Things I have learned as a city lawyer

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Hi people,

Some of you who have followed MCLA from its inception will recall how I went to law school and got a job. It is not my first job but I must say that it is the first career defining work experience so far as it is right up my professional alley and at it, I have learned a whole lot.

I have learned that your fancy degree(s) might get you the job but only your character and attitude will ensure that you not only keep your job but thrive and excel at it. In fact, these days, many a masters degree holder gets turned back and gets confused: but I thought once I get a masters, the jobs will be lining up for me. These days, masters degrees are a dime a dozen. Everyone and their mama has it. It’s no longer the biggie it was 10 years ago and you need to show more to get the attention of employers and recruiters. I digress.

See, this post is not really about getting the job you want. Its aim is to show how one can enjoy and excel at the job you have. Here are some tips I have discovered whilst working in my law firm. I believe they are applicable anywhere. Enjoy!

1. Understand your role and discover ways to perform your job well

As a lawyer, I get tasks as mundane as writing minutes of a meeting (this is a general summary of what transpired at a meeting for future reference etc) to drafting an entire agreement from scratch i.e. without the use of a template. I have learned that both the seemingly mundane and seemingly important tasks deserve the same level of excellence. My role in the firm is not to draft important agreements. It is to be a useful lawyer and employee. This means if what will make life easier for my boss right now is to prepare an agenda, then an agenda I shall prepare. If tomorrow, I am needed to deal with the administrative aspects of a seminar, then that I shall do. If today, it is to meet with the head of a multinational, then meet I shall.

The point is you are not just there to do the sexy deals. You are there to move the organisation forward and make your presence and in fact, absence felt. Now don’t get it twisted, spending all your time doing admin work will not fetch you much. Wisdom is key.

Further, when you identify what your role is, it is not enough to just do your job. You must do it well and with pride too. Go the extra mile. Suggest an idea that has been playing in your head. Put in the extra oomph. I have watched great models get voted off America’s Next Top Model because they are not memorable. They take great photos and walk the runway well but they are not outstanding and a thousand others do just that. You need to distinguish yourself in your role and let it show that you are different.

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2. Be a hard worker
Get to work on time. Make good use of the period you are at work. Minimise your gisting and chilling. Don’t go over your allocated breaks, don’t spend the day bb-ing, chatting on your phone, updating your status, using office internet to shop (trust me, you are being observed and even if you are not, it is a thing of integrity).

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It is not enough to just be at work, work hard whilst there. Hone your skills, perfect your craft. If you are in my field, this means reading books, reading emails and ensuring that you are on top of it all, writing and generally endeavouring and working towards being better than you were last month. If you get appraised yearly, appraise your self half yearly. If you get appraised half yearly, appraise yourself every quarter. Your company does its bit by paying you every month. You have to do your own bit by ensuring you do not drop the ball.

3. Dress and act like a professional
Be a professional. Talk like a professional. Use the right lingo. Dress well. In my field, this means keeping your coat of many colours to a minimum or better still, for Church. It means dressing the way the partners in your firm dress not necessarily with the price tag but with professionalism.

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Be friendly. Be engaging. Don’t just come to work, do the job and pack your bags. Have buddies. Be nice even as you focus on your job. This does not mean you have to become I go dye and the office clown but you get the point…

4. Have a can-do spirit
Don’t be the one who always notices the faults and ends with the words ‘it is not possible’, ‘I cannot do it’. Even if you have the gift of identifying the problems and drawbacks with a plan, always end with a possible solution. Clients don’t always care how you go about solving their problems. They do know they have problems or potential problems so they do not need you to highlight them all and end with ‘not possible!’. Yes, it might not be possible this way, but what about that way. Remember, there is always a way. Your company’s role is to find it. You can be the solution provider! Start thinking like the boss.

5. Know and respect hierarchies
Yes, this means knowing who’s boss and treating them accordingly. Your bosses range from the MD/CEO or Managing Partner, to the other partners to your HOD to the girl who finished law school a year ahead of you even though when you were in SS3 in QC, she was in JSS 3. That’s just the way it is, at least in my industry! Until you distinguish yourself and are consequently elevated, you might need to take orders or to put it mildly ‘instructions’ from someone who would is younger than your little ones who call you ‘Sister’. Yup! Leave the chip on your shoulder in your car. Remember it is a job. Be professional. This is not your family meeting or your home. This is work. Age is literally nothing but a number, an insignificant one. The only number that matters is your years of experience and how well you are doing your job, your client score card etc, not your age.

6. Take initiative
Like I alluded to earlier, merely doing your job will help you keep it but might not mean you will excel and be a high flyer. You will be just a normal worker, nothing special, just there. You need to push the boundaries, identify voids and ways things could be done better in the company as a whole and your unit specifically. Make suggestions. If your boss is not too much of a my way or the high way person, you could even dare to make a small change here and there and share with him/her after.

