You can’t help but love Fifi and Dilly Umenyiora‘s love story.
From meeting at The Palms Mall, Lekki – she was working there, to how they keep their romantic fire burning, this couple’s story may appear to have been taken from a romance novel.
When Fifi and Dilly step on the red carpet, they complement each other, so it wasn’t a surprise the couple looked picture perfect on the cover of latest issue of ThisDay Style.
The Luxury car salesman, his wife and their three children live in arguably one of the most beautiful homes in a Lagos.
The couple share all the scoop on life, love and still being crazy in love with editors – Funke Babs-Kufeji and Konye Chelsea Nwabogor.
What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?
“I see it as a day mapped out to share and show love to the one you love. It’s an official calendar day to celebrate love. Personally though, I think Valentine day should be every day because for me, “Valentine day” is everyday I spend with my family.”
How did you celebrate it last year and what are your plans for this year?
“Last year, we went on a tour of Europe, just the two of us, it was a beautiful trip, and very romantic too. This year, I’m working on an amazing surprise for my wife, and I know she will be very happy.
If you were to pick an ideal holiday spot to spend Valentine’s Day, where will you go and why will it be your preferred choice?
“If I were to pick a spot right now, it would be the Caribbean Cruise, where Fifi and I can sail past some of the most beautiful islands on earth, and basically enjoy nature and ourselves.”
Let’s talk about Fifi. How did you meet her and what were some of the qualities that attracted you to her?
“I met my wife Fifi, at the Palms Shopping Mall. When I first set my eyes on her, all I saw was a very beautiful woman. Prior to that, I had seen her at her workplace but felt a bit intimidated and could not summon the courage to speak to her. Anyway, I walked up to her and introduced myself. I would never forget the look on her face when I asked her if she thought I was handsome…(Laughing) priceless! It was at that moment I discovered she was a harmless, most down to earth woman I had ever met.”
So was it love at first sight?
“Yes, it was definitely love at first sight.”
How did you know that she was the one you wanted to marry?
“The moment I saw Fifi, I knew she was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, when you know, you know. As a matter of fact I didn’t hesitate to tell her that day that she was going to be my wife.”
In your opinion, what’s the best thing about being married?
“For me, the best thing would be companionship. You want to be with that one person that you can do absolutely everything with, that one person you can do absolutely everything with, that one person that is your best friend , gist-mate, lover, girlfriend, sister, wife and mother to your kids. Being married to my best friend gives me something to look forward to every blessed day.”
Now that you have a little bit of experience under your belt, what advice would you give to a young man who is about to walk down the aisle?
“My most honest advice would be not to get married unless you are absolutely ready. If not, you will have a lot of unnecessary loopholes and bumps along the way. Also make sure you get married to your friend, because on the long run, friendship is what will continuously bind you together.”
You probably would say that you’re not the same person as compared to when you got married; do you feel growing into your adulthood as a married man made the transition more or less challenging?
“The transition was so much less challenging because of the woman I married. True I got married at a young age, but I married my best friend. We were both young so we made the transition together. When you are in love, and have the support of your partner, it is a lot easier.”
How did you meet Dilly and what attracted you to him?
“I met Dilly in Palms Shopping Mall, Lekki, where I used to work. I had previously seen him around and at the time told my colleague that I had just seen the most handsome man ever. Well, he walked up to me, we got talking and I still clearly remember him asking, “Do you think I am handsome?” the most unbelievable question ever! He sure didn’t like my answer because I told him he was just OK. I also remember him saying he was going to marry me. From that moment we became inseparable.”
How long have you both been married and how have you both been able to sustain the warm, loving, caring relationship you share?
“We have been married for five years now and we have only come this far by the grace of God. He is the only third party in our marriage. We also are best friends and we complement each other like two peas in a pod. He understands me even when I am silent and same goes for me.”
What does Valentine’s Day mean to you?
“I love anniversaries and so Valentine’s Day for me is extremely very important. It’s a day to share and receive love. It’s a day to show your loved ones how much you care. It is a celebration of love, not only to the opposite sex, but also to your entire family, friends, and the poor, needy and also motherless babies.”
What is the most romantic Valentine’s Day gesture your husband has ever made towards you?
“It’s so hard to pick out which is the most romantic of all, but if I were to pick one it would be last year when he surprised me with an impromptu trip, he asked me not to pack anything because he had arranged for everything I would need on the trip. It was amazing and totally romantic.”
If you were to pick an ideal holiday spot to spend valentine day, where will you go and why would it be your preferred choice?
If I were to pick a spot, it would be Parasidus Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic. It’s a beautiful and exclusive report.
In three words, describe what your husband means to you?
“He is my rock, my best friend and the love of my life.”
If you could change one thing about him what would it be?
“I would not change a thing about him because I accepted him, warts and all. Every little piece of him makes him who he is, so I cannot change what I fell in love with in the first place.”
What little things do you do for each other to keep the romance alive?
“We take frequent short trips out of town to get away from daily pressures and to rekindle our love. When we are not together we constantly keep tabs on each other to make sure we are okay. We don’t fail to say, “I love you”, at every little opportunity. That’s literally part of us now. We also pray together, there is no greater bond than when a couple hold hands together to pray. We surprise each other with little gifts too. Not necessarily expensive gifts, it’s the thought that counts. We are very honest with each other as that’s very key in a relationship. We also love to dress up and go out on dates and, lastly we constantly pay each other compliments. It’s a very secure feeling when your partner compliments your looks. It is indeed very uplifting.”
On the issue of love, relationship and marriage, what’s the best advice you have ever been given? And who was it from?
“In marriage don’t ever let in third parties, marriage is a triangle and the person at the head of this triangle is God. If you let the head go, the triangle collapses. So let God constantly be the only 3rd wheel in your marriage. I got this advice from the bishop that presided on our wedding day.”
What are your feelings about the highly pressurized feeling that comes over some people at Valentine’s Day through commercialism?
“Well in our world of today, Valentine’s Day has been fully exploited and commercialised, we are slowly losing the real essence and significance of it. It has overtime become a period for brands and retailers to market their goods. Men are under the pressure not to “slack”, while some ladies are prepared to fight if their gifts are not up to expected standards. This shouldn’t be the case as there should be no pressure or competition in love. It is the thought that counts. Sometimes we become so lost in our selfish needs and pressures that we forget there are other people out there only in need of a hug.”
For our male readers looking for last minute gift ideas and ways to impress a sweetheart or a special woman in their life, do you have any advice on what they can do?
“Well there are so many things out there they can do. It all depends on one’s taste, lifestyle or emotional needs. I am sure if you’ve studied your spouse or lover you would definitely know what would make her smile.”
If you had at that moment now where you could just do anything what would be the one thing you’d go for?
“I would adopt a baby to join my 3 biological kids.”
What are your 5 top tips to keep the romance alive in a relationship?
“Be affectionate and pay each other compliments. Go on weekend getaways, or trips out of town. Take baths together. Be honest to each other. Send love or romantic texts or emails to each other even when you’re both in the same room – communication is key.”
To read the complete interviews, look for last Sunday’s edition of ThisDay Style.
Photo Credit: Reze Bonna for ThisDay Style