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Memory Lane 3 – Time Wasters 2

Time wasters 1

‘That means I’m in love with about five ladies’…

My dad’s late. That’s why he spoke of permission from my mum. These statements seemed to hold a lot of promise but hey, they came from Timbo, so I documented them and carried on using my head.

Easter came around and some friends of mine returned from school. We always took advantage of birthdays and holidays to hangout. Our parents knew the drill already and even if there was no money for a party, you were sure to have this group of friends at your house on your birthday. Even if all you had to offer was water, we would still show up. Our favorite activity was the hot seat because the celebrant had to answer every question asked; it was a good way to get to know a lot about our friends. That Easter we planned to meet at one of the parks in Abuja.

Everything was set but just a day to the event, Timbo asked me to go out with him the following day. He sounded like it was important. I was keeping my options open so I agreed, just in case. I figured I could meet up with my friends later and I thought they wouldn’t miss me as much compared to Timbo if I let him spend the day alone. I wondered about this outing. I allowed myself drift a little. He had mentioned a different park, I assumed there was somewhere quiet where we could sit and talk. I really wanted to know what was on this guy’s mind.

Well, time came and we left for the park. When we arrived, he began searching for some people. I didn’t know what to expect but was extremely disappointed when he found his group of friends, quite a number, and quickly introduced me to them. It seemed he met them at Church or something. They were total strangers to me and that didn’t feel good at all. Where was I to start from… and they were going all over the park in their cliques, I couldn’t even remember their names. I thought Timbo who brought me into this mess would at least stay with me and be the link between me and the rest of his friends but noooo… that was too much to expect. He left me all alone and came back a few times during our stay there to check on me. I wished I could leave but for some reason I can no longer recall, I stayed till it was time for everyone to leave. I spent most of the time wishing I was with my friends and upset that Timbo withheld from me the information about it being a group outing.

Weeks went by and the date for my return to school for my final year drew near. I wanted to know for sure what Timbo had in mind so that I would know how to respond if anyone tried to ask me out in school. You know how it is, in final year some guys find their voices, clear their throats and say stuff like ‘you know, I loved you from the moment I first saw you, but I had to focus on my academics… now that we’re about to leave school, will you go out with me?’ and so on and so forth. So since he wasn’t coming out clean on the matter, I decided I would tactfully get the information I required from him. This is how it went:

One Saturday he asked me to accompany him to lunch saying he didn’t want to eat alone. I had already eaten at home so I had a glass of water while he ate. I began my line of questioning by asking him if he was in a relationship with anyone. He said he had different relationships with different people. Okay, ‘have you ever been in love before?’ I asked. ‘In love? What does it mean to be in love?’ He asked. At this point, I didn’t know if he was serious or joking; I couldn’t imagine that he didn’t know what it meant. I calmly explained to the best of my ability – ‘you know, when you always want to be with a particular person, you think of them almost all the time when they are not with you, you can’t wait to see them again, you enjoy their company so much, and you’re always on the look out for opportunities to give to them or do something that will make them happy.’ I hoped my response was good enough but nothing could have prepared me for his. ‘Hmn…’ He muttered. ‘That means I’m in love with about five ladies – Gloria, Emediong, Mabel, Helen and you’. What! He even had the audacity to count me in the number. Ha! Number 5.

At this point I was so irritated. Everything within me said, ‘pick up that glass of water and baptize him back to his senses’ but the love of Christ constrained me. At least he was blunt enough to tell the truth and help me realize that there was no light at the end of this tunnel. I concealed my displeasure and changed the subject. I counted down to the last ball of ‘eba’ he swallowed and said thank you and goodbye when he dropped me at home. Yes, goodbye, ‘good riddance to bad rubbish’ as a friend in school often said.

