Sunday, December 31

Meeting Mums, Brotherly Advice

Before I got too deep with Mr, I called my mum and told her about him. She said she was going to pray about it. Soon she called me back and said she felt at peace, so she was really pleased. She also told me that she would like to meet him as soon as she could. Apparently, Mr had also told his mum about me, and she was quite keen to meet me as well. Three months later, both mums came to England separately. My mum came for a brief holiday, while his parents came to attend his graduation.
Just after mum arrived, I remember telling Mr that my mum was in the country and she would like to meet him. So we arranged a time. After work, he picked me up from uni and we drove home. My mum greeted him like she knew him before. She sat him down and asked him lots of questions with a serious face. She asked him whether he was a christian, about his family, what his intentions were, how long he had been eyeing me on campus.... etc etc until the poor guy was blushing seriously and I was laughing. Eventually she was satisfied with all his answers and she let him go. Later on I asked her what she thought of him and she said he was a nice guy. So that initial meeting went well :-)
A week later, it was my turn to endure the questions. I was to spend a whole day with Mr's family including his mum! That morning I was so nervous. I got to his brother's house and met his mum and she greeted me very warmly. She asked the basic questions, and she seemed satisfied too. We spent the rest of the day together and she was already refering to me as her daughter, which I thought was really cool. So that was the mums' side of the introductions. It wasn't until much later that we got the dads involved. I think mothers carry more weight anyway. They can then do the job of informing the dads. I didn't tell my dad about Mr until a year later.

I have this uncle that takes the well-being of everybody around him so seriously. Whatever myself, my sisters or my cousins get up to, he wants to know and he usually dishes out advice. Whether we want to listen to him is another matter entirely. When he heard that I had a new boyfriend, he called me and grilled me very well about him. The he found out that he knew my boyfriend's older brother! So he must have called him and told him something like this: "I hear your younger brother is seeing my niece o. Make sure he knows what he is doing. I want you to call both of them together and advise them very well. Otherwise....!" LOL. Anyway one day Mr told me that we should visit his brother after church on sunday. I was quite pleased to, as it would give me an opportunity to get to know the family a bit more, and meet their 5-year old daughter again(she was quickly becoming my best friend).

One lovely sunday afternoon, we paid older brother a visit. We had lunch with the family and it was very interesting. Their daughter insisted that she wanted to sit beside me at the table. She ate her veggies because I ate mine and I told her veggies made me grow. Her mum was so pleased, she said I should be visiting every sunday so the girl would be eating her veggies more often! After lunch we played together until the adults called me for a chat. The chat was lovely. They asked us what our relationship plans were. We told them that we had every intention of going to the altar in the future. They asked us when that would be. We said we hadn't decided yet. They asked us if we had told our parents. We said we hadn't told them the full gist yet. They told us that if we had any questions or problems, we were free to come and ask them. They had been married about seven years at the time so that was good. They also gave us some advice. Sound advice that still rings in my head today. Amongst many other things they said: "You both have to put each other first. For you, younger brother, she becomes the most important person to you. As unfair as it may sound, even your parents become less important than your wife when it comes down to it. And to you lady, he becomes the most important person to you. No other human being (even your future kids!) should be more important to you than your husband. And your partner's opinion matters more than anyone else's. If you know that, then you will accord each other with the right amount of love, trust and respect. And no external party can come in-between you". Great stuff. That touched home for me because it was exactly what we needed to hear. It helps to prevent a lot of issues with in-laws and extended family too.

Monday, December 18

Getting What I Want

Sometimes my friends ask me what attracted me to hubby. Did I get everything I wanted in a man? Did he meet all my expectations of "husband material"? What's important and what's not? These questions are of course dependent on individual choices. But we should have a good idea of what we want.

