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“That was the night he asked me out. Exactly 6 years later, we were walking down the aisle.”- Ofon-Ime’s Love Story.

Warning: If you are a crier, get your tissues on standby because reading this love story might feel like someone is slicing onions.

Have you ever thought about how the main stars in every awwn-inspiring love story were once complete strangers?  Maybe except for those ‘We went to the same Kindergarten and I have always known I will marry her/him’ categories. Those ones are a little weird because why are you knowing your future spouse from KG2? 

But anyway, back to the main gist. It’s always interesting to find out how two people go from strangers, to friends, to becoming soulmates. 

With that in mind, we reached out to Mrs. Ofon-Ime Akpan-Olutunde to share the beginning of her love journey with her spouse. Her story is a beautiful expression of the abundant grace and faithfulness of God. 

Host: So….First things first, can we meet you?

Ofon-Ime: My name is Ofon-Ime Akpan-Olutunde but I like to be called Ime. I am married to Oluwabukunmi Olutunde aka Briggs. I work as a NAFDAC regulatory officer and I serve in Sycamore church as the Next Steps Team Lead. 

(Ofon-Ime smiling at the Next Steps desk)

Host: Awesome! Now… let us in on the back story. When did you first set your eyes on your spouse? And what was your initial impression of him?

Ofon-Ime: It’s quite a story. 

I met my husband in 2015 at a campus political meeting. A guy from my department was contesting for faculty president and he invited me to his first campaign strategy meeting. So I went for the meeting with a friend. As it commenced, everyone had to introduce themselves. 

That’s how it got to one bobo‘s turn and he called a particular name that sounded strange. I had never heard of it before. I was struck by the way he spoke. I had always thought I was a hard girl… Omooo hard girl was hooked! 

I thought to myself, maybe it’s all these giz giz that happens the first time, and after he speaks again, it would pass. Alas, it didn’t.

So of course, as an outspoken babe who was friends with almost everyone at the meeting except him, I approached the bobo and introduced myself. 

As God would have it, we were in the same department and I knew his friends. So every time I saw him at the faculty, I would say ‘Hi’ and we went on to become really good friends.

Host: So that is the new strategy – Attend political meetings. Thanks for the tip, sis. 

Ofon-Ime: You gerrit😂 

Host: Could you tell us about the most memorable or funniest moment(s) from your first few encounters?

Ofon-Ime: Ah, plenty plenty… 

One was how he never remembered my name. Somehow it was funny and embarrassing for both of us each time I had to remind him.

Another one would be him coming to see me in front of my hostel in the night. It was drizzling that night and we had been chatting. Then he texted saying he was in front of my hostel, Idia Hall. Please, note that he came all the way from Tedder Hall and it was past 10:00 pm.

I sha went out to meet him. We spoke for a long while and he was giving advice about a guy that was asking me out. Lol. Our brother sha left Idia Hall like 5 minutes to 12:00 am. Mind you, they lock the gates of all halls by 12:00 am and I had been asking him to leave earlier, but he refused.

As I casually strolled into my room, it started raining. I texted bros to check on him but got no reply. It wasn’t until the next morning that I learnt he fell in a ditch on his way back, was drenched, and still got locked out.

Host: He literally fell in love! I feel bad he fell into a ditch but this is actually hilarious!😂 

Moving on, how did your relationship progress to something more serious? 

Ofon-Ime: Hmm! About a year into our friendship relationship, I realized that I was catching real feelings for him. So I started avoiding him and yes, I prayed and fasted for God to take the feelings away because I just didn’t feel ready for a relationship.

At some point, I asked to meet him to explain why I had been avoiding him. I still remember where we were that day: Love Garden – our regular spot. I just wanted to get it off my chest and save our friendship.

He said he also didn’t feel ready for a relationship. With this out of the way, we were back to being good. He even sang for me that evening. 

(Briggs singing songs of worship on a Sunday at Sycamore)

Few months later, I was in the room with a mutual friend of ours and she asked: ‘What’s up with you and Briggs na?’ I said we were just friends. She asked if I liked him, and I said yes. That’s how she texted him o. It was like film trick.

She asked if he liked me. He said ‘Yes’. She asked: ‘What type of likeness? Is it enough to date?’ He said ‘Yes’. Then she asked him why he was waiting. 

An hour later, he texted me and asked to meet. That was the night he asked me out. Exactly 6 years later, we walked down the aisle.

Also read: Inside 5 Christians’ Insights on Navigating Love, Dating and Marriage

Host: Awwwwn! I enjoyed reading this. Thank God for good friends with match-making superpowers.

Ofon-Ime: Yes oh. I enjoyed good friendships. That friend was my Maid of Honour at our wedding. 

I’d like to add this because I feel like it’s important. At some point while we were dating, we fell into the sin of fornication. It started with spending time by ourselves alone in a room.

At first, it was one-offs. Then after completing my Bachelors degree program in 2020, I stayed back in Ibadan. I practically lived with Briggs, my boyfriend at the time. 

