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10 personal lessons 5 years of marriage have taught me (5)

Hope it isn’t raining where you are, the rainmakers are having a ball here and it’s so cold…anyway before my fingers get stiff here’s the 5th personal lesson I learned from being in the marriage business for the last 5 years!

5. Have a united front in public

You and your partner have to agree early in the union that there will be no public drama and no fighting with an audience. It doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or pretend, it just means you respect your partner and your marriage enough to keep your issues private. Wounds hurt so much more and run so much deeper when there are witnesses. It’s like having someone observe you at your lowest moments increases the pain and bruising that your pride must seemingly endure. Many people react much more dramatically to issues when other people are watching than they would have if they were in the privacy of their own bedroom plus people never ever forget fights and careless words uttered between partners in public. The very next time you happen to be singing his praises they would happily open up the history books and tell you all his weaknesses as compared to his apparently limited strengths. It’s also harder to take words back when uttered in public even if you immediately realise you are wrong. 

I’m a bit self conscious and arguing with le boo in public was always one of the things I swore I’d never do but there’s a great spectrum of public don’ts that encompass ‘drama’. Hubby is generally a very free person but he learned early enough that correcting me in public or worse still, chastising me would get a negative reaction that might lead to a row later on. He didn’t mind adapting because once or twice he’d been on the receiving end and he had absolutely hated it so we made a truce to either correct each other in a manner or place where there would be no third party involvements or just wait till we got home. There were also other ‘no drama’ rules like no arguing in front of family or friends, no posting ‘shades’ or outbursts on any form of social media, no obvious ‘attitudes’ when in public following a fight, no snapping at the other person  or any other acts of unkindness and definitely no leaving the other person hanging for whatever reason in public. The rules weren’t written or spelt out but they were discussed and internalized usually after an episode and we both learned that treating each other well in public was just as important as treating each other well in private and that more importantly we did not need third parties in our conflict resolution whether the third parties were casual observers or played a more active role. We also realized that we did not need people forming negative impressions about us or how we handled our business especially since it wasn’t any of their concern.

Many times people are watching for signs of turbulence in your marriage to determine if you have a good marriage or not or if they can take advantage of a certain aspect of your marriage or even infiltrate it (in the case of infidelity). Having a strong, united front is so important. Knowing your partner has your back no matter what can bring so much joy and confidence to a marriage but for many couples this doesn’t come naturally and it’s something that needs to be discussed and certain boundaries put in place so that the other person doesn’t unknowingly cross those boundaries and hurt you badly. When I was in the University I noticed that my friends who had public breakups found it hard to go back to their boyfriends after a private reconciliation simply because the whole world now had an opinion about the breakup. Likewise, celebrities that have made their marital issues public have realised that it’s virtually impossible to move past it or celebrate their spouses later on. Your marriage is your personal life, nobody needs to know the intimate details. Be like a duck, look calm on the surface but paddle like mad underneath the water. 

Don’t let someone be able to describe the supposed ills or weaknesses in your marriage simply by catching you and hubby at a bad time or witnessing some supposed-to-be behind the scenes footage. Protect your marriage like it was a classified document. I learned that early enough and many people wonder why hubby and I are always cool, calm and collected. It’s called having a united front. We still have our squabbles and issues but we have realised that it’s way easier to move past them when we are not performing for an audience. 

So in a nutshell, keep your marriage drama away from prying eyes!


Have a lovely day, Chutzpah fam, 

Xoxo

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Inspirational

 

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10 personal lessons 5 years of marriage have taught me (4)

I have received a lot of feedback from readers about my last three posts and I am glad that my experiences are not isolated and that more importantly I have been able to give some insight to those currently walking or about to walk in the marriage shoes…thank you!

Here is the 4th and perhaps the most important thing I learned about marriage:

4. Every marriage has its own peculiar challenges.

Your challenges may seem like the absolute worst but be rest assured that every marriage has its own peculiar challenges and even when two cases seem similar, the contributing factor would be very unalike. 

