This is the first couple to be interviewed on this series and I am super-duper-excited! Here, I shared the idea behind the series and you can check it out.
I was strolling through the streets of Instagram on a fateful evening. Before then, I had started toying with the idea of this series and was already considering what to name it. I came across Joshua & Sozo’s wedding picture on shoeboxng’s IG feed ( their official wedding photographer). I am a sucker for love stories, so I settled down to read their story through their hashtag (#lovemadeinheaven2019). Their story was mind-blowing and the fact that they got married despite their challenges made their love story even more beautiful. Even though they are newlyweds, I was convinced that their story would change people’s perspectives about marriage. I thought I was going to get a no when I reached out to them, but they humbly agreed to this interview and I am so grateful. I hope this inspires you to fight for a relationship that God has ordained. Enjoy…
HELLO, JOSH AND SOZO, IT’S NICE TO HAVE YOU ON THIS PLATFORM, CAN YOU START BY TELLING US HOW YOU MET?
Joshua- I met Sozo around September 2015. My cousin had just come visiting from Abuja to Zaria where I was with my mum. Apparently, my cousin Eka had come with Sozo and another friend of hers. I saw Sozo but at first, she wasn’t my kind of girl, looked annoying, had a little bow legs and looked too serious. Well, I think I just had the kind of lady I wanted to be with, more like heads up in the cloud. Lol…I came back to Abuja much later and met her again and we became friends. We built real friendship from there. I thought it was time I got serious with my relationship so I took out time to pray about my life partner. Truth is I had other ladies but they didn’t seem like what I needed, so I had to pray.
I had a strong conviction and I simply got a ring. On the 25th of December same year, I came over to her and simply slipped a ring into her finger asking her to be my girlfriend without her consent. I did that because I wanted to be serious with her and be committed as a man, personally it wasn’t about her but about me . We were so real as friends, so she laughed and we flowed like that. We grew to like ourselves too much before we fell in love. We simply were so real and true with ourselves. One thing I believe and it has worked a lot of time is, we don’t “Like to Love” rather we “Love to Like”. What I mean by that is a lot of emotions are involved when likeness is playing the role but when love is the focal point, it makes you real. Meeting her was a life changing process for me. We learned and unlearned and still unlearning to learn together, working our way to make the relationship live.
Sozo- The first time I met Joshua, I wasn’t even bothered about a man not to talk of being interested in anything. But God didn’t mind my attitude. I met with Joshua’s mum and God still spoke in the midst of my numb feelings and said “she’s your mum”. So I first met my mother- in-law in my heart before I finally noticed Joshua. So it wasn’t love at first sight. There was no love at first sight, but there was sincerity at first sight. There was being real at first sight. So I would say, there was true love at first sight … Love that God birthed. We became friends anyways. We had to. He came to join the youths living with me back then in Abuja. My house was a fun place to stay. So Josh was loved by all the ladies around. They were all my friends squatting with me. I was just this working person who Josh used to drop off and pick up. But one thing was constant, God guided every conversation I had with him. Little did I know he was going through his own battles so the words were bringing healing to him. I had no idea but I knew there was a purpose for him being around. Till December that same year, he slipped a ring into my finger without my permission. My spirit didn’t fight him… He felt like home. There was no probing. No prayer. Nothing. I just flowed. As soon as I got the ring.. ALL HELL BROKE LOOSE. (DEVIL HATES MARRIAGES. I REPEAT DEVIL HATES MARRIAGES).
HOW DID YOU KNOW YOUR PARTNER WAS THE ONE FOR YOU AND WHEN DID YOU REALISE THIS?-
Joshua- For us, marriage is growing old with your best friend fulfilling God’s purpose. About Sozo, I saw a lady, a woman and real personality in her. She is a focused,and has a determined personality. And on top of that, she doesn’t joke with her relationship with God. She has a strong belief system yet very open minded to new ideas. The combination marvels me. She has this ability to consider different perspectives to life and so doesn’t let herself be limited by an ideology. She simply knows how to adapt and move forward. She was a jackpot for me because, though there are many good ladies out there, it takes grace to find them.
