Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Season's Greetings!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011
What did everyone do for the Christmas? The beau and I just laid low and didn't do anything funky, just cuddled and loved up on each other! It's very VERY rare that we both are not working so it was really fantastic to just have late mornings, lazy afternoons, and quiet evenings. We did go out to eat on Christmas day and it was fantastic. I love Bo's company quite a lot and was really grateful to be on a "date" with him on this special day. I think Christmas and this season in general is for family and since right now we're a family of only two it feels very odd. My entire family lives abroad and so does Bo's (except his parents who also spend Christmas abroad) so it was just us two :-) I'm not sure which traditions we're going to embark on once the family expands but at this rate we have to think of something!

Though we had agreed that we wouldn't be giving gifts this year, my husband surprised me with TWO gifts! They were absolutely fabulous and it's official that my husband spoils me. He is one of those men that wants his wife to have the finest of things, and like I've resorted to telling him these days, "I can't wait till you're wealthy because I know you will SPOIL me!" Whenever I say this, Bo just shakes his head and laughs. He loves his wife :-) I felt so special when I received the gifts I cried. I always cry when he gives me gifts, I don't know why. I just feel so incredibly lucky and undeserving of his love and affection. I remind myself that in marriage, and in our partner, we get the closest to experiencing on earth, the kind of love God feels for us. Through my husband I'm able to ponder the magnitude of God's love for me. It's amazing.
Yesterday after having breakfast, Bo and I proceeded to talk about our relationship and our plans for the upcoming year. It was quite a spontaneous conversation but I really ended up liking it so it's probably something I'll encourage for the future. Essentially each of us named 5 things we were planning/hoping for for next year and then going down the list flesh out in details what actions we would have to take to achieve those goals. Two things both Bo and I had on our lists: build a better relationship with spouse/strengthen or sweeten the relationship; get a definitive answer on children. We ended up having a long conversation on the latter which I think has brought us closer to the same page. There were loads of talking and giggling (on my part) throughout the conversation. We were seated outdoors and it was just blissful. I'm blessed. Many people say having kids is really hard because it's like having your heart outside of you, walking around. That must be incredible because I feel the same way about Bo now. This evening I told him exactly that, he responded he felt the same way and I wondered to myself if I feel this way about my husband how will I feel about a child? Can one love even more than this?

For those who think, "this is too fairytale like", I'll have you know Bo and I had a massive fight about a week and a half ago. Massive. I was depressed the entire day. Luckily for me, when Bo got back he bee-lined straight to me and asked that we talk. We talked the issue out but sometimes it's really hard to let the angry emotion go but one of the things I'm committed to challenging myself to is being able to just accept an apology or the explanation of an intent, and LET IT GO. Letting go for no absolute reason is really hard but I'm learning it. I decided to forgive my husband and just move on with life. This is how we've been able to move the pendulum back to the "mushy" mood we're in now. I think he forgives me too.

I look to him as he's sleeping beside me now and I'm truly overwhelmed by how lucky and blessed I am. Thank You God. For 2012 I pray You teach us how to love each other better. Amen.

Happy New Years in advance and thanks for reading my blog in 2011!

Monday, December 5, 2011

And We Danced

Monday, December 5, 2011
If you were passing the aisles at Spar in Lekki, you may or may have not seen myself and my beau dancing to a christmas tune. I mean real dancing, hands placed on hip and neck, other hand clasped, swaying to the music. Well it was mostly Bo trying to get me to dance and me, trying not to look embarrassed in the store, in front of the milk display! :-) It was sweet though and now as I sit thinking about that I'm grinning ear to ear at the memory, and this my funny hubby!

We've been talking baby a lot lately and I think we're moving along nicely into perhaps expanding our unit soon. This morning Bo and I were having our morning talk, reluctant to get out of bed and he kisses me deeply and says, I think we should have a baby. A deep sigh on my part. He's been sounding more and more comfortable with the idea lately, and the more comfortable he sounds the more assured I am that I don't want to have them soon. I think my mind just likes playing hide and seek with me so whenever I think well, maybe...Bo is hesitant and whenever Bo's so sure of things, I'm a little more than hesitant. Either way, it's beautiful when your husband wants to have a child with you. I mean that in a purposeful way, not in a rushed, or well, we might as well, or that's what marriage is for isn't it kind of way. But in a way that he randomly says as he hugs you, imagine having our baby in the next room. Or I think I'm lucky you'll be the mother of my kids. That is coming from the heart, from abounding love, as opposed to from some sort of sense of duty. This is what we wanted and I'm so grateful to God He is faithful and answers the prayers of our heart.

I think that perhaps if I had gotten married earlier, maybe 22 or 23, perhaps I would have been more enthusiastic about baby-making or motherhood in general. Now I think I understand a little better some older women who are just reluctant to upend their lives or routine for new romances. I'm not old, but honestly, I love my relationship and I love the lives we lead now. It feels complete to me. Moreso I read about early and later motherhood/parenthood all the time, and not much of it seems appealing to me. I'm truly serious, not much of it appeal at all. I sit and talk to new mothers, used-to-it mothers, old-school mothers, and it all definitely sounds like a journey, an adventure, but it has very little draws. I mean I love children, I love all my nieces and nephews in my life and they truly light up my life, but I'm not rosy-eyed about the true reality of birthing then caring for a human being from baby to adulthood. Perhaps I know too much, read too much, and ask too much! I think many ladies think of pregnancy and though anxious, they are interested somehow or look forward somehow to the changes, I don't. Instead of wondering what if..., I'm thinking, "sigh, life's terribly unbalanced, do I haaave to? sigh again...." This is how weddings felt to me also: it's just something magical that other people do, not me. I recognize this feeling, I tried to swat it away but I'm realizing now, it was all true in the end. My wedding was nice, but it certainly wasn't earth shattering and I barely remember the entire day. It's just a day. My wedding dress lies at the bottom of a heap in a bag, I can't say I have any sentimental attachments to it. This is somehow how I feel about having kids. It's all nice and I understand how some can feel consumed by it, but I fear for me, I'm terribly neutral.

At least as of this moment. Oh I'm sure I'll go through everything, and I pray God overlooks my "silliness" but I have a feeling like everything else in my life, my wedding, my marriage, my relationship, my career, this I'm probably going to do this my way, which almost all the time, means not the way of most people.

Bo says this morning, you know there are people who are just waiting to see how we will handle it all. Those thinking, let's see them dancing in the aisles at the grocery store with a baby. Not. Gonna. Happen. He says well, it'll be the two of us, we built this relationship how we wanted it to be, and kids may change everything we know now, but it'll still be the two of us, and we'll re-build something else entirely and that's okay.

That comforts me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Approaching 2 years...

Friday, November 11, 2011
Thinking about Bo and I moving closer to our 2nd year mark. Time does fly. We've been married almost 2 years, lived together almost 3 years, dated for almost 5 years. The numbers seem completely incredulous to me. My husband is my best friend, he's my shining armour, he's my fall guy, he's my Batman and I'm his Robin. A friend asked us recently if we thought we were still in the honeymoon phase. My answer was very clear and I think she was a bit shocked by it. Almost immediately I responded that I don't think we're in the honeymoon phase any longer. Certainly I'm not. I looked over at Bo to get his own response and he agreed that he doesn't believe we're in the honeymoon phase any longer. We're in quite another phase all together. One that I'm so happy with. We both responded that what we have now is more sustainable. It doesn't sound romantic does it? However, to be very honest, it's more romantic to me than anything else.

Take for example this week. I think we've had a small tiff for the past three days over some miscommunication. There were small squabbles but there was still tension. However on all three days the presence of tension in our discussion doesn't rattle us any longer. We just take a deep breathe, listen even more carefully and speak even more even-minded. One party sees the other side or we just agree to disagree and move on with kisses laughter and hugs. I love that. We're not goo-goo eyed at each other marveling about how perfect the other person is but we're holding on tight to each other because we realize this is the only other person who knows how messed up I can be sometimes and still wants to stick around for the next moment. That's why we hold each other tighter these days. Our laughter is real, soft, and genuine.

I read somewhere recently that your husband cannot be your best friend. In the same book there are stories of wives who take summers away from their husbands, or who cultivate intimate but non-sexual relationships with people outside their marriage. It works for them I suppose but also for me, truly, my husband IS my best friend. I never get tired of his company or having him around. Our conversation NEVER gets stale or boring to me. At least not yet anyway. The other day Bo and I were watching a movie and though he sat reclining on the sofa, I sat up but throughout the movie, no matter how I shifted or he shifted, Bo's hand would somehow find it's way to the small of my back or to my thigh and just rest there. I don't think he knows this but I felt just so connected to him even then. It was so subconscious for him, I don't think he was even thinking about it - I would shift a bit, and his hand would move but the moment I settled back down, there went his hand back to the bottom of my back. Just two souls, sharing their lives, sharing their space, sharing their experiences.