I have been married for five years and I’m yet to have a child. Is this the worst thing that can happen to a marriage? Maybe and maybe not. I have shed tears, been angry, disappointed, prayed and fasted and done all manner of tests and my medical colleagues keep saying the same thing, that there’s nothing apparently wrong with my hubby and I. Sometimes I think the challenge is more difficult because everyone seems to have something to say about it. I have had people ask me why my hubby and I can still be so happy when we don’t have children, I have had someone close to me call me up recommending a guy who helps with blocked tubes, thereby assuming that I have blocked tubes without asking me for the details of my problem and of course automatically inferring that the problem lies with me. I have had people disrespect me because I don’t have children or say flippant, hurtful and very insensitive things to me. I have had people say to my face that I’m a great wife only because I need to compensate for my inability to have children or that hubby and I only have a great marriage because it’s just the two of us. I have had someone who used to be close to me jokingly talk about calling a family meeting  to discuss my problem. I have had someone ask my husband if he became less outgoing because of this problem. Yes I never in my wildest dreams thought we’d go through this but that’s life and I know countless people who have gone through similar ordeals and many have come out victorious. My mantra is what doesn’t break you makes you stronger and I am determined not to be broken.

The thing about problems in marriage is that even when you have a similar problem with another couple, the fine details may be so very different. I have been blessed with a great husband and very supportive friends, family and in-laws (God bless them) who offer strength on days that I feel really low but I know others that have been less fortunate in that area however they have had victories in other areas. I know marriages that have broken up because of lack of children and yet I also know marriages that have become stronger and more intimate because of that same problem. 

As a couple, you decide whether a problem makes you stronger or tears you apart. 

No one else has the power to determine how a problem will affect your marriage and the first thing I learned about dealing with my challenges was how to curb outside influences. There are so many couples whose marriages have been complicated by the advice and influence of a third party even when it seemingly came from a good place. 

Every couple I’ve interacted with has had their own challenges however subtle or obvious they may be. People tend to feel sorry for couples with obvious problems but I’ve learned in five years that the couples with subtle problems who seemingly appear perfect because of the covert nature of their problems are the ones who many times end up permanently fractured by their issues. In medicine, we take triaging very seriously because we have learned over the years that the patient with an obvious problem may not be as serious a casualty as a patient who seems apparently fine. Everyone loves to highlight the problems of others because it seems to diminish their own problems but if you find yourself so preoccupied with another’s issues it may just be because you haven’t been honest with yourself about yours and hence have left it to fester like an open sore concealed in your undergarments. 

Some couples deal with infidelity, others with financial difficulties, others with in-law issues, others with medical issues, others with disharmony…the list is endless and each couple erroneously believes some other couple has it easier. I have learned that God will never give you more than you can handle, you just need to look within you and find inner strength and you should never ever wish for another’s problems in exchange for yours or assume that a couple has no problems. I guess that’s why they say marriage is not a bed of roses. Don’t ever assume that a couple is facing a problem because of some unknown sin or because they deserved it or get angry because they are not handling the problem the way you would because you DO NOT know the whole story just snippets. You cannot offer solution when you are not privy to the full picture. Pray for them, offer assistance if it’s in your power, offer empathy and encouragement but limit advice unless you are an authority in that area because no one knows more about a problem than the person experiencing it. 

In a nutshell, I learned that on the day you say ‘I do’, a new chapter is written with its own highs and lows and unexpected curve balls. Pray for grace to go through these challenges together and believe that ultimately this too shall pass…

Have a lovely Sunday chutzpah fam,

Xoxo

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2017 in Inspirational

 

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10 personal lessons 5 years of marriage have taught me (3)

This is the 3rd instalment in this series and without further ado I’ll delve in.

3. Don’t ever compare your marriage to other marriages, the grass is NOT greener on the other side. 

The closer I got to the couples I admired, the more I saw the flaws and that at the end of the day they were just as human as the next guy and probably just a bit better at packaging. Yes some couples are to be admired- for their core values, resilience and ability to make sacrifices and create a home front far removed from the ills and stereotypes of society. Those I would emulate but without the added pressure of comparisons!

You can adopt a solution without constantly highlighting your marital problems! A child who is constantly compared to his peers becomes dysfunctional. If he is constantly better then he gets overconfident and eventually puts in less effort and the one who constantly falls short becomes competitive, vengeful, discouraged and may even stop trying. Why do you think haters are always trying to expose the truth and weaknesses in seemingly perfect people/couples? I learned my marriage was like a child and it would be awful to not love it absolutely for its strengths and weaknesses and its ultimate uniqueness. 

I married a man who would eat whatever food I cooked for him, no extra demands whatsoever but it would be foolhardy to compare my marriage to that of my friend’s whose husband was constantly calling her from the office to place orders for all manner of exotic cuisine. Marriages are as different as fingerprints differ. Or comparing my home to a friend’s always impeccable one only to realize after months of doing ‘extra’ that she codedly had a cleaning lady come into her home to perform magic. 

You are allowed to make your life as easy as you both would allow, anyone who judges you based on that would do better to mind their own business! 

