Thursday, 30 June 2011

Seize the Day

A close friend of mine has been going through some distressing marital issues and I have shared her experience with some people I exchange emails with.

In summary, she has dealt with domestic violence; financial abuse (where one spouse uses money as a form of control) and infidelity. The last fight they had ended with the hubby beating her up in front of their only son.

This post is not about judging who is right or wrong - because one can never know EVERYTHING about a marriage or romantic relationship. Instead, this post is to share the advice I gave her because I believe it might help someone out there.

I usually refrain from giving advice because I am wary about misleading people BUT I was moved to say something when my friend said
- They (her hubby and her) hadnt spoken in two weeks
- He was spending most nights out of the house
- Everytime she approached him to discuss things, they ended up arguing - often descending into violence
- Her four year old son touched her bruised face as they sat on the bus and said 'Daddy hurt you, didnt he?'

At this point I asked her what she was going to do and she said she had decided to face her career and accept that they would  live separate lives in the same house. She also said she didn't want a divorce because she was worried about 'what people would say'

So, I asked her:
'Imagine you were the well paid CEO of a multi-billion pound company, who is celebrated and feted everywhere. How will you feel if you always have to return back to a house where you have a  room-mate who insults you, slaps you, refuses to pay rent and argues with you all the time?.'

Her answer was ovbious: 'I would be so unhappy'

So, my advice to her was that she owes it to her son to take charge of her life and do what is best for him - provide him with a loving and peaceful environment to grow in. How she does that is up to her.

How one overcomes life's challenges is a personal decision.

However, it is important to remember that YOUR life is YOURS alone. If you keep on worrying about what others will think, you will never make important decisions about your life.

Again, you are never too old to make a life change.

If humans are expected to live to 70 years old............Consider this:
An adult aged 30 years old has only had approximately 10 years control over their life because parents have made decisions for at least the first twenty years.

So, is it not sad if a thirty year old gives up and decides to settle for less?  Even if you are 40 years old and you decide to change your life, you have at least 30 years to savour the changes you have made.

One of my favourite mottos is 'Carpe Diem' - which means 'Seize the day'.

The day you stop learning is the day you give up on life. The day you give up on life is the day you die....It might not be literally in you fall down and die. BUT, the day you give up on life is the day something in you might be the sparkle that made you special or the smile that opened doors for you or the hope that made you wake up every morning.

My dear's never too late ....Seize the day and take control of YOUR life.

PS - The lovely Vickii made me aware that I have been nominated in the Nigerian Blog Awards. To whoever nominated me. Thank you, I'm really flattered xoxoxoxxo

Thursday, 23 June 2011

My Dearest Pickin

Inspired by Naija parents dealing with badly behaved children abroad

My dearest pickin*
Wetin you learn today
for your spree spree* school?
Una learn to play to look cool?

I see you learn well well
how to behave like fool.
And even open mouth tell
me.......say I be 'old school'.

I see say you no fit pass
Maths and English.
But you sabi harass
your classmates and teachers 

I even see say you get zero
when dem give una test.
Yet you be hero
to your useless friends

The other day you complain
say you go call olopa*
because I bring out my special cane
to whip you yeye* yansh*

My dearest pickin
I rather die
Than to see you begin
become thief and lie lie.

So, abeg come carry phone
because I ready to go prison
I no wan leave you alone
but my cane go make you see reason.
My dearest, yeye pickin

*pickin: child
*spree spree: speaking with a foreign accent
*olopa: police 
*yeye: nonsense, stupid
*yansh: backside

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

New Naija-British Drama

A new Naija-British drama is launching in the UK and US this Sunday 26th June 2011 - titled MEET THE ADEBANJOS

Watch the trailer here:

And here's some behind-the-scenes footage:
You can sign up to the mailing list NOW So You Can Receive A Password to watch for FREE!!
I sincerely wish them the best of luck...I'll definitely be watching :)

Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Sunshine Awards

Thank you to Myne , Ibhade and Yellow Sisi for this lovely award. Much appreciated !

As it has been raining in London for three days - yes, three days........ this has brought some welcome sunshine my way

Well, I am now expected to name 10 blogs that bring sunshine into my life. THIS IS NOT EASY AT ALL, AT ALL !!!!!
I feel like I have been asked to choose my favourite child........How is that possible? *confused look*

*Deep sigh*.......................Anyway, I have decided to break the rules and highlight 30 blogs. This is only fair seeing I was nominated by 3 people *sly smile* So, here are the 30 blogs that I would ask anyone new to blogging to check out .................and why.

