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Busola Adedire: Before Love Becomes Hard Work

Busola Adedire

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I have just turned 25, and for everyone familiar with Nigerians, you know that this is the age everyone begins to talk to you about marriage. You attend a party, it is marriage, you go to church, it is marriage, you sneeze sef, marriage must somehow enter the equation (OK, maybe I exaggerated a little… but you get my drift). See, it doesn’t also help that my mother talks about marriage every now and then… ‘You need to act so and so way, because when you get married’… She would often say. Anyway, I get it… they all mean well.

I, on the other hand, consider marriage as a pretty big deal (or maybe it’s my perfectionist side that is finding a way to surface) – because God forbid ‘divorce enters our generation’ according to my mother. I keep wondering why my mother repeats those words with great intensity, but somehow, these same words have found a way to penetrate into my subconscious.
These days I have been asking myself some important questions too, gathering some knowledge, and toying with the fire of my own truth. This is the time I get to define who I am, what I stand for, the deal breakers, conflict resolution techniques, and oh… the most prominent one ‘infidelity’. (You guys know that infidelity is that one conversation that will never go out of style, right???)

If you follow my Instagram page, you would have seen some excerpts from Paul Coelho’s new book ‘Adultery’. This book I must say held my attention longer than his previous book, The Alchemist. This is probably because he addressed infidelity in this one.
‘Adultery’ dissected infidelity from a woman’s perspective and it is refreshing to see, because we really don’t discuss infidelity in women. The widespread assumption is that‘women are loyal’ which is true to a certain extent. However, the kind of demon that drives people to infidelity is something that is no respecter of gender oh! I think that the urge to cheat in both sexes is about the same but from time immemorial, women have been socially conditioned to be loyal because there is too much at stake for them, which suppresses their desire to be unfaithful.

Last year, a friend gave me a book called ‘the 5 love languages’ and according to this book the most we get is two years of ‘passion’ a.k.a ‘limerence’ and after that, love becomes ‘hard work’. It becomes much more intentional and more about fulfilling ‘marital obligations’ which was also reinforced in the book ‘Adultery’. Nobody really teaches us how to stay lovingly married for 20, 30 or 50 years. Nobody talks about how they survived it when their relationships became bland, and monotonous. Nobody talks about what they did when they felt empty and craved something different in their marriage. There’s a side of me that struggles to understand why ‘most’ men cheat till I watched a TED talk recently called ‘rethinking infidelity’ and behold, the speaker who is a therapist affirmed that even happy couples cheat 😮 (Very serious something!). The same was the case of ‘Adultery’. Linda is a woman who had a ‘good man’ who loves her, a decent job, beautiful kids, and everything else you could ask for in life… Yet, she was empty, lonely and craved adventure and novelty. In these situations, the devil is always a liar!!! That was how an ex-boyfriend from high school showed up in her life which created the perfect atmosphere for disaster. Surprisingly, it worked! The ‘supposed’ passion she claimed was missing from her marriage suddenly reappeared like magic. Talk about illusions of the mind! I think it’s nothing more than the adrenaline rush from risk-taking behavior.

Reading this will make anyone pray fervently about the ‘lost-loves’ in their lives. God forbid any of mine shows up in my future because it is very easy to be a scapegoat for the devil *covers self with blood of Jesus three times* . You and I know that there is tolerance for male adultery in the society but God forbid it is from a woman. You will regret the day you were born because it comes with great shame and hostility.However, I do believe we should be having these conversations as ‘silence’ does not necessarily indicate its ‘absence’. For example, I tried having a conversation with my mum about female adultery. She quickly chipped in, ‘You did not inherit such genes, because my mother did not do it, and I also, did not do it’. I guess I would be telling my daughter these same words too 🙁

A part of adultery I found quite profound says ‘Finally, the time comes to resign ourselves to monotony. The husband spends hours away from home, wrapped up in work, and the wife dedicates more time than necessary to taking care of the children. We are at this stage, and I am willing to do anything to change it. Love alone is not enough. I need to fall in love with my husband. Love isn’t a feeling; it’s an art, it takes not only inspiration, but also a lot of work’. Reading this shattered my illusions and had my brain back at ‘Re-set’.

What is it about human beings that makes us loathe ‘ordinary life’? Why do we like to seek the unattainable? Why do hide when things get hard instead of fixing it? Why do people think the grass on the other side is greener? Of course we all like cute stories and the lovey dovey stuff… but really, marriage is something you cannot touch with half of your heart. You either go hard or go home!

