- What is rare to find in today’s throw away culture are two individuals that stand the test of time within their relationship despite the world around them. An inspiring couple Ayo Afolabi and Ruth Awogbade give me a moment to catch a glimpse of their magical journey, from the first time they met to what they believe is the perfect foundation for any relationship. We discuss their relationship, their fellowship and their brand as I introduce you to The Afolabi’s.
NM: Okay, so firstly can you introduce yourselves, what is it you both do and where are you from?
Ayo: I am a management consultant in the City, and I'm Nigerian but have lived in England all my life.
Ruth: I’m an Editor of a publication called Magnify and work as a creative consultant.
NM: Ruth, as the co-founder of a unique publication, what has been your journey and do you have any advice to those wanting to start a publication?
Ruth: From a young age I’ve always loved communicating and being creative and I’ve always had a passion to use not just my creative gifts but to also collaborate with others creatively and to communicate a strong message - I think I would have to say that my passion has been one of the most important aspects of my journey. I tarted Magnify as I had a genuine desire to give my friends and other women the opportunity to explore christianity in a relaxed and engaging way. I would have to say ( in terms of advice) whatever the subject is, to start something as difficult as a magazine you have to have a real passion for the core message as it is a lot of work - also get experience within the industry and seek out good mentors who can guide you.
NM: Some really useful and authentic advice, and now moving onto the both of you, how did you both meet for the relationship to blossom to what it is today?
Ruth: We first connected 8 years ago through a mutual guy friend, as I needed men to usher for my first Magnify event. So through my friend this where Ayo was introduced and we connected over Facebook - sadly Ayo didn't turn up in the end haha!
We met again in 2014 at a friend’s wedding but we only exchanged casual hello’s before we connected in January 2015 again. From this point we had known ‘of’ one another and I did think he was completely different to how he actually is. On that day we ended up chatting for a few solid hours and then a week after he messaged me on Facebook for my number. For 3-4 weeks after the initial conversation we then spoke everyday for a matter of hours about everything ( we only met up once in between that time which was good so it was like a proper interview process haha!) … and then he asked me out in March 2015.
NM: Oh wow, thats incredible and definitely a steady progression, what is it about your relationship do you think that binds your love as a couple?
R: Firstly, our personal relationship with God - it means our foundation in our relationship is the same and therefore it directs our values and so much of our understanding of vision and purpose. Secondly, a genuine love and respect for each other as people, we admire each other and want to see each other develop to our own full potential, so we support each other in every way. Finally I would have to say the fun and the friendship, we are so different - in the best way of course - with that I mean that we are always laughing and my favourite times are when we are relaxing, watching TV with food in hand and laughter through the room.
A: For me, I believe it is our love for God - I wouldn't be able to love Ruth in the way she needs me to if not for God’s direction. If not for following his example of how he loves and to know that we love each other with the same Godly/Agape love in this day and age where love is so fleeting and passion is yet so empty.
NM: I absolutely agree and with that being said has the relationship always been smooth sailing?
R: It sounds cliche but it really has been, I think this was because going into the relationship we had a deep sense of conviction that we were right for each other. Do not get me wrong, no
relationship is perfect and as two very different and independent people there have been things that we have had to navigate.
NM: Certainly! With both of you being firm believers in God ( incredible I would like to add), how has God guided your path individually and as a couple?
A: Individually God guided me to Ruth and i think that it is very important in today’s society when finding the one is the most important God-led decision you need to take in your life. I would say that collectively it is central to everything we do - He is the foundation that we are trying to build our life around and a verse that anchors our relationship is
“ But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” - Joshua 24:15
For any person who is a Christian, a faith will guide in everything they do and so it is good to share that journey of faith with someone who puts Christ at the centre of their life as well.
NM: Have you ever been tested?
A: I don’t think I would be where I am if i hadn’t been tested - we all go through tests no matter how and periods of examinations no matter how big or small. The key question isn't whether you've been tested but its how you respond. How do I approach my tests? For me, the biggest thing about any test for me is your mind-set towards taking the test. I see tests as an opportunity to move up a level, to move to bigger and better things, always to better myself and to move forward and progress. You cant do your a-levels for example without doing your GCSEs - you cant be at certain places in your life if you haven't past those tests.
R: I agree with Ayo - being tested refines and strengthens us, between 2005 and 2007 when i lost 3 members of my family that tested my faith and resolve. It was a hard and dark season in my life, but coming out of that not only was my faith made stronger but also my desire to use each day to make an impact.
NM: What are both your objectives with your blog and youtube channel, what can we expect?
R: We’re both passionate people who love to see people impacted and reach their full potential. Over the years, we realised that e were having lots of one on one conversations/meet ups with people and realised that actually we wanted to share a lot of what we had learnt and are learning more widely.
A: We wanted to create a platform that is authentic and relatable to our friends with our our individual and collective spheres. So my inspiration is in essence people, and a desire to see people thrive - if our brand can contribute to that, then we’re doing something right.
NM: Why the specific categories chosen - especially “purpose”?
A & R: We both are people who are passionate about living life to the full, so we wanted to show various aspects of life that for us, are encapsulated in our 3 content categories - lifestyle, purpose and relationships.
NM: Your wedding isn't too far away now, how is the planning going?
R: We’ve loved being engaged so we took some time before we started planning but overall its going well. We’re Nigerian and Nigerians have atlas 10 events but we are very grateful we’ve got such supportive families. As a creative i have so many ideas so Ayo’s having to keep me in check haha.
NM: If you could offer any advice to fellow engaged couples, what would it be?
R & A: ENJOY THE TRANSITION! - don't just go through the motions embrace it. There is a tendency to use the engagement as a time to prepare for the wedding. Enjoy it as a chance to just be, It is the first period in your relationship when you’re operating in the certainty of a life together.
NM: You are both clearly developing a brand alongside a partnership, what are your goals for the next 5 years?
R & A: For us, the foundation of what we do is protecting our relationship so thats number one. We’d love our platform to be something that inspires people to live passionately with purpose both as individuals and as couples, and more opportunities to continue to meet and impact people while staying true to who we are.
A: Summer - R: Spring
Nights in or Nights out?
A: Nights out - R: Nights in
Favourite places to be in London?
A: Westminster - R: Marylebone
City breaks or beach holiday?
Football or Basketball?
A: Football to play, basketball to watch - R: A tie.
Food or Drinks?
Favourite food and least favourite?
A: Ayamese and Jollof Rice - R: Fish and chips
Desert or Starter?
Reading or public speaking?
A: Public Speaking - R: Reading
The best foundation for a relationship?
A: A personal faith and understanding - R: God and friendship