Sozo- For Josh, I saw a good man. A happy person in spite of what ever he had been through. He had a way of making the best out of every situation. I saw a man I could learn from to be better. I saw an imperfect man I could live with and we can grow together. I prayed about him and I simply got a guide from God as my Father to go ahead. Marriage for me is a decision to have a home. So I would sacrifice any excesses to build that home. Josh is home and he simply let all go to build a world influencing home with me.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TOGETHER ( DATING INCLUSIVE)
Joshua- 5 years in total.
AFTER THE UNFORTUNATE ACCIDENT YOU BOTH WERE INVOLVED IN, WHEN YOU REALISED THAT JOSHUA WOULD BE WHEEL-CHAIR BOUND FOR A WHILE, WHAT MADE YOU STAY DESPITE THIS CHALLENGE?-
Sozo- It became warfare. Just because Josh and Sozo wanted to be in a relationship. We had not said marriage yet o. Josh slept in the house one day and he slept by me. He woke up to pee and I got a tap to stand up and follow him. Prior to that night, before we slept off that day, I was washing the dishes in the kitchen and I heard foot steps from the gate of my house to the back of the kitchen. The foot step stopped just when I called a name thinking it was a friend. I called again but nobody. I quietly opened the back door and saw no one. Well, I had an uncomfortable feeling but I shoved it off and went to bed. So Josh was with me this night. I followed him to go pee without him even knowing it. He finished and met me outside the toilet. Lol. We went back to bed and barely two minutes later, I felt this dark shadow hovering around and its wing was gradually creeping into my skin. A deep dark hatred and spite for Josh just started to overtake me and I woke up fiercely and started to punch Joshua. Josh held me tight and hugged me so close to him praying tongues. The non spiricoco man, all of a sudden became a man of the spirit. As he prayed and held unto strong me, I heard the spirit of God say “fight it, I’m with you”. Wow. I realized I was being attacked and started to pray from my spirit out with the book of Lamentations. The scripture just came up and I started to fight this old looking woman with white marks and a stick. I kept speaking words of warfare till she fizzled out but her head remained on the floor refusing to die. I kept at it till she did.
This was the beginning of fight for me. This was when I learnt that there is more to marriage than meets the eye. It’s not Nollywood, not Hollywood, nor Bollywood. It’s marriage. Heaven and earth reacts at true marriages, so does hell. Josh and I kept fighting all kinds of warfare till we made the trip.
Note: Marrying a man or a woman is marrying a man or a woman with his angels and demons. You have to be equipped. It’s not chocolate and ice cream.. It’s including chocolate and ice cream after all foundations have been laid.
After the accident, the warfare continued. My three months of being on one spot on a bed to heal, I had this warfare come in different forms and I was alone. From setting my mattress on fire to telling me I’d see to threatening my womb to threatening Joshua’s health, to all of it. All these were happening literally yet only me could see them.
You would think I was mad. When I saw how far the devil wanted to go in destroying us, he never knew how far God was determined to show HE had won. Battles make a soldier. So I resolved in my heart to see us through the end of this warfare . His mum from the place of the spirit then named me “The Delight of Her Generation”. Lol… That’s what she still calls me.
I’d leave with this- LOVE WINS ALL THE TIME. This was the back story that bore the energy to win this process. Ladies, when you see your man. You know your man and you work it to make it. You can. This process taught me a whole lot and I need women to know it. Our power and strength has been long embedded in us and it’s been over time underestimated.
I learnt a lot. I lost a lot. I gained a lot. The process was crazy, I didn’t know I could do it till I did. I didn’t know where the strength came from, until I had strength to go through this situation, so I kept on. What kept me going was my over confidence in God’s word.
YOUR STRENGTH DURING THIS TRYING PERIOD IS INSPIRING, WHAT KEEPS YOU CONSISTENTLY POSITIVE?
Joshua- People lose the will to face a challenge because they make the challenge the focal point instead of asking, “how do I make the best use of my condition”. Truth is, sometimes conditions don’t change, so there is no point in focusing on the condition because where focus goes, energy flows. The point is, shift your focus to learning or making the best use of the condition. Never let your condition determine your position. Your position is to have a winning mind.