I'm one of those people who believe in renewing their marriage vows frequently. I've been thinking about which milestone would be best to start this tradition. Bo knows this and just rolls his eyes at me everytime I mention it, LOL. I'm thinking our fifth year anniversary. May God keep us to see that day in joy. I have grand plans for my fifth. A new ring, a beautiful dress, and a beautiful reception with just close family and friends, outdoors somewhere. So for me I'm very happy with 2 but 5, now THAT's going to be a party!

BabyWatch: I'm afraid it's all silent on that front! I had a dream recently about when I would have my first child. In the dream my age was made very clear to me. I don't know if it was some sort of revelation we will see. Right now Bo and I are very much in a non-baby phase. Sometimes I feel we could be like this forever...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Proverbs 31 Wife/Being Submissive

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
I admit it. Whenever I hear someone say, or read somewhere, "the Proverbs 31" wife, my eyes roll so far back into my head. Here we go. I for one thinks there are way too many "instructions" out there for the woman and not nearly enough out there for our men. This is why when I read about the 1 Timothy man here, it really did resonate with me and I agree with every single thing she wrote. Nevertheless every time I still hear that P31 woman thing, I cringe. The whole thing always remind me of this song:

Yes. Nigerians I feel especially love the P31 verses because I think it caters very nicely to our "Mommy Martyr"/"Saint Wife" way of life around these parts. All of this contributes to my cringing and eye-rolling.

Let's consider the verses if we can for a moment. First of all, it seems a bit out of place doesn't it? Out of nowhere, like it was tacked on at the last minute, or after a while. This is furthered by the fact that it's the last chapter in Proverbs. But be that as it may, I've also tried to find out more about the context and the writer. P31 is supposed to have been written of an advice of King Lemuel's mother to the King. Many biblical scholars believe that King Lemuel was the same as King Solomon. In that case, the words of P31 are Bathsheba's advice to her son. It is said that she gave this advice to Solomon after a drunken revelry in which he woke up late the next morning, and in waking him up is when Bathsheba gave him this "oracle" or advice. The context I find really illuminates the chapter. Bathsheba essentially admonishing her son over his drunkenness (and possibly womanizing) and in the same breath encouraging him to find a wife of "noble character". So although Solomon is indeed King, and a blessed one at that (1 Kings 10:23) his mother still desires him to have a hardworking wife, trustworthy, charitable, creative, etc. Or, perhaps since Solomon did have many wives, she was just admonishing him to remember the good works of his wife/wives (Pharaoh's daughter?). In the last verse it says "Give her the reward she has earned..."

So there, to me that is the context. For me, I don't want to be Martyr Wife, or Saint Mommy. I just want to be the best person I can be, which does fall in with the P31 woman, but it's not a burden or ghost or yolk that I carry about upon my shoulders. I just want to be a good person. A credit to my husband and children, one who has respect from the community because of her character, good works, and honor brought upon her by the standing of her husband "at the city gates".

Now on being submissive, for some reason many people bring that up also when they talk about the P31 woman, though being submissive is not mentioned anywhere in that chapter. It is mentioned elsewhere in the bible though. Submissive. That is also another word that whenever it creeps into conversations about marriage, my eyes do their thing again or I just cringe. I had to deal with this after I got engaged. What did I believe? and How can it be realistically actioned while still staying true to myself? I reasoned that I agree that there cannot be two masters to a ship. There can only be one master. One person who's word carries a bit more weight in family matters, one person to make the final decision: Yea or Nay. I want my husband to be the head of the household, to enjoy all the honor and respect that position brings. That can never be compromised by anybody. If that is to be so to the outside world, then that has to be so first in our home. This reasoning gave me peace. To me that's what "submit to the authority of your husband" means. I remember having this conversation with Bo when we were talking about role expectations in a marriage. I told him, you are the authority in this home, you are the head of this family, there's respect and honor in it, but there's also responsibility with it. And always remember that the power of your authority comes from my relinquishing that position to you (as directed and empowered by God, but actioned by me all the same). You must love, honor, and respect me for that act. He agreed, and honestly we've never really talked about it since then. I know my husband and I are on the same page, I know he carries me along fully in EVERY single decision, we are equal partners in every thing and every way, yet I know and he knows, that when it comes down to it, he's the decision maker, he's the trump card.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ain't No Sunshine When He's Gone

Friday, October 14, 2011

I'm kind of sad and restless. The hubster's gone off to London for about a week for work, leaving Ms. Wifey (that's me) here by my lonesome. One one hand it's nice to be able to just relax and not worrying about house chores, and just to think I can decide to do dishes at 1am if I want, bliss! But overall, I just want to run back to the airport and be in my man's arms where everything is safe, and where love resides. Recently I've found myself taking the piss where Bo is concerned, I just bury my head in his chest and behave like a kid. I don't know where it comes from but I every thing just seems to melt away when I do that and I DO feel like a carefree, happy child.

Bo & I haven't been arguing recently which always makes me weary. I mean I'm very lucky but we do get along incredibly well, for that I'll always be grateful to God. Sometimes we can go for months without any incident at all, just love love and more love. I had the flu a few days ago and was sitting in bed, just sniffling and sneezing. Bo comes up to me and says "show me how to waltz." Of course I'm thinking he's nuts, it's 10pm! He says no really, show me. Now once in a while Bo & I just either dance in our living room or in our bedroom and I've always tried to get him to do the basic waltz steps but he always looks at me as if I have five heads. So I was quite surprised when he asks if I can teach him. I get up anyway, and teach him the basic box step. Before long we're doing a very very rickety waltz, mind you, but still a kind of waltz and we're just chuckling away falling over ourselves. I felt really really happy then. It's past 10 and we're being silly in our bedroom and it's like even my body has forgotten that it's battling the flu. We have many moments like that are so special to me. The picture up there pretty much sums it up for us, dancing in our living room, me with a wide grin, or a sly smile.

Back to no arguments, is it strange for a married couple to practically go months without even a disagreement? We were out to lunch with some friends last weekend and a friend of mine exclaimed "you guys are so much alike!" It made me laugh so much because originally, we're not alike at all, or so it would seem on the surface, but perhaps we do have much more in common in terms of personality and outlook than I realized. Whatever it is, I'm happy to say my streak of re-falling in love with my husband is still alive and well. I'm thoroughly enjoying being married to the man I'm married to. I'm so blessed, when one considers what happens to others out there. Which reminds me, (boy, it seems I have a lot to say today!), I'm noticing something about myself that I can't really explain. Whenever I see a couple that seems more "couple-y" than Bo & I, or just extremely happy and in love, I start getting competitive about it, as if we're the only ones that should be that happy! Isn't it ridiculous? Like I like the reputation Bo & I have amongst our friends that we're the "IT" couple that whenever I observe a couple "threatening" our title, I get jealous. It's funny to me. I should be happy for them, instead I'm thinking, gosh, I hope Bo & I still look this cute... it's just one of those things :-)

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Bo Answers! Part Two

Tuesday, September 20, 2011
I'm sorry I've kept the second part of Bo's answers to your questions. They've been answered for some quite some time now but other things have gotten in my the way of my posting it. Either way, here it is now. I can't even remember the answers he gave but do enjoy reading!


5. How did you know you met the one? Where there other ladies you felt could also become your potential wife before meeting /choosing Kemi? How did you know Kemi was the one for you?
a. How did your christian faith inform your interactions with Kemi?

b. Culturally, what makes you different from the other men in your culture? Is it easy for you to go against the grain?

I don’t believe in ‘the one’. I believe that for any person, there is a small set of people with whom a marriage relationship can work. I also believe that this set probably changes over time. Were there other ladies that I felt could also be my wife? Yes, there were other friendships that I considered. Why Kemi? She was my best friend at the time when the prospect of being married started to sound ‘cool’. A little mundane perhaps but I didn’t have the ‘this is my wife’ moment.

I believe my faith informs all my friendships (I continue to pray that it does) Regarding a mate (btw I hate that expression), in my single days, when dining alone I always prayed for the person who would share the meal with me as my wife (if I got married), that God would prepare us. When I dated, the prayer would be a little more specific to the person I was dating but also with a caveat in case my wife was still out there. When I had decided on Kemi as my wife, I dropped the caveat and started praying about our life together.