7. Not everything is about better pay and commendation
As nice as it is for all your handwork and excellent attitude to be noticed by all and rewarded by the big guys, it is actually for your own good and personal development. So don’t get all grumpy and discouraged if a red carpet welcome does not await you the day after your brilliant suggestion saved the day. And please don’t give up because your wonderful ideas etc in March does not reflect in a big bonus if any. It is not about immediate applause and commendation or pay or reward. It is about building yourself to a certain level that your ‘outstandingness’ cannot but go noticed AND rewarded…

8. Be prayerful
I saved the very best tip for the last. The power of prayer for favour and grace cannot be overemphasised. No matter how much you hustle, without the touch of God, your efforts might be frustrated. Without God, the builders build in vain and without God, the watchmen watch in vain (Psalm 127).

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So there you have it guys, my tips for excelling in your careers. I’m sure there are much more you can add to the foregoing. Please do in the comment section below. Even the word of God says, “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” Proverbs 22:29. Also, Colossians 3:22 says, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God”. Okay, you are not exactly in a servant/master relationship but you get the drift…Then again, who are we kidding!

Have a lovely weekend guys!!!

Temiville.xoxo

When opinions differ…

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Hey lovelies,

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all! I wish you the very best of this year 2015. May God protect you all and yours too. May sickness not befall you or yours. May your planes not crash. May no accident befall you. May those looking to the Lord for admission, jobs, career direction, spouses, children etc all be met at their points of needs in Jesus’ name. Odun yi a tura ko ni lekoko mowa o (this year will be blissful for us all in Jesus’ name) AMEN.

Today, I want to discuss one of the first issues that I had to deal with as a married woman and how it was dealt with. It might sound pretty trivial to some people but if like me, since the age of 14, you had been fantasising about something and suddenly a decade and more after, you find out you are not gonna have it, it might be an issue. I had alluded to it in my last post and would like to discuss it in greater depth now: Honeymoon or lack thereof!

You see, at 14 or so, I started envisioning my honeymoon. I dreamt of white sands, lovely views, beautiful beaches, lovingly staring into my husband’s eyes as he blesses the Lord for giving him such a prized possession. At 21, I had started googling possible destinations. By the time I met my husband, O, I had narrowed my options to about 7 possible locations and by the time we knew it was marriage-bound, I was already using style to find out about visa procedures for my options. I mean, nothing could interfere with my fun filled, passion filled 2 week adventure with O. I was therefore not prepared for the extreme disinterest O exhibited when I started discussing with him. He was so not bothered I felt slapped in the face! Eventually, due to work exigencies and his total lack of interest and not wanting to ‘follow trends’, we had to postpone the honeymoon. Till date, I still have not been honeymooned…lol!

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I can laugh about it now but then, it was such a big deal. Our opinions completely and entirely differed on the subject. He did not see the big deal in it. If it was convenient, sure let’s go to Accra, The Gambia, Bora Bora or St Tropez but if it’s not, let’s postpone and go when convenient. He was very pragmatic about the whole thing and I just did not get it or get him! I felt robbed of my rightful possession…my dream holiday where I can wear my monokini or bikini or nada freely.

I had a few options open to me: I could look at couples’ instagram pictures of how they enjoyed their honeymoon and be quietly bitter and feel deprived. I could moan and lament to O about it till he feels pressured and hops on a plane with me where he will then be gloomy and I will end up hating the whole thing or I could choose to remember that a honeymoon is just a holiday at the end of the day. There will be many many more and because it feels like I sacrificed, O will be sure to pull all stops whenever the right time comes. I painfully chose the third option and it has been a great blessing in my marriage.

As a person, as much as I enjoy looking at other people’s lives i.e. through wedding blogs, instagram pictures etc, I understand its their own path not mine. I don’t feel envy and I don’t aspire to what God has not destined me to be. I have my dreams and hopes and it is not shaped by others’. This helps in staying grounded and deciding what is worth fighting over and what should be overlooked.

For some, it is a seemingly minor decision like honeymoon destination or whether or not to go. For others, it is a major issue like relocating and quitting one’s job because of a spouse’s new job. These things have a way of subtlety rocking a marriage /relationship and must be handled delicately. You should know what is too important to be waived and what is really not a big deal. Pick your battles and don’t fight them with your words etc, fight them on your knees in prayer first before discussing with your partner.

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I just thought to share and yes, I’m still owed our honeymoon and at the right time, we shall go…hehe.

Have a lovely Friday!

Temiville.xoxo

Looking back at 2014…

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Hi readers,

Miss me? Lol… Blame it on my work o. It is so hard combining starting out a new job and blogging especially as I generate my content myself. No excuses and no promises other than I shall try to be more consistent. The Indian website guru I engaged to sort out my website has decided not to deliver so that project is still on hold for now.

So today, I am bursting forth with gratitude. I am grateful for so many things and I decided what better way to end the year than to count my blessings and give God praise for each one of them.

A few people have also asked me to give them tales of marriage, how it is living with a man, the challenges and how we deal with them and I think that sounds great. I have had that in mind and I will ask for the boo’s consent to blog about him…let’s call him O. You see O is incredibly private. I am too but he is 5 times more private than I am so it might take some cajoling given that my blog is not exactly anonymous… I have decided to either be totally open or not bother at all. I will let you know his response.