A few days later I returned to school. He came to mind every now and then. I thought I wouldn’t miss him at all, but to some extent I did. I guess my journaling and trying to be objective about the whole thing helped but didn’t shield me completely from the fondness that could develop as a result of communicating frequently with someone and hearing them say certain things. Though I tried to consider them untrue, it seems a part of me held out hope that he meant what he said. I was slightly disappointed but grateful to God that I had put those restraints in place. Without them, I would have been dealing with a serious heartbreak in my final year. Can you just imagine that?

I thought of other ladies that he could be treating the same way – maybe the other four he named – and decided to send him a mail. In summary, I told him not to hang around ladies and create the impression that he’s interested in marrying them and say things to buttress the point if he has no intention of this sort. He said he was just being friendly and apologized. Then he sent me a mail one day saying he had been somewhere near my home and had thought of stopping by to see my mother. I said, ‘for what? please do not go to my house for anything…’ What would he have gone as? Friend, very caring friend, suitor, neighbor or what? Abeg, I had had enough. Funny enough, that’s the last time we were in touch.

Maybe he was actually being friendly, maybe he really meant no harm, but there comes a time in a woman’s life when guys shouldn’t be hanging around them so much if they have no plan to marry them. Some guys are so much in a woman’s space that other genuine prospects back off because they think she’s already taken. They just stay there and spoil her chances. Then they wake up one morning and happily inform her – after she’s waited patiently for years hoping that one day he’ll ask her to marry him – that they’re getting marring to someone else.

Some ladies also find it hard to move on when a man is marking time around them, especially when he has some of those features that they desire in a husband. But if there’s any truth in your relationship with that person, you should be able to ask real questions that will help you analyze your situation and decide whether you want to stay or move on. You should be able to ask, after sometime of ‘being friends’ and the guy saying nothing, questions such as:

  • What exactly are we doing?
  • Define this relationship….where’s it going? what’s the future?
  • What’s your plan for your life? 5 year, 10 years, 20+
  • When do you plan to get married?
  • What kind of person do you want to marry?

and so on. Their answers will help you know what to do with your own life. But for goodness sake, don’t put your life on hold because of some guy who hasn’t said ‘Jack’. Some of them even become possessive, controlling, demanding and jealous…. Let’s not even go there.

Please, tell your sisters and your friends. This thing called LOVE… women have to go beyond emotions and engage their brains. Be objective, think, rationalize. This is not a ‘love is blind’ matter. Your love must wear glasses. Look well and don’t let anybody waste your time. Your time is your life.

Long Distance – final part

With barely a month to the wedding, Kingsley went house hunting. He would call to ask my opinion as he went about and when he finally found the house he felt would do for our first home, he scheduled a meeting with the agent so I could see it before the rental deal was sealed. The landlord had some renovating to do to make it ready and it was clear we wouldn’t have time to furnish it before the wedding but we were happy and totally at peace about this house.

We decided we weren’t going into any debt in the name of having an elaborate wedding ceremony. We worked with our budget and with some benevolence from friends and relatives. We weren’t under any pressure and we refused to be put under pressure by well meaning loved ones who tried to push for more guests, souvenirs, a longer train, and so on. We would rather have a small wedding, than have a big one and then go home to weeks of being unable to meet our basic needs.

A few days of compassionate leave made it possible to travel to Abuja with some time left for last minute preparations for the wedding – hair, dress fitting, and our pre-marital counselling crash course. Yep! Crash course – it was done and dusted in less than four hours. You see, our residing in different cities and the moves to Lagos just before the wedding made it logistically impossible to fit into our home Church’s counselling sessions. No adhoc session was organized either. Another church was kind enough to organize this crash course for us and it was a blast. The pastor confirmed that we had read wide on the subject of relationships and marriage so he focused on critical issues – money, sex, love, submission, and God. Then he sent us to a hospital for the pre-marital medicals. That pastor really took a chance on us, and I’m glad we didn’t disappoint him.

