesses with a suitor and she feels okay with the suitor in terms of loving him, my advice to her is that she should get married. The reason is that this thing called stardom has a time-frame, whether you are gone or you are still hanging around, you will see new faces coming to take over from you.
“That is why I believe that your getting married is better than staying just like that, because you will reach a point when getting someone to marry you becomes difficult. But you should use the opportunity that your present stardom affords you and get a husband that will please you while everybody blesses your marriage. That is my advice.
“Those that are yet to get married and those that are married, please anyone who has a suitor that she surely loves, she should just go and get married. It is the best insurance for any respectable lady in this world.”