2014 started great but God has really surpassed all my expectations and has given me and my family way more than we asked for.

I had my introduction in February. Got my ring after my intro (lol, O is unconventional and quite traditional so he had to ask properly first and then the ring came after) Oh btw, I picked my ring o. O is also quite pragmatic…No use doing lemme surprise you and it turns out to be a bad surprise so I chose the ring and when next he travelled he produced it and gave it to me on my birthday. So there was no mushiness or please marry me blah blah blah. I mean we had already started planning our wedding!!!

After the introduction, planning proper commenced. O is simple and really didn’t understand why a wedding should have more than 300 guests at the most. I was planning for 1000 so you can imagine my shock horror when O insists that I should find a way of cutting down the number…it is a wedding ceremony not a carnival… I decided to start practising what Pastor V our marriage counsellor had been teaching. Don’t argue, discuss… Omo, O was just not budging at all. My incredible planner needed information in order to proceed and there was no way I could tell her to search for a 300 capacity marquee/venue.

I decided to pray about it and leave it to God. I kept reminding myself…Temi, it is about the marriage not about the day so please don’t start your marriage with fight because of some guests who probably don’t really care about you guys anyway. Eventually, O agreed and we ended up getting this amazing hall with a capacity of over 1000 but we were expecting max 700 and decided to cater to about 1200. That was just the beginning of compromises on both sides…from why we need 3  photographers as well as a Photo Booth, cocktails as well as two mobile bars, how many tiers cake should have, why we need a popular comedian to MC, etc. O and I had to learn compromise and I advise couples planning their wedding to learn that the planning stage is your first test of the marriage and you must ensure you pass it. Don’t give up all your dreams just to be Mrs Proverbs 31, submissive and be miserable on your wedding day. But please don’t start fighting over these things. So not worth it. I am grateful to God for the planning stages, for my amazing planner, our families, friends and for my awesome O.

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The engagement and wedding went great, I don’t think I noticed 60% of the things I fussed over. I didn’t notice that the small chops had snails and prawns or that there were fruit cones. Imagine if O and I had fought over these trivial matters! Another issue that got me tearing my hair was the issue of honeymoon. I had just started a new job and was not entitled to more than 5 days compassionate leave. I wanted to beg to take it unpaid but O said not to and that it how till date your girl never go on honeymoon though we went to the Intercontinental sha which was pretty decent. O said don’t worry, there will be so many other trips you will forget the honeymoon. Now, guys, I am so grateful we decided to hold off on the honeymoon men.

Marriage has been interesting, challenging and rewarding. We have argued, made up, laughed, cried (at least me cos i can be a cry baby), prayed, forgot to pray, had mad fun, had some bleh sit-at-home all weekend days, left for work as  early as 5:40 am, come back home at 11pm etc. But through it all, I look back and thank God for my husband, my home and the bright future glimpses of which I see every now and then.

God had blessed the work of our hands and is daily loading us with benefits and causing us to be fruitful in all we do. We are indeed grateful as we look back at 2014 and are thankful and excited as we anticipate what 2015 has in store.

I pray that God’s mercies will overshadow us all and His protection will never leave us…

Cheers to 2014! It’s been real!!!

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Temiville.xoxo

Surprise!!!

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Hey my lovelies!

Long long time. I’m sure you are all thoroughly fed up of my apologies after each long hiatus. Please vex not. This time around, I have a very good excuse: I got married!!! Whoop whoop!!! lol!

Yes, on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning in the wonderful month of April at about 9:45 am, yours truly became a Mrs. After all my blogging on relationship, dating, marriage, I finally became a wife and have to start practising all my epistles. Hehe.

I must confess, it has been interesting. I’ve been married for only 16 days so I’m not exactly an authority on the marriage topic but I thank God for how far He has seen us through and I am very hopeful of a great and beautiful tomorrow all by His grace.

I intend to start a series. In fact I have so many many beautiful plans for this blog. I intend to write about my relationship (which I never do) but in the form of a story. I intend to give practical tips to brides to be on planning a wedding. I intend to start a prayer series for newbies in marriage etc. I intend to publish some of my stories that are gathering dust in the folder. So many things on my mind. But for now, I just want to do a little dance.

Here is our picture as we were being prayed for.

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Thank God for all His mercies. I am happy to be back blogging though I doubt I can manage more than 2 posts per week. I’ll try to stay consistent henceforth.

Thank you for all your beautiful messages to those that knew.

Have a wonderful week ahead and let’s remember to say a word of prayer for our Nation.

