Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Akintunde, 35, and ‘Depeju, 26, knew they would marry each other after speaking on the phone for the first time. For today’s Love Life, they talk about fighting for the first few months of their relationship, how they got past that and what it feels like to become parents.
What is your earliest memory of each other?
‘Depeju: I met the big head through Facebook. He slid into the DMs on my birthday to wish me a happy birthday, and then he added “Sweetheart” to his message. I thought he was a jobless 30+ married man that did not really have anything to do with his life, so I let the “Sweetheart” slide.
Akintunde: I actually used the “Sweetheart” to test the ground. I wanted to see if she would be offended by that or if she would be good-natured about it. She didn’t show offense, so I was encouraged to proceed with my agenda.
‘Depeju: Normally, I wouldn’t have replied to that DM. I don’t usually reply Facebook DMs. They’re always filled with “hello angle” and the likes. But when I went through his wall, I saw that he was reasonable and had intelligent pieces of writing, so I replied him with “Thank you Sir.”
All this because of a birthday notification…
Akintunde: I can’t recall if it was the birthday notification that brought her to my attention. I just know I ended up on her wall and saw an angelic babe.
‘Depeju: I’ll remind you: You sent me a friend request because you were sending friend requests to plenty girls at random.
‘Depeju: After the “Sir” reply, we got talking. I really can’t remember what got us talking but I know it’s something around the fact that he sucks at dancing. The conversation became frequent real quickly and we exchanged contacts, so he called me.
We spent more than one hour on the phone. During the course of the call, he said, “I’m AS. Find out your genotype because I’m not here to play.”
After the call, I knew that I wanted to marry him. I didn’t have to doubt. It was love at first talk.
Akintunde: Omo, I didn’t come to play. But I’ll be honest: you are also very interesting to talk to. You and your spri-spri English. Before we met, I dated someone I really liked but things went south. After I broke up with the babe, the people I dated or had flings with were either not my type or something just didn’t click. They were either so boring and just wanted “Love”, or just simply subpar. I’m big on having conversations, and I was looking for that person whom I’d be able to have conversations with about anything and they’d be able to hold their own.
So, that first phone call with ‘Depeju showed clearly that yeah, na this be the one for me! I clearly liked her already and there we were talking for about three hours during the first phone conversation, something my life lacked at that point. I didn’t need any further sign to know that this was the girl I wanted to marry. It was why I asked her to quickly get her genotype checked because I didn’t want to love up and then later realise that things would not work out.
Does this mean you both were single when you found each other?
‘Depeju: Funny enough, I just ended a relationship a few weeks before then.
Akintunde: And cut your hair. Say eeettt.
‘Depeju: I really don’t like you, this man. But yeah sha, it was a terrible breakup. He was someone I liked, but we both knew that the relationship couldn’t go anywhere because of religious differences. We eventually agreed to the breakup, but it was a bit tough on me emotionally. I cut my hair, ran out of Lagos, went on a tour with a friend of mine. Along the line I celebrated my birthday, and then, this annoying man’s message came in.
Akintunde: I had to break off with different ties I had then. A couple of them took a while because they needed soft landing. I just didn’t want to be brash and make someone go and hurt herself.
Wait, wait, wait. You had multiple ties? I thought…
‘Depeju: Ah, he had multiple ties oh. Flings ni repete.
Akintunde: Like I said earlier, I was really searching for where my soul would fit with…
‘Depeju: Oshey, soul search.
Akintunde: It was the search that brought me into her DM. It was the search that led to the phone call, and that phone call did it for me. But I had to pass through many places before landing my queen. Some of these ‘ties’ were in different stages of being, and it became expedient to go and remove myself from them all.
How did you tell your ties that you wanted to end things?
‘Depeju: Don’t come and form that you did it gently o.
Akintunde: To be honest, I wasn’t really talking with these people, so it wasn’t difficult to end things. I ghosted some and found a way to scatter things with others. I’m sure some of these people are still very mad at me, but they should not vex, please.
So did you start making wedding plans after the call?
Akintunde: What plans? Someone that I later blocked.
‘Depeju: You would think since we knew we were going to marry each other, it would be all lovey-dovey. But no. A few months later, when we started getting to know each other, I told myself, “Ahhh, this is a mistake o.” I knew I had entered one chance.
Ahan, what happened?
‘Depeju: We had so many differences, especially in terms of ideologies and our outlook about life. One major problem was our age difference. Akintunde thinks like he is in his 50s. And well, not to put the whole blame on him, I was childish about some issues too. One time, we had a fight and instead of talking it out with him, I subbed him on my status. You should have seen the way he erupted.
