That word ‘Love’ is a mighty big deal to me - Real Love Story

By Flourishing Florida - Now married for two years (December 2010) and with a cute son too...

Four months to our wedding! Hurray!

December 13th has always seemed far away to me b4 now. But suddenly, it feels like tomorrow. This whole ‘Mrs’ thing is so much realer to me now. It’s not my fantasy (& i fantasize a lot!) or my imagination doing over-time. This is actually happening! U betcha am excited as hell, but am also scared shitless. It’s crazy really. Me, Florida. I am really going to be married to a Nigerian man! A naija who’s never been abroad @ that! I mean, am told dat am so frigging emancipated that only an oyibo or oyiborized man can manage me! How did i wind up with MM & to the point that i feel like it’d be ordained to be like this. Doesn’t it just show you that a lot of times God’s ways r so different from what we envisaged. So, how did we meet? I have this very good friend, Nonie, who works @ Zenith Bank with MM. She and MM just recently got jisting. They used to be nodding acquaintances, till something brought them to a closer friendship.

7th Feb. 2008, MM goes to her and says he’s looking for a wife, does she have any recommendation. Nonie said yes, me. Then, she contacted me and warned me not to fuck up oh. She marketed him so well that i, who hadn’t wanted a relationship for the next 6 months to 1 year, said fine. 1 hour later, MM sends me a text introducing himself and says he’d call later. I replied that it was ok. But, work and all made me not to save his number. Thus when he called, i didn’t know it was him. He reintroduced himself and we talked briefly. He said he’d call back, i said ok and we ended the call. Truthfully, i wasn’t impressed! First and foremost, his English was below my usual standard and my standard is pretty astronomical. Secondly, he sounded stiff and too business-like. I was like, does this man realize that he’s wooing a woman and not closing a deal?

In the evening of that day, MM called back as he promised (and majorly scored a point for keeping his word). I’d slept then, but in the morning i sent him a text apologizing for not answering his call. He called again in the day, we talked. I think he called again in the evening, but i can’t quite remember now. Anyways, what i know is that on Val’s day he sort of told me what he wanted. I say ‘sort of’ cos i honestly can’t say now that there was a proposal. My reply: i told him i just wanted friendship. It’d been barely 3 months i walked out of a relationship that wasn’t going anywhere no matter how badly i’d wanted it to, and i felt i needed time to heal properly. MM says if it’s time i needed, no problem. However, one week after that he wanted to know what’s up. It was really funny, cos it’d only been one week! The man knew what he wanted, i tell you. He tried to reassure me that he wasn’t going to be a bad husband and all. I have to admit, i liked hearing that. I told him about my parents and my fears about marriage, but it didn’t deter him. So, i said alrighty. That was the 21st of Feb, 2 weeks on the dot from the first day we spoke to each other!

Was i excited about being engaged? Hell no. I was frightened. I tot i’d just done something really crazy. I mean, am nuts but this was simply over the top. I was afraid of what people would say, so i didn’t want to say anything initially (when i finally started telling, i pushed the date backward so it’d appear that we’d known for a longer period). Nonie, when i did tell her what i’d done, was alarmed. She was like ‘this is too fast, this is too fast’. My mom too! I was really surprised about my mom, cos isn’t she d one who’d been bugging me to consider someone? I guess what stunned her the most was that i hadn’t seen MM face 2 face, (and i was supposed to be so into looks eh) so how can i be so sure he was my Mr Right. All those reactions made me wonder if i’d done the right thing. For starters, am not ur regular fairy-tale meeting kind of girl, so how could i be d one doing this things that sounded like something out of the movies? But the doubts were only for a short while. There was this connection i felt with MM that was incredible. Even though we’d only just known each other, i felt so much @ home with him. I told him loads of things about me, the good, bad and terrible. I tot now he knows i don’t fit into the mould of a ‘good’ girl/wife, that should make him think twice. Nada. He wanted me and that was it.