 

Loads of love,

Temiville.xoxo

 

For the Sake of Peace (Final)

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I have been listening to sermons on restoration. If all these happened during the courtship, I’d have left the relationship, but I am married now. So from all the counsel I have received, I now know God will have to turn my mess around. Marrying Dipo might not have been His perfect will. It might have been His permissive will but I am married and because God hates divorce (see Malachi 2:16), I will do what I can to invite Him into my home to fix my mess. It has been 8 months of praying, fasting and more praying. God has been indeed merciful to me and to my home. What I have been through, I do not wish on even my most hated enemy. But the lessons I have garnered over the period, I share for free.

I joined the prayer department Nkechi’s church and constantly prayed. There, I learned that although I was praying all along, I was harbouring so much bitterness in my heart and he who approaches the throne of grace must do so with clean hands AND a clean heart. I had clean hands-I was not cheating or hurting anyone in any way. However, my heart was blackened with bitterness, anger and all manners of ill feelings towards Dipo, his friends and the girl in his life.

The first step I took was to forgive. You see, forgiveness, I discovered goes past merely saying to yourself that you have forgiven someone. You need to accept how deeply you were/are hurting. You need to forgive the person despite the hurts and also think good thoughts towards them, if possible, make excuses for the person and let it go! Now, being human, this does not come to us naturally. Hence the need for the intervention of the Holy Spirit. After weeks of wailing, crying, deep depression, I forgave all I felt hurt by. I let them all go. Only then did I begin to experience true healing and peace.

What made it more painful was that even as I was going through this ‘forgiveness phase’, Dipo was not changing. He still never spoke to me with love. He still snapped at me. He still went away for days without telling me where he was off to. But I made a conscious decision to forgive him. Forgiveness also entailed letting go of a wrong done before it happens. The next step I took was to stop checking up on him. This means that I stopped tracking his car and checking his phones or iPad whenever he stepped into the bathroom. What this helped with is to ensure my feelings of pain and sadness were not daily reignited. I was not living in denial. But I certainly did not need a daily reminder of what is wrong with my life and my marriage. By refraining from so doing, I was able to slowly rebuild joy into my life. I see him and I don’t think of where he was the night before. I think of anything I want- I think he was with friends, with family, at work, anything. My mind is free to roam and dwell on good possibilities.

The third step was to pray for my husband. Now this seems wrongly placed since all along I had been praying. It is true that I had been praying but my prayers focused on asking God to change him and make my marriage better, sweeter, successful. Now, I pick out an area of his life daily and speak words that build into those areas: his health, his career path, his difficult boss, his parents, his finances, his travels. I would pray constantly that God sees him through and make him successful in all of his endeavours. Trust me, this is the pinnacle of forgiveness-when you can begin to pray for someone who has hurt you. I prayed for him hard enough that even I knew that I had prayed.

Finally, I spoke words of confession into my marriage: my marriage will not break; I shall be called wonderful by my husband; I shall be fruitful; together, my husband and I shall build a home to show forth God’s glory. I just kept speaking those words constantly. The change eventually came. It was not instant but it came.

Dipo became more attentive. He’d invite his friends over on Saturdays for football and general banter and so, I would make them finger foods and cocktails. They never missed a Saturday. I began to invite their wives too who would assist with serving and cleaning up and we all would happily discuss issues from politics, career, music, all sorts. The first few Saturdays, after they had all left, Dipo would pick his car keys and drive out or just find something to do that does not involve me. One Saturday, after the last couple left, Dipo brough out the hoover and helped to clean up the living room. We didn’t say much but he was gentle and helped me pack all the stuff away. I went to bed right after.

Two months passed and things became better. I still was not in the dream marriage but I was praying and working towards it, trusting God for His daily intervention in my affairs. I was also encouraged not to be moved by the present circumstances but focused on what the future holds and trust in God.

The word of God never lies. The change came. He woke me up in the middle of one night, at about 2 am. He knelt before me and begged me with tears in his eyes. He apologised for all he had done to hurt me. He apologised for all he had done to hurt our marriage. He went on and on. I was shell shocked. Was this Dipo? Slightly pushing my ‘luck’, I asked him, ‘what exactly happened?’, ‘where did I go wrong?’. He was quiet for a while. Then told me that I had done nothing wrong and he had no idea why exactly he went on the mission to break our home. I needed to hear my faults so as to know how to avoid them in the future. Apparently, he did not know exactly it was, but he gradually grew bitter towards me. We wept together and vowed to make things better. That night, we did not go back to bed till 5 am and we had to get back up at 6 am for work!

We started attending church together and signed up for a two week counselling class with our pastor where we learned much more about how to make our marriage better. 7 weeks ago, we took a week long holiday to Kenya and just yesterday, the doctor confirmed that we conceived on our first night in Nairobi. I’m grateful. I’m happy. I get sad from time to time when I think of Dipo on top of another woman but I’m quick to let it go and concentrate on what lies ahead. It is not easy but God has been helpful.

I must share some basic lessons from my experience.

1. Pray before you decide to get married to any one and pray, pray and pray.

2. When sure, pray even more.

3. When married, don’t wait for there to be a problem before you keep praying.

4. Find time to talk to older married people. It was when our problems began and I shared them that I realize that people have been through it and worse. Some of those who keep smiling have been through the most difficult things.