YOU PROPOSED TO SOZO TWICE, WHAT INFORMED THIS DECISION?-
Joshua- Well I won’t call giving the first ring, a proposal. I gave Sozo the first ring as a sign of my commitment to her. It was me showing how serious I was ready to be with her. I just wanted to be different from every other person.
YOU HAVE BEEN MARRIED FOR TWO MONTHS , WHAT ARE THE MAJOR LESSONS YOU HAVE LEARNT SO FAR AND WHAT IS THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING MARRIED?
Joshua- It’s not always about you, marriage reminds me that I should always put her needs above mine. By this I mean there are times I don’t feel like doing something I know she likes but I respond to her because it will make her happy, her happiness is my happiness.
Secondly it’s easy to avoid unnecessary argument, don’t over-think anything and if you don’t like what the other person said, don’t brood on it. The moment you start over- thinking , you would create what is not, say what wasn’t said and start a fight you weren’t prepared for.
Sozo- I have learnt to be deliberate about purpose, in this case, be deliberate about allowing the relationship blossom. Heated arguments can sincerely be avoided once you have pure love for your spouse. We cannot be upset with each another for more than a second because we’ve become too deliberate about loving each other to the bones.
I have also learnt the beauty of openness in all areas. Talk about everything. Since we are in this together, we stick together and win together. No assumptions.
WHICH DO YOU THINK IS IMPORTANT FOR A MARRIAGE TO WORK, LOVE OR COMPATIBILITY?
Joshua & Sozo- Both can hardly be separated if the foundation of that love was built on God’s kind of love. When you genuinely love, compatibility becomes a walk over. Separating the two seem like one has loved conditionally. Unconditional love accommodates all. Nothing taken out. All. You love in spite and despite. So both make up a successful and healthy relationship.
YOU WROTE A BOOK RECENTLY, WHAT IS IT ABOUT AND HOW CAN WE GET A COPY?
Joshua- Well the book is titled 30 and it was inspired by the Holy Spirit while I was in the hospital. I basically penned down things I was learning during my experience. So the book is like a thirty day inspirational book that guides you through each day. It can be found on www.okadabooks.com. You can search by title or by my name- Joshua A. Christopher. There is also the option of sending to you, so that people can buy from you ?.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO PARTNERS WHO ARE EXPERIENCING SOME HITCHES IN THEIR RELATIONSHIPS?
Joshua & Sozo- Be deliberate about making your relationship work. Never leave it to the winds of chance or assumptions.
Be an open book. A secretive situation is like sowing a seed of dynamite waiting to explode to destroy itself and everything around it. The heart needs all the peace it can get. So stay transparent to your spouse no matter what.
Be teachable. A stubborn mind cannot understand the benefits of healthy compromise. So a successful relationship is a place where you learn to unlearn and learn to unlearn. Remember it’s two of you against the world. You gotta be a strong team.
Lastly, but most importantly, Be very prayerful. The devil hates marriage. You gotta guard it well.
WHAT IS THAT THING YOU ADMIRE ABOUT YOUR PARTNER BUT YOU RARELY SAY OUT LOUD?
Joshua- Sozo is an amazing person, trust me and I call her my white woman because of how she looks. What I really admire about her is her playful nature… When she is in that mood, I can laugh all day. She also has this big heart , I had to warn her not to one day wrap me as a gift to someone.
Sozo- Josh makes me laugh. He has a sincere heart and loves to learn. He is so teachable yet, very influential. I admire his strength, will and tenacity to become what he sets his mind to be. Josh is just a sweet soul. God’s gift to me.
That was a lengthy but worthwhile read. This is one deep interview!!! My major lesson from this is, fight for what you believe in!!! Like Sozo said, the devil hates a good marriage and he would do everything to stop it, how you react is what matters. You can connect with the couple on IG via their handles- @joshua_a_christopher and @d_sozogold. Do you know anyone who would need this kind of encouragement? Please do well to share.
If you know a couple with a beautiful love story and they won’t mind chatting with me, you can reach me on firstname.lastname@example.org