Today, we continue our series with another lovely couple! As I read their story, it was like I was watching a movie. I was hooked from start to finish. It remain make I carry popcorn. 🙂 It’s a wonderful story with so many lessons. Sit back, enjoy and learn.
…in the beginning
Omobola: It was my birthday, the 6th of February, 2007 and a few friends in class came together to take some pictures with me on my first birthday as an undergraduate. That was when I saw his face for the first time, we were admitted into the same course of study – quantity surveying. His face was no different from others.
All through our first year in university, Temitope and I remained casual friends. At the end of our first academic year, I didn’t do too well. He was in my room to check on me, and encouraged me in every possible and positive way – ensured I wasn’t left all alone, but always had company.
In my second year, I got a lot of help in my academics from Temitope. At this time, I could refer to him as a friend, a really close friend. He helped me with all my difficult modules. In examinations, however, we were not friends, lol. At this stage, I got to know about his family and background.
Temitope: I remember I liked to visit her “in the cool of the day”. I got to know she’s a diary keeper, a writer and she expresses her innermost feelings via writing, so I requested access into her personal journals. Access granted! I learnt a lot more about her, and of course, was inquisitive to know more. Of course, I had always had a ‘crush’ on her, but at this point, my interest in Omobola and reality of the possibility was beyond what I expected, just like the possibility of Leicester winning the league, thrilling, lol. So I was interested in the kind of man she wanted!
Omobola: But because I was attracted to someone else, I didn’t even see even a shadow of him in the picture. By the way, the guy I was attracted to never came. On one sunny afternoon during one of our mid-semester breaks, I received a “suggestive text” from Temitope. The text cunningly suggested a relationship, at least in my own mind. I replied immediately telling him that if he was thinking of a relationship with me, he was hallucinating, dreaming and fantasizing.
Temitope turned the tables back to me asking me why I could have such warped idea of him suggesting a relationship. He was that smart. He later confessed to me that that was a ploy to get to put the idea of a relationship in view. Anyway, I felt bad about the whole thing and apologized to him.
Temitope: Truly, it was suggestive and I remember in the text “…when you traveled, it was like a vacuum was created in me…”, of course, I know how far that could go, but I wanted to see her reactions to my intentions. Apparently, she was defensive, replying “…no strings attached…”. But I claimed we were friends and I should be free to express my feelings with my friend, but her thoughts made me feel like a random guy and not a friend. She apologized, for the first time, she cried because of me, I could hear her sob on the phone, and she felt really bad! I wasn’t comfortable though, but the mission was accomplished.
Her tears confirmed I had a particular place in her heart, she lied, “there were strings attached”, lol. ( Tope is indeed a very good bad guy)
Omobola: Well, life moved on, we became closer friends and the idea of a relationship completely flew out of my mind. It wasn’t like I was attracted to him anyway. He still helped me with all the difficult modules I had, and at the end of my second year, my grades had improved. He also did excellently well! As this point, our friendship had gotten a little bit deeper.
He treated me preferentially. He made conscious time to come visiting me. He tried to find out what I really like and my plans after school. I established that Temitope is a goal getter. On the 13th of December, 2008, in our third year as undergraduates, Temitope asked me to be in a relationship with him. I didn’t see it coming. I laughed it off and told him I was not interested whatsoever. I came to school to read and have good grades and with my academic results, a relationship wasn’t on my mind.
Physically, he had nothing that attracted me to him. It’s amazing how he appears to be the most handsome man to me now, lol! Even though I had told God I wanted my first relationship to lead to something serious, I didn’t think that God would give me somebody I was not physically attracted to. But he is a nice guy, extremely intelligent and brilliant, but that was it! I didn’t see any future with him. Somehow, I discussed him and his intentions with a friend, Sandra. I told her I completely dismissed him in my mind, but she told me to just tell God about it. I gave her opinion a good thought and that evening, I told God about it.
Temitope: Well, I had not had any girlfriend before and it was the most daunting task to me at that time. I didn’t know how, but at least I survived that moment and at least she knew what I wanted. I knew for sure I had three lifelines – YES, NO, deferred YES/NO! But I knew the last lifeline was most likely and I didn’t guess wrong, so I had to wait!