I woke up on Saturday, December 22, 2007 and said to myself, ‘I am getting married todaaaayy!’ I was determined to be absolutely happy for the entire day. No photographer, MC or DJ was going to upset me. I got up, got ready and left for Church. Our family members and friends showed up from across the Country and we had a happy celebration, after which we retired to the Chancellery Hotels in Abuja for our very brief honeymoon cum Christmas holiday. We were both due back at work on Thursday, December 27.

We travelled back to Lagos the day after Christmas and I received great news from my office – my leave had been extended and I was to resume on January 2, 2008. God was gracious. Over the weekend, we got the keys from the landlord and moved into our home. We moved in with two suitcases – one for me & one for my husband – and a newly purchased mattress which served as couch, dining table/chair and bed. For the first few nights, my wrappers served as drapes and we had the most fun in an empty house. Now I completely understand that song by Nadia Fay that says Home is where you are, home is where I wanna be, wherever you are, you can come home to me’.

That’s how we began our journey together… and now, mops, brooms, pots, plates, cutlery, curtains, TV, furniture, cars, and three wonderful children later, all we can say is ‘God has been good to us’ and we are ever so grateful for His first show of love to us in sending his only son to die for us in order to redeem us even when we didn’t deserve it or ask for it… even when we didn’t realise we needed saving. And now that same love overflows in our hearts, helping us to love each other through thick and thin, and to forgive each other again and again.

This journey is still on and we’re enjoying every bit of it.

Long Distance – Part 3

A lot was happening all at once. 2007 turned out to be quite a year. Could it be because I wrote out all those interesting items on my list of things to accomplish in 2007? Could it be that in addition to dreaming and planning, I was praying for those wonderful things to happen? Could it be that heaven actually paid attention and dispatched resources to grease the wheels of fortune and make those dreams come true?

Well there’s more. Sometime before our moves to Lagos, Kingsley came to Abuja to visit his parents. Then he made our engagement official by informing them that ‘Annie’, the young lady they knew very well, was the one he wanted to marry. It wasn’t a shock to any of them. We were both part of a group of friends from school who were connected mainly by music. Some were instrumentalists, and some were singers. We were all in the choir and we all lived in Abuja. So we would troop to each person’s house on their birthdays if it fell during the holidays, make a lot of noise, eat whatever was available and just make sure the celebrant felt valuable, loved and appreciated. Our parents knew our friends, so Kingsley’s parents knew me.

Funny enough, whenever we had debates in the group, Kingsley always supported the opposition… and on one occasion, Daniel said ‘Hmn… Annie & Kingsley… I wonder where you people’s ‘continued rivalry’ will lead’. He had a good laugh when he eventually heard we were planning to get married. I, for one, was impressed with Kingsley’s engaging and sometimes superior argument. It made for good conversation.

His dad sat down and questioned him in my presence. Is this what you want? Are you sure you are ready for this? To all these he replied in the affirmative. You see, his dad used to say concerning men, ‘If you don’t want any trouble in life, don’t get married. If you feel you are man enough to handle some trouble, marry just one wife; but if you want more trouble than you can handle, marry more than one wife’. His opinion was that one woman has all the joy, wisdom, love, encouragement, and trouble a man needs to become all that he should be.

I provided the contact details for necessary engagements with my family and we let the elders handle the rest of the discussion. The introduction took place before we moved to Lagos and November 24 was set for the traditional marriage. This was going to be barely a month from our resumption dates. My ever so warm and loving cousins welcomed me into home for that period while Kingsley lived in his family’s Lagos abode.

As was expected, we didn’t get any time off work to plan for or finalize the traditional marriage arrangements. We relied on our family members to help us with that. Our bosses were kind enough to let us work half the day on Friday, November 23. At 12noon, we both set out from our offices, met at the airport, boarded the plane to Calabar, and then got on a bus which left for Uyo at about 4pm. Unfortunately, a trailer had fallen along the way and caused a serious road block. The traffic was so bad, we got to Uyo at midnight, six hours later than we should have.

