Welcome to another episode of Love and Returns, a Valentine-inspired series about love, life and money.

In this episode, we spoke to Ademola and Ruth who told us the beautiful story of how they met, fell in love, their approach to money and investing, and how every day is Valentine to them. Read their story here.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Ademola: My name is Ademola Eesuola. I’m an Insurance Manager with one of the leading fintech companies in Nigeria.

Ruth: I’m Ruth Oluwatunmise Oke, and I currently work as Assistant Head of Operation with a financial institution in Nigeria. 

How did you first meet?

Ademola: We met on campus, Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA). We both attended the same fellowship –  Baptist Students’ Fellowship (BSF). She was in 300L and I was in 500L. She was a quiet person, easy-going and intelligent. I admired her from afar with no ulterior motive. At this time, I was president of the Joint Christian Campus Fellowship (JCCF). The constitution then didn’t allow for anyone who wasn’t in a relationship prior to becoming an executive to go into one.

So, at what point did you confess your feelings to her?

Ademola: When I started having feelings for her, as a Christian and pastor on campus, I couldn’t just do anything without praying or confirming that it was the will of God for me. Upon seeking the face of God in prayer, I had confirmation. However, I didn’t tell her until after the school session. After my final exams, I sent her a chat that we needed to discuss something important.

Oh, wow. 

Ademola: Haha. Yes oh. I asked if I could call her because I realised it wasn’t something to be discussed via chat, and she obliged. After the call that night, we concluded we were going to see each other in Ibadan by December to discuss further, since both of us were residents there at the time. I think she was already beginning to suspect that something was up. When we met, I told her everything about how I felt; however, I didn’t hammer on the fact that I had the conviction from God – “the God-told-me-kind-of approach”.

Ruth, how did you know he was the one?

Ruth: He was a fellowship brother, so there was never any serious conversation or friendship between us. But at some point, we had mutual friends who always made us meet.. It was never anything serious, and we were never close friends. At the time, he was in his final year while I was in 300L. I had prayed to God and decided that I didn’t want to get into a relationship until my final year. I rejected every man who had asked to date me because I knew when God said it would be time. He also just became the president of JCCF at the time and that created some boundary between us. Everyone was on their own; he faced school and ministry while I faced my studies.

Like I said earlier, I decided I didn’t want to get into a relationship, so I wasn’t bothered about it until I saw it in a dream. That was how I got to know.

A dream? 

Ruth: I was in a period in my life when God spoke to me a lot through dreams. I remember waking up late that morning for class, so I didn’t have the time to start processing the dream. However, the picture and everything just stuck in my mind, despite how much I tried to shake it off.

Ademola: Maybe, you should share the dream.

Ruth: There’s no need to share the dream.

Ademola: If you don’t want to, I could share it. 

Ruth: Okay, go on.

Ademola: So, she had this dream in June 2018, a few months before I confessed my feelings to her. In the dream, she was having a meeting with some sisters while I was at the back having a discussion with a lady. In the vision, she could hear the conversation between myself and the lady. The lady was trying to tell me how she thinks she (the lady) is “the one for me.” In the course of my conversation with the lady, Ruth approached us. I held her (Ruth’s) hand and said to the lady, “Meet her”. That was when she woke up from the dream. It was a spectacular thing, so she knew months before I went to tell her. 

Ruth: That was how it happened. Months before he came, I had known, but I didn’t allow it to sit well with me. I trusted God; I knew I wouldn’t be disobedient to him. But even at that period, we still weren’t close; he was still president, and I was a sister in the fellowship. Before the day he had called to discuss it, he’d seldom call me, and we’d talk about nothing in particular. But that day, he called me to say how he felt about me and hoped it’d lead to marriage. This happened in November, and then in December, we met. Still, I wasn’t ready for any relationship, but we both knew this was it. 

Ademola: In essence, we knew and heard from God.

Tell us about the proposal. Did you know he was going to propose?

Ruth: I suspected he would do it, but I wasn’t sure. So we don’t stay in the same city, but I knew he would be around during the festive season. A few days before the proposal, he called to say that he and some of his friends who were tech guys were having dinner with their partners. That was the story he cooked up. However, in my mind, I knew something was up. The Holy Spirit was telling me that it was a proposal, but for some reason, I didn’t want to put my mind to it.