5. As a woman, you know when your man is slipping away. Find a way to spark things up!!! You won’t get thatv from your Bible though. Google it if you’re too shy to ask someone. Go to a hotel for the weekend. Don’t wait to travel abroad. That decent and nice hotel near your house will do (you can even pay for it!!!) It’s not just by cooking. You need to do much more to keep things fresh.

6. Speak up. Address issues when they arise.

7. I’m not contradicting ‘6’ but please keep quiet. Learn when to let things go. Not everything needs to be discussed, at least not with not your man. Talk to God, talk to your girlfriends, talk to your sister. Girls understand the need to bond better.

8. Forgiveness is key. Learn to forgive through the grace of God.

I wish you all the best in your marriages. God bless you!

 

Mrs. Happy.xoxo

 

All I can say is THANK YOU JESUS!!!

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Dear Lord,

I’m acknowledging You for who You have been in my life. You have shown Yourself strong and mighty in my life. You have given me my heart’s desire and you have answered my prayers.

I started Law School in 2012 determined yet scared because of the stories I had been swamped with, stories of brilliant people failing the exams and retaking it 4 times. I was told that because I was not familiar with the system, I should aim not to excel but to merely pass. But I dared to dream because You oh Lord God reminded me that Your thoughts towards me are thoughts of good and not of evil to give me my hopes and dreams and bring me to an expected end. You said to me, ‘Temiloluwa, fear not. Only believe’.

Lord, I remember all that period in Bar 1, how you helped me. Thank You Jesus. Lord You saw me through and brought the Adeniyis into my life. Father, please bless them immensely for my sake. They are simply AMAZING! I was a part of the family and together myself and all my newly discovered sisters worked hard and prayed hard everyday and every night. God, I thank You because none of us was found wanting.

I remember the tears when I just wasn’t getting the whole Capital Markets system. I remember my frustration when I was just not calculating the scale of fees properly. At first, mortgages, as a topic, was a blur. God, I did not know how I would draft a statement of claim, statement of defence, affidavit and written address in such a short period. I certainly had no clue that to perfect charges in Corporate law was not as simple as Governor’s consent, stamping and registration. Getting my sections right for Criminal Procedure Code, Criminal Procedure Act and Administration of Criminal Justice Law was sometimes a challenge. Memorising the procedure for Matrimonial Causes drove me to chant in my dreams.

But on the day of each exam, I AM THAT IS I AM came through. You gave me wisdom and knowledge and understanding and for these, I praise You Lord.

As my scripts were being collated, not one got missing. My scores were not wrongly calculated. I did not write a wrong number on my script. Father, so many many things could have gone wrong. But for You oh God!

At 2:30 am on the 1st of November, I was awoken by Adanna. ‘Temi, results are out’ was the message all over my BB. With anxiety, I went to the Nigerian Law School website and clicked on the Results tab, selected 2013 Bar Finals Result. I typed my Examination number and then it said ‘Loading Result’. My heart was pounding. My fingers were shaking. I broke out in a cold sweat. 4 seconds felt like 4 hours. But when I saw the grade, Jesus, You had me rolling on my floor in joy. THANK YOU JESUS! I cannot stop praising You dear God.

That same day Lord, as if the blessing was not enough, You gave me a job in the best law firm in Nigeria! Jesus, when You do Your thing, we earthlings just marvel. Thank You God!

I am thankful Lord. I do not like putting myself out there. But because I mentioned Your name on this blog, asking You to help me with Law School and most recently, with a job, I cannot but let the world know that we serve a prayer answering God who has done what I asked of Him. I honestly could not have asked for better. I am where every degree I have is recognized and not made to seem irrelevant. I am where my NYSC of 2011 is recognized. God, You really do order people’s steps. All I can say is THANK YOU JESUS!!!

Thank You for amazing people around me, amazing friends and my amazing family. Thank You Jesus! I trust You for grace to excel at work and for wisdom to carry myself with grace and honour and diligence.

May my life continually show forth your praise and most importantly, may I make Heaven and take many many people along with me. Amen.

Your daughter,

Temiloluwa.

For the sake of ‘Peace’- Parts 2 and 3

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Hi guys,

Howdy? Hope you’re all well. Job hunting is going good and I’m really excited that something great is around the corner in Jesus’ name! Thank you for all your kind words. God bless you all.x

Here are Parts 2  and 3 of For the sake of Peace. I have had people call my phone asking me to publish the second part. It took a while because I thought it best to publish two parts at once to compensate for the delay. I honestly hope we learn a thing or two from this. It is lengthier than the first one as much of the story unfolds here.

My good friend put this on her status a few days ago, ‘Better to be single and happy than married and miserable’. Ladies (and gentlemen), please keep that in mind whenever you feel a tinge of envy or pain that all your friends are getting married or engaged and you are all alone. Marriage is too important to be messed with or entered into without caution. Get excited, not for that one day, but for the future ahead, the real deal, the Marriage.