One day my church organised a singles meeting which I attended. We were asked to do several exercises. One of them was to write out what attributes we desired in our future partner. We all wrote our answers on paper and gave them to the woman leading the meeting. She read some of them out. There was stuff like rich, handsome, charismatic, tall, cute etc. She almost laughed at all of us. She said that we had obvoiusly not given it much thought. Where were our priorities? We were thinking of the superficial stuff, not thinking about what really brings lasting joy, peace and satisfaction in a relationship. Whatever happened to characteristics like God-fearing, disciplined, focused, reliable, honest, hardworking, caring, responsible, kind, committed, gentle, self-controlled, mature, respectful etc....? She tore up our lists and asked us to write new ones, and this time we should think before we just wrote some random things that popped into our heads. The second time we submitted our lists, our priorites seemed to have changed. LOL.

That meeting got me thinking though. I realised that I had to define what was really important to me, and what I could compromise on. Each of us at that meeting had to. Truthfully, before I met Mr I just had a very hazy picture in my head of what I wanted in a man. I had decided I wanted my husband to be like my dad - someone kind, generous and funny. He would have to be as educated as I was, because I enjoy meaningful and stimulating conversations. I wanted a God-fearing man because I knew it would have to be a man willing to wait till we got married before I slept with him. I knew I wanted someone I could trust, someone that I could rely on, and someone who would be my best friend. These were things I knew I could not compromise on. Things like the car he drove, the brand of clothes and perfume he wore, the schools he went to or the amount of money he had, I could easily compromise on. As per physical attributes, I thought I wanted someone 'tall, dark and handsome'. LOL, I guess I read too many Mills and Boon novels when I was a teenager. I put these ideas into prayers. Actually I had defined what I wanted but not what I needed. I thank God that He knew my needs and met them. I actually got a better deal than I had imagined in my mind. I am not saying hubby is perfect, none of us is. But he is God's perfect choice for me.

Now I didn't get everything on my wishlist. He is not 'tall, dark and handsome' the way I had imagined my husband would be. He is not yet as 'rich' as I would have wanted him to be. But my superficial judgement melted away as I got to know more of him. First, it was his confidence that attracted me. From the minute I met him, he exuded some natural aura about him that just draws people. Second, he made me feel good about myself. Third he was so easy to talk to. When we are talking, the conversation flows so easily even when we are not agreeing. Fourth, he didn't try to 'buy' or bribe me to like him by sending me loads of gifts, he just allowed me to get to know him for who he is. Fifth, he is a cheerful person, he knows how to cheer me up when issues are weighing on my mind. Sixth, he is driven and motivated, and he knows what he wants and he is willing to work to get it. And of course, he is a Godfearing, christian man. These initial attributes made me like him at the start. As time went on, I found out more and more about him that mirrored my deepest heart desires. One thing I realised after I had been going out with him for a few months was that he always brings out the best in me. And that is what a man is supposed to do for his woman. (Any guy that brings out the worst in me is definitely not Mr Right!)

Now the second half of this exercise at the singles meeting. After we had written our proper lists, the woman leading the meeting asked us a question. What kind of woman do you think the guy with all the attributes you have written would go for? Are you his type? If you have written that you want a guy that is hardworking, bear in mind that he is not likely to want a lazy wife. Or if you desire a man that is responsible and caring, realise that he is likely to be attracted to a responsible and caring girl as well! You as the lady, would have to step-up to meet his high standards. Then she asked us to write our own attributes that we think a guy would desire in us. (Gosh, more thinking for us to do). This time we took a lot longer to write our lists. Things like tall, sexy, cute and pretty didn't come into it. This made us realise that we had to be as good as what we desired. So when I met Mr, I asked him what attributes he desired most in his woman. He mentioned a few things. Some I could meet easily and some I am still working on. Thank God he was willing to compromise too (:-)

Saturday, December 9

No Sex Please

I was going to write this post later, but I mentioned something on my other blog that attracted interest so I decided to write it now. This is about how and why I waited till I was married before I finally had sex.