My brothers picked us up, dropped me at my Uncle’s house and took Kingsley with them to another cousin’s home where they spent the night. The next day, all required members from both families and guests convened at my father’s village home for the traditional marriage. Everything went well, and as our custom is, my people sent me off that same night. I joined my husband, his family, and their team of friends and well wishers on a road trip to their base. Early Sunday morning, we left for Lagos by bus, and on Monday we were back at our desks as if nothing had happened over the weekend. What a rush!

Now we had one major event left before year end – The Church Wedding. The date was set – December 22, 2007.

To be continued…

Long Distance – The Story

No, I didn’t want to leave my sweetheart… but I had to. It was a painful decision to make. I had experienced a miracle and now it was time for me to do my part.

I always wanted a Masters’ degree and after the required exams to study in the US, I was asked to send my result to three schools of my choice. A few weeks, later, I got a message from one school to pay a fee of seventy five dollars for my application to be processed. Believe it or not, $75 was an impossible amount for my family to come up with at that time. If we couldn’t even pay the processing fee, how would we pay the tuition and handle the other financial needs?

I prayed a simple prayer in the bathroom when I got back from the cyber cafe… God I want to do my Masters and the only way it will happen is if you make a way because we can’t afford it…. I also put in a few lines about what I would like to study. Some weeks to months later, my sister found out about a scholarship opportunity. I got the forms, took the test and was one of the hundred awardees that year. The Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) handled all the application processing and logistics and they covered every single expense – air fares, lodging, feeding, warm clothing, computing devices, communication costs and so on. We were totally pampered by the Nigerian Government.

So off I went to Europe. Kingsley, along with my family and a few friends, saw me off to the airport. Many big hugs later, I joined two other scholars and we boarded the plane. I had a picture of Kingsley and myself nicely framed. I wasn’t going to forget his face for any reason whatsoever. It had a permanent position on my bedside table. I also went along with all the love notes he had written to me. I think that is a fine art that is getting lost in this era of much easier communication.

I took time to write down my dream for 2007 – from graduating with distinction, to returning to Nigeria, getting a job, getting married to Kingsley, and so on. I pasted it on the wall in my room. A friend of mine came into my room and had a good laugh when she saw it. Then she asked the rest of our Nigerian colleagues to pray for me so Kingsley wouldn’t break my heart. They all knew where my heart was.

Staying in touch was hard. At first I had to go out in the cold to make calls, then later we had skype in Europe but it wasn’t really working back home… then I started getting tired of having to recount my experiences over the phone. I wished he could be there to share those moments with me. So I prayed again. This time I said, ‘Dear Lord, I really want to live with my husband after we get married. I don’t want to have to do a long distance marriage. I don’t want us to be apart… Please make a way’.  

February 2007 came and I returned to Nigeria. My fellow scholars and I were super excited. People wondered about that. I don’t know why the others were excited but I was going to see Kingsley after so long and remember my dream? All those wonderful things were to happen in Nigeria in 2007. So, yes! I was excited.

To be continued…

Wife Finding Skills

‘In the multitude of counsellors, there is safety’. It is wise to learn from people who have travelled the road ahead of you. You can incorporate best practices they share into your own life and avoid the pitfalls they bring to your notice. A patron of the Chapel Choir in school shared one of such tips with us during a rehearsal. He was engaged to be married at that time and told us he started praying about his wife several years before. He sounded like the whole process was easier as a result so I decided to do the same.

I prayed about everything I could think of – from my future husband’s exams, to gaining admission into the university, to having healthy relationships, giving his life to Christ, and I remember asking God to help him not to make mistakes that would leave permanent scars capable of negatively impacting our life together.

Then one day I read in the Bible that ‘He who finds a wife finds a good thing…’ So I started asking God to give him all the ‘wife finding skills’ he needed so he could find me with ease. I was in the choir, I attended fellowship regularly and I studied engineering so I had a lot of guys around me. I made good friends and my mother told me one day that my husband would likely come from my group of friends. Sometime into my good friendships, it was clear that I enjoyed spending time with some more than others, so I subjected each of my preferred friends to my ‘love glasses’ test. That helped me narrow down my options.

