In Episode 4 of the I Am Multicultural podcast, I talk to the radiant, energetic Evelyn + Jeff, a Kenyan – Nigerian married couple, about how they survived and thrived as a long distance couple while dating for 6+ years when Evelyn lived in Germany & Jeff lived in Ghana, an 8hr flight away while pursuing grueling medical careers, so they only saw each other 2x a year for 4 – 6 weeks at a time.
We talk about how they met, how their multicultural and multilingual backgrounds (Jeff is a proud Nigerian of the Igbo tribe) and Evelyn is a proud Kenyan with parents from 2 different Kenyan tribes: Kukuyii and Kalnagini, schooled in England and grew up in Germany) impacted who they are now and their relationship, how their families reacted to their East African – West African relationship, their parent’s marital expectations, developing their communication skills despite not having good, solid reliable internet connection, how they struggled with not being able to be physically intimate but ultimately how their long distance experience helped them cherish & appreciate every moment as a married couple and how they pursued their individual and grew individuals ambitiously pursuing their own individual careers and dreams.
Multicultural Topics Addressed
- Building a strong friendship foundation before becoming a long distance Kenyan Nigerian couple
- Coping with the old-fashioned views and your family not accepting that you are a long distance Kenyan Nigerian couple
- Staying connected while living in two different countries and making a long distance relationship work
- Dealing with multiple challenges and overcoming obstacles as a long distance Kenyan Nigerian couple
- Appreciating and cherishing every moment of marriage after being a long distance couple for 6 years
Evelyn & Jeff share:
- 16:37 – Try to be friends with a person, see if you can be friends before you become lovers.
- 22:37 – Look for someone who pushes you and doesn’t doubt you, and even if you’re in doubt he’s like: ‘Yeah, you might be right, it might go wrong, but hey, you know what? Just go and find out.’ He should be moving you forward.
- 26:38 – A tip I would give to people who want to move to a different country is – get the vibe of the environment, get the vibe of the people, the city, just get a vibe of how it is, see if you could see yourself there.
- 41:35 – You have to treat each other like best friends.Try not to keep secrets because it comes back to bite you much later. That’s the most important in a relationship. You always have to be open with one another.
- 42:05 – Whatever goes through your mind, make sure the person that’s next to you knows it because sometimes you can tend to keep quiet and keep that all inside and that can come out at the wrong time on the wrong way. So you just have to overshare it.
- 44:06 – You need to travel together. I’m not talking about going to the resort and sit there. Take a backpack or rucksack or whatever. Just do some adventurous travelling because that’s when you really get to know each other.
- 54:50 – Marriage is like we’ve got to sit through this and talk about this and it’s like sometimes you don’t want to talk and sometimes you don’t want to fix it, but the healthy marriage makes you fix it.
- 57:11 – Do the long-distance relationship. When you know that you will never find anybody on this earth who brings that out in you, whatever that person brings out in you, do it with them because that’s a person you need to stick with.
- 01:07:30 – The purpose of marriage is to make life better.
- 01:15:02 – Just be patient and be strong together. If you know you’re standing up for the right thing, don’t let people break you apart, don’t let people make you doubt because if you know what you feel for each other, you don’t need to prove it to anybody else. They will see it eventually.
- 01:19:15 – Stick to your principles. Stick to the things that you have. If you want an educated person, if you want the person to act or think or do certain things that you think are valuable for you to see a life with this person, stick to it, and find that one person, somebody who will fulfill these principles.
Photo Credit: Petronella Photography
Evelyn and Jeff’s Favorites:
- BOOK: Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
- MUSIC: Phyno
- MUSIC: Yeba – Kiss Daniel
- BOOK: The Art of Being Together by Francis Wade
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