(1) IBHADE - She keeps it real. No effizzy, white-washing or sugar coating. If you want a honest potrayal of what the average mother in Nigeria has to face daily, visit her blog. Intelligence with a dose of native common sense. She is a brave woman. Her kids are really lucky to have such a role model

(2) MYNE - A writer who nurtures other writers is a rarity. Her blog is a showcase for unpublished, young Nigerian writers. Makes one realise how much talent Nigeria has.

(3) YELLOW SISI - A gentle Christian who invites you in to share her spiritual journey. Her blog always makes me smile and her messages are always on point.

(4) LINDA IKEJI - Hot gist spot. If you want to get the latest Naija gist....go here. However, before you enter, please have some water close-by because the fiery comments left by some of her readers will leave you gasping for breath. LOL

(5) 9ja FOODIE - If she was a musician, I would be her groupie. No lie. Her passion for food really shines through

(6) GINGER - Always something interesting to read. I am loving her 'This is Oyinboland' series. Her inquisitive mind will take her far.

(7) JOXY - A brave woman who knows how to make lemonade when handed lemons. Read and find out what I mean...............................

(8) NEWLYWED - I must admit that when I first came across this blog I thought it was going to be full of mushy-mushy stuff i.e. 'Day 1 - I love him'...........;'Day 2 - I still love him.........;'Day 3 - He loves me more' etc. LOL         However, she has proven to be a brave writer. Her posts on 'Uterine Fibroids' are a must read for black women

(9) GBEMI - It is very rare to meet someone who is not afraid to say 'I am talented and I know it' - while still sharing her vulnerability with us all. Talented and sweet. My only issue with her right now is I need to see more of her designs.....!

(10) ADURA - A restless creative. I always feel like she's got so much bubbling in her head - and if not for societal constraints - she would be one of those hippy creatives writing all day. LOL. 

(11) PRISM - I think of her as a creative onion - artist, writer, budding fashion designer ....... So many layers around a really warm heart.

(12) BLESSING - A young woman who is finding her way through life and has allowed us share her journey. Thank you

(13) KITKAT - A young voice with a lot to say. I like her sense of humour. Even though I know she hates the word 'cute'...I think she IS cute.

(14) SIS YEMMIE - Really funny and refreshing. She always makes me laugh

(15) THE CORNER SHOP - This blog features small scale Naija entrepreneurs. Great to see Naija peeps doing 'tings' despite PHCN, no bank loans etc etc

(16) ILOLA - My fiesty Christain who gives as good as she gets.

(17) STING - The name says it all. Not one to back away from a fight. LOL

(18)  ANGELS' BEAUTY - Like Blessing, I feel like I am privy to her life journey. Bon voyage

(19) NUTRITIONALERT - A very informative health and nutrition site. It would be interesting to see a 9ja Foodie and Nutritionalert collaboration..........mmmmm *stroking my chin*

(20) PET - Funny and lively...the only human being I know who eats plantain and bread ! LOL

(21) HONEYDAME - Totally free-style and funny - like laughing gas on a rollercoaster. LOL

(22) CHIZZY D - Young Christain adventurer. It'll be interesting to what she discovers

(23) IBILUV - Unashamedly saucy and naughty. I like to call her blog a 'tourist destination'. Sneak there at least once......I promise I wont tell. LOL

(24) DOYIN - Christain messages peppered with humour

(25) NGO - Interesting to see Naija through the eyes of someone who is discovering more about the country.

(26) VICKII - Great baking recipes accompanied by lovely posts.

(27) LUFFA - Thought provoking and insightful. A great read everytime

(28) LASHES - An accountant who is witty and expressive..doesn't come around often. LOL

(29) BOMA - A fashion blog that doesn't bore me

(30) GUYS who provide a refreshing male point of view: GBENGATOBIT-NOTESSTRONGEMEKA,  

Disclaimer: If I have failed to mention yours, please forgive me and direct your anger at whoever is closest to you right now. LOL. Seriously though, I mean no offence

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Questioning old words....

I was speaking to a friend the other day and we started talking about how the saying 'Blood is thicker than water' doesn't apply all the time. This is because friends can sometimes be more reliable than blood relatives.