After my first degree, I met another interesting person… He was fun to be with but I didn’t know him well enough. Some old family friend also showed up and was acting like he had clear intentions to marry me but didn’t quite say anything – time wasters. But he didn’t succeed in wasting my time. I tactfully interviewed him one evening and found out his intentions didn’t match his actions at all. I prayed for clarity and I remember asking God to keep all the wrong people from asking me out, just to eliminate confusion.

Those prayers paid off. Over the years, my desires became so refined and so clear. I knew exactly what I was looking for, like the specifications of a good car. I was also able to observe so many of those qualities in one particular friend of mine. Initially, I would pray, ‘God I want a man who is this and that, and looks like this or that…’ but one day, it became so clear, I said ‘God, I want Kingsley!’ and I told God why.

Time passed and we became even better friends and then one day, Kingsley asked me out. He thought I would ask him for two weeks or two months to pray about it as was often heard in our circles but I totally shocked him by saying ‘YES’ right there. I had been praying for years… I already knew the answer and was just waiting patiently for him to man up and take our relationship to the next level.

The rest, as they say, is history. It’s been eight years now and I’ve come to realize that prayer doesn’t just come in handy in finding the love of your life, you need it for your life as a whole. So we still pray and I’m ever so glad because God still hears and answers when we call.


My Love Glasses

‘Love is blind, but marriage opens the eye’. That’s what my Social Studies teacher once said. He said many other things but this one has remained with me since. So from my teenage years, I told myself ‘my love must wear glasses’.

I knew this special ‘love glasses’ could not be prescribed by an optometrist so I came up with my own strategy for improving my sight in preparation for love’s arrival. What better way? INFORMATION! I read every good book I could find on relationships – Boy meets Girl, Finding the Love of your Life, and so on. I was better able to tell what attributes were good and needful and able to identify red flags. I was armed and ready for battle. Yes oh – it’s a serious battle for peace of mind and happiness in your future.

I wasn’t going to numb my brain just because some guy who was tall, dark and handsome said ‘hello’ to me. In fact, I didn’t want ‘dark’ because I couldn’t imagine giving birth to a dark baby. I wanted ‘a shade darker than my complexion’. Oh yes. I had my list; everything was written out clearly in my journal. I took time to define what I wanted before the time came to choose so that there would be no confusion there, and as I grew older and wiser, I revised that list. Things like ‘must have side burns’ were replaced by things like ‘must have the same or similar values’.

You know it is written ‘He that finds a wife finds a good thing…’ but that doesn’t mean the woman will blindly follow anyone who finds her. I kept my brain actively engaged. I learnt that there was no such thing as ‘Mr. Perfect’. You just have to know all the pros and cons, and then evaluate the cons to see if you can live with them for the rest of your life and still be cool. That helped in my decision making. I believe you see this requires careful study of the ‘subject’ or ‘prospect’. It’s actually some kind of science project.

Sometimes people rush into marriage for one reason or the other even when they have strong reservations. They fail to realize that they will probably have a long time to live with that person. I don’t agree with the idea of ‘managing’ a spouse. I mean, it’s not just about you. It’s about your children; that is if you plan to have them. Do you want your children to be like this person or have this person as a parent? Have you also thought about how this spouse will affect your plans and aspirations… or do you just plan to ship out when the going gets tough? They say time goes by quickly when you’re having fun. Imagine how it’ll be when you’re not.

Everybody says knowledge is power and we spend time empowering ourselves to have a successful career and so on… but people often neglect preparing for love. And that is serious because it can land you in a situation where you wake up sometime after the wedding, and according to my husband, you’ll find yourself wondering what you really did when you said ‘I DO’.

Don’t let your love be blind.