What is the point of this write up you may ask? I am curious… so I put it out here to the married ones, how does your marriage thrive beyond the shelf life of passion?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Darren Baker

46 Comments

  1. iseemaths

    June 2, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Marriage is hardwork… The hardest work of all time.
    I dont even know how you love someone over and over again. Sometimes i wonder; God thought this through and made it to be enjoyable, allow us do the do officially, companionship, procreation etc. But He (God) also made it hardwork for us because of Adam and Even sins. This comes in the form of working to eat, birth pains etc.
    If we were married and still lived in paradise and did not have to do zilch to get food, where there is no concern about the type of designers or house you have, no sickness, no harm just peace, love and good tidings. My guess is maybe marriage might be a lot easier… Ooh i forgot and no temptation by the devil hence no fornication, side chickism, adultery, envy etc…

    Ooh well, we are here so the hard work has to be done. And from my writeup you should know i have cold feet for marriage. Serious one.
    Hopefully i get my ex-bf back he was the one that made me think of it a little, but mamas quest for a nigerian guy made me loose him.

    Soon i shall graduate and go get my boo back. Lol

    • oy

      June 3, 2015 at 8:52 am

      i wish you all the best dear. hope he’s the right one for you

    • iHeart

      June 3, 2015 at 2:29 pm

      GO AND GET HIM BACK!!!!! FAST!

      Nigerian guy or not you are the one that will live with whomever you marry. Why then would you now base such a decision on your mother’s preferences. Does your preference not matter seeing as you would wake up with this person for the rest of your life?

      I was in this same position and faced opposition from both parents. Everyday now I am thankful I stuck to my guns. Everyday is paradise.

      My family came round eventually and think the world of him.

      Please please, do what is best for YOU! YOU will live with the consequences of your action or inaction.

  2. nene

    June 2, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    marriage is definitely “go hard or go home”! i think people need to put in the same hardworking attitude they have at work to their marriage, and they should be ready to make sacrifices and forgive each other if the marriage must work. Also, never keep things away from one another, if your significant other does something you don’t like, tell that person, don’t keep malice or “store” it in your heart, get it out there as soon as it happens. people should always be willing to apologise for their actions and show remorse, i think that’s a marriage killer. don’t allow yourself to be tempted, also tell your significant other about any “admirers”. love takes a lot of hard work, dedication, tolerance, and forgiveness. most importantly, always marry for love, nothing else. love always stands the test of time, not money, beauty, fame or power, but real love.

    • Tobi

      June 3, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      I agree with you on marrying for love, true love never dies. Never.

  3. ShineShineShine

    June 2, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    It is important to hv a strong support network of older women who have positively held down their marriage. I do not mean you share everything going on in your home with them but do ask questions. Respect for one another. If you respect one another, you will find it difficult to hurt your partner. Most importantly, be friends becos, flaming passion will simmer down but if you are first and foremost friends, you can weather any storm. Communication is key. Learn to talk about anything and everything, share jokes both dirty and clean. If you can stand before him the way God created you – stark naked, why should sending him silly and naughty jokes be difficulf? Prayer is also key. Learn to pray together and finally, pray you are not at home when the devil is looking for somborri to visit.

    • Lois

      June 3, 2015 at 7:05 am

      I agree Shine. That network and support from older women keeps the younger women grounded, level headed and prepared of all manners of eventualities that will happens in their marriages. The unbelievable stories of love, lust, betrayals, forgiveness are the bedrock of the ability of the heart to withstand and overcome these issues when they eventually happen.
      Thanks to the writer for also bringing the issue of infidelity on the part of the women forward and I can say it is almost equal. If God should dissect our heart alone and bring out the lustful thoughts, chai! Our husbands will faint o. Women have just been able to substantially train their bodies not to give in to the lusts of the heart, thus giving us strength to control adultery in marriage. Marriage is hard work and it take both couples to make it work.

    • Prime Babe

      June 3, 2015 at 9:46 am

      The problem with that (I think) is finding those older people(women) in marriage who have done it positively and without bitterness.

    • nene

      June 3, 2015 at 11:40 am

      what about your mother? that’s always a starting point.

  4. rhonyi

    June 2, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    Busola, I want to thank you so much for introducing me to Paulo Coelho. I have already downloaded some of his books and I can’t sleep anymore! cloud 9 is an understatement. Am so thrilled. I love a good read. it’s the most pleasurable thing on earth to me, second to one only.

