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?
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.