What makes me different from others in my culture? I’m not sure that I’m really different. I hope I am but I fear that I’m not. I live in a deeply patriarchal society in which men really do have it all. Despite this, I try to stand against what I think is unfair and in all my dealings (within or without my marriage) I try to not be patriarchal and to treat women truly as equals. My conviction in this regard also includes speaking up whenever you see inequality anywhere but I fear in this regard I’m not doing as good a job as I should.

6. How do you feel about your wife gaining weight or having stretchmarks after having a baby? Is there pressure to lose the weight?
a. Your wife works, but would you ever want her to stay at home? Does her working affect you in anyway?

This is a hard one because I know how particular Kemi is about always being physically fit so irrespective of what I think I believe I would just have to bite my tongue when it comes to that. Also I feel part of the baby weight gain would obviously be my fault, since I’m part of it all so I just see it as part of the sacrifices we both have to make to be parents, and there are many sacrifices on both parts, and weight gain is not the biggest one. So no, I don’t think there’s pressure from me for her to loose weight because I’m sure she would already be putting herself under a lot of pressure to loose weight.

I’m not that fussed about her staying at home right now. I would hope that we can reach an understanding later on what’s best for our children especially in their earlier years but that’s a conversation I’m willing to have as it comes up since our needs and our situation may be different then. Right now her working affects me positively: money in the bank! And also negatively because her work can get highly stressful and that is something we both have to share.

7. How do you resolve conflicts?
a. Jealousy in marriages, from both sexes, is it good or bad? Also can it be dealt with & how, from your perspective?

We resolve conflicts with difficulty but ultimately by talking and talking. And it’s not always easy because sometimes you just don’t want to talk or you don’t to hear what the other person has to say. But what I’m learning is that the best results are achieved when we talk with reduced emotional hit, so when the emotions are not running high and we’ve both taken time to separate from it.

I don’t think jealousy in a relationship is good because I think it breeds mistrust and/or suspicion, which can lead to saying things that you really don’t mean. It can be dealt with sometimes but it has to be two ways, because there’s dealing with what makes the jealous party jealous, and also making sure that you don’t engage in behaviour that makes the other person jealous.

8. I always thought that guys who were always talking about sex and being very shallow about it were just immature and I sort of labeled them as the bad guys. I've recently come to find out that about 98% of all males think this way, some of them just do a better job at hiding their thoughts. Could you talk about this? Hopefully this isn't too out there for you.

This is an interesting question. I mean yes, guys have sex on the brain. But that said, depending on your relationship with the guy, he would handle it maturely or immaturely but make no mistakes about it, it’s on the brain. So whether he says it or not, he’s thinking it.

9. Your wife sounds like a hopeless romantic from her posts and someone with a lot of expectations of love and marriage as well! Honestly, are there days you feel overwhelmed and not up -to meeting up with her expectations. How do you cope with instances where you just want to be left alone and do not feel up to the “us” thing.

More often than not I do feel overwhelmed, but it is something I knew about before I got married so I prepared myself mentally for it. Yes I do get times where, not that I don’t enjoy her company I do, but there are times I want to be more mundane and not romantic even though I know Kemi likes romance. It’s all a learning process. I cope with it in a mix of ways. Sometimes I put myself through the discipline of being romantic even if I don’t feel it, and other times, I try to make up for my being unromantic by just showering her with kisses. And she loves kisses, so that helps many times. Haha.

10. What advice do you have for some of us women that are like your wife, in the sense that we crave for attention from our better half, in the reality of marriage?

There’s nothing wrong with craving attention. So don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. You just have to understand that there are some times that your other half may not be forthcoming with the attention you want in the way that you want it but you’ve got to roll with it.


I think some of the answers are directed to me! *wink. Lol.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Re-falling in Love

Tuesday, September 6, 2011
This is something I've mentioned before but not sure I've done a full blog post on it. You see, from my perspective, one of the best and absolute glorious things about marriage is the unexpected "re-falling in love" with your spouse. This is something I've never thought about before and certainly I don't recall anybody talking about it within my hearing. As Bo and I are steadily moving towards 2 years of marriage, there have been several instances where I've caught myself falling in love with my husband all over again. The feeling is like the first time. That moment when you look up at the other person and just realize that to you, they are just the best creation God ever created, and you're just in awe, or you just think that other person is just...the best ever! I catch myself looking at Bo with new eyes, filled with adoration anew, feeling so lucky and so blessed.

This all sounds good but the process of 're-falling in love' with your spouse is not a pretty one. I'm now in that phase and this morning started wondering, well wait a minute, what brings this feeling on? I think I experience this "re-falling" in the days, weeks, months after Bo & I have had a mid to serious disagreement/falling out/fight. About two weeks ago we experience what I would term the biggest falling out we've EVER had. There were tears, there were hours of talks, it lasted a few days, yes days (though whenever we fight we still tend to cuddle together at night, nothing should get in the way of a good cuddle! lol). There were threats of "this just isn't working out for me", oh yes, the whole she-bang. As a side note, friends are always amazed when they're hanging out with us and make a quip about how cute and perfect we are and I tell them well we had a big fight this morning. For some reason no one ever believes us! I count this as a blessing really. But continuing on with the story, it was REALLY bad. I have to say even right in the middle of one of the many outbursts during the few days of the "fight", I had promised a friend I would cater for her birthday party so I was cooking in the kitchen. Even though we were going at it as I was cooking, Bo still said "what do you need help with?" and then started to chop up veggies etc. And even though we were both upset to the point of exhaustion, I remember thanking God that we still worked together as partners and got things done. I know it sounds like we maybe were just having a little tiff when this happened, but believe me we were having the LOWEST moment in our relationship and marriage. Yet my husband rolled up his sleeves and we got to working together in accomplishing a task. This is amazing to me.

After fighting for what seemed like constantly for about 3 days, both Bo and I were just exhausted. We gave each other breaks but we were still constantly talking. Then during one of these talks, for some reason the communication finally clicked, we both felt we were being heard and we both understood each other. I had started praying fervently, fervently for God to really give me the Spirit of Forgiveness. I did share with Bo that I was struggling with letting my anger go and that I need help with that because I was ready to let it go. He just nodded his head and said he understood and hugged me. God worked in us, he really did. When you go through arguments with your spouse, for some reason we always come out feeling stronger and more melded together than ever. Like Bo & I agreed, when you share all your ups and all your downs with a single person, no one else has those very shared experiences, just you two, that's the magic of marriage, of two becoming one. You start to forget the lines that separate you two as individuals because you are now experiencing life in the same way, in the same prism. Your good days are also their good days and your bad days are also their bad days. Maybe it's the romanticism of this that creates that feeling of falling in love over again.

Last week Bo & I were visiting with a friend of our who's is single but just frustrated about relationships etc. Bo started talking to him about what he believes about relationships: communication, validating the other person, respect, etc. Everything that was coming out of his mouth sounded like such wisdom I had to actually look back at him half-amazed. My husband is SMART! I was really impressed and said out loud "see, this is why I married this man". Swoon. AND he tells me at least once a week that I'm gorgeous. Swoon. AND he still showers me with "million kisses" every single morning....SWOON. :-)

Overheard in the BoKem Household
Bit of background: while I love our flat where we live, we have been here for a few years and quite frankly I'm getting tired of it and I've been itching to move to a bigger place. Bo knows this. Also we have empty land in Ikoyi.

Bo: What do you think? So it seems we should be able to start building our own place on that land next year, but the catch is that we would have to stay in this flat for two more years {taking us to 4th quarter 2014}

Me: Well that's great hon but you know we can't have any babies in this flat.

Bo: Uhm, okay maybe just another year then. {taking us to 4th qtr 2013}.

Me: silence.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Abandoned Blog +1

Monday, August 29, 2011

Have I abandoned this blog? Maybe. Maybe not. I've been extremely busy, but I know that's a familiar refrain. It really is true though. Thing is being extremely busy with work means you have to play catch up with friends and family and by the time that is done, you just don't have the time to sit, think, then compose your thoughts on the blog. I can say that I will do better but I truly don't know I'll play it by ear.