Another good friend, Ufoma (CEO, Rubies n Emerald, an event planning company) told me a great wedding can take up to a year planning. That is a 6-10 hour event. How much more should we take in planning a marriage, which we pray will last forever. Go figure!

Please read and learn.

Love lots,

Temiville.xoxo

Marrying you, Dipo was a mistake I knowingly made. It’s like a young girl letting that boy run his hands down her blouse. As his fingers descend, she knows it’s wrong, she knows she should stop him but she lets him go on anyway; not because of any pleasure she feels but because she just wants to go ahead. Now I know it to be self destruct. Oladipo Richard Adeyele, marrying you was an exercise in self destruction.

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Surprisingly, the first 6 months as Mrs. Oladipo R. Adeyele were blissful. I changed my display name to that and our perfect wedding photo was constantly my DP. I felt bliss. Thinking back now, I felt that way because I had no expectations whatsoever. Wrong! I had expectations alright. I expected you to start cheating within the first month. Darn, I even knew one of your exes who had the nerve to show up at our wedding in the tightest, boob baring bandage dress I have ever seen, grinding with one of the groomsmen whilst you, my husband looked on, mesmerized then jealous by her show of shame.

Dipo, you surprised me. You see, dear readers, Dipo was not a great or loving man but he let me be. He would eat whatever I served and say a polite thanks. He would text me ‘I’m running late’ if he would be home after 9pm. He would compliment my homemaking efforts before his friends and family. He would gobble down my ogbono experiment which recipe I got from the Facebook page- So you think you can cook. The sex with him was mechanical, efficient, machine like, ritualistic- kiss, fondle, sex – in that order- nothing like I’d hoped but it was okay and at least, got me pregnant in the 10th month of our marriage.

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My dream had come true! Finally, he would pet me, cuddle me or at least cuddle my bump. I had finally gotten the glue to bind us in love. I was already 3 months pregnant before noticing. I was one of those medical mysteries because I still saw my period during the first 2 months of my pregnancy so though I had gained a bit of weight, I had attributed it to my many trips to Ice-cream Factory. I was slower and easily tired,  but I zeroed my mind that it could never be down to pregnancy. It was my mother in law who practically forced me to get tested. I called Dipo so excitedly as I left the clinic. Oladipo, you were so excited! You screamed. I’d never been the source of so much joy from you and I was so proud of myself. I grinned from ear to ear like a Chesire cat as I drove back to work.

One day, at 4 months gone, you snapped at me as I got ready to go to your office dinner, ‘can you not find something else to wear?! Your folds are all over the place, Sade in my office is 7 months pregnant and rolls are not hanging everywhere, do something about it woman, I don’t do obesity!’  I didn’t know that tears had started rolling down until I tasted the saltiness. Everyone else had said I was looking fit and great in pregnancy. They said I glowed. But I only believed your words. As I grew bigger, I’d get changed in the bathroom before coming out. I’d wear Body Magic. I didn’t want you to see the ‘rolls and folds’.

Nkechi, my friend was also pregnant and spoke of still having sex with her husband and still being just as desirable to him. She made me blush at her tales of their escapades in and out of bed. Dipo, you and I had stopped engaging in anything remotely related to lovemaking at 4 and a half months into my pregnancy. I felt ugly, disgusting, fat. And so I started using slimming products. I looked for the most drastic in result I could find. I read the instructions carefully and there it was- a healthy, herbal, natural slimming aid. It must be safe, I thought to myself. Within the first 2 weeks, I lost weight enough for you, Dipo, to notice and comment on. I was giddy with joy. Yay! I’d be just like Victoria Beckham and look so slim immediately after child birth. I decided to increase the dosage and it worked. The folds reduced, my thighs had that gap between them, my neck had a hollow. I only had vegetables, fruit and the shake that came with the slimming package. After a month of using, in my 6th month, we had sex, at your instance. I was looking great. That night, I gained your attention. That night, I lost our son.

sad-black-man

You wept on the hospital floor. I was numb. The doctor, an elderly family friend, was merciless. I thought it was unprofessional to outrightly blame a woman for her own miscarriage. The doctor threw professionalism to the wind and blamed me for not eating right. My weight was not commensurate with how far along I was given my last statistics when I saw her. I weighed less than I did 3 months before and only had a bump and not as much body to show for my pregnancy. I dared not confess that I was also on drugs to stay slim. She probably would have slapped me there and then. Rightly too. I wanted to kick myself.

On our drive home, you were quiet. I tried to play the victim and would periodically hold on to my belly as though in pain just to get you to touch me and comfort me. Darn! I was the one who had lost her child. But you were having none of it and all you said was, ‘if you need to see the doctor, lemme turn back’. I knew I had lost the battle.

3 months after the miscarriage, on the exact day our son would have turned one week old, I saw the first sign of your infidelity. You received a call, smiled when you saw who was calling and walked out to receive it. You were on the phone for 45 minutes, laughing intermittently.  I knew I was in trouble.