  5. iyke

    June 3, 2015 at 12:07 am

    Interesting, intelligent, thought provoking, a bit complicated and of course an intellectually stimulating article.Nice one Busola.
    I am not married yet,not an expert but I think this is something that plagues us all – the basic human struggle to balance excitement with restraint and still retain the vitality of our erotic lives.
    Some people may argue that over familiarity may be a course in eroding passion after few years of marriage but not in all cases though, as I strongly believe that it is possible to still feel passion through out the course of a GOOD and EXCEPTIONAL marriage or committed relationship.
    Also, the very fact that so many couples in marriages or relationships today, have to juggle so much,(raising kids,career,studies et al) before arriving in same room with each other tends to enervate all their erotic energies which if not checked overtime, dries up the passion in their love lives.,hence the reason both look outside for excitement.
    I could go on and list other valid reasons, however, the appreciation of the reality by couples that though they could cheat, but choose to exclusively channel their sexual energy to their respective partners,hard as it may, obviously works against the over familiarity and fatigue argument.
    I’d suggest to those who may have lost the passion in their marriage or relationship, to please read these books when they have the time. I found their theories very enlightening?
    * ‘Mating in Captivity’ by Esther Perel
    * ‘Intimacy and Desire’ by Dr. David Schnarch
    * ‘Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow’ by Marnia Robinson
    And for those who like to watch movies, please check out the new David Cronenberg film, ‘A Dangerous Method’ – This is a movie about the dilemma of most men …. a man who can’t find passion in his marriage, but only outside of it and feels so helpless to change it. His side chic is the ‘perfume in the air’ while his wife is the foundation of his life.
    So sad , where such men love, they have no desire, and where they desire they cannot love! The dilemma of most men and like the author said, ‘You either go hard or go home’
    I love this article.
    #teamsapiosexual

    • Ivy

      June 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      i like you. u are a wise man.

    • Ada Nnewi

      June 3, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      It’s amazing that you think this situation “So sad , where such men love, they have no desire, and where they desire they cannot love! ” only happens with men…sometimes it’s, “so sad, where such women love, they have no desire, and where they desire they cannot love!”..

  6. Money making machine

    June 3, 2015 at 12:16 am

    Very interesting

  7. Papacy

    June 3, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Common relationship na war. Some days you just want to get out n just be, no side chick, nothing! Let your body and mind just breathe. Then u remember the good things that drew u to her, even the annoying crap u tear ur hair out about….you take a deep breath and stay put. If that’s what marriage would look like? Well we are all in trouble. Lol.

  8. Call Nina

    June 3, 2015 at 1:17 am

    We don’t seem to talk so much about the unavoidable marriage breakers “in laws ” . Before I got married I wondered why my Aunt never really liked any one from her hubby’s family coming close . I thought she was wicked but now I know better. As you pray to God for that special one pray even twice for his/her family.

  9. gracearmyde

    June 3, 2015 at 1:56 am

    What on earth doesn’t require hard work?? getting a degree, getting that promotion, my sister even living each day at a time esp in a country such as Ours. Aim: To achieve a dream so beautiful u cry each time u see ao far u’ve come. There’s nothing more beautiful I tell u,than a marriage narrated tru the eyes of one who has seen it all n by that I mean,the good n the damned ugly. Tell me,whats a life w/o challenges??

  10. Shopperoflife

    June 3, 2015 at 2:07 am

    Keeping passion in Marriage after a couple of years is hard graft. But, it is doable. Most men are kiddies at heart but you cannot treat them as such lest u slide into condescension mode. So, be friends. Friendship goes a long way in keeping the flame of passion burning. Is there anything you cannot do with a friend? If the answer is everything, therein lies the trick. Communication, sharing, forgiveness and tolerance. If you can afford it, go to the cinema together Weekends away, holidays together, after dinner evening walks. As women, it is easy to neglect our men once the children come. This is dangerous. Start the way you mean to continue. Were you weave wearing, face beat up and shorts wearing when you were dating? Why stop and be tying wrapper on ur chest around the house? REFUSE to sleep in separate rooms. No matter how mighty ur house is. The day you stop sleeping in the same room, that is the day you grant him his freedom license.

    The more successful you become, the more time you both are likely to spend apart. Get a life outside of your marriage so that when you come together, you can share the exciting things you hv experienced. Be intellectually alert/aware. Demand as much respect as you give and be VERY CLEAR on what is a deal breaker for YOU. Commit your relationship to God. It is not an easy road but it is achievable.