Omobola: My relationship with God is such that I can talk to him about anything and have conversations with him at any time of the day. Prior to discussing it with Sandra, I didn’t want to tell God about it because I didn’t want to hear His own opinion. I thought God would approve of him as a potential suitor. I just felt it was not something to give serious thought to jareh!
Three months after, on his birthday 9th March 2009 he invited me to have lunch with him in a new restaurant in town. Temitope held my hands and expressed his sincere intentions to date me. I would say that at this point, I completely saw that he was sincere but I was scared. I didn’t like the idea of dating someone within my age bracket. He is one year older than I am, but I desired to get married to a man who is at least three years older than me. I expressed all my associated fears and reasons for such expectation, but he reassured me that he was really sincere. I remember the inscription he wrote on a piece of paper as we left the restaurant, reading “I LOVE YOU OMOBOLA’. These words sank into me for a very long time and so several times, I would ask him what he meant by ‘loving me’, what was his idea, what were his expectations? Would he still love me if I exposed and told him everything about me? Would he still claim to love me?
I was not under any pressure from Temitope. He completely left me to make a choice and didn’t put me under any unusual intense pressure. I pride myself as one who is not given to intense pressure anyway, but I liked the idea that Temitope seemed different from other guys who would threaten you, pressure or manipulate you to date them. I liked it. I was not scared that he would go away or some other girl would ‘snatch’ him away.
Somehow anyway, I told God about his intentions, asking Him if I could go ahead and if indeed Temitope had good plans for me, I got some sort of inner peace about everything. It was God’s positive response to my question. My friend Sandra also advised that I ask Temitope very key and direct questions. I did. I asked him about his sexual values, his church beliefs, everything I could ask him about. I had also known some answers to some these questions while we were friends so I just needed affirmation and reassurance.
Omobola: Fast forward, seven months from 13th of December 2008, on the 1st of July 2009, I officially gave my consent to Temitope to start a relationship with him.
Temitope: Well, the wait was really long, longer than I thought, but somehow, maybe because I saw her every day, I knew nothing had changed significantly and she was still taking her time. I had some bit of confidence she would say “yes”, so I was also enjoying the wait, lol.
But I could remember, on that Wednesday, 1st of July, 2009, after my morning devotion, I had this strong feeling within from nowhere that she’ll give her response that day. Shortly afterward, my phone beeped, it was a text message from her. She said she’ll like to see me later that she has something to discuss with me.
At this point, I was more nervous, it sounded like she’s going to say “no”, but I replied and said, “ok, she should tell me when to meet her”. She later suggested she’ll send the content via text, that she needed to gather her thoughts, at this point I was cocksure what the “subject of the matter” was, lol. But yes, I was ready, negative or positive, “You Never Walk Alone”, yes, I support Liverpool FC! I insisted we should talk about it in person! So we decided to meet later in the evening, as usual – “in the cool of the day”.
Omobola: I remember that evening when I went to give my response, I didn’t know how best to say “it”, so I stammered and was so frightened. The truth was that it was my first. I hadn’t done this before. I had never come to that point where I was bold enough to choose a man. All the other men who had come were not my choice and so it was easy to wave them off, but for Temitope, he was different. I had developed feelings for him which I was not shy of expressing. I was not in denial of my feelings to him.
Anyway, somehow, I eventually told him that I have agreed to start a relationship with him. When I did, he hugged me tightly. It was my very first time of being in a man’s passionate embrace. The time was about 12:15am, he walked me over to my room and ensured I was safe before he left. We stayed off-campus and we stayed about two houses apart from each other. The following morning, he dropped a note by my door expressing his love for me and his plans for me. It’s a lovely note I still have and keep till date. Temitope is a prolific writer and I have kept all of his love letters to me.
Temitope: It was scary, but I had to appear strong, lol. I felt like it’s a whole lot of responsibility, increased expenses, lol and yes, some extra time to prove “the love”. Two years down the line, we were in our final years. Academically, I think we did well individually. We were able to balance both our books and our love life as we maintained very strict measures to ensure that neither of both suffered. By the grace of God, she was rated the most improved student academically, having started with a Third Class grade, by then she had a strong Second-Class Upper grade. I had a First Class grade and also had the highest grade in the Faculty (School of Environmental Technology).