When I was just becoming a teenager, probably around 12 years old, I came across two small booklets titled "For Young Girls Only" or something like that. The booklets talked frankly about sex, the risks involved in indulging in sex before you are ready and many other things. The message in the book was clearly that abstinence was the best, fool-proof way of protecting yourself from diseases and unwanted pregnancy. So I decided that that would be the way for me to go. Of course at the time I didn't fully understand all the things involved, I just reasoned that it was a good idea, and I couldn't really go wrong with that. I didn't have brothers so I knew very little about guys. Now when I turned 13, my parents called me aside and gave me "the talk". Being a christain also helped because I was taught that God wanted me to be holy, and that sex outside of marriage was wrong.

I grew older and things started changing. I became aware of myself, feelings for guys and raging hormones. I started reading M&Bs, Jackie Collins, Hints, Hearts (hands up who read those mags in Nigeria!) etc. Started watching more movies. I became more and more aware of what sex was, but since I had made up my mind, I was not so curious. I knew when some of my friends started kissing and exploring with boys but I wasn't interested. However I knew temptation was heading my way when I started developing crushes on cute guys so I confided in some of my friends and we all made a pact to keep our virginity till we got married. If I remember correctly, we were 16 at the time and we were thinking we would have to wait about 8 years. We started making fun of the girls who had boyfriends and sexual encounters. We felt like we had something they didn't: self-control and virtue. All was well during secondary school. I even managed to leave secondary school without having kissed a guy because I didn't kiss my first boyfriend.

Things got more complex after secondary school and now I was in the big wide world. Gone was the protective cloak of my initial group of friends around me, now I had to stand on my own two feet. The pressure was now overwhelming especially in my college. I felt like all around me, my mates were exploring sex, having fun, enjoying themselves and I was the only one missing out. Sometimes when the peer pressure was getting to me, I would remind myself of the reasons why I was holding back. For me, some of the reasons were: (1) to please God (2) prevent unwanted pregnancies (3) prevent any funky diseases (4) Keep my respect and dignity (5) My business would not be the talk of the school (6) To give my future husband something really special (7) Something to look forward to when I eventually get married (8) No unhealthy soul ties to anyone (9) I won't be comparing past guys to husband (10) husband will trust me more (11) No issues with "so how many guys have you slept with?" type questions (12) No regrets about giving it up to ex-boyfriends etc ....

About the same time too, my second boyfriend was hinting that he wanted to take things further. When I told him I hadn't had sex before, he told me that I should prove it to him by sleeping with him (now how does that make sense?!!). I found that really funny. I told him that if that was the way I was "proving it" to every guy that asked, there would be nothing left of me. And I told him that if he married me, I would sleep with him. He tried to use the classic lines: "If you loved me, you would do it". Ah! I wasn't having that one. But I made sure I didn't put myself in any compromising situation. I never went to his house, he always came to mine (that way I could kick him out if things got slippery). When we went out I made sure he brought me back home early, or I had adequate transport fare on me, if I needed to escape. At every other time, we were on the phone, or hanging out with my friend and his cousin on double dates. And thankfully, before things got out of hand I told him I was leaving Nigeria. He said I should make sure I keep my virginity for him. I told him I would try.

Got to England and soon had more guys on my case. It seemed like some guys could tell I was innocent and they wanted to take that away from me. The "Sly Wolf" in my earlier post was just one of them, but there were two other guys. All I can say is, God was watching over me so they didn't succeed. Soon I started going out with the guy that disappeared and faced more temptations. I told him where I stood on sex, and he seemed to understand. After he disappeared and the relationship ended, I remember telling my friend that I'm glad I hadn't slept with him. That would have just made me feel worse.

Then I met Mr and one day the conversation strayed towards past relationships. I told him I had nothing to confess and I was proud of that. He then told me that he had slept with his ex-girlfriends, and he asked me if it would matter to me if we started going out or got married. At first I was not so sure, but later, I thought that if God had sent me this man, then it would not be a reason to throw him away. Since he had repented and recommitted himself in his walk with God, I could let it go as past tense. In essence I told him that I wasn't going to sleep with him until we were married and he agreed! So we could help each other to stay pure. I must admit it was really hard, but I will talk more about it in future posts.
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