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My 20-Year-Wedding-Anniversary Reflection.

20 5

As crawling gives way to toddling and then striding, so does every relationship that would stand the test of time! It is like a child moving more steadily through the physical world, un-perturbed by the unknown rough pathway ahead, but determined to thrive.

Our relationship with others should always crave for improvements and ability to reject being the ultimate mentalist! Or self-appointed mind-readers we think we are. Only if we make room for acceptance.

How often have we erringly misjudged the mental states of others, such as their background upbringing, sexual orientation, feelings, thoughts, intentions, baggages and deceptions because we feel there just isn’t enough vacancy in our hearts, anymore?

Should we allow our minds to navigate deeper into the cross-currents of the broader social world while we struggle with our differences? Is there really a perfect mate? And for people who have given up on searching or loving, should there exist a fundamental difficulty in trusting again? ‘Fear of series of strong headwinds, uncertain tacks, and treacherous eddies?

 

So, here I am today, August 14th 2017, exactly 20 years ago my ever so-loving-Father walked me down the hallway of The Marriage registry at City Hall Lagos, into the arms of the one true love I would ever encounter! The same bespectacled-guy I met 3.5 years earlier who couldn’t keep his eyes off my one-nation orange halter-neck romper and wouldn’t get off the wall of the newly opened Club Towers night club to dance, who’d pledged the same night jokingly ‘He would marry me someday’ on the dance floor at The Whyte’s party on Glover road and then, Oh-my-word! ‘eventually showed up at my home church, Holy Cross Cathedral by making himself comfortable in my family pew, singing Agnus Dei, like he took Latin classes in college, showing off in his brand new well ironed patterned shirt, brown suede penny loafers while driving the smallest blue car ever driven in Lagos! … #Daewoo Tico

#WE DO…then in 1997, and 20 years later…#WE STILL DO

20 3Phew! It wasn’t easy…trust me, but was worth the fight to keep on keeping on!

From the misconception of what the romantic novels we read say about marriages, to the soap operas and knowledge based books or audio we tune to! From the no-experience marriage counselors or confused life coaches sprawled all over, to the perception social media breeds about what marriage should be…that’s just 1% of the back-slap advice compared to what your destiny has to offer you…’there is no manual or directory to the quick fix we all want to know.

After decades of seeking internal peace…I’d realize Oh my goodness! I don’t know it all, He doesn’t know it all either, we are actually both still learning, and our ultimate wisdom should come from God. Alone. Period.

Isn’t it like someone giving you a relationship advice and it just doesn’t work? Their wisdom, your wisdom and my own wisdom are limited. It’s subjective and faulty. And while the implementation of earthly wisdom can and often does bring some benefit, it will not always lead us to the safety and ease we long for deep inside. Some marriages must surely pass through the burning funnel for a couple to become certified companions, while others would fall along the way if their hopes of survival is based on other people’s manual and perceptions.

20 6Let’s face it. Relationships can be cruel, Life can be scary and marriages that have refused to hit the rock after series of extended-third-party-family-or-friends-interrupters-involvement-busy-bodies melodramatic episodes have finally shut-the-front-door after them…’what’s next?

If you are reading this and wondering, How-in-the-world-did-THEY-do-it? I know right? I usually ask myself too (lol). But, God’s wisdom is perfect. It leads my heart, mind, and soul to safety and rest in a world that is filled with scary realities and uncertainties. You just have to name the challenges… We have both walked through it together…24 years and counting.

I am hoping someone reading this, at any point of their relationship would also tune in to God’s wisdom – when we hear it, yield to it, apply it and obey it – we will live in peace. Not the world’s peace – God’s peace. We will be at ease with all imperfections. Not with perfect lives, but with lives that are led and not controlled by fear and anxiousness of what tomorrow would bring in their marriages, relationships, courtship or friendship. We can and will experience peace in spite of the chaos in our relationships. Be encouraged!

Yours in HOPE as I share our wedding dance/favorite song “FOR YOU” by Kenny Lattimore.

Yinka.

 

 

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Is Marriage or Relationship Overrated? (Part One)

trust

Dara lived in a small town with parents who were morally sound and family oriented. She went to church from her earliest remembrance and was baptized when she was twelve-years-old. In high school, she began dating David. After Dara went off to college, both of David’s parents died. He was lonely and missed the close-knit family he had once enjoyed.

After Dara’s first year of college, David began to talk about marriage. Dara was torn, but made the decision to marry David and continue working toward her degree. But after the wedding comes the marriage – something that neither the two were prepared to face.

After five years, Dara was bored with the marriage, restless in her job, and disappointed in her husband. While working in a medical office, Benjamin, a salesman for an international medical supply company took on their account. He was older and lived what seemed like an exciting lifestyle.  It started as friendly bantering, which progressed to enticing flirtation. Dara found herself looking forward to Thursdays—the day the rep made his weekly visits. She looked her best on Thursdays!