Well, dreamer that I am, this conversation got me thinking about some old common English sayings and how I now question them: 

(1) 'A Jack of all trades is master of none'
My take: Not any more. With the way the global economy is right cannot rely on only one skill. 
There is nothing wrong with multi-tasking because one always has something to fall back on.
In today's world...A jack of ONE trade is likely to be JOB (Just Over Broke) !

(2) 'A friend in need is a friend indeed'
My take: Some 'friends' are always in need  - Does that mean they are my real friends?  Indeed, if one has to go by this saying.......a demanding friend who leeches - and is constantly coming back for more help - off you should be your truest friend? 

(3) 'A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush'
My take: It depends on the quality of the 'bird'. If I have one scrawny pigeon in my hand and I know there are two fat hens in the bush..................I rather get rid of the scrawny pigeon and go after the two fat hens. 
Just thinking of how those hens will taste with jollof rice will be a great incentive. LOL

(4) 'Business before Pleasure' 
My takeOne should aim for a business that gives us pleasure because the passion you feel will propel you to greater heights. 
Why make life hard for yourself? ..........Make money off whatever gives you pleasure...........em........Clean stuff only though. LOL 

(5) 'An idle brain is the devil’s workshop'
My take: Sometimes one has to be idle to be able to reassess life and determine the way forward. Being busy can be counter-productive sometimes. For example, the daily routine of rushing to work in the morning and then rushing back home - at the end of the day - can leave one so exhausted that one is unable to take a step back and ask: Is this the right job for me? Idleness can be very long as it's temporary though *smile*

(6) 'Honesty is the best policy'
My take: Dishonesty can be neccessary sometimes. I try to be honest at all times .........BUT.........As a rule, I will not tell a friend if I know their partner is cheating on them (I prefer to speak to the partner)..... I will not also tell a friend they have an ugly baby.......... 
Again, I will never tell a child they are awful at something they are trying hard to do i.e. football, drawing etc. I prefer to point out ways they could improve !  LOL
You could say my I can be dishonest to be kind when it involves emotions and children

(7) 'The more the merrier'

My take: Not all the time. When I was at uni, some girls moved around in large groups with the result that any guy who was interested in any of them, had to gain the approval of ALL of them. 
In most cases, the guy had to buy stuff for all of them, try to be nice to all of them etc - so they can put in a good word for him. 
Unfortunately, there were cases where a guy was interested in one girl and another girl was secretly fancying him. The result - the secret admirer would be very negative about the guy - discouraging the admired girl. So many girls lost out this way. The only thing I can think of that brings merriment as it multiplies - is money.

(8) 'Let sleeping dogs lie'
My take: Like I mentioned sometime ago - My father always used to say that 'If two friend never quarrel, one is cheating the other'. That is why I believe it is not always good to let sleeping dogs lie. Some issues need to be addressed once and for all - or someone will definitely remain cheated.

(9) 'The end justifies the means'
My take: I guess this is what Naija politicians tell themselves before proceeding to loot and pillage???
I disagree with this saying becomes I believe in Karma - whatever you reap, you shall sow.  

(10) 'Two Heads are Better Than One'
My take: Totally disagree because it depends on the quality of the OTHER head LOL
If I wanted to find out more about a research topic, I'd ask a University Professor. However, if I want to find out where the best tailor in town guess is that Prof is not likely to know.

Do let me know any English saying that doesnt make sense to you anymore.................

Sunday, 12 June 2011

A Few Rants

Why do people make a lot of noise about children back in Nigeria being better behaved? 

I beg to differ because I have come across so many Naija children visiting the UK from Nigeria - who do not have basic manners. Just to simply open their mouths and say - 'Good morning' or 'Good afternoon' seems to be too much effort. If this happened to me only once, I would say this was a one off. However, I have met several children like this. What is going on?

Only recently three children visited us. After eating, they left their plates on the table - expecting me to tidy up after them. Again, when they finished eating popcorn, they left my living room trashed. Their mum acted as if nothing was happening. I was DISGUSTED. So, you can imagine my surprise when - after they got back to Nigeria - the mother called my hubby to say they (herself and her husband) were thinking of sending their eldest to a London university - and whether the boy could stay with us. I calmly told my husband 'God forbid !!!..........Even if I am paid to host him, I rather starve!!!!

While I don't agree with the old school style of 'authoritarian/ restrictive parenting; I do appreciate the fact that one of the first things our parents taught us was to always greet elders and visitors. Is this now old-fashioned?

Why are some women so caught up with this weave-or-no-weave argument?