Interestingly, the day he proposed was on 25th December, Christmas day. I would be on duty at work, and when I told him I’d be going to work that day, he pleaded for me to get off early. That made me more suspicious, but I didn’t want to stress it. He also made up another story that most likely some of his friends won’t be able to make it due to flight rescheduling and all. And that there was a high chance they’d postpone the dinner party to a later date. This was his way of making the story real and distracting my mind from the proposal.

Ademola: I live in Lagos, but had to travel to Ibadan for the festive period.  Of course, I knew we would see and hang out, so before I left Lagos, I thought it’d be nice to propose to her. It wasn’t even part of my Christmas plans initially. But when I got to Ibadan, I thought I could make it happen. I just needed to call decorators, photographers, and others to make it happen and ensure we had a memorable festive period. I wanted it to be a surprise. That was why I made up the dinner story. I told her my friends were having dinner and were all coming with their partners. I knew she was going to work that day, so I needed to find a way to make it still happen. Her sister was instrumental in the planning process. We booked a venue, got a photographer friend, and other things were put in place. 

What are some of the challenges you face in your relationship and how do you tackle them?

Ademola: For me, the whole thing started with feelings. You know, when guys like someone, they like them. But for her, it was a different case. She knew me as the pastor on campus, so she wasn’t thinking of those things. I didn’t want us to start building on falsehood. 

So when we started the relationship officially in March 2019, two days before going to NYSC orientation camp, I had to ask to make it official.

At the start of the relationship, it felt like I was forcing some things on her, like phone calls. She wouldn’t reach out, so I did most of the reaching out.

Communication was a major challenge.

Ruth: No, the communication thing was because of school. I was in my final year, and I had a lot of studying and running around to do.

Ademola: Okay, she was in her finals and she needed to face her studies, especially because she had a goal of graduating with a first class. On the other hand, I was serving, so I had more time than she did. 

I totally get it. So how did you two tackle it?

Ademola: We agreed we were going to be very intentional about our communication. I also had to give her time to focus on school, while growing into the relationship. It got better with time, and here we are today! 

Let’s talk about money; was money conversation ever an issue? How did you two start talking about it?

Ademola: I don’t think money has ever been an issue for us because she’s a prudent partner. When we first started dating, I’d always complain why she never asks for money from me; she’s that kind of person who doesn’t ask for things if you don’t encourage her to. I was earning just my service ‘allawee’ and Lagos state stipend. We were both content with the little we had.  We knew that after the whole thing, we’d land good jobs, good pay and get everything we wanted.

Ruth: We didn’t have money pressure or anything like that. But as time went by, especially when we started working, we knew we had to deliberately start doing some things like saving and investing.

Do you manage your finances as a couple and how?

Ademola: No, we don’t. At least, not yet. This is because we aren’t married yet, so there’s no point having a joint account or managing our income together. At the same time, we have plans in place for when we get married. I introduced her to Risevest because I needed to guide her on investing. She’s also keen on finances, probably because she studied something related. She always encourages us not to spend lavishly and to save more. So when I got to know about Risevest, I brought her onboard.

Ruth: What he said.

Who is better with money and who’s the risk taker?

Ruth: I’d say we’re equally good with money. We both try not splurge or lavish money, and encourage each other to save more.

Ademola: She’s right. We both try to be wise with money, even though I spend more on things than her.

Ruth: Then about risk, he is. He takes all the risks.

Ademola: Haha. Yeah, I am the one. 

What are some financial things you do now that you never did when you were single?

Ademola: She was not investing then, but after we got together, we’ve grown better in our finances.

Ruth: That’s right. Like he said, he introduced me to Risevest and I started investing.

Ademola: We try to encourage each other to stick to our financial goals. We’re now more focused on building a good financial future, saving and investing. That wasn’t there when we first met.

How similar or different are your approaches to money?

Ruth: There are some things he puts money in like Forex or crypto that leaves me wondering why. He’s a risk taker, while I’m averse to risk.

Ademola: She just wants to put her money in a bank or Risevest, and just watch it there. She doesn’t like taking any risk.

What are your thoughts on investing as a couple?

Ademola: I believe it’s great investing as a couple. It helps to take the bulk of work off one person. Also, considering that we’re Christians, we don’t have the mindset of divorce. It doesn’t even come to mind, so it doesn’t stop us from buying properties and other investments together.

What do you think about love/marriage as an investment?

Ruth: It’s not bad to invest in love or marriage. The mistake people make is thinking that love is only a feeling; love is deeper than just feelings, which is why when people feel that they’ve made some investments into loving a person and it doesn’t end well, it hurts. They think it’s just the feeling. However, taking love from just a state of feeling to what it’s meant to be takes a lot of discipline and commitment. It’s important to invest in love and marriage as love rules the world.