We both knew it was wrong. We would talk about fornication being wrong, pray for forgiveness and grace, then continue staying in the same room.

So usually, we’d go without it for some time, and we would literally count and celebrate the days. Then, the next day we were back at it. It was a cycle. 

We both knew we needed help but we couldn’t help ourselves. Everything we tried failed. All resolutions fell through and countless measures were futile (even sleeping outside or in different room) until we totally surrendered to God. See ehn, in our best efforts, without God we are useless.

When we joined Sycamore Church, God used a few people to pull us out. 

I used to have the excuse of not having a place to stay, but I eventually found an apartment of my own very far away from him. We imbibed the principle of not being in the house alone and never sleeping over.

We had people looking out for us and holding us accountable. And God worked in our hearts so we willingly yielded to the accountability system we had at Sycamore.

Watch The Power, Passion and Pain of Love.

Host: Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s amazing to see how belonging to a Jesus-community can break the cycle of sin in a dating relationship. So powerful!  

Looking back at your relationship and marriage, what qualities in your spouse stood out to you?

Ofon-Ime: I would say his kindness and generosity. 

He stood up for people when he felt they were being treated wrongly, like he really cares. One time, he didn’t mind sleeping hungry, just to give money to a friend who needed it for a family emergency. 

He was and still is devoted to serving God, and he also didn’t feel threatened by my dreams. If anything, he pushed me to define and refine my goals. Another thing that stood out was his teachability. He was and still is very teachable and willing to learn.

Host: These are wonderful qualities. What’s something you feel is peculiar to your marriage? It could be a weekly/monthly tradition or something special you both do routinely.

Ofon-Ime: Without a doubt, I would say the friendship we have built over time. We are each other’s best friends. It’s something we still intentionally try to protect and build.

We lead very busy lives and I travel a lot, so it’s easy to just go with the flow. But we make a commitment to have a one-hour conversation with each other everyday.

We take walks at least once in two weeks. Sometimes, it turns out to be a prayer walk. But for the most part, we just gist and playfully sing songs. We also have game nights. I am sure my husband would have a lot to say about this.

Another thing we have incorporated is living open. What I mean by this is that we try not to live by ourselves.

We are blessed to have godly friends. So, once a month, we try to hangout with them and have discussions about marriage, our experiences and even our personal growth and careers.

Host: Aww. That is so beautiful. This is intentionality right here! 

Moving on to the next question…Can you recall a particularly meaningful or romantic moment in your relationship?

Ofon-Ime: It would be the walks. During our walks, it feels like we can talk forever. Then we would buy suya, as per something to move mouth.

Early on in our relationship, I was in 200 level and he had just graduated. He was at his parent’s place and I had randomly mentioned that I didn’t know what to eat. My lovely husband brought pounded yam for me, in a time when it was raining cats and dogs.

We used to exchange emails about everything  and we still do. I can just send a mail about a baby name I thought about. He can send a mail about something he saw that reminded him of me. 

While dating, because we were far apart for a while, we texted a whole lot. We grew in our relationship with God in that season. Our yearning for God grew in each of us individually and together. At some point, we started to pray together on Thursdays.

At times, we’d just finish one of our online prayers and he would say “I love you”. It just always hits different. And he still does this!

Host: Aww…This is about the most heartwarming thing I’ve heard today. I’d really love to hear more but time is not on our side. 

So could you tell us any parting words you have for anyone out there looking forward to building a life with a spouse?

Ofon-Ime: A relationship is easy but a godly relationship takes intentionality and work. Be willing to work on your relationship with God and yourself. Truth is, you will only attract the kind of person that you are.

Seek God and surround yourself with people who are also seeking God.  No building stands overnight, it is constructed over time. Be willing to put efforts into your relationship but never compromise on God.

Seek God and surround yourself with people who are also seeking God.  No building stands overnight, it is constructed over time. Be willing to put efforts into your relationship but never compromise on God.

Ofon-Ime

Any relationship that draws you away from God or requires you to remove God from the picture isn’t God-intended.

(Mr Oluwabukunmi and Mrs Ofon-Ime Olutunde)

Host: Word!

If you enjoyed reading this story, then stick around.

There’s a lot more insights on Love, Dating and Marriage in the second part of the ‘How I Met My Spouse’ series, this time with Mr. Will Remi Agun.

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Lolade Folorunsho and Victor Anih

These volunteers serve with the Content Team at Sycamore Church 

(Blogposts are creative expressions generously provided for Sycamore Church. The ideas and thoughts do not necessarily represent the position of Sycamore Church)

3 Comments

  • Aanu
    Posted February 8, 2024 at 4:52 pm

    Thank you for sharing.

  • Favour Jonah
    Posted February 9, 2024 at 1:15 pm

    This is enlightening. Looking forward to learn and unlearn from more shared experiences

  • Mickeyfols
    Posted February 10, 2024 at 8:11 am

    Beautiful but most importantly, honest! love story. Cheers guys.

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