Now on to baby bumps and the biggest baby bump of them all: the Carter baby bump aka Beyonce's Bun In the Oven. I mentioned very early on in the life of this blog that Beyonce and Jayz are one of the couples that I look to and that inspires me (the other are the Obamas). I have to say when I saw her on the View a few weeks back, I said to Bo, I think this chick is preggers. He teased me because he thought I was just thinking that from the song "Countdown" in which she says "I'm trying to make us three..." Bo thinks I'm nuts. Lol. Anyway, I'd like to think I called it early. Ha. But on a serious note any and everything brings to mind my own baby watch and since Beyonce and I are reasonably agemates, the news of her expecting has got me in a conflicting mood. Everyone's having babies! Do I want one?

Last week Bo and I had a serious conversation about babywatch (yet again) and though he didn't say it, my sense is that he's not ready for a child or to be a father. I think he's one of those people who probably won't see themselves in that role until they're nearing forty. I understand that. He also mentioned he's a bit anxious or worried about the possibility of my infertility so he's not sure he wants to jump into that kettle of fish just yet. I understand this also. But I'm left thinking what is it I (ME) want? We went visiting with a friend of ours who has a 4-month old baby and she grabbed me aside and said "Let me talk to you, if you want to have kids, take it from me just do it now and get it over with, just do it. I'm so relieved I have this child now, all the weight is taken off my shoulders, I can move on with my life now. Just do it." Sigh. Now I appreciate her advise and really love her for actually giving it to me, but it's just put so much pressure on me and my thoughts. Should I just do it now and get it over with? If I'm completely honest with myself, I've never been one of those women who sees herself being someone's mother (or even wife for that matter and look how that turned out!). Bo said to me during our conversation "It's not like you can give it back when you're done" and this is so true and hit me. It's not a, "let's just try it..." kind of decision, it's yours for life. What happens when:
  1. You don't think you're ready for a baby BUT
  2. You're medically at risk for infertility AND
  3. You're not getting any younger
  4. You're almost sure if you're 50 and don't have a child you'll regret not having the experience PLUS
  5. Your hubby is not ready (and you need him to be ready for this kind of thing)
Now some people have all kinds of clever ways to deal with point #5, let me say that I don't subscribe to any of that. I need my husband to be ready (it's just courtesy for another human being's feelings), and to be excited about it as well. So that takes care of that. However there's still the issue of everything put together.

So there's that. Thanks Beyonce for adding to baby pressure....lol. I'm really happy for her though.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Bo Answers! Part 1

Tuesday, August 2, 2011
I've finally wrangled Bo to finish his answers. The first half Bo wrote himself, and the second half he wrote some and he dictated some to me (while he was ironing his shirt for work tomorrow!). Without much further ado, here are Bo's answers, I'm very much looking forward to the comments.


1. My question is does Bolaji have an accent? (I dunno why but I've always been curious as you (Kemi) come across as well cultured and you mentioned you have lived outside Nigeria for most of your life, Bolaji on the other hand hasn't, so do you encounter any problems culture wise?

‘Problems’ is a strong word but our different cultural backgrounds do throw up issues. These are usually issues regarding approach to or point of view on any given subject matter or problem. Fortunately it came up early in our relationship – by came up, I mean we both noticed how we differently saw the world and engaged with it. And because we started off talking about everything and we still do, understanding that side of Kemi is easier. I didn’t say easy, (cultural issues still come up), but we have found our rhythm.

a. How has marriage changed you as a person and whether you feel being married has changed your relationships with other people and vice versa as women often experience this problem.

Marriage has made me a more patient person and I’m still learning. You can’t be married to a person especially one as opinionated as Kemi without learning a thing or two about patience. Paradoxically, being married has made me less patient with my relationships with other people. I attribute it partly to the short shrift that I think Kemi gives people but also the ‘safety’ of my relationship that I can run to when people piss me off.

2. I'd like to read a blog post about the many misconceptions he had about women and marriage prior to settling down and what the realities are. Also what he thinks about marriage.

I think my primary misconception about marriage was how difficult it would be. I think my parents, whose marriage I have been most influenced by, have had a good marriage and they make it seem easy. So I had always thought that marriage would be easy especially since I have a ‘relaxed’ disposition. I was wrong. The reality of marriage is hard and by hard I mean difficult - a true partnership is a constant work in progress. Sometimes when I think we get to a good place and that we can coast, I always learn differently. But it is a good kind of work and I am enjoying it J. Its early days yet, but we continue the good work.

3. I know you mentioned that there was a point in time when Bo didn't want to get married (please correct me if I'm wrong). I would just like to know what changed his mind. Was it falling in love with and growing to love you? Or did his ideas of marriage change as he grew older?

Probably the decade before I got married, I didn’t think that marriage was a) a necessary part of growing up nor b) a desirable part. I have to admit that I haven’t fully thought through why I felt this way despite what I think is the reasonably good example of my parents and other couples around me. Don’t get me wrong, I have always appreciated the upsides of a marriage relationship – companionship, etc, I just didn’t think I had to be married to get those benefits.

An issue that does come to mind is that I didn’t (and still don’t) like the dynamic in many marriages that I saw – couples settled into a way of doing things that I thought put one of the couple ‘down’ in one way or the other. This in my opinion is against my long held opinion that marriage should be a partnership in every way.

I think I became more comfortable with the idea of marriage as I grew to understand that the dynamic that I saw and disliked was each couple’s way of making the relationship work for them – a compromise they had come to about how to be married.

Now that I’m married, the challenge I see for Kemi and I in our marriage is striving for that ideal of a true partnership with the compromises we agree on to make living with another human being work, compromises that sometimes mean that a perfect partnership is not possible.

I still don’t think marriage is a necessary part of growing up, but I think my views on it have matured over the last few years. And yes, the person I’m with helped frame my views on the institution and its practical aspects.

What's his favorite thing about you and about being married?

a. I know you once mentioned you were celibate before marriage. How did he handle it as a man (they're often seen as sex-crazed)? Does he think it enhanced your relationship? What are your views on pre-marital sex versus celibacy (by celibacy i mean complete abstinence from all forms of sexual activity )in relationships?

b. What are the top tips you will give single ladies who have reached the marriageable age?

c. From a guy's perspective, what should women consider red flags in a guy they’re planning to settle down with?

Q: What is my favorite thing about being married? A: Waking up next to someone who has also committed to work at this relationship for life. (I think its also the scariest thing about being married). My favorite things about Kemi are her boobs. Ha! Seriously though, my favorite thing about my wife is that she’s an encourager. She naturally encourages everyone around her, not just me but also her family and friends.

About celibacy I think it’s up to the couple. My personal view is that it is a good thing even though I wasn’t throughout my premarital stage, but celibacy is much easier to follow if you never started in the first place. Do I wish I never started? Yes and No. How did I handle it as a man, the straightforward answer is cold showers. Nothing more I can say about that. I do think it enhanced our relationship because it allowed us to talk about being intimate without being intimate physically. I believe it improved our ability to communicate about sex and about intimacy. Although one could say Kemi and I already talked about everything so it only followed that we’d talk about sex as well.

Top tips to single ladies: Look for real friendships. I appreciate that this may not be so simple but I think it was (and still is) an important (if not the most important) aspect of my relationship with Kemi. Unfortunately real friendships require a lot of time, effort and some heartache to develop. Read: its damn hard to do. Maybe this is not so much a tip as a warning.

As for red flags, I think this is a hard question because when talking about someone you want to settle down with you have to think to yourself about things you can live with and things that are deal breakers. Ultimately who you want to settle down with is individual, it is you that has to decide what you can deal with and what are deal breakers. For me, I believe a guy that hits you or abuses you mentally, verbally, or physically is a big red flag. Someone women find a way to rationalize anything but if I were to generalize that would be it.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Let's Talk About Sex

Monday, August 1, 2011

I was reading another blog post when this post came to me and I knew i just have to write about it. I've heard too many times too many women talk and worry about sexual compatibility and what the man is packing or how he is packing. I've seen friends dismiss very lovely men because of some perceived sexual deficiency and others who've waited worry about sexual performance after the wedding. It's no secret that I truly believe that my relationship with Bo was orchestrated by the Divine Himself and I thank God every day that we were both lucky enough to not mess things up too badly.