On the 7th March, he came over to Abuja to see me. About a week earlier, he’d told me he loved me. My reaction: utter shock. The declaration was completely unexpected and in a way, unwelcomed. Don’t get me wrong. I liked him like hell and enjoyed our courtship, but i hadn’t started thinking along the line of ‘love’. That word ‘Love’ is a mighty big deal to me, and i’ve disqualified guys just for using it prematuredly. I wondered if i’d have to ax MM now, cos if he’d been using it flippantly, that would have been it. I simply wasn’t going to marry a man whose words don’t count! Over the days that followed, MM kept ending every call with ‘i love you’. Ha! There was a day i wanted to scream @ him to ‘shut it already, you are going to jinx this’. He must have noticed my discomfort, cos he stopped it. Then i felt like i’d been amputated. LOL. Isn’t that crazy? I wanted to hear him say he loved me, so i told him i loved him. I don’t think he believed me. I don’t think i believed me either. It really was a probational ‘i love you’, which was subject to confirmation after we’d seen when he comes to Abuja. Thank God the chemistry face 2 face was as amazing as on the phone, cos i wouldn’t have hesitated to call off the engagement if it hadn’t.

The much anticipated day came and i went to the airport with my heart in my hands. He came out & we saw. I went, ‘OMG, he’s so small and young!’ LMAO. He isn’t small @ all. He’s 6 foot plus but slim; my eyes were playing tricks on me. But, he does look younger than his 31 years (32 soon). We hugged i was really shy. All i was thinking was ‘am i really going to marry this man?’ I was trying to reconcile the man i’d been talking to on the phone for the past one month to the man i was seeing. When we got to my house, all the strangeness around him was gone. He was the man i was almost in love with, who i completely fell for the instant we kissed. Seriously, it felt like coming home, that kiss. We got on so well that the original arrangement that he wouldn’t sleep in my house that first visit was reviewed. I did tell him nothing nothing oh 4 night and he said it wasn’t sex he came for. I slept in the bed, him on the floor. Around 3am, i joined him on the floor sha. The following morning, we went to meet my sister and her family (he came with a wine and told them his intentions), then we went to his Aunty’s too. That was how we became official engaged. Oh, before his time he’d spoken to my mom.

It’s been 7 months now of knowing MM and it’s been an experience to cherish. Why am i marrying him? Cos he’s wonderful. One of the key things i love about him is that he holds his word sacred. If he says something, he means it. It’s great to be with a man who you aren’t second-guessing, wondering if there’s an entirely different meaning to the things you heard. Another point he had to his favour was his family. From the time we started speaking, i could see that he had a father he was proud of. A father he respects. I’ve met his dad and i agree with MM. To have a husband whose father stood by his sick wife for nearly 20 years now is very reassuring. A man who taught his son that marriage isn’t only for the good times, when the woman can execute her wifely duties. A man who understands sacrifice. A man who single-handedly raised 5 children. This man, who is so different from my own father, is MM’s role model and father. For me this is paramount.

One year for dis institute called marriage.

It’s been quite a journey, i tell you. One that saw us experiencing lots of fun, laughter, kisses, hugs, caresses, love-making, tender feelings, quarrels, hurt feelings, frowning (him), raised voice (me – am still working on this bad habit i picked up from home), tears (definitely me), misunderstanding, compromise, doubts, fears, in fact every emotion you could possibly think of. But, in the end i’d say there’s been great fulfillment in all.

Our love is maturing. We are learning to be less selfish, gaining more understanding of what partnership is really all about. We’ve renewed our commitment to each other, planned our future, dreamed of our kids etc. Bottom-line, we are learning what it entails to be a ‘we’.

I’m very happy for this opportunity i got to be a wife, with all the accompanying joys, responsibilities and difficulties. I pray that God helps me to do better in the following years – and especially He should help MM, cos sometimes i get the impression that it is harder to be a good husband than a good wife. There are so much he’s burdened with, many expectations i have of him both voiced and hidden. And i guess am harder on him not to fall short on them cos i had such nightmares about marrying a man like my dad, so he is constantly being measured against my phobias. But, he hasn’t failed me – not once! He is a terrific man. Lord, please keep him this way (that will not be a walk in the park, i know). Amen