Love keeps Lanieta & Eroni together

A friend once said, “I don’t believe in looking for relationship on Facebook. If anyone thinks through Facebook you will be able to find your one true love, then that is false.”

The friend had shared this after being in contact with an unknown person via the social media platform, only to find out later that the person was married and had children.

But when Eroni Seibouma sent a friend request to Lanieta Daveta on Facebook, he was not joking around. He was looking for a life partner.

“I first laid eyes on her during one of our Methodist Church conference at Naveiwakau in Valelevu and she was conducting the choir. I said to myself, ‘I have to talk to this girl’. But because there were a lot of people around I was shy to talk to her so I got her name through a friend and decided to send her a friend request on Facebook,” said the 23-year-old Yacata lad.

For Lanieta, she had no idea Eroni was interested in her and at the time, she did not know him personally.

“I belonged to another congregation but during our circuit meeting I would often see him so I said why not. I will accept his friend request,” said Lanieta, who is originally from Namalata on Kadavu.

“But then while talking, I could tell by his choice of words that he was not joking around and I thought to myself, ‘hmmmm, this must be the man’.”

They spent the next five months getting to know each other better and shared a lot of things, from likes and dislikes, to similarities and differences but it was all through Facebook.

Then there was an auxiliary meeting of circuit representatives that was held at Valelevu.

“At the end of the meeting, not a word was uttered between us but during our grog session at the talatala’s residence, he was often looking at me. Every time I looked up, he was staring at me,” said Lani, as she is fondly known.

At the conclusion of their yaqona session, Eroni because he had a vehicle volunteered to drop them, so in boarded Lani and two others.

“He did not say a word neither did I. The other two were dropped first and I was the last to get dropped. When I got off, I said, ‘thank you’,” said Lani.

“Only thank you,” was the response from Eroni.

“What do you have in mind?” asked Lani, “then we exchanged numbers,” she said with a smile.

The following day, they went on their first date. Days turned to weeks then turned to months, and it seemed the two could not live without each other. Because of their families’ reputation and their positions in the church they decided to take it to the next level.

“I was feeling embarrassed as friends were calling his car Bulou ni Ceva (a vessel that once serviced the island of Kadavu before running aground on Rotuma). So we decided it was time to inform our families that we had been seeing each other,” added Lani, who will be completing her bachelor of commerce degree at the USP next year.

“After informing my parents, we decided that we should also inform Lani’s parents that we had been dating,” added Eroni, who works for the Fiji Electricity Authority.

Through their relationship, their two families came to know one another and on November 26, 2016, Eroni and his family presented a tabua (whale’s tooth) to Lani in the presence of her family, traditionally asking for her hand in marriage. The ceremony is known as duguci.

“From the moment I got to know Eroni, he has been there for me. When I face hardships, he has supported me and most of all he has been loyal to me,” she said.

“From the first day I saw her, I liked her a lot. When I am down or when I falter, she is there to pick me up and I am grateful that she has been there for me every step of the way,” added Eroni.

On June 30, the two tied the knot in a full traditional Fijian wedding ceremony, which was attended by friends and families from their paternal and maternal sides.

“Marriage is when two people come together as one. The foundation of the success of this marriage is our faith, our love and respect for one another,” said the new Mrs Seibouma.

“When we put God first, everything will fall into place,” added Mr Seibouma.

During the church service, Anare Sovu, speaking on behalf of the bride’s family, wished his grandniece a happy and successful marriage.

“To you Lani, you were raised in a family that believes in God. We know that a time will come when a young woman leaves her family and will marry a man and they will live together. That time has come.

“You have been prepared for this day and I pray that you will be strong to face and accept the struggles of marriage life. In all you do, remember your vanua and your family and their teachings.”

Jeremaia Volavola, speaking on behalf of the groom’s family, added marriage was a sacred ordinance and one that must be respected.

“What you two have started is like the planting of a seed.

“The ability of that seed to sprout and to become a tree to bear fruit will depend on how you two look after that seed.

“Marriage is often filled with a lot of fun, but after this day, we will all go and you two will be left on your own.

“Ground your marriage in God and love for another and that seed that will become a tree will never be uprooted.”

When asked what the future plans were, Lani said she wanted to complete her degree and while she wanted three children, Eroni said he wanted five.

“There is no challenge strong enough to destroy your marriage as long as you are both willing to stop fighting against each other, and start fighting for each other.” — Dr Nikki Martinez.

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