But I have a story to tell about our sexual history. In the beginning of our relationship Bo and I did embark on a sexual relationship. Where our story takes a wild turn is that as it became apparent that ours was a serious one, we both decided that we were going to be celibate until we were married. Those beginning times were not pretty. I would say Bo and I were not compatible sexually. Based on my experiences I wanted one thing, and based on his experiences he wanted something else. It was very VERY awkward those days. However as it became clearer to me that I was falling in love with this man, I knew I had to take matters into my own hands. We started to talk openly about our histories, anxieties, desires, wants and needs. We shared everything about what importance we place on sexual satiety and really I believe this was probably the foundation of us deciding to be celibate later on. Then I decided within myself that I was going to be patient, encouraging, and honest with this man. I wanted him to feel comfortable with me, to feel comfortable trying and failing and trying again. I wanted things to be natural and fun, and with him being a man I wanted him to own his sexuality, his feelings. I was open to learning his style and rhythm and I got over any shyness and was very open about what I liked, how, and when. I think this really helped us, my being willing to teach as it were, what it was that worked for me. So many women don't want to teach because of their shyness or for fear of being labeled. I say don't be afraid of your body and of what it is telling you. I think lastly we just decided to have fun with it, to create a safe fun haven for both of us to express ourselves and enjoy each other. If it's awkward, so be it. We'll get the hang of it eventually.

We hadn't fully learnt this lesson when we decided to go celibate. However I think I'm the loudest testament to the fact that one year and a half year into my marriage, I have the most satisfying sex life I've ever had in my life (and that's saying...well, enough). My husband truly rocks my world and I can say that confidently. Whenever I hear women say, "I can't talk to him because the sexual chemistry is not there", I always think what is that? Trust me, once you fall in love with a man, half the battle is done. Love is amazing. It is the tie that God has used to bind us together and believe me it is perfect. If the guy is a wonderful person, kind soul, thoughtful, and madly in love with you, allow yourself to be swept away in love. The sex is supposed to come later, it WILL come later, and it WILL be fabulous. Don't worry and allow yourself to fall!

PS - For those waiting for Bo's post, he's written about half of it. Honestly at this point, I'm not sure WHEN the other half is going to get written. I'll remind him tomorrow. I have to say, having read a bit of it, it's no where as colored as my writing, very much less mushy and much more methodical, practical, and straightforward. I should have expected that though.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Special Guest on the Request Line

Sunday, July 17, 2011
I've been constantly pestering Bo during the last week to write a guest post. His response is that he doesn't know what to write or he says he's still thinking about it. So this evening I tried to put a bit more pressure by saying that I've already told my blog friends he was going to blog and therefore quite a few people are already asking for his blog post. Let me relay to you all that he was shocked and then he says doesn't want to let anyone down. He's asked me to open to floor to everyone; he wants to know:

What do you guys want me to blog about?

I asked if he'd rather want me to ask for questions so that he could answer questions and his response was:

Please ask what they think I should blog about and they can also ask questions but [emphasis mine] I won't be obligated to answer them oh.

So there you have it. Bo wants to know what you would like him to blog about as well as if you have any questions feel free to ask but he doesn't want to promise to answer.

This man of mine!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

2nd Time Around

Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Things have been a bit hectic in the BoKem household. Bo switched careers and I've switched jobs, all in the last few weeks. We've been praying about this process for a little while now and it had added a bit to the stress of the last month but I'm so glad to finally see the back of it and things coming back to normal.

Right now I'm on my laptop and Bo is seated across from me on his laptop, we're both on our dining table but both engrossed in our work. It's a bit blissful. I remember when we first started dating and I think Bo out of concern for my motor mouth (ha!) said to me that he's the type of person who could be working in one room and his partner be in another room and they not speak to each other for hours. I think he was concerned that I'd be the type to always seek stimulus or attention. I'm not. I think by now he can safely agree with me. lol. I'm perfectly fine doing my own thing for a few, thank you very much!

I've noticed something recently that I've wanted to blog about. I don't know how it came about or from where it came but recently I've been feeling like I'm falling in love with my husband all over again. It sounds strange but that's truly how I've been feeling. If I were to analyze it I would say the first year of marriage for us was so eventful in terms of norming our behaviors etc., but by the time the second year was beginning things had really stabilized. Instead of disagreeing about lifestyle/living issues we were now disagreeing about LIFE issues. I don't think we were ready to be as tolerant with each other as we had been in the past. So we went through that short period but out of that period I feel like I'm just now truly melding with my husband into one unit. I'm excited at the prospect of how it would be like after 50 years if this is how it feels like in the second year! The old Kemi is growing into 1/2 BoKem. One would think this comes naturally but I'm now learning and experiencing that it doesn't. It's in the little things that I notice. We now think more alike than we ever did before. We now share more of the same principles than we ever did before, we now can communicate almost seamlessly. A truly "us against the world" kind of bond is really starting to develop between us. I can only imagine that after 25 years, all the experiences we've been on together and all the decisions we've made together, and just the sheer amount of life we've LIVED together, is going to make it pretty difficult to know where one thread ends and the other begins. This is amazing to me.

I think so this is how these things grow that by the time our children our adults all they will know is ONE family unit, and they would think "Mom & Dad have always been this way". This is amazing to me. And for me as a Christian woman to think all perfect gift is from God, I'm just in awe at how he's designed us human beings so perfectly from our curiosity as teenagers, our need for companionship as adults, our desire to join with another human being, and the creation of a complete family unit out of thin air. Amazing. As an aside, from my devotional today my lesson is this: God has a plan for everybody and that plan is perfect. Take my word for it.

But back to my falling in love with my husband, second time around, how can you not fall in love again with a man who says when we were discussing a demand his grandfather made on us, "I would really like to satisfy his request but I'm more interested in balancing my future with my past, and hon, you're my future and he's from my past." I MEAN, how wonderful is this dude??? We ended up doing things his gran's way but it is just wonderful to know that my hubby puts me first. I couldn't help but thinking and I told him, I'm so devoted and committed to him. I really am. This man has pulled out all stops for me consistently. Not in the frivolous, easy-to-change things, but in the real stuff. He supports me and has my back consistently and thoroughly. I'm such a lucky girl. I'm just so appreciative of the wonderful man his parents raised really. It is so unexpected to be falling in love with a man you're already married to!

Baby Watch Update: Okay, so I think we're very close. More and more I'm getting closer to wanting a baby to add to our family. I'm so glad we've followed a life plan and have purposely waited (used contraceptives). This time we have with just two of us is so golden. If we had had kids any earlier our lives would have changed to revolve around them (which is not a bad thing by the way, once you're parents it's a full time job!) but I'm just so very glad for the time we've had to grow into the people we are now. I feel for Bo and I we're just that bit more ready to be parents, we are much more confident in ourselves, in our principles, in our belief system, and really in what we want our family to stand for. I'm excited! Bo brought up a point recently though, since this blog is anonymous (*wink) I won't be able to chronicle pregnancy as much as I'd like. Good point. So as an aside, the whole baby dates/pregnancy reports may have to be a few months off, or in. Hmmm....maybe I'm already there (would certainly explain the absence wouldn't it?) :-)

PS - I'm trying to convince Bo to do a guest post. Let's see how that works out shall we?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

In Defense Of...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
I read a terrible story today that touched my heart. A young lady who was married 2 years ago, has a daughter, was brutally murdered by her husband last week. This horrible monster, stabbed his wife, mutilated her, and by all counts tried to cover his tracks by dismembering her. This is gory, and just plain devilish. May her soul rest in peace, and may the Lord have mercy on her. I think about the fact that this young lady could have easily been a reader of this blog and I'm saddened.

However the reason for this post is not to just share my condolences but to talk about the way in which I came to hear of this story. Someone somewhere wrote about this story and understandably tied the tragedy in with "marriage people". I understand the intention and stemming from reports that this particular marriage had had a history of violence and physical abuse, I get it. Nonetheless, my reaction is to say wait a minute, not all marriage is bad. It saddens me to see something that enriches my life so much is the subject of hurt, pain, and in this case death for someone else. It is not marriage that caused this tragedy, it is uncontrollable anger. It is our societal policy of "need-to-know". Our dogmatic attitudes. Our penchance to revel in secrecy. Don't ask, don't tell. All these things are not planted solely in a marriage, they can be planted in any relationship we find ourselves in. So whether in platonic, business, or romantic relationships I think it's important we always check that we are staying true to who we are and be that person unapologetically.

I wanted to defend marriage today. It is an institution made up of two individuals. Sometimes despite our best efforts the other person just refuses to change, or to grow together. Sometimes despite our best intentions we just don't know what to do or where to go. Or worse still, we realize all too late that we've made an error. We're all human beings and are prone to making judgements in error. However, when God's grace does shine and you're lucky enough to tie yourself to the partner God provides for you, then it can be sweet, and loving, and challenging, and warm. I've heard some ladies say, "80% of married women settled [for less that is]" I'm a married woman and I settled for honesty, kindness, self-control, thoughtfulness, and sense of responsibility. That's what I settled for. If we really all sit down and decide for ourselves what it is that we want to settle for, and let it be positive non-physical attributes, then we're a good way to forming a partnership with someone who's stable, kind-hearted, and has respect for self-control.

