Liberia: Thirty Years in Marriage, Rev. Kokeh Kotee, II and His Wife, Mother Nancy Bleh-Kotee, Share their Love Story
Monrovia – It is said that Valentine’s Day is a time when people share love with loved ones, family and friends. However, some in Liberia hold the view that the day is ascribed to “lovers” only. They also think that because it is “lovers’ day”, lovers (most times, these lovers are yet to make it to marriage) should also use the day to re-profess their love for their partners.
Nevertheless, for some couples, including Rev. Kokeh S. Kotee, II and his wife, Mother Nancy Bleh-Kotee, who make it to marriage, is another ball game all together— marrying and staying into it for a good number of years.
Rev. and Mother Kotee of Reunion Church, a branch of Christian Fellowship Church International Inc., recently celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary: the road which they say was not an easy journey. The couple is still keeping the torch of love burning as they unveiled to FrontPageAfrica the secret behind their “unshakable” love.
“I met my husband at the Ganta United Methodist Mission, in Nimba County in 1976 when I was 13-years-old and in the junior high. He was 16 at the time. He was a basketball player and when he told one of my friends he wanted to date me, I was reluctant because I did not like popular boys because many girls would be after them. Few years later, it was time for our junior and senior prompt and only when a boy asked your parents to accompany you to the ball then you would attend. So I agreed for him to take me because I really wanted to attend the dance. It was how it all began; however, it was just candy and chocolate dating and nothing intimate.
“The journey was not all rosy; there were many ups and downs. Some of the things that kept us together are patience, love, communication and forgivingness. You have to endure patience, once you are married and not make harsh decision. You have to communicate with one another for a better understanding, and not shout at your partner in public when he/she makes you upset. Discuss such issues in your bedroom at night. He or she will apologize inside. Always accept your wrongs, too, not only your partner should do it,” said Mother Kotee.
On how she managed to date and win a ‘popular boy’, who almost all the girls wanted to date, she said “It was tough; but I stood my grounds.”
“Whenever there was a basketball game and my friends and I go to cheer my boyfriend, his baby-ma would carry her group because she said I was dating her baby-pa. But I also had some Kru girls behind me, too. So she and her group could not try anything. At the end of the day, I am the one who married him; but it was not easy,” she said as her husband of 30+ years, Rev. Kotee just smiled on.
She also said she could not stop the child her husband had before marrying her from coming to see him.
According to her, the child’s mother, did not want to allow her come see her father because he didn’t stay with her. The girl is today a married woman residing in the US.
“The journey was not all rosy; there were many ups and downs. Some of the things that kept us together are patience, love, communication and forgivingness. You have to endure patience, once you are married and not make harsh decision. You have to communicate with one another for a better understanding, and not shout at your partner in public when he/she makes you upset. Discuss such issues in your bedroom at night. He or she will apologize inside. Always accept your wrongs, too, not only your partner should do it.”— Mother Nancy Bleh-Kotee
“My advice to the younger generation, if you want a happy marriage, as a wife, who met your husband with a child before marriage, you should not make confusion over the child, because every child deserves his or her father. Therefore, you cannot keep the child from its father or a man from seeing his child,” advised Mother Kotee.
While sitting in a long sofa, at their Du-Port Road residence, the couple was hugging and kissing as if they were newly wedded.
As they were romancing, Rev. Kotee pulled from behind his sofa a red rose and presented it to his wife, who put on a wide smile and couldn’t believe her eyes as she is a shy woman.
Rev. Kotee, who married his wife when he was 30 and she 27, told her, “I love you and will always love you, honey.” It’s been 30 years since they tied the knot.
According to him, from the beginning he saw Nancy many years ago, he said to himself that she was the one to spend the rest of his life with.
“As a girl, my wife was the conservative type on campus. I was a people’s person; so my wife by then avoided me but I kept pushing. When we left the Mission, I went on to BWI and we were separated for several years. When my dad passed in 1987, I was in Seminary. It was when we reconnected; we did not waste any time again; we got married on December 23, 1989, a day before Charles Taylor’s rebels showed up in Nimba County on December 24, 1989.
Touching on secret to a happy marriage, Rev. Kotee said: “Marriage is an institution ordained by God; so couple should always reference God and be prayerful. Be slow to anger and always be ready to listen to your partner and not make rash decision. Even though it has not been all bread and butter because two people coming together are from different backgrounds. It is not easy, but with God, you see I still love my wife.”