Omobola: While in school, we were accountable to friends and my fellowship’s zonal pastor then, who was also a married senior pastor of a church around our university. Temitope gave his consent before we could introduce ourselves and agree to be under his tutelage. In November 2011, during our graduation ceremony, Temitope got a lot of awards having graduated as the best student in Quantity Surveying and faculty – School of Environmental Technology. I couldn’t have been more proud.
…many waters under the bridge
Omobola: The journey after our undergraduate university degrees was quite exciting and challenging as we were facing the real world. We both went for the compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). I was posted to Lagos state while Temitope was posted to Anambra state. I remember it was at this time, we had a major misunderstanding and Temitope wouldn’t want to speak with me at all. I thought it was going to be over between us, but one of our mutual friends (Michael) who was serving with Temitope in Anambra advised me and counseled me. He took the mediating role and things eased up.
Temitope had to come to Lagos about 3 – 4 times for a job interview with a multinational consulting firm he had always wanted to join since we were in school, which was how we maintain physical contact through our service year. After our NYSC year, Temitope was offered a Graduate Assistant role in our department back in school but resigned about 10 months after, to join the consulting firm he interviewed within Lagos, due to his passion for consulting and love for professional life.
Temitope: Immediately after NYSC, Omobola left for the UK for her Master’s programme. I wasn’t practically bothered but I sincerely felt what I wrote in the initial “suggestive text” about 4 years earlier, “truly, a vacuum was created in me”. I remember while at the airport to see her off, she had already checked in on the Qatar Airways flight bounded for Manchester, and I had given her my “last” hug for the moment. But when I saw the flight crew pass by, I noticed tears rolled down my cheeks. This was the first time I would have tears out of emotions! I tried to remain brave and grabbed some bottle of coke, lol. I heard the boarding announcement, and I called her to wish her a safe trip.
Omobola: It was challenging though, but it was not as tough for me because I was the one leaving him back home and I knew that I had made my choice. There isn’t yet the girl who would try to steal Temitope away from me. I boasted and I still boast about it, lol! We were both committed to each other and extremely open with each other. Where we got individual pressures, we discussed it and shared it. We sought advice from each other.
Sometimes, I would need to advise him as a lady and sometimes, he would do the same to me as a man. There were lots of requests for a relationship while in England from several men. I shared everything with Temitope and he did the same with me. He shared with me the intense pressure he was getting from ladies. All through our relationship, we have expressed our love for each other through our acts of giving gifts – sincerely mutual and easy, even when costly and expensive. We communicated and were constantly in touch with each other. We quarreled but were always quick to resolve it as soon as we can. I also announced my relationship to everyone who cared to know.
Temitope: In May, 2014 she returned to Nigeria after the successful completion of her Master’s degree. It was beautiful to see her again! She got a job with a Quantity Surveying consulting firm in Lagos, while I was also working as a Management Consultant with a company within the “big four”. We stayed in the same area of Lagos, Surulere. Weekends were fun to look towards, lol, except when either of us had to travel out of Lagos, for work-related assignments. I used to be the culprit, lol.
Omobola: Technically, we had been dating for five years now and I must confess that I was overwhelmed with thoughts of marriage, especially concerned that he hadn’t proposed yet. Wedding announcements of my friends and even younger ones weren’t helpful either. I was happy for them, but I would end each joyous moment with the thoughts of me! I had no doubts in my mind about who he was and that he had my best interest at heart. I only just prayed that things would work quicker for him. Friends kept asking what was delaying us. Lol, I understood them. These friends felt that since we were both working and living well, it was only logical to get married. Sometimes, it isn’t black and white o! Anyway, I did not allow such thoughts overwhelm me. I focused on my career and been my best in my job. I reasoned that if marriage was not forthcoming, I better get on with my life and enjoy all that my single life entails. I did, trust me. I moved on.
Temitope: I remember she asked me frankly about when I wanted to get married. It was not that I wasn’t having a plan, but I just wasn’t ready somehow, the timing wasn’t clear, but I knew very soon. I told her my ultimate concern, I needed time to consolidate the foundation for my career life and that would mean getting my Master’s degree before I get married. She was such an angel to make no drama out of it and understood perfectly. I had already chosen the school and the programme to attend, but I was waiting for application and resumption. She had always had a plan for an academic career, so we knew she would need a Ph.D.! We searched for a good school and we made a choice together. So in August 2015, I left for the University of Ghana Business School in Accra for my Master’s degree, which was to last until May/June 2016.
