I promised myself I would tell anyone who asked me or who cared to listen the truth about my relationship, the ups and downs. This is because I find that many women, moreso in Nigeria, like to tell fairy-tales. We're told over and over again as women how we should act, behave, feel, especially when men are concerned so we always feel that it's a failure on our part to voice out the realities of this thing. Allow me to digress a little bit. I went to a bridal shower not to long ago. It was essentially "mo gbo mo ya" which means I didn't know who the bride was, I was just dragged there by a friend. Anyhoo, at this bridal shower there was a girl there, also a guest, but she also happened to be engaged. She spoke with such a soft and timid voice and though i don't know how old she really was, she looked like she was about 21/22. It was obvious that this girl was nervous about this stage she was about to go into and took the opportunity at the bridal shower to ask questions. One of the other guests had mentioned that "you know, you should try and wash-up before your man gets home, put on perfume because no man wants a woman who's smelling of onions and all that when he comes home from work." So the timid girl asks, "So do I have to shower every evening before he comes home?". I just had to shake my head. We should tell each other the truth about this thing. About relationships, and life as a partner. We should stop enforcing the importance of this Stepford Wife syndrome, stop placing such high, unachievable expectations at the necks of our sisters. The truth about it, of course as I've seen it is that some days you WILL smell of onions, some days you will be frazzled and the house WILL look like crap cuz u didn't feel like it, some days your hair WILL not be perfect and your nails WILL be chipped. But it's okay. Your husband/your partner is SUPPOSED to love you, the real you as well as the glamourous you, all of you, who you are. Don't get me wrong, every woman of course wants to look good for her partner, wants to be the sexiest girl he's ever met. Do that and be that. But don't fool yourself into thinking you can be and do that ALL the time. And your husband/partner hopefully should not expect that from you. Do the best you can to make your partner feel special, cared for, and loved, but above all he should be assured that you ARE doing your best, no matter what the outcome actually is. So that's my two cents.
Now back to truth-telling. This thing has been haaaard. Kai. You are pulled in all directions by all people. These are the things I've found challenging:
1. Dealing with In-Laws. This is the hardest part for me and is so much still a work in progress and I imagine it will be for a little while yet. I love my family and the older I get the more I appreciate them more. We grew up in a very liberal household, were EVERYONE was allowed to have an opinion and voice it. Bolaji's family is VERY conservative and patriarchal. My parents discuss everything with the children but my boo's family, the parents almost always take unilateral decisions and most times don't even tell their children about it. For example, if my Dad were to speak to an Uncle about whatever, he would tell us, okay, "I'm going to speak to so and so about so and so and this is why I'm doing this". Bolaji's Dad might not tell even his own wife! Apart from all these differences, I have come to the conclusion that I don't particularly like the role that in-laws play in the lives of a young couple in our society, and that goes for both sides. So I'm consciously trying very carefully to craft a relationship with my in-laws based on mutual respect, love, and openness. Like I said still a work in progress.
2. Dealing with friends. This is a time period where everything is changing in MY life but little is changing in the lives of my friends. I'm one of the first to get married amongst my friends and you just realize that its very tough for anyone who hasn't been through this process to fully understand the weight of it all. Therefore I've tried to cut my friends some slack. When I got engaged, some friends moved back, and some moved up and some stayed the same. A lot of them moved back and in the beginning it used to hurt but then again, I learnt that true friends, the kind that i want in my life anyway, will move with me through all the stages of my life. Our friendship may change and evolve but they'll love me through it ALL. Those are the friends I spend most of my times with now. Some friends complain that I don't go out as much etc, but I say if you were going through all what I'm going through then you won't have time for partying that much either, and if you can't understand that, then maybe we aren't that much of friends anyway. This has helped me.
I'll stop with these two for now and add more on as I think of them.
Let me move on now to my engagement/traditional ceremony!!! This is what's coming up in two weeks and I'm getting excited and settled about it now. Since my mother was driving me crazy about the planning, I've left everything to her and I can say my life is just that much simpler. Lol. Once you relinquish any dreams or fantasies about the engagement, then the stress goes away and I've found out that that is the KEY to a happy IYAWO at these things. People ask me about anything and when I respond that I don't know, they look at me funny but it's true. I'm gonna be just as surprised as they are when they entire that hall! lol. Apparently my mother hired a wedding planner for this engagement but I have never met him/her oh. So after the event, I'll come back here to report on what happened.