Whether you wear a weave or not does not change the fact that people are dying from hunger and war OR that people are struggling to eat or feed their family. Some women wear fake tans, others fake nails, others get plastic surgery. I don't think it is an issue. Basically, live and let live.

The fact that you have natural hair does not make you more African than the lady with weave. If you truly want to fly the flag for Africa, please make sure you don't wear any 'western type clothing' - jeans included; hand over your UK/US etc passport and return 'home'; do not use any foreign cosmetics and please, please, please do not speak English !

Do a lot of parents not realise they have to vet the TV channels their kids watch ? 

I cannot count the number of times I have asked a child (aged 6-12 years) what their favourite channel is. Only for them to say 'MTV Base'. I'm sorry, but I have to say that MTV Base is not for children.

Some of the musical videos can only be classed as 'soft-porn'. Little minds are shaped by what they see and hear. If a child watches videos of half-naked women gyrating everyday, he is likely to think that is the way women should behave - and that women are only good for sex.  MTV Base and musical videos are not ideal viewing for children. Unfortunately, it seems some parents confuse stupidity for enlightenment..

Why do so many Nollywood movies now have ridiculous plots and cringe worthy acting ?

When the film 'Living in Bondage' came out in 1992, I was particularly impressed because - as a movie lover - it was great to see an indigenous movie that delivered a credible story line with a strong moral message. However, as much as I like to be patriotic, I have to say that most Naija movies - especially those in English - just do not make sense any more.

I am not a very fluent speaker of the Yoruba language but I now choose to watch mainly Yoruba films -because they usually end with a strong moral message. It sems the ones in English are so focused on filming opulent houses, half-dressed girls, flashy cars and fake American/ British accents - to even bother with a story line. By the way, where do the accents come from. My friends, I have lived in the UK for over 15 years and my accent is still 100% Naija. No even try my Pidgin. LOL

Recently, I watched a fantastic Bollywood film - 'My Name is Khan'. This film took approximately £1 million in the weekend it opened in the UK. Similarly, in the US, it took £1.4 million over the four-day holiday weekend it opened there. These figures only go to show that if one makes a good film and uses a  credible film distributor, the sky is the limit. Nollywood (English speaking especially)....abeg, make una wake up oh. I am sick of trying to make sense of your movies.

Why do some people think 'It shall be well' is an answer to every problem?

I am a very optimistic person and as a Christian, my faith enables me hope that things will always improve. However, there are occasions that one has to create a clear distinction between food for the mind, food for the body and food for the soul.

Examples of three people that might seek one's help:
(1) A single mother comes to you and says she has lost her job and does not know how she will cope with her rent, her child, feeding etc. She is really down and confused

(2) A lady comes to you and says she is confused about her faith. She attends a church which is quite vibrant, however, she has increasingly become disillusioned with the church as she has now found out that a lot of the elders are not practising what they preach

(3) A young man comes up to you and says that he is depressed because he is sick of his job. He wants to go back to university to retrain but he is scared because he now has a young family to take care of.

I'm sure you'll agree that these are three different scenarios. Different needs, different circumstances. However, quite a lot of Naija peeps will answer all these queries with ..................'It shall be well'.

A lot of us use religion as a replacement for common sense. A hungry man does not need a Bible passage. Feed him first before you start preaching. Sometimes, what a depressed/ worried/ lost person needs is support and love first. Start with that .........before you start bombarding them with inspirational quotes and Bible passages.

PHEW...................Was that too much of a rant? LOL
If you are still with me, do let me know your thoughts on anything I touched on.......OR....let me know what has been making you ranty recently.

Have a blessed week 

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Romantic Relationships: Lessons Learnt (pt. 2)

Thank you for all your comments and feedback since I posted Part I. Before I begin part 2, here is my disclaimer again: 
       The opinions expressed here are solely based on personal experience and do not in any way pretend to be the definitive, all-encompassing  truth about all relationships.

Now, with regards to romantic relationships, here are the final 4 lessons I have learnt so far:

     I always hear people say 'Money is the root of all evil'. I beg to amend this by saying - 'MISUSE of money is the root of all evil'. To me, money is a useful thing to have - because it can help one take care of certain challenges. However, most people underestimate how important financial common sense can be to the sustainability of any romantic relationship. Partners seem to avoid talking about money and this does not make sense. 
Will you get into a car with an inexperienced driver? OR Get into a plane with a visibly drunk pilot. I assume NOT. However, I see those situations as similar to instances where a financially savvy person enters into a relationship with a financially stupid person.