This post is not to say "you can avoid a physically abusive relationship", no, but to say that because it IS possible to have a sweet loving and kind marriage, we should really all think about what qualities have to be present in both parties to have this and don't settle for less than those. Be aware that bad things to do happen, and no one is immune. Fortify yourself. But remember that good things can happen as well, and can happen for you. Prepare yourself.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Monday, June 20, 2011
This weekend was amazing.

Bo & I have been going through a rough patch lately. It's a bit hard to describe. When you're one your own and you're having a bad day or having a bad week, you can easily just say to someone, I'm having a bad day and need a drink. But what do you call it when a couple as one entity is having a bad day or a bad week? Either way, that's what we've been having lately. I think we're getting to a very interesting point in our relationship. The excitement of an impending wedding, the excitement of a new marriage, and all of that is wearing off. Now we're just left with us. Which can be incredibly terrifying and incredibly freeing in bits. In the last few weeks I've lost two close friends and gone through a challenging incident at work, and Bo has been dealing with what I can best describe also as a challenging episode at work (to say the least, I really want to say drama). It got so bad that Bo just wanted to walk away from it all. Which is actually fine by me in theory but then we had to think about how we were going to cope with the immediate loss of his salary which is really a sizeable chunk of our household income. I wanted him to leave too so that wasn't the problem. It was just in the midst of everything we both became over worry-ers and after you've shared and communicated your anxieties so much you start to internalize them rather than risk the other person going into a depressive mode.

So it's been challenging. I think by last week though, we just both broke out and CHOSE to not be bogged down about everything happening around us. I think we were just tired of constantly carrying the weight on our shoulders. One of my favorite things about our lives together is the talks we have together in bed on saturday mornings (and some weekday mornings). We'll talk a bit, play around in bed a bit, then talk a bit more. These moments are so very precious to me because I truly believe they keep us connected. We just chatted and decided that things were a bit too heavy lately and we wanted to be fun and lighthearted. So we decided to just take things as they come, whatever they may be, and be lighthearted about it. It worked wonders! All of a sudden we were back to our normal selves. Last week was great but this weekend was just fabulous.

Our friends were getting married on Saturday in Abeokuta so we packed our road trip regulars (snacks, music, gum) and headed out. It was so nice to be able to reconnect on this trip. We laughed and joked. My husband is so funny! I had to keep telling him over and over again that I love his sense of humor. He can make me crack up like no other person. Every time I told him I loved his sense of humor, he would smile a wicked grin and I mentally reminded myself that I needed to compliment my husband more often. That's something I did quite a bit in the months after our marriage but has somehow fallen off. So throughout the weekend whenever he did or said something that I liked or loved about him, I would tell him. His reaction every single time was very much worth it. Sometimes in the midst of everything we do we forget to just say, "I love your smile" or "You're a fabulous husband and you add so much meaning to my life". It's the truth. At the wedding we took a picture and I didn't like it but Bo turned to me with this shocked/confused look on his face and said "You look so beautiful". Instantly I felt better because I reminded myself that I had a husband who tells me I'm beautiful regularly. I mean, how lucky am I really?

Just the friday before Bo & I had gone to a houseparty. I stepped away from a conversation we were having with friends to join another friend. By the time I came back, Bo had also left that conversation. Immediately the two ladies started telling me of how much my husband must love me as he couldn't stop gushing about me and about our wedding. I was actually shocked because Bo never gushes about the wedding, I do! Both girls were told me repeatedly "Nah, girl, he was gushing, we could see the love in his eyes as he was talking about you, he loves you so much." I couldn't help but blush. This guy is pretty special.

This Sunday we went to a friend's house and just hung out with him and a few other friends for a while but Bo & I could barely keep our paws from each other. Just him being there and being around makes me so happy and gives me such a sense of wellbeing and security. Anybody that saw us yesterday would not have believed that we are going through such difficult times in terms of what life is throwing at us: death, work drama, repayment of student loans (ha!), etc. I am very proud of us and how we were able to come back to the center of joy for both of us, and that is our relationship and each other's presence.

PS - Bo ended up NOT quitting and things have been resolved which really is a testimony of God's Grace in our lives.

Baby Update: Bo & I had a rather unexpected talk about our timeline for baby and I'm pretty sure we've moved the TTC date plan up by a few months. I think the birth of one of our close friend's baby has added a bit more pressure to us both than we care to admit. I have to say though that immediately the next morning, I thought about it all again and got unready again. I actually REALLY like the way we live now. I'm not sure why we should willingly add another dimension to it. As of now I don't feel like something's missing but whenever I think of having a baby it's more of the line of thinking of "let me just do it now and get it over with, get everyone off my back" and somehow I don't think that's a good reasoning or environment to push TTC. I want my child to be conceived out of complete love and longing not out of pressure and irrational thinking. Keep your ears to the ground!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Overheard in the BoKem Household

Saturday, June 11, 2011
Might be a bit of a TMI but all the same:

ME: Bo, please can you feel this area of my boobs? They feel kinda weird.

BO: (easily obliging) No they feel normal babe

ME: I'm serious, don't they feel odd?

BO: Nope. And I would be the one to know wouldn't I?

ME: (giving him a side eye) Smh.

Strange but it does feel kind of nice to have someone who knows you inside out who can have this conversation with you and then carry on with whatever they were doing before. I love it!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Crawling Exes

Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Long before I met Bo, I met Segun. Segun is the son of a family friend but I didn't really meet him until 2002. For some reason when I met him I just decided at my young ripe age then (ha!) that I was going to marry Segun. It was just meant to be and that was that. He wasn't particularly handsome or charming or whatever. In fact he was a bit of a personality and difficult at best. No matter, I started crushing on him from that very first meeting. I'm not sure it was an emotional thing but for some reason in my head, I thought, he and I would make a good match so I set about making it happen. We exchanged numbers and spoke very sparingly over the next few years. Our conversations were always very awkward, mostly it was almost like a young girl crushing on an older guy, and being thoroughly self-conscious throughout the whole thing kinda thing. Very odd. No matter, I was determined I would crack it, and we would still end up married somehow. I was so serious about this I had written his my name with his last name in my address book at the time, AND written his name and my name in my bible with the year I was thinking we WOULD get married. Yes, I was nutters. Absolutely nothing had happened between us at this point. Just a few awkward conversations on the phone.

Around 2003, I ended up having to travel to the state Segun lived in for work. Unfortunately the client had made an error in booking everything and I was a bit stranded, so I called Segun and ended up at his house. This was his family house, and his mom and siblings were around. After dinner Segun & I went downstairs to the basement but I think the attraction there was quite strong etc, and we finally ended up in a very heated makeout session. However it didn't get any further really than just kissing, of course his family was around and I ended up sleeping in the guest room quite far from any Segun danger :-) So that was it, right? We actually didn't keep up much after that. One or two phone calls maybe. Our conversations were still largely short and awkward.

About a year later, Segun moves to the same city I was living in and I think we both set out to maybe get a bit closer. I visited with him a couple of times (definitely the crush was very much MORE from my side than his), met his best friends and his other siblings briefly and that was that. Just as things were really getting heated up, Segun mentions that he has issues with our families being so close etc., and for some reason at that point I just gave him a look. I mean this is a man I'd been crushing on for AGES and here he is giving me the most simple of excuses. I decided that was that. I certainly wasn't going to put myself out there for him any longer and if indeed anything was going to happen then the ball was now COMPLETELY in his court. I walked away completely from the quasi-relationship (eyeroll) and didn't look back. He also didn't make an effort to call me or whatever. Great. I thought.