So if you are comparing your ability to wash all your clothes three times a day to another woman’s ability to pay a help to do it or purchase a washing machine, you should know that you win no trophies for that, you both get the job done and her apparent weaknesses may not necessarily mirror your strengths because her extra time may be well spent doing other activities that would greatly benefit her marriage.

There are so many basis for comparison and they are all very dangerous for your marriage. Your man may be a sex machine but score an F where romance is concerned or he may be quite stingy with finances but very generous with affection. We humans are built to hide our weaknesses and showcase our strengths and social media has made that so easy to do. So if you are comparing your marriage to another, remember you are definitely not seeing the full picture and just because a couple doesn’t air their dirty linen in public or on social media doesn’t mean they are perfect. 

I learned early enough that comparing my marriage to others would only wear me and hubby down because it’s too much work keeping up with the Joneses, also the more you compare the more you ignore your strengths and trivialize your blessings. Don’t wear your marriage thin trying to live up to a façade. No wonder some fans are so distraught and take it so personal when celebrity marriages break up. It’s not your marriage and the celebrities never claimed their marriages were perfect. 

I knew a woman who would fight her hubby every time she came to my house because she wanted for example, the new blinds I had gotten or the type of dining table I had. I always cringed because her husband was a good man and a great provider and it wasn’t just embarrassing and ego deflating for him, it also showed her level of discontentment despite her many other blessings. I will confess that like most women, I have given my hubby grief about one or two things that stemmed from comparisons but I have learned in the last five years that many times I had more things to be grateful for than the one thing that we seemed to be lacking.

So in a nutshell, 

Don’t compare your marriage to any one’s. If you like what they have you are allowed to emulate without comparing because comparison breeds discontentment and discouragement and wears your marriage down. Remember everyone showcases their strengths!

Have a lovely Saturday chutzpah fam,

Xoxo

 
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Posted by on July 15, 2017 in Inspirational

 

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10 personal lessons 5 years of marriage have taught me (2)

I am back again with more life lessons straight from ze oda room!

Here’s the second thing I learned…

2. You can’t make a man stay faithful

When I got married, despite the fact that I was lucky enough to actually marry my friend, I still went through the paranoia that many new brides go through. Marriage isn’t the most successful institution there is, and there’s so much media sensationalism about the ills of marriage that even when you feel fortunate to have married a good man, you are rife with the fear of the unknown. It didn’t help that he had moved me to a new town far removed from my comfort zone and with far more opportunities to entertain worrisome thoughts. 

First of, I became Inspector Gadget, checking and double checking every social and business convo on every possible platform he had and I can tell you, it’s easy to get obsessed for you see, the less I found, the more I was convinced that he was hiding something and was just one step ahead of me. I started doubting that I had actually been one of the fortunate ones. 

Next I started praying. Not the healthy kind of prayers you are encouraged to offer for your home but the kind that’s centered around imaginary strange women dying by fire. And the more I said these prayers, the more my paranoia grew. At this point I had almost worn hubby down with the constant inquisitions and  policing. Sometimes he actually got upset but more often than not he patiently reassured me of his commitment and love. 

Then I decided to apply some Isoko sense. If a woman greeted my husband before me while we were standing together or apparently fawned over him in the least bit she was put on the watch list and hubby would be almost certain of the interrogation to follow. I was careful of making female friends and also made sure I was at his side practically all the time even when I would rather skip the event and stay home watching series. 

These were trying times birthed by an overactive imagination and an earful of marriage horror stories. In reality, hubby had not given me even the slightest reason to doubt him. It seemed the drama queen in me was punishing him for the sins of his gender. The funny thing was I had no concrete plan for what I’d do if I actually caught him cheating. Sometimes I allowed myself wonder about it. Would I leave or forgive? How would I make him pay? Would I relocate with no forwarding address or do some revenge cheating? So many women go snooping with no idea about what their next move would be if they found what they were actually looking for.

Five things happened to me in close succession that helped me slay the fear of the unknown before it hurt my marriage…

I. I remembered something a class mate of mine said. He once argued that if you kept accusing a good man of cheating when he was making a great effort to stay faithful, one day he would stop giving a f*ck about making an effort and just cheat since whether he did or didn’t do it, he had already been judged guilty and was in his opinion, already being punished.