Even if you love someone with all your heart, with time, it can get a bit tiring if the person is a LEECH or a SPENDRIFT or a MISER. 

An example please:
Mary met Nonso at a London event. Although she was earning more than him when they started dating, she didn't mind that he couldn't buy her nice things or take her to special places. Mary was a great believer in 'investing time and effort in people' - and she felt that - apart from being broke all the time Nonso was a great boyfriend. 

While some of her friends felt Nonso was a bit selfish, she believed that he would 'spoil her' in future. She was happy to buy him gifts, she was happy to help him out from time to time, she was even happy to contribute to his air fare whenever he wanted to go back to Nigeria to see his aged parents. 

Her friends were not convinced his intentions were genuine and it got to a stage where Mary bought her own birthday presents and passed them off as from Nonso - just to keep her friends quiet. She even considered relocating from London to Manchester - to be with him because she wanted them to set up home together.

Long story short, after waiting 5 years for Nonso to propose - and for her 'investment' to pay off; she found out that he had been secretly dating a girl in Nigeria. How did she find out? ............Well, last November, Mary's close friend (Cha-Cha) went home to Enugu. While there, Cha-Cha's cousins dragged her to an engagement party in Nsukka. When Cha-Cha got there..........................she discovered the party was actually Nonso's - He was celebrating his engagement to his Naija based girl friend !

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying a man MUST shower a girl with presents etc to prove his love - or  vice versa. However, I believe that no matter how poor you are if you really love someone, YOU MUST DO YOUR BEST TO SHOW IT. Buy whatever you can afford, spend whatever you can afford BUT DO SOMETHING.

Financial stupidity comes in many forms:
- An inability to save
- An inability to control spending
- An inability to invest a single penny on one's partner/ home/ family
- An inability to plan - financially - for one's future

This kind of stupidity is especially harmful - when it involves another person's life/ emotions. Yes, financial stupidity can truly kill love, murder affection and strangle respect.

One of my favourite passages ffrom the Bible is Matthew 7:6
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces'

While this passage relates to faith, the message is also a warning that one should not give something precious to those who do not value it. In a relationship, one must remember that PRECIOUS IS A PERSONAL DEFINITION. Some people value gold, others beads. Some cars, others property. Some value company, others solitude. What one defines as  'precious' differs from person to person.

I cannot count the number of times I have heard a girl complain...'He used me. He was the first man I ever slept with and he dumped me' Yes, I do accept that your virginity is a precious asset. However, I must remind you that it is only precious to YOU. If you decide to lose it to someone, do bear in mind that that 'special moment' MIGHT just be just another quickie to him.

Again, I have heard men complain that a girlfriend/ wife does not respect their 'precious' mother and they are not willing to accept that. In an ideal world, the mother-in-law and wife/girlfriend would meet for the first time and immediately bond because they have a common object of affection - the son. However, we must bear in mind that this 'special mother' is only special to the son. Her value might become evident to the girlfriend/wife with time...not immediately...but with time. 

So, the man must understand that it might take time for these two women to bond....if they ever do. Until they do, it is the man's duty to protect his partner - advising her on what the mum likes/ dislikes. It is also his duty to make his mother aware that his partner has his best interest at heart - while still reassuring his mum that her place in his heart remains.

Yes, 'precious' is personal. Just because you have always placed great value on acquiring a PhD, dont assume your husband will automatically share your dream. Just because you feel a retirement home in Nigeria is an ultimate goal, dont assume your wife will automatically have the same dream. 

A long term romantic relationship can be compared to a debate - you often have to convince the other party that you have a valid argument. With love and patience, PRECIOUS WILL BECOME A SHARED DEFINITION. 

    Not THAT KIND of naughty person *cheeky smile*

    I refer to any person you let into your relationship. A lot of women have a habit of discussing their relationship problems with friends and family members.