You came back to the house, went straight to our room, had a second bath and got dressed in your best casual native attire, your newest sandals and perfume, took the keys to the new car and mumbled, ‘I’m going out and don’t keep the keys in the lock ’cause I’ll let myself in’. I knew it was over.

I waited for you. My favorite show was on but all I saw were the blurry figures on the screen through my tears. I had finished a whole bottle of white wine. I turn to alcohol when sad. That night, I was worse than sad, I was depressed. It was as though I was waiting for the inevitable sentence of death on my marriage. At 1:15am, you walked in. You were sober and looked happy until you saw me. I brought your straight face out. As much as I wanted and was almost physically itching to, I dared not ask where you had been for two reasons: 1. Early on in our relationship, you had warned me never to inquire as to your whereabouts unless you willingly offered an explanation. 2. I was scared you would be honest and tell me where exactly you had been and the answer would break me. I’d rather not know for sure. So through my post drunken state, I said, ‘welcome, should I bring your food?’.

There was no food but I just wanted to act normal and I was certain you would say no. To my shock, you said yes and proceeded to change the station to watch the replay of your favorite teams’ match screaming at each goal, missed or scored. That confirmed one thing- you had spent the evening and night with someone who didn’t care for football and you sacrificed such a big match for them. You were certainly not with one of the boys, certainly not. I was able to whip up something for you, quickly enough for you not to suspect I’d just started cooking it. You ate it, totally fixated on the tv screen, totally ignoring me. Quietly, I walked to the room and slept off. The time was 2:46 am.

Living a lie is hard. You know your man is cheating, you might even have finally put a face on the bitch’s name. But there you are, playing the dutiful wife. In your mind, it’s better to be an innocent victim, a cheated-on Mrs than have an openly failed marriage. You forget that in both situations, the marriage has failed openly.

sad girl

Dipo got bolder and bolder. He would stay away for weekends claiming he was away on business trips to Abuja, Ibadan, Akure, Kaduna. He forgot who I am. Or maybe he just didn’t care anymore. I am a master sleuth, always have been, always will be. I know everything or can at least find out. In Uni, I’d help my girlfriends find out if their men were cheating by just listening to the stories they tell. I knew which boyfriend was outrightly cheating and which was just bored.

Dipo forgot that we put a tracking device on all our 3 cars and with a click, I’d know exactly where the car was located. Through the tracker, I discovered that his mistress was living in Akute, in the outskirts of Lagos. I found out that he would leave his work at 5pm everyday, pick her up and head to hers together. I’m not sure if he would drive behind her or actually pick her up but he was a man of routine and he stuck to this pattern during the week. On Fridays, the car was usually around the Island till 11/12pm before making the journey to Akute where he would sleep. These days, it was on the Island till Saturday which means they thought better of driving in the dangers of the night and just decided to stay in a hotel. Unfailingly, by 12 noon on Saturday, the car would make the journey to Akute. The check out time for most hotels is 12 noon.

My first reaction to Dipo’s cheating was pain, then sadness, then anger. I wished he had a string of girlfriends. That way, I was assured he gave his heart to no one else. But with just one person in his life, it was clear he was in love with her. That was the main problem. It is easier to salvage a marriage where a party gives just their body away. It is very hard where the heart has also been taken away.

My second main reaction was to seek revenge. I called up an ex boyfriend of mine, ‘just to check up’. I even agreed to meet up with him, ready to give in if he made the move. I thought to myself that if I slept with someone too, we would be even and I wouldn’t feel this much hurt and pain. Thank God it was Seun I chose. I had dated Seun in Year 1 in LASU. We broke up and then had a moment during our Masters year. He was eager to rekindle our love and wasn’t detracted by the fact that I had met someone else. His reasoning was that since I wasn’t married, then I could move on. He’d travel from Dundee to Leicester on the Megabus just to see me and hand-deliver now wilting flowers to me. It was exhilarating but I was strong and in order not to succumb, I stopped picking his calls or responding to his messages.

It was hard at first. Those who had met him the two times he came visiting loved his pleasant and fun nature. He once lifted me up in the city centre much to the delight of my friends and the disapproving looks of some stuck up British people. You see, it was so easy to like Seun. For my friends, they preferred him to the so called boyfriend they had never seen and hardly saw me speak to on the phone simply because he made an effort. Whenever Dipo came to the UK, I’d have to leave school and go to wherever he was. He never ever stepped into Leicester. I always defended him by saying since he had come all the way from Nigeria, the least I could do was to get my butt off to London.

