I Do…

A thumbnail image

I thought I’d introduce my other half properly as I’m sure he’ll be featuring in some of my blogs and it’s only polite to give you a brief low down on the man that is the pepper in my stew, custard on my crumble, my Mr Big.

So I started this post initially wanting to introduce our benetton backgrounds but then it struck me that I’m not adequately equipped to really do it justice as we were both born and bred in London and pie and mash are in our veins with a hint of egusi and flying fish. But diverse we are, my parents are Nigerian and husband’s background stems from Barbados, Nigeria and the UK. Despite this eclectic mix which we hold with pride, we’re both fundamentally Londoners, the melting pot that is the big smoke. And currently global citizens of the world.

It just happens that my husband Madu spent the first three years of his life in a small village in Nigeria with his parents. The rest of his formative years were in London, but somehow he’s managed to embody the essence of a southern Nigerian man with little effort! Definitely more nature than nurture! An interesting mix of genetic tendencies and perhaps a desire to belong. It’s funny it’s difficult to define a Londoners cultural identity, it can be a blur of complimentary or sometimes opposing ideals, but whatever the composition we love it.

We met online and have been literally inseparable since our first date in Mango Room. From surprise evenings out in West End to an impromptu week long road trip adventure on one of my work stints in Jamaica. Six months after meeting he quit his job and flew out to propose…we haven’t looked back since.

Yesterday my blender gave up the ghost and I almost cried, it’s been good to me and lasted more years than I care to admit, but owning a blender is synonymous with being a Nigerian. And now I’m in a culinary abyss without it. My other concern is that if I don’t replace it sharpish, so close to Christmas I’ll end up with a new blender from Madu as a present…romance isn’t dead, he’s just pragmatic and Igbo(!) At least that’s what he tells me!

He’s a loving, gentle, technology obsessed man who prides himself on being current, always aims for the best and can negotiate a pay rise with slick aptitude and unrivalled confidence. He taught me to love me more, believes in me when I don’t believe in myself. And encourages me to pursue my dreams. That’s a pretty basic but beautiful asset to have, someone who’s always in your corner.

On the flip side, his confidence borders arrogance at times, he sometimes has a problem with authority, is very opinionated and isn’t scared of being fired for what he believes in. His level of maturity needs to step up a few notches as risks don’t just affect him anymore, and we’re no longer in batchelor territory. Every decision impacts his family. Unemployment is not a word I enjoy discussing over my spag bog, but it’s a conversation I’ve had with him one too many times. But because he is who he is, he knows he can get another well paid job relatively easily….but is that the point? Marriage puts you in situations that you just can’t run away from. It forces you to face another persons bad habits and shortcomings head on. There is nowhere to hide. And once you have children the dynamic further alters as you do all that you can to put them first and maintain a stable loving environment. Being told by your husband that he’s job hunting in your 34th week of pregnancy isn’t fun. But apparently it’s all going to be ok.

Marriage is a complex fusion of hearts and minds. Where Mars and Venus align and two attempt to become one. Where perfectionist Polly is confronted with dirty Daves dirty laundry scattered in obscure parts of the home, often next to the laundry basket….strangely it never quite makes it in. Where unintentional blindness is actually a serious condition. Where multi-tasking is apparently a female attribute and replacing the bog roll is a job that requires deep commitment. A friend of mine once said to me that people often forget that marriage is a journey not a destination. And that’s spot on. It’s a work in progress, a marathon, not a sprint. I’m lucky to have married my best friend, as inscribed on his wedding band, my ride or die.

If people were honest about how tough marriage can be, many would probably avoid it or feel less defeated if it eludes them. Marriage is beautiful and life changing and all consuming, and frustrating and exposing. It’s choosing someone to be vulnerable with, to laugh with and ride the waves of life with. It truly is in sickness and in health, through the good times and the bad. It takes resilience, patience, forgiveness and a sense of humour you didn’t know you had.

I don’t remember the last time I went to the toilet alone. And that’s not just my two year old who barges in on me. Lock the door I hear you say! Yes I would if we didn’t have those annoying child safety door stoppers to stop my son from losing precious digits in the hinges! But seriously…can a girl just go in peace?!

If I had any dignity when we got hitched, and I’d like to think I did! It soon evaporated during child birth. A wonderful, eye watering, life altering experience that stripped me back to my core. Madu was an awesome birth partner, attentive and supportive, although confronting me with photographic and video evidence of the birth of our son without my knowledge almost got him fired, apprentice style! We’ve just been blessed with the arrival of our beautiful daughter, here’s my husband having an obviously much needed rest after I’ve given birth(!)

I had a rule when dating years ago, as soon as I liked someone enough to grace them with a second or third date I would ensure I orchestrated a dress down meet up where I wore minimal make up, casual clothes and my hair was in it’s original afro form. I’d do this occasionally if we continued to date and I hadn’t frightened them with my Erykah Badu vibes! I wish more women did this, and they would perhaps be more likely to attract partners that are less superficial! Waking up to put on a full face before your partner wakes up is crazy behaviour. I’d love to hear from women who actually keep this up!

This evening my husband wouldn’t let me finish a sentence and just kept interrupting me. I found it rude and annoying, so as he did it repeatedly I just stopped talking, as clearly he’d prefer to hear the sound of his own voice, so why spoil it for him(!) Then he says I’m harping on about him interrupting me, and just get on with what I have to say….my response to that contains many expletives none of which are suitable for print….marriage gives you a level of patience you didn’t know was possible. And teaches you to forgive even when the other person doesn’t deserve it. It pushes you to prioritise your union and count to a million before you bail. It prevents you from throwing heavy objects at your husband when he jokes about saving money by manually expressing milk rather than buying one of those “over rated pumps”. Marriage is for the mature, the selfless and the committed. Loving someone without condition, loving someone who ate the last import only hobnob and cunningly and perhaps cruelly left the packaging in the cupboard, so you had no idea they were even finished….yes people do that!

Marriage is full of light and wonder, comfort and hope. It has renewed my faith in humanity and given me joy beyond measure and two beautiful children. I’m still understanding what being a wife means, this year I asked for a wife for Christmas…everyone needs a good one! We’re enjoying the learning and the journey. so that’s us the Alikor’s, hopelessly devoted and grateful to have each other.