Tuesday, October 31

First Date and Next Steps

I was writing this post two days ago, but my computer froze and I couldn't finish it. So anyways here's the continuation from where I stopped.

He invited me to a youth party organised by his youth club in church. I decided that was harmless enough so I agreed to attend. When we got there, every one was wondering who I was, and I kept on saying we were friends from school.

After the party, he asked if he could take me home and I agreed. Two other girls asked him for a lift as well. On the way, one of them was calling him "her husband", and then she suddenly stopped and started apologising to me. I found it amusing because I wasn't his girlfriend at the time, so I wondered why she was apologising to me. Anyways after he dropped them off, I asked him and he claimed he didn't know why she thought I was his girlfriend. (Later I found out that he had told them I was!)

Some days later, he invited me to see a movie with him during the week. I was working late that day, so we agreed to see an evening film. I left work later than usual and got delayed on the tube, so by the time we got to the cinema, the movie had already started. We decided there was no point going in to see the film anymore. He suggested we should get some food and go and sit in his car to talk. This was fine by me. And it was while we were sitting and talking that he told me what was going on in his mind, and asked me to be his girlfriend. I can't remember his exact words, but he made it clear that he wanted a long-term meaningful relationship. So this was not just a fling, not just a "let's see how it goes" relationship, but something that would work out. I knew that he was asking in effect if I would agree to be his wife sometime in the future. I sat in silence for a while. Then I told him I would pray about it and let him know my answer when I'm sure. That evening was lovely, we enjoyed each other's company so much that we ended up sitting in the cinema's car park talking till 3.00am in the morning! When we eventually realised the time, we laughed at ourselves. Then he dropped me off at home and I stayed on the phone with him until he got home too. Sweet eh :-)

At work the next day, I'm sure my co-workers noticed that I was smiling more than normal, and I was receiving loads of text messages. I was thinking about him all day. I had prayed about it that morning, and I told God I wanted a clear sign that I should start a relationship with this guy. I wanted to be 101% sure that I was doing the right thing. Then I remembered that I had prayed for a husband. Was God answering my prayer already? I decided to wait and see. That evening, when he called me to ask for my response, I told him I was waiting to for God to confirm something to me. He understood. So the next few days I kept my eyes and ears open to hear from God. Sure enough I got my response. And I felt so much peace.

So one fateful day in September 2002, I called "Mr" and told him I had agreed to be his girlfriend! He was really pleased (obviously). We committed ourselves to God there and then, and asked Him to guide us down the path we were taking. And that marked the start of our wonderful relationship.

(Recap: met him in January, became friends in April, grew closer over the summer, became his girlfriend in September. Pretty straight-forward eh?) LOL

One thing that strikes me, as I look back now, is that I can't think of which point I started falling in love with him. We started out as platonic friends, but somehow the love between us grew, and before I knew it, I was well and truly smitten.

Sunday, October 22

One normal day

The first time I met hubby was nothing special. It wasn't love at first sight, there was no initial spark, no butterflies, or anything else that romantic writers talk about. It was just a normal meeting, one normal day.
It was in uni, during those annoying January exams. A friend (let's call her EG) and I had taken a break from studying, and popped out for lunch. When we entered the restaurant, a group of guys were at the counter placing their orders. As I didn't know any of them, I took no notice. EG knew one of them, and he came over to say hi to her, and then she introduced us. We said hi to each other. EG and I chose a table to eat and left the guy to go back to his friends. Some time later, the guy come to our table to have a chat with EG. He seemed quite friendly, and he even invited us to a wedding. We both said we had to study for our exams, so we declined the invitation. After a while he left and I remember thinking he talked too much (lol). After that initial meeting, we would see each other around campus once in a while but nothing developed.
Then some months later, one sunday, my church had a service where all the branches in London came together. I saw this guy during the service. I was surprised, that he was even a christian, and that he was in the same church as me. After the service, he came up to me and I asked him if he attended the church, he said yes, just a different branch. We chatted for a while, and exchanged phone numbers, promising to keep in touch and look out for each other on campus.
The next day I told EG that I had seen her friend in my church the day before and she was surprised. Anyway from then, whenever I saw him on campus, he would come and have a chat.
Some months later, it was my birthday and I had planned to go out for a meal with my girl friends, including EG. She wanted to bring her boyfriend too, but she didn't want him to be the only guy attending. So she asked me to invite other guys. I told her I didn't have other guy friends. Then she said, "what about..... 'this guy', isn't he your friend?". So I asked him if he wanted to come along too. He said he didn't mind, so I told him where and when to meet us. On my birthday, he called me at midnight and played the birthday song to me on his guitar, which was sweet :-) . Soon we grew closer, and my sister commented that I had started spending more time on the phone chatting to him. One evening the conversation steered towards relationships and what we wanted from our future partners (typical eh?). But it was all good stuff.