2. A friend of mine advised me to block the negativity. These words were etched in gold. I was consuming unhealthy daily doses of marriages gone bad on social media and when I saw how seemingly united the couples were before it all fell apart, I started feeling like why would my case now be different. I was aligning with negativity and it was affecting my psyche. The more negativity I devoured the more I forgot about the beautiful albeit not perfect, long lasting marriages that surrounded me. Both hubby’s parents and mine had been together for over 35 years but these marriages and many other great ones, never made it to social media headlines so we ended up focusing on bad news.

3. My husband and I made some meaningful friends. There’s nothing like being friends with other couples who are traveling the same  path that you are on. Iron sharpeneth iron and they make great accountability partners. A person is more likely to cheat if his/her closest friends don’t see it as a big deal or even unwittingly encourage it. The friends we made had marriages we admired and they served as role models in little ways that made a difference.

4. I read somewhere that a man would stay faithful not because you were the best, most beautiful, sexiest or most virtuous wife but because of his fear of God and his commitment to the marriage covenant. It made perfect sense to me because I never for once supported the popular belief that a man would cheat because his wife was fat, unattractive, a nag, abusive, dirty, a poor cook or lazy in bed. I had seen marriages where the wife excelled in all aspects and still lost her husband to a woman who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to compete with her and I had seen marriages where the man stayed loving and devoted to a wife who was outwardly less than stellar. 

Making the man fully accountable for his fidelity made so much sense however I realized that since men were as human as we were, choosing to be any of the above could ultimately give them the justification they required to appease their conscience after they decided to cheat so I still had a role to play…basically to be the best I could be so that he was robbed of any moral justification to do me wrong. That seemed like a more achievable plan than trying to bend his will or threaten him into fidelity. 

…do the best you can and be the best you can, the choice to cheat lies in his hands but don’t let him use you as his excuse…

5. I learned the right way to pray for my marriage. Speaking positivity into it each and every day and confessing simple bible scriptures that were marriage related but didn’t border on suspicion or warfare. 

With time, I retired from the marriage police force and actually began to enjoy my marriage believing that since God was the center of it all and He had promised that His thoughts for me were thoughts of peace and not evil to give me a future and a hope, I would definitely be alright…

So here’s lesson number 2 in a nutshell: 

Nothing you can do or say has that ultimate power, he simply chooses to remain faithful (or not). You can only make the choice easier to make! 

Don’t give yourself unnecessary hypertension, life is too short.

Have a beautiful day Chutzpah fam and watchout for the third lesson tomorrow.

xoxo

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2017 in Inspirational

 

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10 personal lessons 5 years of marriage have taught me

Time flies…

I’m just gonna start with that.

I have been married for 5 years (officially 5 in 2 months) and I have seen and heard a lot about marriage but nothing beats personal experience and I hope mine are as weird and stimulating as yours!

Here goes…

1. You need to take control of your body.

I put on so much weight in the first few years of marriage because I felt loved, accepted and content plus I had to cook more regularly than I had ever done in my life and my mother in law had emphasized the importance of a shared meal plus I had a man who totally accepted me the way I was and even when he occasionally mentioned my increasing girth I was sure it was from a place of love…

Sound familiar? 

When I decided to take control of my weight which actually came after I had gone 2 dress sizes up, the look of relief on my husband’s face coupled with renewed admiration took me by surprise. Apparently he was being a good husband and ‘loving me through thick and thin’ all along but he definitely preferred thin (pun intended). He wouldn’t have loved me any less if I weighed any more but I realized that if it was within my power and realistic enough (and it was), he deserved the woman of his fantasies…

Getting back in shape made me less paranoid, more confident and generally more content but if the truth be told, the change had to come from me- not his nagging or complaining or comparing…in fact those would  have only made me crave comfort food and also not his seeming indifference…which I erroneously took to mean acceptance and permission to over indulge… 

Even if your husband desires a thick madam, please be a healthy one and not one who becomes a 2 minute woman in the bedroom (yes such things exist! If you can only manage missionary and side-to-side I’m talking to you). Build your stamina and strength even while you rock those fine curves and please dress for your body type! I know women who are size 24, whose beauty, poise, confidence and dress sense would make any size 6 girl very uncomfortable and any man drool. No one says you can’t slay and pepper them (within reason) as a married woman. 

A wise woman once mentioned that if no one is ogling you outside the home, if you don’t get at least one compliment on a regular praising your husband for taking very good care of you (even if it’s all you lol) then you are doing something wrong. You don’t cease to exist because you got married, marriage shouldn’t make you less attractive, only unattainable and inaccessible! So if the average man outside doesn’t think you are attractive then hubby may be secretly struggling. Abraham had to lie that his middle aged/geriatric wife was his sister to prevent getting killed. Sarah was the ultimate slay mama! And it’s not just abinibi, it’s ability too. They say black don’t crack but anything not well taken care of can crack #Enoughsaid

…Five years of marriage taught me to be the best version of myself FOR ME even if le boo seemed content with the current version. Every man loves an upgrade! 