    It is important to remember that most people are not honest about what goes on behind closed doors:                                                                                                              I had a very good friend - lets call her Mugu - who had been married for just over a year. She always shared her marital problems with all her friends - It was always one thing or the other. However, her biggest grievance against her husband was that he was always out with his friends. Every Friday and Saturday night he could be found in his favourite Naija bar in South East London.                                                                                                                                   Whenever she complained to her friends, one of them in particular - Amy - was always telling her 'If it were me, I will do this or that' OR 'Do not to take rubbish' OR 'Put your foot down' OR 'Show your husband who is boss'....... ..                                                                                                   Anyway, one day, Amy advised Mugu to drive to this bar and embarass the man. Mugu did so and her husband was mad. He felt this was the ultimate insult - especially as his friends witnessed his wife accosting him so publicly. When he got home, the husband demanded an apology and Mugu refused. He then proceeded to pack up a bag and drive to his best friend's house - where he stayed for the next one month.                                                                                                                                      During that period, Mugu became worried that her marriage was over and spoke to Amy. Amy advised her to stand her ground. What happened.........was that apparently, as a very good friend, Amy started visiting Mugu's husband in the office - to 'console' him - and after some time, she started 'consoling' him with sex
Indeed, whenever you open your mouth to discuss your relationship with another person, you must remember that you now have a third person in the relationship. A threesome must be mutually beneficial and it must not disturb the dynamics of the relationship. Comparing a partner to another is a recipe for disaster.

Personally, I prefer discussing such issues with acquintances that are oustide my usual circle of friends OR with much older people. Remember that people are not likely to be honest about their own relationship. Shine your eye no be curse.

   English saying: ''Don't burn your bridges behind you" - means always leave people in good terms as you never know when you might meet them again
   Love is intoxicating and the beginnings of a love affair or a strong sexual relationship can be fraught with silly mistakes that come back to haunt one. An example please:
      Donald, a Nigerian, met Sophie - a white American girl - when he went over to the US to start a new life. When they met, Donald was a security guard at a local supermarket and Sophie was also working there as a cashier. They both fell in love and eventually moved in together. Intoxicated by love and the fact that he was now in the US, Donald could often be heard dissing his origins with negative statements like:
        'Nigeria is a jungle, I can never live there' OR 'Nothing good ever comes from Nigeria'
       'Black girls are a waste of space' OR 'Black people cannot lead themselves' OR 'Nigeria is a filthy place'
Over time, Sophie and Donald had two boys. As the boys grew up, Donald wanted them to know more about Nigeria so when he finally got his papers regularised - and he could now travel to Nigeria, he suggested that they visit Nigeria to see where he came from - especially as his parents were getting old . His wife's reaction - 'ABSOLUTELY NOT !' All she had heard about Nigeria was negatives. How could she trust that her children would be safe?

People burn their bridges in different ways:
- Some cut off their friends because they feel their new love is more important
- Some pull away from their family members because their family's modest means might be 'embarrassing' when compared to the wealth of their new lover's family
- Some turn their back on their origins because it is not 'cool' enough.....

Believe me, such actions always haunt you later. We are who we are. If you deny something that is part of you, that thing will deny you one day. Honesty between couples makes life so much easier.

These are the 7 main lessons i have learnt about romantic relationships - so far. Of course there are many more, but I have to be brief. The truth is that men and women are fundamentally different so it takes hard work for any couple to unify their shared goals and dreams. I grew up in a house full of girls - and I now have only sons so I can officially confirm that boys/men are quite different from girls.

Now consider this - a romantic relationship between two people involves bringing together two people with different childhoods, different life experiences, different values and maybe even differing beliefs. Considering how difficult it is for siblings to live together without fighting from time to must understand that romantic relationships have a lot of differences to contend with. Why do some work? Because real love can be a great overcomer.

A house divided against itself cannot and will not stand. It can never withstand the test of time. A couple have to disagree to agree. However, they MUST respect each other and put each other first. 

I pray that each of my sons will find a loving partner someday because life is too hard and complicated for someone to go through it alone. Real love and happiness are worth more than all the gold in the world and if one is blessed with good health also......nobody can hold one back.

I wish you all the same - good health, real love and happiness. Do let me know your own lessons you have learnt about love. xoxoxo

PS - I just realised that its past midnight here. Apologies to UK peeps that I posted late. I'm on US time *smile*

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Romantic Relationships: Lessons Learnt (pt. 1)

Since I started this blog, I have received interesting emails from readers. Thank you.

Most of these email have been relationship related, with questions like - How does one keep a marriage fresh?’............ ‘How does one continue to pursue one's dreams despite the distractions that come with marriage and family life?'.......................'How does one deal with belligerent in-laws?’............'How does one cope with childlessness?'............ etc etc

I have often replied these questions as best as I can – based on personal experience. However, I do feel that it would be a good idea to share what I have learnt about romantic relationships so far.