I was Suzy the Seductress the day Seun and I met up but Seun had become born again and was now a Pastor, well not really a Pastor but a counsellor in his church. I guess the Holy Spirit does reveal stuff because he saw through it all. ‘Gbekeleoluwa, why are you doing this?’, he asked as I flirtatiously flicked my Peruvian hair away from my eyes.

skinny jeans

Earlier that day, I had tracked Dipo’s car. It was on its way to Akute and had just gone past Ojodu-Berger. I reminisced on how Dipo would complain and complain about the distance whenever I suggested that we visit my parents in Okota. The very same man was now making daily trips to Akute which is pretty much in Ogun state! That was what sealed my resolve to commit attempted cheating. I wore my hottest skinny jeans, a sheer top and my only Louboutins (yeah, I once caught Dipo admiring a girl in Loubs and thought to invest in the N100,000 red soles and nope, he never for once noticed them!). I applied my make up like I was going for a modeling competition, each lid was well mascara-ed, brows shapened and well highlighted, lips as red as scarlet, cheeks tinted with blush. I was well made up yet it was subtle and classy. I admired myself as I got into my car. I took a few selfies and uploaded one on my DP with a message that read, ” Off to have fun *wide grin* *dancing smiley* ” hoping to God Dipo would notice and ask where I was off to. Lord knows any form of love from him right then would have stopped me. Within 10 minutes of the drive from our Nicon Towers home to the restaurant off Bourdillon, I had received 11 BBMs, some admiring me, others asking where was off to. None was from Dipo.

Ibiso

Like I said, Seun saw through it all and refused to encourage or participate in my decision to commit adultery. He paid for the food and told me that for the sake of God and his love for Him, he had to leave. In his words, ‘Gbeke, I’m literally pulling a Joseph here. It’s either I flee now or I fall. I will be praying for you. Your home will be healed and you will laugh again. Don’t call on any man, call on Jesus. All things are possible’. He got up and walked away. There I was with more food than I could consume. I had no a appetite either. I watched as the waiter counted the 18 notes of N1000 asking if all is well. ‘Yes, I’m fine’ I replied. Another date gone bad, he must have thought. Little did he know. I took my bag and walked into my car, turned on the ignition and the AC. Using the Johnson baby wipes that is always in my car, I wiped off every trace of make up from off my face and drove home.

sad and frustrated

Today, as I write, I place a curse on everyone, who, knowing full well that a person is married, assists in any way, shape, form, manner, however grand or minute, in defiling the marriage bed and causing them to break their vows. May it never be well with them. May they suffer irreparable loss. May they ask and never receive. May they seek and not find. May they knock and may the door remain firmly shut against them. May their children suffer heartbreak. May the disease of the Egyptians fall on them. May the curses of Deuteronomy 28 from verse 15 to 68 be theirs. I also extend this prayer to everyone aiding and abetting them, to their friends who encourage or even condone such acts, who call you and another woman too ‘our wife’, like Dipo’s friend, Sanmi who hooked him up with his mistress. Sanmi, may you look for peace in your home and not find it. Sanmi, I pray that one day, you will find out that your 2 lovely boys belong to your driver and gateman respectively. Sanmi, as you have put asunder, may God close His ears to your cries and cover His eyes to your pains. Amen.

 *

Nkechi came visiting yesterday. I told her everything. Things I have not been able to voice out, even to myself. I spoke it all. She cried and then prayed with me and invited me to her church. Oh, did I mention that going to church has become a drag? Seeing couples holding hands in prayer of agreement and dancing together, laughing etc just makes me remember the void in my life then sickens me to my stomach. So gradually, I stopped going.

I have now decided to go along with her to her Church to pray for a change. I’m not going to hold my breath but I will try and believe that change will come. I will try to resurrect my dead marriage. I will try to bring back the love. I will return to God and ask that He saves me. I’m only 29 and already going through marital turmoil. It really is not a walk in the park.

I have taken time to report the situation because I was scared of baring it all. But I now know I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I tried my best for my home. I did all in the books. I tried to be sexy for my man. By the way, I’m now a size 8 up and 10 down. I would cook and cook and do all I could. Today, it was lasagne, tomorrow it would be ofada rice and stew? Dinner was going to stay fun and unpredictable, I had vowed. On Sundays and Saturdays, it would be the full English breakfast or ‘akara’ made to perfection or the pancakes in the Roman fashion that Fadeke taught me. I was a perfect Hannah the Homemaker and Catherine the Cook. I was also Sasha the sexy fierce vixen in bed, contorting myself till my neck almost snapped. I did absolutely everything, I did all. All but one. I married the wrong man. I was using the right techniques on the wrong product. I went against all I knew was right. I married someone who valued neither my presence nor my absence. I didn’t marry my friend. I didn’t let God choose, I chose and forced Him to approve. I saw the signs before marriage and went ahead. Even after the marriage, I ‘worked’ at it, I never prayed about it. I thought I could make Dipo love me by the things I did. It never works. It’s never in you to make a person love you, never. I’m sure we ladies all have instances of that ‘pest’ who liked us no matter how much we insulted and ignored him. That just goes to show that love is not earned.

black_bride

I have been listening to sermons on restoration. If all these happened during the courtship, I’d have left the relationship, but I am married now. So from all the counsel I have received, I now know God will have to turn my mess around. Marrying Dipo might not have been His perfect will. It might have been His permissive will but I am married and because God hates divorce (see Malachi 2:16), I will do what I can to invite Him into my home to fix my mess.

*

Watch out for the Part 4 and how things end…

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