Fast forward to a week after my wedding, guess who calls me? I mean he actually picked up the phone and called ME? I was surprised and shocked. But okay, whatever. He calls me several times in that first week. And then I would run into him here and there, and magically Segun was now a more attentive nicer person to me. I mean the awkwardness and nonchalance on his part in our conversations were now GONE. I raised an eyebrow but left it. Then he calls me one night at MIDNIGHT to say he needed my help with a document could I help him proofread it, etc., he really needed my help. I said no and he went on about how he wouldn't let me down if the shoe was on the other foot and it was for work etc. This is when things started to go off in my head and I told Bolaji about my uneasiness with this "friendship" We decided to shrug it off. By now I was receiving blackberry pings very often from Segun, comments on every thing I say etc. Then last week he called me to ask if I could order something for him with my credit card. I agreed and went ahead, only for him to keep postponing pick up and payment time from me. Then he starts calling me frequently or apologizing and asking me to call him back. I mean what is THIS? So last week Bo finally said enough is enough. He's not comfortable with the guy and he thinks Segun's just trying to get my goose, to get me going. We sat down and really had a chat about this. I had to tell Bo that if he was uncomfortable, my "friendship" with Segun wasn't actually that important at all so I'd gladly let it go.

I've since deleted him from my BlackBerry and ignore his calls. I'm just baffled at how some men are. There are some things I see clearer about my single years now than I did then. One of them being that some men are ALL and ONLY about the chase, not the follow through. It is all some sort of game. Some men that are waxing all sorts of sweet nothings in your ear right now are just doing it for the fun of the game, and I don't mean sex, because I don't think it's about that all the time. I think it's just the game for some men. So keep an eye on this and watch out. A healthy, real relationship has no drama, should make you feel more comfortable about who you are, should be a refuge from the craziness of the world, should elevate you mentally, and spiritually, should never make you feel inferior or habor any of your self-esteem issues (we all have them). I truly believe when a man is ready, and shows that he is ready to move heaven and earth for you, just because you are you, then that's the REAL one for you.

I think only when you are in this healthy, real, relationship do you start to truly appreciate how ugly (emotionally) some guys in your past are, and even worse that it's not an anomaly, but many men behave exactly the same way.

Friday, May 20, 2011

More Income, Less Money

Friday, May 20, 2011
Bo and I have been having a bit of a rough time recently. We just can't seem to meet our financial needs and wants lately and a bit perplexed on how that is and how we can better arrange our finances. I think this weekend we're going to sit down and actually pull up an excel worksheet and do proper budgeting.

I tell my friends from my experiences it seems once you get married, your income increases (combined) but then it just seems you never have any money! I make a pretty decent income from my job and Bo makes twice what I make as salary. I've had my job for a few years and I was even making less when I lived alone. However as a single lady, I ALWAYS had more than enough. I travelled all across Europe and Canada and North America and Africa, and ate wherever as often as I wanted and I was quite content. Same with Bo, so how come now that we're married it just seems increasingly difficult trying to save. It's easy to say rent is the culprit but honestly from calculating it this morning when I sat in bed, our rent is not even up to one third of our combined salaries! So where is it all going?!!! I'm so perplexed.

If I were to guess I'd say we travel a lot and we do eat out occasionally as a treat. Perhaps the eating out all adds up? Traveling has been one of those things that's just a bit more complicated now. Before if I wanted to travel just saved X amount and went about my business. At the very least I'd bum off of some friends or family and would only have to worry about my flight. Now, now...first we have to double the plane ticket fees, which is a lot more effort than individually just trying to save up for a trip, then we probably have to find a hotel or B&B to stay at, and then of course, when there's two, you'd of course want to sight see and do more tourist-y things because, well, because now you have a partner. So off you go to wherever and all the while, the bill is racking up! Traveling just seems to cost a LOT more as a couple. We've already taken three leisure trips out of the country this year, a really big one is coming up as one of Bo's best friends from college is getting married in Napa (this trip costs us N800,000 in flights alone!), and we usually take a New Year's trip as well. Whew! And this is not counting some little trips we hope to go on in between: Calabar, Benin Republic. Even as I type I know we're going to have to really budget before adding any other trips. Just a few hours ago, I sent a text to Bo saying, "I'd really love to go to Turkey summer next year" and he responds, "Let's Do It!" See, this is the kind of thinking that gets us into trouble!

Apart from that we're currently experiencing some challenging times in terms of professional work and it's really interesting trying to hold everything together. I've read too many times that financial worry is the number one cause of divorce so I always try and sure that no matter what we're fighting on the same side. Yesterday Bo came back from work a little beaten down mentally and I had to really really encourage him using biblical references etc. Even this morning he was just tossing and turning in bed with worry. Men are amazing creatures, they really do get caught up in being 'the provider'. It's really important to them! Sometimes when other women talk about how much we sacrifice in a marriage I always make sure to point out that men go through very tough times as a result of being married as well. It's like they just naturally carry everything, everyone's worries, and place it firmly on their shoulders. It can't be easy. I think we're doing fine and I assure him of this all the time but he still feels this strong need to give me "the life of my dreams" as he says. There's no matter what a woman will say I think a man would still feel this way. A friend of mine who's been married for over 6 years put it this way to me, "It's not easy to bear that name husband."

Comments: I really appreciate the comments on my last post. One or two people said they thought we were basically planners on crack, lol. This is entirely possible I have to admit. I even discussed it with Bo and asked how he felt about that. I think bottom-line is, and I've mentioned on this blog before, I think we both actually are not terribly baby-crazy people so we approach having and raising children from a more pragmatic rather than an emotional point of view. Rather than just thinking we should have babies now, we're thinking "what kind of life do we want to create for our kids?" "What kind of environment do we want them to grow up in" Which may or may not be good approach but we're both are very much on the same page and I'm confident we will do what we think is best for us, and as always prayerfully consider what we think are the options in front of us.

Secondly, I'm amazed that it seems many people don't plan their families! I'm actually becoming more and more shocked about this. I'm not saying that is a bad thing but it just never occured to me that we wouldn't plan our families as best as we could! Once those babies come, they kind of have a way of controlling everything, at least for the first few years, surely, it's best to lay some plans and agree on the framework before building? Am I alone here? As an analogy and only an analogy, if you were building a house, you don't just say, right, I want a house, I've found the spot, "pour on the cement baby!" First, you draw up a blueprint, have it tweaked and approved by the team who would build the house to make sure it's structurally feasible, build a foundation, and so on, before you start. Because once they start pouring on the cement, it gets harder AND costlier, to say to everyone on the build site, "WAIT A MINUTE!" :-)

Lastly, I'm still looking for the blog I mentioned at the bottom of the last post. Please if anyone can help direct me to it, I'd be mighty grateful.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Baby Baby!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Got you!

No, not pregnant yet. :-)

I have been quite ill though. I've mentioned before that I have hormonal imbalances and sometimes that wreaks a bit of havoc around these parts. But I am feeling much better these days. Thank God. Things are pretty mellow in the BoKem household. Just a steady day-to-day ness of everything. I love that Bo and I don't fight much though so weeks can fly by without very much incidence. One thing that has brought a new dimension into things is that one of Bo's good friends, Nkem (whom I blogged about his wedding here) had a baby girl about a week ago! It is amazing to go through this journey with our friends. I've been so excited about their baby from the moment I heard she was on the way, so to finally arrive at the day where we received the call that she's finally born into this world was amazing. I love this baby already and can't wait to meet her and carry her. It was funny because Bo got a call on his phone around 4am to say that the baby was here and after hanging up, he gently nudged me because he knew I was overly excited about this and told me. I think he was excited too. We hugged and said a prayer for our friends right there and then. We've actually been praying for Sheila throughout her pregnancy so we're just grateful to God. The more we learn about pregnancy the scarier the whole thing seems to myself and Bo.

We talk about it A LOT now which I suppose it's a good thing. Some days I look forward to it but others, I wonder if it's something I REALLY want or if I'm just following convention and just want to experience the same things my friends are. I want to really want my baby, like absolutely feel it in my heart. I don't think I'm there yet. At least not for the right reasons. I have to say though I'm very proud so far of the approach Bo and I have been taking about increasing our family. We talk about it a lot like I previously mentioned. We talk about our thoughts on discipline, our plan to manage finances, we talk about education and the kind of life and lifestyle we want to create for our children. We've actually talked about specific schools we want them to go to and researched admissions, fees, etc. For example, we both agree that we want our kids to go to pre-prep and prep boarding schools abroad which start out quite young (some as young as 4, and require registration as early from birth as possible!). We also talked about how I wanted a five year gap between kids. Bo was surprised about that and said he hadn't really thought about that before and had just assumed 3, but we reasoned out and agreed on 5. When I think about the schools I want my children to go to, it truly truly focuses my mind. For us to be able to afford such schools, we definitely need to build a certain level of income/savings/investments. I'm actually very proud of us that we are thinking things through in this way. It gets us talking and keeps us running as a unit.