Before I do this, I would like to issue a disclaimer – The opinions expressed here are solely based on personal experience and do not in any way pretend to be the definitive, all-encompassing  truth about all relationships.

So, here are the seven things I have learnt about romantic relationships so far:

I have come across so many instances where someone has cheated with a person considered to be ‘beneath/ less than/ inferior to‘ his/her partner. The case of Arnold Shwarznegger illustrates this best:  Married to a woman who hails from one of America’s political dynasties, he chose to father a child with his domestic help and then keep this a secret from his wife – for over ten years. 

Sad to say, my personal experience is that this is a common occurrence in Nigeria - where I have seen so many male relatives/ family friends do same.

However, this kind of behaviour is not exclusive to men. I know of a successful business man who only found out that 3 of his 7 kids were not his, after 15 years of marriage. He only found out by chance - when they all  had to take medical tests because one of the children had a kidney complaint.

Basically, NEVER take your partner for granted. 'Body no be firewood'....If you feel that you are too good or smart for your partner, you might be shocked to find out that s/he thinks the same. Indeed, as a starving person will not wait for a well cooked meal, that is how a frustrated/ restless/ dissatisfied partner might choose to find comfort elsewhere. As my people say.....'Dirty water dey quench fire'

(*Flounder = to struggle)
 From personal experience - and that of my friends - love is not a constant. Sometimes one is overwhelmed by the love one feels for a partner. Other times  - especially when you argue - you wonder how you could ever love them. 

This is totally normal. My father once said - 'If two friends NEVER quarrel, one of them is cheating the other'. Same with marriage, disagreements must arise. 

Love may flounder, however respect should be a constant. A family friend of ours tolerated her lazy and selfish husband for over ten years. Even though she was earning more than him, she respected him, operated a joint bank account and consulted him every time she had to make a financial decision. She is one of the most frugal women I have ever known. However, one day, she found receipts for expensive dinners (for two), and hotel rooms. This gave her a clue that he was lavishing money on women outside. Her fears were finally confirmed the day she discovered that he had a secret bank account/ credit card. That was the day she lost respect for him and decided the marriage was over.

Yes, love might flourish and flounder....but the day respect flounders, is the day the camel's back will definitely be broken.

Two scenarios:

I - Obi met Lisa at a party. She was the girl every man wanted. Her silk jumpsuit clung to all her curves and no-one was left in any doubt that her body could rival Beyonce's anyday. Obi started dating Lisa and he loved the fact that she was always lively, up for a party and extremely confident. He also liked the fact that she had lots of friends and she was always busy - so she was different from his previous girlfriends who had always been clingy and needy. It didn't matter that she wasn't keen on domestic stuff - he wanted an equal partner.

II - Andy first noticed Boyo at his sister's wedding. She wasn't the most beautiful girl there but she was by far the nicest. Despite the fact that she was running around - trying to cater to guests and the bride, at the same time - she always had a lovely smile on her face.

Andy couldn't stop staring at her ...she seemed familiar but he couldnt place the face. After asking around, he discovered that this was 'Little Boyo' - his little sister's friend who used to come to their house with plaited hair, school uniform and socks. She sure had blossomed into a graceful woman. Long story short, he asked her out because she was the epitome of what he felt a good girl should be - respectful, demure, conservative, studious and quiet. A welcome change to all the gold-diggers he had dated in the past.

Well, both couples eventually got married. 

Present day - Obi is getting fed up with Lisa's love of parties and her lack of domestic skills. Matters were made worse when Obi's mother came over to London for a visit and a busy Lisa served her Jollof rice she bought from their local Nigerian restaurant. Another worry for Obi is that quite a few of Lisa's friends have remained unmarried and he questions their influence on his wife. Lisa's response - 'This is me...take it or leave it'

As for Andy, his job - as a Corporate solicitor - means he attends cocktail parties and entertains clients, to network. However, Boyo doesn't enjoy such functions and often opts out. She prefers to stay at home with the kids or attend church functions. Her response - 'My reserved nature is what you loved when you met me.....why do you expect me to change?'

Indeed, one CANNOT change an UNWILLING adult - persistent attempts will only end in tears. I'm sure you've heard of the saying 'You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot force it to drink........ .......?!

To Be Continued - I will post part 2 on Wednesday (08/06/11). 
In the meantime, do let me know what you think about these first three observations. 
Have a peaceful week.