Our first outing was to a party organised by the youths in his church. The plan was for us to meet up halfway and he would take me with him. On my way I was wondering what I was getting myself into. But it turned out to be nice. More gist in my next post.

Saturday, October 21

Time out... to Think and Grow

After I broke up with "the disappearing guy" I finally had some space to think. I realised that I had been drifting from one relationship to the other and I hadn't defined what I really wanted in a guy before jumping into relationships willy-nilly. Time for a break to discover myself and define what I wanted in a man.

At about the same time too, I knew God was calling on me to take my relationship with Him more seriously. Having been raised as a christian all my life, I had "played by the rules" and didn't indulge in sin (or so I thought), I went to church regularly, I behaved myself and so on. But I knew I had to start taking it seriously because I came to a crossroad: follow God fully or go my own way. So when I became single again, I thought it was the best time for me to get back in touch with God, get serious as a christian, become active in my church and define my relationship goals. Soon I re-dedicated myself to God and joined a ministry. I was happy and at peace with myself.

Later, as I looked back on this period in my life, I think God was actually working on me, making me a better person emotionally and spiritually, because no one who is immature in those areas should go into a marriage relationship. I think God wanted to show me that I was a woman of value to Him, and therefore I should not just give myself to any guy who would not appreciate my value. A person who does not know the value of what he has, would not take good care of it. Same thing with us ladies, the man that does not know your value will treat you like rubbish. God also showed me that I didn't need a boyfriend to validate me or make me whole or complete. My validation and completeness are only in Christ. A man in my life is supposed to complement me, not complete me. And I should trust God completely to guide me in my life, because He knew what was best for me. I learnt most of this stuff from christian books I started to read (The Lady, Her Lover, and Her Lord by T. D. Jakes, Let Me Be a Woman by E. Elliot, Not Even a Hint by J. Harris, Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships by Chip Ingram and many others) and these books shaped my outlook on healthy relationships. I realised that I had to put the matter in prayer so that God would take care of it.

One day while I was praying, I prayed about my relationships and I told God that I wanted my next relationship to be with the guy I would marry. I didn't want to experience any more break-ups and disappointments. After I finished praying, something told me "Be careful what you wish for, because you will get it". At first I was surprised, but then I thought to myself, yeah why not? I won't mind meeting the right guy for me now, at least that would save me kissing more frogs. I soon forgot about the prayer and went about my normal activities. Little did I know that my prayer was going to answered so soon.