We are very aware that these are all just plans. Life has a funny way of happening whether one plans it that way or not. To me that's the fun part of it really. We articulate what we want for our family, pray to God, work hard, and enjoy each day as it comes. Even though we do use contraception (which seems to be odd around these parts), I always periodically check with Bo and say "what if I'm pregnant" he always responds, "well, then you are". This really makes me relaxed because I know no matter what life brings we'll just deal with it together.

On another related note: Bo & I are addicted to the show Giuliana & Bill anyone else out there watch this with their partners? Bo doesn't even watch television but he can sit and watch marathons of this stuff with me. I'm surprised. We always end up feeling very emotional after each episode. They seem to have a really strong marriage don't they?

Last unrelated note: I read one of my commenter's blogs recently where she talked about the 1 Timothy man in relation to the Proverbs 31 woman. I desperately want to find the blog again but can't seem to find it. Please if you can assist me and direct me to the url I'd really appreciate it. I really enjoyed reading the blog. Thanks.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

11 Thoughts on the First Year of Marriage

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I thank God for his grace that he has shown me and Bo over the last year. I thank God that he picked me to share the life of such a wonderful person as Bolaji. Many say the first year is the hardest or roughest year, if that's the case then Bo and I are among the very lucky ones. The first year wasn't hard for me. I mean we had some really key disagreements and some intense moments, many of which I've recorded on this blog, but truly it is easy to live with my husband. Since we've navigated the first year fairly successfully, here are some of my thoughts and experiences within this first year:

  1. Marry Your Best Friend. This I think is the most important lesson learned this past year. I read an article in an Oprah magazine recently where the woman exclaimed "your husband cannot be your best friend" but let me tell you, yes he can! Bo is my absolute best friend in the world. Most times it actually just feels like I'm living with my best friend and we just happen to be married. I don't mean best friend in the sense many ladies say it simply because this man is who you spend most of your time with and are devoted to, but best friend like how a kid can go to a playground, meet another kid in the sandbox and start playing with each other for the entire time and then swear they're best friends.
  2. Never Go To Bed Angry. For me this is similar to the familiar refrain of communication. No matter how hard, awkward, difficult, or challenging it is, make sure that in your heart, you forgive yourself and your partner for your contribution to any argument. You don't have to talk it out, but in your quiet moments, make peace with it. This is an incredibly difficult challenge but it's an investment for a stronger bond and a more secure marriage. Put in the work. One thing is for sure, you cannot talk to God whilst angry, so at the very least before you sleep, try and talk to God, leaving all anger and malice behind. I've read some things on the internet that say it's good to go to bed angry, you can talk about it another day. This is not entirely true, even if you choose to forgive the other person as well as yourself before you sleep, no one says you can't still talk about the issue in the morning. Challenge yourself not to stay angry.
  3. Loneliness. This is probably my number one realization about marriage and I wish someone had spoken candidly to me before. This is not that you'd be lonely in your relationship, no. But as a single lady you are used to talking about relationships, boyfriends, etc. Once you get married no one expects you to talk any more! This can be a hard transition as sometimes you just want to yell "aaaargh!" I deal with it by adhering to some fundamental rules of mine. I will NEVER talk badly about my husband to anybody at any time for any reason. Apart from that I've found it helpful sharing my experiences with a closed set of friends, mostly married ladies. In Nigeria we are told once we marry never to talk, I think this can lead to loneliness for many women. I think we should share experiences. Just share smartly and never say anything you can't say in front of your husband or your husband doesn't know already.
  4. Indescribable Sense of Security. One of the best things about being married is that I feel so secure and loved ALL the time. I know my husband chose me, I know he loves me. He's not playing games and he's not going anywhere. Because of this security I feel so much peace about myself and about my future. I read this quote online somewhere yesterday and it's of a husband saying to someone else "I know my wife is wrong but I'm the only one who can tell her that"....so back off! I love all of this.
  5. Encouragement. Just like women want security, I think men want encouragement and support. My husband dreams a mile a minute, from big dreams to not so big ones, but he has such a fervor for them all! I'm not sure there's anything more important to a man than when his wife offers words of encouragement and support. I've come to believe this is one of the key roles of a woman in marriage. Forget all the cooking and things, but if you are the pillar of encouragement in a man's life, he'll always always put you on a pedestal. If Bo comes to me tomorrow and says "Babe I want to tie a rope around the moon and bring it down to our backyard" I would say, okay what's your plan? Let's get to work!
  6. Listen. Some of us are not very good at the listening thing. In a legendary fashion, I'm actually bad at this. However I've been committed to this part of my personality. I read somewhere that you have to always give clues to the other person that you're listening to them and value their opinion. This is especially important in an argument. I literally have to tell myself to stop. and listen. whenever Bo has something to say. Rather than interrupting to say why I think he's wrong etc., I just try and let him land, watching my body language. I relax my shoulders, tell my body to be calm and release all tension, then I look at him and nod my head to assure him I'm listening. Then I just let him finish. I think a lot of arguments escalate because many people don't know the art of just staying still. We think we're right and want to tell it to the other party right away, but listening goes a long way. If you can before you start, reiterate what the other person just said then go into your points of view.
  7. Tough Life Decisions. Let me say, marriage matures you! Whenever I'm speaking to my just about engaged or newly affianced friends, at some point they start complaining about decisions they've had to make etc. Well, things don't get easier. As big boys and girls we now have more freedom than ever but also more responsibilities than ever and this means making those tough life decisions. The good thing is it's not just you and you have a life partner who can bring much needed laughter during such times.
  8. True Meaning of Love. You've got to be ready to love someone wholly. This means through all their flaws and all. If you don't think you're ready for this, then you may want to wait a bit before jumping that broom. You have to honestly be able to look at your partner's crooked nose and their ability to leave their socks next to instead of IN the basket, and still love them more than anything else in the world. Now this is tough and you may never fully get the hang of it, but you have to always maintain your willingness to try. I have a friend of mine who's dating someone (waiting on a ring) but thinks he's not so hot in the bedroom. She's thinking she should end this relationship because of it. From my point of view, if you can't love someone enough to try and work through whatever issues he has sexually, then maybe you should end the relationship. It's really important to be willing to love someone through whatever issues they have. (of course this has limits like alcoholism, emotional abuse, and violence when loving that person may mean getting out of their way and getting them professional help).
  9. Mirror Effect. Being married to someone is like holding a mirror to yourself. Your partner is your mirror and WILL reflect back to you all the good and the bad parts of your personality. This will happen no fail. I'm not sure if there's anything to be done to mitigate this, most especially because you are a mirror too, holding up the reflection of your spouse, so you have firsthand knowledge of how tough it is to handle. I will say try and be compassionate, whatever it is you're feeling chances are your spouse is feeling exactly the same way. Go easy on each other.
  10. Tit for Tat. Never ever ever do this. It's malicious. Try and stir clear of "don't worry, i'll do the same thing to him then he'll know how it feels." This is a rule I had about marriage before even going into it. An eye for an eye makes the world go blind and this thing is just too important for me to let it all "go blind". It is so hard to do, I know, but what I do is talk it out with my hubby and tell him how I feel about that particular issue. Tit for tat breeds distrust, anger, and resentment, it won't solve any issues. It really is a challenge, but the fruits of not being malicious pays wonderful dividends.
  11. Make Up Your Own Rules. I think this should be a cardinal direction, especially in Nigeria. This is because here, the society has very clear and concise rules for how a marriage should be and how a wife and a husband should be. Very clear. And we're unapologetic about it. Even worse so, we try and ram it down everyone's throats: you are a wife you must be like this, you are a husband you must do this. The best thing I've found being married to Bo is that we agree to live our lives exactly the way we want it and we fight to maintain our own principles as opposed to society's principles. We've always agreed that being married is not the most interesting thing about our lives or even our lives together. We don't always introduce each other as husband/wife because we feel it's nobody's business what our relationship status is so long as we're together. When we pray we pray first about our relationship, then second about our marriage, because we believe our relationship is just two of us, our marriage is everything else kids, finances, etc. and we are in a marriage because of our relationship. MANY people find this odd, I know, and I understand but that's just the way we want to live our lives. It works for us. I think everyone should talk about and decide what works for them and stick to it regardless of what ANYONE may say or think.

I can't express how much I look forward to writing my thoughts on the Fifth Year of Marriage (whether here or elsewhere who knows). I'm so excited about that. At dinner on our anniversary I asked Bo to give us a toast and he said this, "May 1 become 2, become 5, become 10, become 30, become 50 and more" and I thought that was a PERFECT toast. I can't wait!
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