Didn’t plan for this to be so long so I’m just gonna drop this here and post about the second point tomorrow. 
Have a great day chutzpah fam,

Xoxo

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2017 in Inspirational

 

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Who are you?

I have been sick for a couple of days and as a medical doctor, admitting I’m sick comes after repeated ingestion of varied medication. In simpler terms, I’d done all I knew to do and it wasn’t working. I have always had a sensitive tummy but this had to be one of the worst cases of the stomach bug in history. My glucose, water and potassium depleted body tossed and turned for 3 days on my bed alone in a big house only stumbling to the door when my food was delivered. Yes, too sick to cook! 

Hubby is a traveler and many times I have to be strong for me while he sends love and goodwill and tons of instructions (take your meds, eat some food, don’t use tissue lol) from miles away. So there I was sick, weak and wondering why on earth the drugs weren’t working and feebly chatting with le boo via WhatsApp who by the way was on his way to Lagos from Port Harcourt for a meeting, when my bedroom door creaks open… 

It was threatening to rain, the power was out which is usual in Nigeria once the clouds get a bit dark and with an overactive imagination thanks to back to back episodes of Doctor Who (can’t get over this series) there I was trying to process the shadow in the door frame. It was certainly too dark for my brain to register the silhouette and my husband who was the only one with a key was miles away. Thoughts of Evans the famed kidnapper and extraterrestrials flashed in my head. I was undressed under the duvet and I pulled it under my chin and shouted; 

‘Who are you?’ 

WHO ARE YOU?

And then I closed my eyes in fright, expecting the worst and wondering if delusions from dehydration had beset me and then he jumped on the bed and I smelt his perfume and I burst into tears. 

It didn’t make sense at all. How could he be here? I had been chatting with him since I woke up and he was on his way to Lagos! I touched him to be sure he was real and then hugged him tight. He shouldn’t  be here but yet he was. My husband had come home! I wish I could tell you that I didn’t cry twice more before he left or that he cancelled his trip, but just making a detour amidst the bad roads and the threatening rain because I needed him totally made me feel amazing. 

He made me the dreaded ORS (doctors are the worst patients I know) and sorted out food and drugs for me and with a kiss said his goodbyes and by the way, he had a great laugh about my response to his breaking into our house and I know for the next few weeks I’m gonna be taunted with the ‘Who are you?’ catchphrase but hey I don’t care because my hero showed up just when I was at my weakest and sickest. He is the sweetest, kindest person I know and yes today is husband appreciation day! God bless you OJ.

P.S: I feel better already. 😉

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2017 in Life

 

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The darkness

Since childhood she was taught to fear the darkness. The monsters lurking within, the stillness before the scream. No one warned her of the darkness within the light, the darkness in broad daylight. No one ever mentioned the darkness that sits in a room full of people or that stands in the corner amidst the brightest lights. This darkness is so terrifying that every adult and a child or two stumbles upon it entirely on their own. 

I met my darkness a few years ago. He goes by many names. Maybe you have met him along the way. 

Some call him fear…

My irrational fear of driving and then swimming and the fear of the unknown that never goes away. He loves it when I dream up the absolute worst possible case scenarios and allow them dominate my thoughts.

Some call him insecurity…

He sits whispering in my ear every time I don’t feel good enough, every time I feel unworthy of love, friendship or goodness. He cheers me on every time I doubt myself.

Some call him loneliness…

Alone in a big town, alone in a small house, alone without friends or alone in the midst of friends and family. He is the constant. The aloneness leading many on to the boulevard of depression.

He goes by many names. Seducing you in the name of all that’s careful and cautious. Promising to protect you from harm if you only let him in and then like the proverbial monster he devours all that is in his path, making a mockery of the greatness you carry within. 

But if only you’d dare. Just a little dare, dare to defy him and see what happens. He would lose his power, he would tremble and flee leaving behind the remains of the smokescreen that served as your shackles. He needed your fear to feed him strong and now he has nothing!

Be a true slay queen today! Slay your dragon & slay your darkness 🙌🙌🙌 

He is lurking behind every excuse, every self-doubt or depreciation and every ‘can’t‘. You can do absolutely anything you set your mind on to do. You just need a little dare

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2017 in Life

 

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