Monday, October 16

The Disappearing Boyfriend

Moving on to the next boyfriend, number 4. This is the case of converting your best friend into your boyfriend. Myself and this guy were very close friends for years and years, through secondary school, college and uni - about 5 years. We had such a nice rapport going on. I always felt safe with him. He was the guy I used to confide in. I told him all my secrets, about the guys I had crushes on, money worries, mood swings, everything. He would always listen to me, offer help and advise and I trusted him. He also told me about his own relationships, struggles with his family, etc. All my girl friends knew him and sometimes they wondered about our friendship, but I always insisted that we were just close friends, and anyway I had 'proper' boyfriends, and he was there to help me decode what goes on in guy's minds.
He knew when I broke up with BF2, he knew about my silly escapades with other guys, and finally when there was a gap in my busy love life, he decided to make his move. The morning of Valentine's Day I was at uni when I got a call from him that he wanted us to meet up in Marble Arch for a movie after my lectures. This wasn't unusual cos we had gone to see movies together many times before so I just thought it was his way of consoling me for my lack of a boyfriend to treat me. No worries there, so after lectures, I dashed home, changed my clothes and headed to Central London.
On getting there, we saw the movie and he insisted on seeing me back home, and just as we were walking up my street, he pulled out some things from his backpack and presents them to me. I took them and was about to stuff them away, but he wanted me to open it right away. I opened the package and there was a card which he had written a poem in, a perfume and some other items I've forgotten.. lol. Then he kissed me and declared his love. I was like "What did you do that for? You have just spoilt everything!" and I stormed off into my house. I was trembling with anger, shock and confusion. When did my best friend start falling in love with me? And why? How will this change our friendship? Eventually I calmed down and called him two hours later. He apologised profusely and explained that he had loved me right from the start of our friendship, but he wasn't sure how I felt about him. So he waited and waited for me to realise that we should be together, instead I was busy with other guys. I laughed at this point and thought that maybe he had a point and since we were already good friends, a relationship would be the next logical step. Our first real "date" was a bit funny cos I was thinking, am I supposed to act differently now as a girlfriend?
Anyways after some time we settled down and the relationshp progressed. My friends were all chanting "I knew it!" when they found out he was now my boyfriend, like they had suspected all along. We had a blast, he treated me nicely, he took me shopping and bought me loads of stuff, we had long conversations, saw endless movies and had a good time. I thought we loved each other and everything was good.
Then after the spring/summer term in 2002, I went to Lagos for a four-week holiday. We were cool when I left England. I spoke to him just before my flight took off and he called me a few times from London to ask how my holiday was going. I was looking forward to coming back and seeing him after my holiday was over. But things went funny after that.
I arrived back in England and called him to tell him I was back. He didn't pick up so I left a message and asked him to call me back. Later that day I met up with a friend of mine, and I persuaded her to allow me stop at my boyfriend's place. When we got there, it looked like there was no one living there anymore. I was quite surprised since he hadn't mentioned he was moving. Anyways I kept calling his number but he wasn't picking it up. I sent him text messages and emails, all the while getting worried, then angry. After I had been back for two weeks without hearing from him, I went to a phone booth and called him from there. This time he picked it up (probably because he didn't recognise the number calling). I was so angry. What was he playing at? I asked him if he had seen my missed calls and messages and he said he had. I asked him why he hadn't bothered to respond and all he could tell me was that he was busy. Busy? For two weeks? Now I was really angry. He said we needed to talk and he promised to call me back later that evening to explain. Sure enough he didn't call me back. At this point, my friends were wondering what's up and all sorts of thoughts were running through my mind. What happened while I was in Lagos? Did we have any disagreements I was not aware of? Why would he just disappear like that? Why was he avoiding me? What is wrong?!! After another two weeks, I still hadn't seen him or heard from him, I decided to call him from my work phone so he would pick up. Of course he picked it up again, and I told him that since he had decided to ignore my messages, it was over between us. And that was it really. He didn't argue, and that was the end of everything, the friendship and the relationship.
For a while, I was upset, but mostly disappointed at how somebody could just change completely. But I didn't dwell on him for long, there was no point. Some months later I got an email from him, chatting something about "what could have been". I read it and deleted it. I changed my phone number some months later. I moved on and just took it as one more of life's experiences.