Picture Credit:

Reach Out

Micah had been all over the house earlier in the day. It was obvious he was sleepy but he just refused to admit it or give in to our efforts to make him sleep. Finally, he asked for a sheet of paper and a pen and went to the dining table to scribble. A few minutes later, he was asleep, pen in hand. Funny boy!
We took him to the room and tucked him in. I checked on him a while later but he wasn’t yet ready to wake up. While I sat in my room much later, he walked in and sweetly asked ‘Mummy, can we go bike riding?’ And I opened my arms wide and squealed at the same time, ‘my Micah bo…’  He responded by running to me. As we wrapped our arms around each other, he exclaimed, ‘my Mummy!’ That just put a smile on my face. And I’m still smiling.
There was something about his response. It was so heartfelt. I reached out, and he responded and the warmth lingered. It’s such a good feeling and I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunities you have every now and then to show your loved ones that you really love them and genuinely care about them.
Let it show through your words and your actions. Let there be no doubt about it. They need to know it and you need to show it. In this business of expressing love, everyone wins. We’ll all feel and be better for it.
What are you waiting for? Reach out today!
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Empty Nests

Every now and then, I hear couples talk about having all their birds away from the nest. All of a sudden, the kids go off to boarding school or become independent and move away from home to start life on their own. The nest empties out and mum and dad are left alone. I had a foretaste of this when my kids went to their aunt’s for the weekend.
Imagine having a great portion of those children related details removed from your conversation, and having no one else demanding your time and attention. Homework and school projects will no longer be in your way and there’ll be no squeals, screams or fights to interrupt your discussion and take you away from your spouse. It’ll truly be just the two of you. Let’s make it a little more intense – imagine you have both retired from active service and have put in place sufficient income generating structures so you do not have any need to go back to work… meaning you don’t even have the eight hours compulsory break from each other. Wow!
Does this scenario freak you out or does it absolutely excite you?
How comfortable are you with your spouse?
Do you still love to spend time together in your own little world, just the two of you?
Just in case you don’t feel prepared for this season of your life, the best time to start getting ready is now. Now’s the time to bring back the love, the affection, the friendship, the oneness, the faith and the trust in your marriage. You can nurture these attributes by taking action and here are a few things to do:

  • Be patient and kind to your spouse
  • Don’t be jealous, envious, boastful, proud, selfish or rude
  • Avoid being irritable and touchy, and don’t keep demanding your own way
  • Don’t hold grudges or focus on the wrongs. Rather, forgive and forget
  • Look for the best in your spouse. Pay attention to the things they do well and commend them
  • Be loyal to your spouse and committed to your covenant to the end

Remember, love is more than a feeling, LOVE is a verb – and it calls us to take action today so we can have that blissful union we desire with our spouses both when the nest is full and after it empties out.
Best wishes.
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In Love

Yes, it’s almost here – Valentine’s day! And with the elections postponed in Nigeria, the celebration of love can go on. Yesterday, I stumbled upon an old book of mine and my husband and I had a good laugh as we went over some of the poems I wrote back then. Here are a few:


One of your jokes would brighten my evening

One of your smiles would bring sunlight in what seems like a dark night

One look in your eyes would be like discovering the twinkle of the stars

Even the darkest night is beautiful when I’m with you



Your love is like a fountain, refreshing

Your company is like a balm, soothing

Your words are like honey, sweet

And you are like wine, intoxicating




Somebody please tell me

What is this feeling I feel

I want to say it’s more than love

But knowing love is the greatest, I’ll say it’s the greatest love

It’s strong, sweet, energizing, overwhelming

Soothing, comforting, encouraging

My feelings are raging…

He speaks and I listen

Each word is like a piece of polished diamond

So valuable, I must treasure it

And store it away in some safe compartment

I hear more than words, I hear heartbeat

That seems to give the rhythm for the sweetest love song

I love this tune, therefore I dance with all pleasure and delight

Because I am in love


I wish you love and happiness this season and always. And I encourage you to add to your gift for that special someone an expression of your affection in words.

The floor’s now open. Feel free to share here some of the beautiful ‘lyrics you dropped’ when you fell in love.


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