  11. Read the Alchemist again

    June 3, 2015 at 4:36 am

    Hi! The Alchemist is one of the most profound books ever written. You need to remove every veneer of self and knowledge and simply ingest the words straight into your heart. You won’t regret it. I read it the first time and I was like random. The second time, I couldn’t believe I thought the book was random. Please read it again ?

    • Busola Adedire

      Oluwabusola Adedire

      June 3, 2015 at 8:14 am

      Alchemist was not inherently bad, I just connected better with this one because I am a woman. I took time to digest the words and play out the scenarios in my head. And I may just read the alchemist again… this time, I would prefer a paperback copy.

  12. Lily

    June 3, 2015 at 6:45 am

    This piece is so timely mehn! I’m turning 25 in a few days and Omo! the marriage pressure no be here o! My aunt from d village has already started calling me everyday to give her gist! Kai! Walaihi this marriage thing is a serious matter o! Really, I keep thinking when all the spark is gone, how do you bring the fire back? especially with stress from work and the kids? This is where God comes in though, you just have to pray to bring back the fire to your lives, because, from the look of things, it’s not by power or might, nor be by great cook or drop dead gorgeous, or sex freak, If a spouse wants to cheat, he/she would.

  13. precy

    June 3, 2015 at 9:42 am

    Was at my uncle wedding last weekend and my aunt called me in the presence of 5 other aunts told me straight not to be too career oriented. That I need to get married. I was dumbfounded! All I could do was smile sheepishly. You don’t want to start explaining or arguing with 6 women who are over 40 and married, in public. What could you possibly say?

    • Ivy

      June 3, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Please look for husband for me?

    • oyko

      June 3, 2015 at 2:21 pm

      girl! I feel you..
      got called out in public by a used to be ‘dear aunt’
      she told me in youruba but I will translate
      “don’t let me hear that you are going again to read any book because people that are not up to your level(age and education wise) have married.

      chaiiiiiiiiiiii.. I sunk because I was jejely just going to say hello to her after church and I was looking hot that day lol but what she bestowed upon me… I never hespered it.
      I just reversed with a bye felicia stance.. never again lol

      sha I’ve gone to do some more studying because woman cannot siddon dey fold hand wait 4 prince shamin.. keep it moving..
      mi o raye oshi mehn
      lol

    • Bobosteke & Lara Bian

      June 3, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      @Oyko

      Girl! You is bad!

  14. beebee

    June 3, 2015 at 9:48 am

    if I knew what I know now, marriage would have been the furthest thing from my mind. An overly rated union in Africa, unnecessary necessity but don’t cheat.

    • nene

      June 3, 2015 at 11:43 am

      it is not just an african thing. people abroad do and want to get married.

    • natu

      June 3, 2015 at 6:13 pm

      Yes they do but they are not obsessed and thirsty.

    • mamzaT

      June 4, 2015 at 3:02 pm

      @natu, Mgbeke alert! Biko remove dis ya pishure. Those who hv nothing to contribute spew crap. Dat lipstick sef, e get as e be. hahahahah.

  15. anonymous22

    June 3, 2015 at 10:45 am

    well im actually 22 in some days and i am craving marriage. some people who know this abt me call me crazy. i mean, everyone is trying to have fun. but i dont wanna have fun. my friend jokingly told me “shey u want to born all ur 4 children by 25 abi”.its just crazy. my parents didnt have a happy marriage in fact it was abusive,no i have about 3 failed serious relationships and other irritating ones but i still crave marriage. i know its hard and the whole 9 yards but i dont mind that hardwork and i hope i find the right person. ive lived a long life, think of everything a 30 year old has been through and not been thru, my short years on earth has had it all. abusive boyfriends to teenage pregnancy. im thru with school nd nysc bla bla and been working for 2 years now,currently runnng my msc programme. i am actually really 28 in my head, nd maybe physically too.
    But someone please kindly explain to me why everyone thinks im crazy,why is marriage so scary to everyone else, my mum had d worst in laws ever,trust me i have enough classes on them. what am i missing here??why is everyone not willing to jump?

    • Busola Adedire

      Oluwabusola Adedire

      June 3, 2015 at 11:12 am

      your answer lies in what you have written ‘right person’. But the ‘right person’ is also subject to interpretation. Regardless of whom we choose, something’s gotta give – handwork, patience, God.