So that's that. Soon I was to make some big changes in my life..... Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 15

The Sly Wolf

I think one particular guy is worthy of mention, one of the guys that tried to take advantage of me. So here goes:

I was at uni one day when I saw this guy who looked really familiar. He looked like a guy that attended my secondary school but was in the set above me. I thought I should go and say hello to him, but then decided against it because I didn't want to look silly if he blanked me completely. So I ignored him and thought nothing of it. I saw him two more times after that but nothing happened. Then one day I was on the tube and an old school mate from a set above me (let's call him HB) walked into my carraige (I know, what are the odds!) and I recognised him cos I had bumped into him a couple of times at friends' get-togethers. We chatted and he asked me where I was off to, I told him I was going to uni, he asked what uni, and I told him. He then looked surprised and asked me if I had seen the familiar looking guy on campus. I said I had seen someone that looked like him but I wasn't sure. He then confirmed it was who I thought, so I decided to say hello to him when next I saw him on campus. Later that afternoon, the guy (let's call him AB) walked up to me while I was on campus and said hi and he said "Did you meet HB on the tube this morning?" and I said yes. Anyways as the story goes, we became friends, we started hanging out on campus, he would take me to lunch sometimes, we saw a few movies together etc. All was well, except for the fact that one of my close girlfriends hated him. For no apparent reason. She just told me she didn't trust him.
One day, while we were hanging out as usual, AB asked me if I could cook, and if I would be willing to help him out with cooking for him sometimes. I thought it was a bit patronising, since I wasn't his girlfriend or anything. But to be a good friend I just might help him out once in a while since he was a single guy who didn't know his way around the kitchen. Then one day he came to campus and told me that he had just moved into a new flat and had no food at home and I should come with him, to help him cook dinner. I told him I was busy with coursework and stuff, but he pestered until I agreed. When we got to his flat, lo and behold, his new flat-mate had cooked dinner for both of them. They invited me to stay and join them for dinner and a movie, but I declined thinking it was getting late and I had a paper due in that I planned to work on that evening. So I left his house.
A few days later, I was in the library frantically trying to complete my paper so that I could hand it in on time when this AB guy turned up and said I should come and cook dinner for him that very day. I was so angry, I forgot to be nice. What did he think, I have nothing to do other than wait on him to keep me busy. I told him in no uncertain terms like "Are you the one paying my school fees? Am I here to be your cook? Will I just drop my assignment and be at your beck and call? Please leave me, I have work to do!". He begged and begged but I wasn't having it. He looked so disappointed that I almost changed my mind, but I didn't. After he saw that I was not coming, he left me to continue my assignment.

I got home that evening and got a funny phone call from a friend. The guy was in a total panic, almost hysterical on the phone. I was wondering why and I told him to calm down cos he wasn't making sense. After a few minutes he finally calmed down enough to ask me "Did you go out with AB today?", I said no, he wanted me to come and cook for him, but I was busy. My friend asked me again, "Are you sure you didn't go anywhere with him today? Are you sure?". I was wondering what all the fuss was about, until he told me that AB had planned to rape me in his flat that very day! AB had told HB (the guy I met on the train) about his plans to get me to come to his house, then he would lock me in and won't let me go until he had accomplished his unholy purposes. My friend had met HB that afternoon and HB had bragged to my friend about AB's plans. Said friend had been trying to reach me all day to warn me but my phone was switched off. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. Oh my God, I was so close to going to his house that afternoon! I could not imagine what would have happened if I had followed AB home that day. I also felt foolish, because I'm usually a good judge of character, and I had been blind to AB's character flaws that my girlfriend had seen. The guy was horrible! After I hung up, I went to my room to thank God for saving me. After that I imagined the nasty things I would say to AB when I see him on campus the next day. Funny enough I never saw him. I think he found out I had heard of his plans, so he dared not show his face to me ever again. I later heard through some people that he had failed his exams (he he he) and transferred to another university in a different town. Good riddance to him.... the perv.

Tired now, so I've got to end this portion here. More stories to come....

My relationship history

Looking back at my growing up years and the relationships I've had with guys, I think I have been very, very blessed. I have had my share of frogs of course, but nothing really bad. I never got into a destructive relationship where a guy would cheat on me and I will go back to him, or a guy will blatantly disrespect me, or (gasp!) hit me. There's no way I was going to let that happen to me. And God being so good, He didn't allow me to be led astray. I'm quite sure this blessing is a result of my mum praying for her daughters, so that we won't make mistakes in our relationships and marriages.

