I Built My Marriage Around Truth And Openness –Mercy Johnson-Okojie
In an age when many celebrity marriages barely outlive the buzz they created, Mercy Johnson-Okojie is one actress whose four-year-old marriage has remained stable and she attributes this to her decision to build her marriage on truth, no matter the situation.
In this interview with SOLOMON NDA-ISAIAH, the thespian said her resolve to abide by the truth at all times followed an advice from her pastor.
You’re rated as one of Nigeria’s biggest actresses. What do you do differently that has kept you in the league of A-list actresses?
As you may already know, the industry is a very competitive one and if you fail to bring something refreshingly different to the table, there is a high chance that you will be swept under the carpet within a very short time. I believe that people who have seen my movies are in a better position to talk about what they think are my strongest attributes. Personally, I try to be original.
I also take it easy and try not to over act because overacting usually gives the same results you’re confronted with when you fail to meet the demands and expectations of the producer and director. I also try to stay very true to my fans. When you are in the heart of showbiz, your fans can make or mar you and I’m glad I realized this at a very early point in my career.
For me, it’s always about putting smiles on their faces. True fans cannot be bought over with money or gifts. The moment they develop a liking for your brand, they will stay with you even during your trying moments.
There is a general notion that actresses do not make good wives. Do you agree with this submission?
Well, I can only speak from my own perspective and when I say my perspective, I mean from my personal experiences, marriage and relationship with my husband. One of the biggest lies anyone can tell himself/herself is using one or more random experiences to judge and stereotype others.
We all have our different stories to tell. I have two children for my husband today and he has not stopped talking about how down-to-earth I was yet I am an actress; not just any actresses.
I had a large following at that time yet I did not go around pouting my lips or playing the snub. My husband later confessed to me that for him, it was love at first sight but that did not stop him from asking me to cook for him the first day I set foot in his house.
At first, I was stunned that a Nigerian man was asking me to enter his kitchen to cook him a meal. A part of me whispered to me that perhaps, he was not aware of who I was and when I said to him: ‘You must be joking. My name is Mercy Johnson’. What shocked me even more was his response when he said: ‘I know’. Rather than take offence, I was drawn closer to him. We have been married since 2011 and we love each other to bits till date and have consciously decided to spend the rest of our lives together.
As I said earlier, I am an actress who is correcting the rigid stand that actresses cannot have happy homes when they get married. Also, bear in mind that there are several Nigerian actresses like me who are happily married. Having a happy marriage is a choice a woman has to make. When you decide to have a happy marriage, you focus your thoughts, actions, words, work and everything else around protecting that happiness.
What do you think is responsible for the high divorce rate among celebrities?
In marriage, you must have trust and you must also have love. The moment you lose these two, then it is just a matter of time before you embark on a calamitous countdown towards the end of your marriage. My relationship with my husband has been very special. He is not just my husband or father of my children. He is my friend.
Apart from love and trust, what other secrets would you attribute to the stability of your marriage?
I don’t even have to think about it. It is honesty. I remember the words of my pastor to me even before we got married. He advised me never to have a marriage built on lies and I listened. I don’t lie to my husband.
We have agreed to tell the truth to each other regardless of how painful or scary it might be. I remember one instance when I found myself crying when I had to tell him the truth. That day, I had attended an event wearing a lovely dress that had a slit but unfortunately, at that event, the paparazzi captured a wrong image of me.
I picked up my phone and I don’t think I have to tell you who I called first. My husband, of course, and guess what? I was crying and sobbing even before I started talking to him because I felt really bad about it. Rather than lie to him, I told him the complete truth and it helped in no small measure. I remember him asking how bad it was and I remember telling him that it was really bad.
I sent him the photo and he consoled me. That is what a husband who is also a friend does. He did not rub it in my face, insult me, make me feel bad or dent my self-esteem. He was there for me when I needed him and he has not stopped till date. This is one of the reasons I do not hide anything from him. He loves me just as passionately and as fiercely as I love him and I have no doubt in my mind that our marriage was ordained. God had a hand in it and that is why everything just works out between us.
That is the only thing I can consider the secret of our love story, which continues to blossom. I have two children, an amazing husband and millions of fans who have held my back over the years and of course, God who has watched over my affairs from the very first day I arrived in this world till this moment.