Omobola: I knew I was going to miss him again and I must confess the pain was deeper because he was the one leaving me in Nigeria. But we both realized that it was for our good. If we invested in our foundation as singles, we knew that Marriage would not put any pressure on us and we would have already built platforms to start with. We embraced for the third time the long distance phase in our relationship.
On the said date of his travel, I missed seeing him. I got caught up with work and couldn’t see him off to the airport. I was sad, but I soon got over it and continued working. We talked every day. I must confess, Temitope being away gave me more time to visit friends, lol. Yeah, that’s true! I also had time to be on my own. Ladies understand what I mean. Sometimes it appeared refreshing, other times the overwhelming effect of missing him was intense. In December 2015, He got back for the Christmas break. I was the most excited to see him as we were also rounding activities in my own office for the year.
Temitope: Well, I felt it strongly, it was about that time I need to “pop the ultimate question”. And I thought the Christmas break – December 2015 would be perfect. Earlier, she had gotten her admission to start her Ph.D. in South Africa and she would resume in January 2016. I was thinking I could wait until I’m done with my degree, fly to South Africa for a surprise proposal. But hey, wouldn’t that be too late, the urge was a lot, but it was all within me, just me, myself and I, had all the thoughts! But I decided, I would do it in December, but how? I really didn’t know yet! I had a plan, and I knew the wedding would likely be sometimes within 2016.
Shortly after I got back to Lagos, she had to travel to Ibadan to see her parents and siblings. Well, I had to stay back and attend to some things in Lagos, but now I was clear and decided the proposal was to be in Ibadan! So the next thing was to shop for the ring! I browsed through a lot of catalogs and faced the major challenge, I had no idea rings had sizes, lol. But I read a lot of items and decided on the most likely guess for my “situation” – size 7! The ring vendor was also helpful.
Omobola: Temitope arrived Ibadan late on Monday 28th December 2015. I didn’t think it of anything special. I always have a nice time with him any other day, so I was looking forward to another of such. He usually stays at his close friend’s place when he’s in Ibadan, Victor!
Temitope: I arrived late in Ibadan because I had to go to Victoria Island, Lagos to pick up the ring, which I had previously ordered, but the jeweler opened late that day. Now I had the ring and was on my way to Ibadan. No particular plan in place yet, and truly no other person knew about this, just “me, myself and I”. Not even Victor! But that evening, I had to tell Victor, and we devised a plan. We called up some of our friends in Ibadan. So the next day, we drove to her house, picked her up and then we went to one of the finest and latest restaurant and bar in Ibadan, as recommended by Michael, Victor’s brother (I’m not an Ibadan boy). We were really all happy to meet again, we got served and we were really having fun chatting and laughing. We were talking about what 2016 would hold and what we could expect from each other. Just before we started, my heart started to skip, I was going to “go on my kneels” right when it was my turn! I went to the convenience, had a deep breath and then I was back.
Omobola: I spoke of how good I hoped 2016 would be. Everyone one else spoke and when it got to Temitope’s turn…he paused. I listened carefully. I wanted to know if the plans he shared with me would be the same with what he would share. What I didn’t know was that he had planned to propose at that point. So as he spoke of how great I had been in the past years and that he had a gift to express his gratitude, he went on his knees! I was just blank! I didn’t think a ring was what was next. Anyway, he brought out the ring. Oh My! I went to heaven and came back. I was shocked! He was on one knee and he took my finger and placed the ring in it. It was a lovely ring. I loved it. I said yes and we hugged!
Until that moment, I didn’t know the feeling of wearing a ring. It really felt good and I wore it with pride. I was so happy. Now, I felt our relationship had gotten to an official stage. We were engaged, lol! I immediately changed my status on Facebook. I was like the happiest soon to be bride on earth. Temitope wrote me lovely poems to express his love for me. Later in January 2016, on the 16th, we both traveled out of Lagos the same day, different destinations; I traveled to South Africa for my Ph.D. programme while Temitope went back to Accra for the completion of his Master’s degree programme. Oh my! I cried, but to laugh again, together, and forever!
What lessons did you learn from the Awoyemi’s? Feel free to share.
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