I had 4 (more like three and a half) boyfriends before I started going out with the man I got married to. Like most girls, I also had guys I had a crush on, guys that had crushes on me, guys as my best friends at some point, toasters and the guys that purely want to take advantage of you. I was a quiet girl (I still am) and sometimes, guys thought it meant I was easy to take advantage of, but thank God none of them succeeded.

I had my first 'boyfriend' when I was 16 which was kinda late as most of my friends had been in relationships since they were 13 or so. The 'relationship' was mostly over the telephone and I remember my dad grumbling at some point then because our phone bills sky-rocketed during that time. The guy was my friend's cousin and he saw my picture with her whilst visiting their house one day and he said he liked my picture and wanted to get to know me. She introduced us, and that's how we started talking. The guy was nice and the 'relationship' was short and sweet. It lasted almost a year. It ended without fuss or tears when I got bored and that was it.

Boyfriend number 2 was more interesting. I was 17 at this time. One day a girl friend of mine came to visit me and we were gisting when my phone rang, and it was a guy asking to speak to Michael. I told him there was no one called Michael and he must have the wrong number and I hung up. Two minutes later, the guy calls back and asks for Michael again. I told him again that he has the wrong number and then before I hang up he says he likes my voice. I said thank you. He stored my number and started calling me often and we became phone pals. Then one day we decide to meet up so I ask my friend to come over in case there is any scary stuff (you never know!). Thinking about it now, it was quite risky but at the time it was all fun and excitement. To cut the long story short, he came to my house with his cousin, who fell in love with my friend and all four of us started hanging out together. He was nice, tall and good looking and the relationship was progressing well. Then about 6 months later, I had to leave the country to go and read my books and things changed. The guy started pestering me to sleep with him before I leave. I told him that I wasn't going to. I asked him what would become of us when we are in separate countries. We agreed to give it a try to stay together and keep in touch as much as possible. So we said our goodbyes. I came to England and of course we didn't keep in touch properly and things went downhill. In any case, we broke up after a year and I moved on.

You guessed it, by this time, I had several other guys on my case who were only too glad to take BF2's place. There was this guy (the half) who was a former classmate from secondary school in Nigeria who was quite keen. We used to hang out, gist on the phone, go to the cinema together and stuff, so he became my unofficial boyfriend, even though I saw him as a friend not as a boyfriend. Silly me eh? One day I visited him at home and the guy came on to me so strongly that I bolted out of his house and never went back. He kept on calling me to apologise and beg but I wasn't having any of it and that was the end of that.

That will be all for now. I'm going to continue in my next post....

The point of this blog

This blog is to detail the last few years of my life charting the course from the single girl to the married woman. I stopped writing in my diary in 2002 and I wish that I had continued because it would make interesting reading to me later, and it would be something to show my children in future. But it's not too late and I can still write down the important events and occurences on this blog. I will try to be as accurate as possible, and give details where I can.

These events are things that have already happened to me, so I will not be making things up or changing the pace. It is for me to look back and see how those few years have changed me and how my life will never be the same again.

Another reason why I'm starting this blog is to give my younger sisters (I know you will read this!) coming behind me, an insight into my relationship and what those first months after marriage is really like. I got married relatively early, at the ripe old age of 22, so most of my friends and cousins are not married yet. To them, I am their first mate that is married. So I keep getting questions like: what is married life really like? what do you guys now do? what has changed in the relationship? how do you now make decisions? Do you still go clubbing? how do you share the housework? etc. Most of my friends claim that married people are secretive. So I aim to tell it like it really is. Not the picture that newly-weds paint, like everything is fine and dandy and there are no adjustments to make. So I will tell my side of the story, from my point of view. Bear in mind though, that every couple is different, so what works for me, might not apply to everyone.

So here's the journey: from the single girl, to girlfriend, to fiancee, to bride, to newly-wed. Enjoy, feel free to make comments and ask questions!
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