  16. anonymous22

    June 3, 2015 at 10:51 am

    well im actually 22 in some days and i am craving marriage. some people who know this abt me call me crazy. i mean, everyone is trying to have fun. but i dont wanna have fun. my friend jokingly told me “shey u want to born all ur 4 children by 25 abi”.its just crazy. my parents didnt have a happy marriage in fact it was abusive,no i have about 3 failed serious relationships and other irritating ones but i still crave marriage. i know its hard and the whole 9 yards but i dont mind that hardwork and i hope i find the right person. ive lived a long life, think of everything a 30 year old has been through and not been thru, my short years on earth has had it all. abusive boyfriends to well,whatever..the list is long..i believe in the values of relationship and marriage..whats d opposite of commitmentphobia again? im thru with school nd nysc bla bla and been working for 2 years now,currently runnng my msc programme. i am actually really 28 in my head, nd maybe physically too.
    But someone please kindly explain to me why everyone thinks im crazy,why is marriage so scary to everyone else, my mum had d worst in laws ever,trust me i have enough classes on them. what am i missing here??why is everyone not willing to jump?

    • Ivy

      June 3, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      Cause of the fear of failure. My greatest fear is marrying the wrong person…..keep asking if i’m nuts cuz there are guys that are ready but i’m not just interested, so i keep praying that God gives me the ying to yang and posh to my gosh (that sounds wack)

  17. natu

    June 3, 2015 at 11:50 am

    Marriage wahala again. I cannot!! We need more driven women in Africa.

    • bleh

      June 3, 2015 at 12:40 pm

      And you think married women are not driven? There’s nothing wrong in aspiring to marriage as a woman….what’s wrong is thinking life begins and ends with being married. As a married woman you can have a flourishing career too.

    • babym

      June 3, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      See your nose like marriage wahala again. Nonsense. I will never get why ppl who (pretend) do not like such topics keep taking the time and energy to read the article, and then leave nonsense comments. Sister, if you ‘cannot’ why are you waisting your time on it. I personally skip through a lot of articles on bellanaija that don’t interest me or I think are over flogged, so im just curious about the likes of you.

      Now so u r saying women who discuss such very serious and important issues are not serious minded? r u kidding me, lmao, marriage, divorce and relationship break ups are on such a rise and this dear writer has written something very verrryyy important and helpful to get ppl to think and u sit down there with ur pink lipstick and say she is not serious minded? My friend GERRAREHERREEE! hehehe

    • Shobie

      June 3, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      Lol babym, u ar just a clown. So Tay, you see her lipstick! But l like ur honesty shaaa!

    • natu

      June 3, 2015 at 6:10 pm

      You mad or nah? FOH!!

  18. Tobi

    June 3, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Hello, your article is smart, different and easy to readn it shows a lot of wisdom. I plan to read the books you mentioned, Keep it up.

  19. Niola

    June 3, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Adebusola well done, this indeed is the time you get to ponder a lot…Take your time, learn grow and be wise. Life in itself is hard work , so just like all the facets of life, where you put an extra mile, i say marriage is no different. To answer your question, i think that is why God is too important to me, when i meet with him everyday, i begin to mirror his thinking and flesh becomes dead to me. I am able to suppress my desire for something or someone other than what i have. So anyway after all the spire spire talk my dear for passion both parties must be willing to work at it o if you pray and you don’t act, my dear i no dey there o, faith without work is dead ooo , i do date night o, initiate sex when hubby is not expecting,couple’s holiday without the kids etc and he replicates also. The same effort i put into school in those days, work(ok not really sha)same effort here nothing less…

  20. natu

    June 3, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    @shobie what is wrong with my lipstick? You can’t afford it trust me. Waste of space!!! GTFO

    • Busola Adedire

      Oluwabusola Adedire

      June 3, 2015 at 7:02 pm

      You know you could have skipped the article altogether. No need for drama, biko.

    • shobie

      June 4, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      @ natu, Hahahahahah. I beg l cant shout. Na so e pain you reach? U sef think am naa. Ur comment stupid noto small. No be fight. LoL

    • anonymous22

      June 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      I think for some reason you’re just too bitter and with bitterness you cannot grow. Miss the part abt having a carrier and being driven? what have u achieved with ur life when u were 20? someday i will own an ngo to help women who have been abused in any way. Maybe u can have the courage to walk in someday. Ill remember the name @natu and the article and i will personally counsel you myself. See ya!

    • shobie

      June 4, 2015 at 2:55 pm

      Hahahahahah. Na so e pain you reach? U sef think am naa. Ur comment stupid noto small. No be fight. LoL

  21. Deji

    June 5, 2015 at 8:59 am

    Interesting article Busola. Keep it up

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