“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. He did this to make the church holy by cleansing it, washing it using water along with spoken words. Then he could present it to himself as a glorious church, without any kind of stain or wrinkle—holy and without faults. So husbands must love their wives as they love their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself” (Eph 5:25-28)
Today is my dear husband’s birthday. I try to find words to express my gratitude to God for giving me Richmond Leigh as my husband. This March we shall be married 43 years. It looks like such a long time and yet, it is just like yesterday when he asked me to marry him on a cold winter day. We were both so young… I was surprised at his ‘bold love’. Happily I said ‘yes’! We were both class mates in the first year, in the College of Medicine Timisoara, Romania. I have never seen ‘a black man’ before. Both my parents and his family did not approve of our marrying so young. The Romanian Communist Government at that time discouraged marriages between Romanians and foreigners. Because of that, we had a lot of problems at the beginning. But we insisted to marry and we did it. Our love encouraged us. We had two children while still in school. My parents eventually accepted Richmond and loved him as their only son. They helped taking care of John and Alina.
We graduated from the Medical school and in 1980 we came to settle in Nigeria. I had no idea where Nigeria is. I could not speak English. I was a young wife and mother. I have never eating eba, yam, ocro, egussi, banga and the rest of Nigerian soups. I was missing my Romanian food. We initially stayed in Benin City and worked at the Specialist Hospital over there. In 1983 we came to Warri and opened a private hospital called ‘lily Clinic’. We had Jemine, our second daughter while in Warri. In 1986 I had a crisis conversion and became born again. Later, my husband reconciled himself with God. In March 2000 we both resigned from medical practice. We started Father’s House Bible Church. God has blessed us beyond imagination! We are now pastors in full time ministry. We have six wonderful grandchildren. We are very happy with God and with ourselves!
These are just few guide lines describing our life together. I want to say that next to knowing Jesus Christ as my Savior and my Lord, my husband is my best friend, my mentor and my hero. By the grace of God I say that he truly loves me. He is a wonderful husband to me. I bless God for the day when we got married! Both of us were very young then. But he was much more mature than me, having great ideas on how to have a successful marriage. Most of his ideas worked wonderfully. He just knows how to be a good husband. He helped me transition from my Romanian way of thinking to understand the Nigerian culture which is very different. Without him I could have been lost in Nigeria. He patiently explained to me again and again what to say and what to do so that I can ‘fit in the system’ without creating social crisis or wounding my own conscience. His work as my teacher can only be rewarded by God. He continues to remind me and correct me again and again when I am ignorant or when I make social mistakes. This is a very important point I want to make: my husband has never corrected me in public, in the presence of his family or even in the presence of our children. All ‘lectures’ where done in private when we are alone! In these 43 years of marriage, no man or woman has ever heard us quarrel or argue. To God be all the glory!
My husband is the reason why I am so happy living in Nigeria. His style of teaching me is wonderful. He has an excellent spirit like Daniel. He polishes me like gold until he is sure that I am confident enough to stand strong in the presence of friends and enemies! He will not rest until I become ‘perfect’ at what I am doing. For my husband, improvement is not good enough. He does not want me to be just a successful survivor but he wants me to be a true woman of God and an inspiration to many. He compliments me often. He wants me to be the best God wants me to be. He always raises the standard, stretching my mental, emotional and spiritual muscles. He encourages me to be a strong leader. I prefer a quiet private life style. But he tells me that I must stand strong by his side without any fear or inferiority complex. Like the song says, my husband is the wind beneath my wings.
We are now older but so very much in love. We are growing together as a Christian couple and as spiritual parents to many. If I continue to write about my husband and our life together I will write many books. There are so many things to share. But for now, I stop here, giving thanks to God for his life, on this his birthday! God bless you my husband, Dr. Richmond Sisan Leigh with the eternal glorious blessings of Christ! In Jesus name, amen!