A touch here, a lunch there, and soon an affair ensued. Dara packed her bags, left her marriage, quit her job, and moved on to greener pastures.

But the greener pastures weren’t so green. Thorns infested the relationship. Benjamin wasn’t interested in a long-term relationship. Dara was just a young plaything he toyed with on weekends.

What promised to be an exciting life, away from a mundane, monotonous marriage, turned into a deep, dark pit of regret and remorse? Dara discovered Benjamin wasn’t anything special. He was just someone different. And she was his flavor of the month. After her divorce was final, Dara was left all alone in a strange town. What have I done? She cried….What do I do now? hmmmm.

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So, every time we take a bold step outside our comfort zone to embrace the world, we encounter different kinds of people. Some with great personality and such charm that melts our hearts and keeps us trapped in their love spell. Some simply splendid and down-to-earth and oh-so comforting to be with!

Some with over-bearing explosive ideas on life and some with genuine uniqueness that radiates true beauty from inside. We get trapped, spell bound, speechless, astonished, and we fall in love with what we see that we like, and ignore the impossibilities.

Relationship, be it before or after any form of commitment requires consistent grooming and trimming. Whether it’s a friendship built on trust that leads to marriage or a courtship of convenience that’s meant only to quench our initial thirst. The end result is a binding force of conflicting emotion, while the refresher is an eye opener.

One of the most important advice I’d received on my wedding day was from my late adopted grandma, Mrs. Oke (who was also my next door neighbor in Lagos) She’d come over as I was getting dressed and helped dry off the dripping water from my wedding bouquet. As she carefully changed the soaked lace dolly wrap and handed the flower bouquet back to me, she titled her glasses to balance on the tip of her nose and looked into my eyes… ’My dear Yinka, I want you to see this union as a can of soup. To enjoy the savory taste inside, you will need to open it with the right tool, pour it out with care and then still make effort to control its temperature , just to soothe your heart” – that was almost 18 years ago. And really, it did not make a single sense to me! Seriously, all I could think of at that moment was walking down the aisle in my dad’s arm! But I replied with a big smile “Ha-ha Mama ‘am getting married now! Why this riddle now?’Lol.

Fast forward to today: I met with a young man in his late twenties during a group therapy session. Cordial, respectful, outspoken with a crazy sense of dry humor, and oh-so-matured for his age! There’s a poise and passion/strong will to excel aura about him, you could feel his drive and hunger to intentionally grab the world by the horn and twist it to his agenda!

Instantly, He’d informed me, “I don’t believe in marriage! But I believe in love and keeping a serious relationship without the hassle of marriage. I don’t think there is anything else in this world that feels as wonderful and as natural as falling in love. But Ms. A, don’t you think it’s reckless to swear an oath to love one person. It’s completely and truly unrealistic, unnatural and unnecessary to force people to stay together with an artificial binding contract. The society may prefer to call it marriage but trust me, it’s nothing more than imprisonment. Love is one emotion that can neither be controlled, so it’s better to let it run its natural course, however long that may be, and die out on its own”.

He’d mentioned growing up in a broken home where there wasn’t a father figure for him, and practically all the people around him never visited the aisle. “Marriage is not cut for me” he said as he looked up into the ceiling, lost and getting emotional. I sensed tension!

“Where did you get your boldness from? He asked, trying to change the topic. I pretended to look puzzled and alarmed. Hmmm I’d answered with a smirk of mischief. He looked at me squarely and said, “African women don’t discuss deep stuff! – He managed to whisper…aha! that was all we needed to ease the tension…we both collapsed into a deep heart-warming laughter that caused heads to turn in puzzlement! ‘What could they be talking about?

So, is marriage overrated? Can we really give ALL of us in a marriage? or in a relationship? Are we living in a paralyzed society that sees marriage as handicapped? And people who fall for it as disabled? Part of the problem with the word ‘disable’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love?

In agreement with my young friend, I feel marriage is all about the person and the circumstances. Most people usually get married because they have to, not because they want to. On the contrary I feel that we should all directly pursue what makes us happy .There are a lot of people who are a firm believer in long term relationships but always look upon marriage with suspicious eyes. However they still get married to uphold the culture and tradition. But is it even worth it? Because with marriage would come the stress and pressure of living your life in accordance with someone else?

Who do we blame? Our youthful desire? Our greed for consumption? Our selfishness? The society? The extended family? The problem with society is that they consider marriage as bliss. There are so many people getting married with all the glamorous “Cinderella at the ball trappings”, only to get frustrated and divorced within 2 years or so.  If you are getting married thinking, this one decision in your life is going to take away all your sorrows, then you need to just look around and you’ll see several partners hanging on by the skin of their teeth.

If you consider the institution worth fighting for, the ground is all yours, but just by “getting married” because you “feel like it”: then you cannot guarantee happiness UNLESS a mutual relationship is built on acceptance, trust, loyalty and genuine love…by giving all of you!   ‘To Be Continued!

Yours in HOPE as I share one of my favorite songs by John Legend.

Yinka.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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