I was in Lagos this past Christmas break for three weeks. I went with my sisters and it was one big, happy family reunion. It was so much fun - an escape from the freezing weather in the UK , time spent with family and friends, weddings and parties to attend, reunions and get-togethers and lots of other cool activities. The only thing missing was that I wanted Mr to come with me, but he couldn't make it due to work commitments. We did try to stay in touch by phone everyday though.
Spending time apart wasn't bad though. I learnt a thing or two about my relationship with hubby while we were apart. I had a few hilarious reactions and experiences with people I met in Nigeria. Family and friends who knew I was married would ask: "Where is Mr?", "Why is he not here?", "How could you leave your husband alone in the cold to enjoy yourself in Lagos?" etc etc. But the funniest reactions I got were from people I was meeting for the first time.
The day after I arrived, I went to a party with my very good friend. Her friend was hosting a get-together and she didn't want to go alone so I tagged along with her. I didn't know anyone there, so I left her to make all the introductions. After some time, a guy came to talk to me. He seemed interesting and he was quite good looking and we were having a good conversation. When I told him I was married, and he did a double take and looked at my left hand. Then the started asking me questions like: "What, you're married?", "Are you sure?" ,"Where is your husband?", "How long have you been married?", "How come your husband let you travel on your own?". Then he also made comments like: "If I had a wife like you, I won't let her out of my sight". And my personal favourite: "You don't look married". I found these comments hilarious. I often don't know how to react when people say I don't look married. I wonder, how do married people look? Is there supposed to be a sign on my forehead to show that I am married?
Anyway we continued talking and then I suddenly realised something. I was enjoying the gist because it was a "getting to know you" conversation. You know the kind of conversation you have with someone you have just recently met, when you are keen to know how this person thinks, what they like and dislike, what they do, where they are coming from, etc. When it was time for us to leave the party, the guy was very reluctant to let me go, he kept asking for my number and arranging another meeting. I had no intention of calling or seeing him again in the future so I mumbled some stories and scampered off!
But later on I reflected on that meeting. I hadn't realised I was missing something in my relationship with hubby and that was the "newness". We have been together for almost seven years - that's including our dating years. I realised it had become easy for us to take each other for granted. So I determined that when I got back, I would put an effort into really getting to know him again - take him on a date or a holiday and "toast" him all over again. I don't think we can fully capture the freshness of a new meeting but we can take a step back and appreciate each other through new eyes.
About a week later, I went to another party with my friend again and when we got there, she introduced me a group of guys and one of them promptly attached himself to me. He was really nice, friendly and welcoming, offering to get me something to eat and drink. At first I thought he was being nice and hospitable so I didn't think much of it. As time went on, we got talking and I found out he was married too, but his wife was not at the party. I whispered to my friend that he's a bit of a flirt and she said he was only joking so I played along, chatting with him and allowing him to call me "his new girlfriend". He was funny and interesting to talk to at first. Things started taking a different turn when he started paying me suspicious compliments, saying he wishes he had met me before my husband, my name rhymes much better with his own surname and would I consider leaving Mr and marrying him instead. I asked him about his wife, and he was rather dismissive so I thought to myself, I think I better stop talking to this guy so he doesn't get the wrong message (I had heard enough stories about guys in Nigeria preferring to sleep with married girls nowadays because apparently they would not be bugging them for a serious commitment!). But the attention he was paying me was rather flattering on some level so I didn't say anything.
However I knew I was in trouble when we were dancing and he started getting too close for my comfort. Then he started asking for my UK mobile number! I snapped out of my daydream at once. What was he thinking? Like I would really give him my number and start carrying out a long-distance affair or something? Besides he is married too, so what about his own wife? I was so glad when my friend decided it was time to leave the party and I could escape. Imagine people present there thinking I was some kind of husband snatcher or worse!
Thinking about it later, I felt I didn't do anything wrong but perhaps I should have made it clear to him from the start instead of encouraging his advances. I learnt that I shouldn't let my guard down when I'm not with hubby. It may seem a bit extreme but it can prevent a whole lot of heart ache later.
On a funny note though, I reflected on how easy it would have been for someone in my shoes to have an affair in Lagos within such a short trip. And this is just a tip of the iceberg. Once I was accosted by a Lebanese guy in Shoprite.....
May God help all of us to keep our promises to Him and to our spouse.
Have a great weekend!