Ademola: It’s critical to living a fulfilling and happy life. This is why I like giving. When you love someone, you want to help out in every way possible. You show up for them, you support them, you give them. These people, in turn, will show up for you when you need them. And this is basically how investments work. Water and nurture your relationship with your partner and the people around you, and you’ll never be alone. In spirituality, we say, your seed doesn’t leave your life; it goes ahead of your future. So it’s very important we invest in love and marriage.

About Rise, how did you discover Rise?

Ademola: I had a colleague who told me about Rise. Prior to then, I was using a different product, but I wasn’t getting enough; it just helped me to be disciplined and I love them for that anyways. Every month for a year, I’d save a certain amount from my salary, which I couldn’t withdraw for that entire year because the plan I chose was a locked one. Even when I needed money, I couldn’t just go to my wallet to withdraw, and that helped me to be disciplined. At the end of the year, I had saved up about a million naira and got just about 14,000 naira interest. I was so disappointed. So at work, my colleague who has been using Risevest since the pandemic in 2020 told me about it. I did my research on it, saw the video Teni did for you, and concluded that it was legit. Then I put my money in and began investing. This was in 2021 and I think the dollar was about 580 at the time.

Ruth: Then he introduced me to Risevest.

How has Rise helped in your journey as a couple?

Ademola: Thanks to Rise, I was able to propose to my woman. The $100 and spa session I won from the challenge went into making plans for the proposal.

Also, I remember when she was having difficulty saving after she started working, she’d always complain about the number of bills she had to pay, and I’d always encourage her to put a certain percentage in Rise and forget it. When she got a pay raise, she increased it, and that really helped us to be more conscious about our savings and investments. Rise has really helped us as a couple. 

Ruth: It also makes you feel like a power couple having investment in foreign currency. You’re not just investing in naira, you’re investing in US dollars.

What plans do you have on Rise?

Ademola: I currently have a real estate investment plan. When I started using Rise, I created a stock plan, which started going down just a few days after, so I diverted all my funds to real estate because it’s a much more stable and less risky investment.

Ruth: I just have my money in my wallet.

So you both don’t have a goal-based plan like for your wedding?

Ademola: We’re going to start that; it’s something that’s been on our mind for a while now. 

What are you looking to achieve on Rise as a couple in 5 years?

Ademola: In five years time, it’s most likely we will be out of the country as a couple. The plan is to get married soon, then start investing towards our relocation on Rise since that’s going to take a lot. We also hope to have started investing for our future kids using the Kids goal-based plan on Rise. She’s very particular about securing the future even for our unborn children. 

Ruth: I’m also very particular about properties, so we want to save towards getting both our individual and joint properties and developing them. As much as relocation is on one hand, owning properties is very much on the other. Also, children like he said. We want to start preparing the future for our unborn kids.

What does valentine mean to you?

Ademola: Like I saw on Twitter, someone said “don’t allow your husband to tell you that every day is valentine”. As for me, valentine is one of those things that don’t really move me. She knows that; I could wake up just any day and send her money to get herself something. I don’t necessarily have to wait till valentine’s day. I already told her no to expect anything, but because of this interview, I’d have to do something for her now. Valentine’s Day is really not a big deal for me.

Ruth: Growing up, valentine was a thing for me. My mom would get each of us gifts, regardless of how hard it was at home. But with him, Valentine’s Day is like a normal day. Even on non-celebratory days, he’d randomly send me money or gifts. He goes all out, even on days when you least expect it. We do the love thing every now and then, not just on valentines day.

What do you want to tell your partner this valentine?

Ademola: Baby, we’ve been on this journey for almost four years now; we’ve grown so much over the past years. I love the fact that we’re doing life together, even before our marriage. I love that we’re taking it a step further this year. I wish us all the best in everything we do. I love you so much; I really do. I believe this valentine will be a time of reflection for us. For our future. Thank you so much, and I love you!

Ruth: Thank you, babe, for all you do. You know I can’t but always thank you for your thoughts, your care, your love, prayers and encouragement. Every single thing you do counts. I’m grateful to God for the gift of you, and I’ll always be grateful for that. I look forward to doing life with you. I look forward to building some generational standards and principles. We’re doing great things together. I love you so much, and I’ll forever be your baby.

Both: Thank you, Risevest, for sponsoring our proposal, and for inviting us for this interview. We had a great time!