Started talking about, “Are you a child? You have an issue with me, you should talk to me directly.” He went on and on like a father scolding his child. It was then I knew I was in a relationship with my daddy.
Akintunde: I just feel if you have issues with me and you say I am the love of your life, come and tell me. Not throw a mini pity party.
‘Depeju: And another thing: I like evening outings, but for my 50+ man, as soon as it is 6 p.m., his own day outside is over.
Akintunde: You sef. Why do you want to start going to the cinema by 10 p.m.? Nigeria is dangerous, please.
‘Depeju: Oh, and once, we had a big fight one afternoon. That’s how my dude blocked me. He doesn’t like me to call him ‘dude’ by the way. We once had a fight about that too. He wanted to know why I would refer to him as ‘dude’.
Akintunde: Call me by my name when we are fighting. Call me baby in peacetime.
But really though, what was the blocking about?
‘Depeju: Honestly, I can’t remember all the details again. I just know he left me a long list of messages ranting about how he couldn’t take it anymore, how I’m not giving him peace.
Babe, do you still remember?
Akintunde: I think you subbed me on your status after a fight and wrote, “People change”. And I took it personally. Like, won’t this one stop subbing me on her status?
How long did the block last?
Akintunde: I think it was up to 4 days or so.
‘Depeju: After he blocked me, I reached out to a mutual friend of ours and told her we had ended things. The first thing she asked was, “Did you two end it formally?” I said no, that he left a long ass message for me and blocked me. She said I should call him to make things formal, so that one party would not assume that we are done while the other party thinks it’s just a break. I agreed to call him so I could end things officially. The moment I heard his voice, I started crying.
At first, he was forming. He said, “Ehn, it’s not as if I wanted to block you, it’s because I am tired of the way you’re behaving blah blah blah.” That day, we ended up talking for like 4 hours. After that, everything changed. We started making compromises, stopped fighting and started talking about things.
Akintunde: So, technically, the real romance began after “The Second Phone Call.”
How long were you together before you decided to make it official and forever?
Akintunde: 2 years.
‘Depeju: Oh, by the way, this man never popped the actual, “Will you be my girlfriend?” or “Will you marry me?” question. He just told me, “I want to date you and not just date you, I’m here for marriage.” And when it was time, he simply went to meet my mother with his family and decided on a wedding date in my absence. Man was a real 50+ man with enough ego to power Nigeria’s electricity. I’d ask him and he’d say, “Will I now kneel down and be asking will you marry me? Shebi we know we want to marry each other already?”
Akintunde: You won’t let this matter die a natural death. I have said I will propose during one of our anniversaries.
But if it counts for anything, I called her one New Year’s Day and said, “Let’s get married this year na.” At that point, I was completely convinced we had to get our asses married.
The second phone call played a large part in this. Like I said, that was the beginning of the real romance. And seeing as we both seemed very sure of each other and were doing this lovey-dovey thing very well and dealing with issues between us with more understanding and sense, there wasn’t really anything further to check.
‘Depeju: And me too, I was completely and irrevocably in love with him. So even though I already had my ideal proposal in mind, when he called me to say, “Let’s get married na,” I said, “Yeah, let’s do it.”
How has married life been?
‘Depeju: Omo. I have no words, because awesome does not even describe it properly. If there’s something more than awesome, that’s the word I’ll use.
Akintunde: It has been really really really good, to be very honest. Let’s not deny God’s goodness. I’ve enjoyed the different phases and moments, and day after day, I am glad I saw that picture of her and was bold enough to send her a DM.
‘Depeju: And I’m glad I didn’t air you because you looked jobless.
What’s the best part about being married to each other?
‘Depeju: Ah, on this, I could write an epistle o. Because there’s no single best part. From the way he’s intentional about loving me, to the awesome communication, funny moments and all. If I’m to really pick a single best part, then I think it’s the fact that I get to wake up every morning and see the love of my life beside me.
Akintunde: For me, it’s knowing I have this woman in my life. There’s this feeling like it’s a piece of something that found its place/niche. Think of a dovetail joint. Fitting so neatly and cleanly. Without fuss. And this makes every other thing we do or experience so beautiful.
‘Depeju: And yeah, he’s the writer in the family so he tends to describe things better than me. Show off oshi. But for real, I am grateful for the love Akintunde has brought into my life. It’s incomparable and beyond measure. And I am grateful for our child too. We are now parents.
Aww. Tell me about that.
Akintunde: I have come to realise that I’m the cool dad and she’s the mean mom.
‘Depeju: About this, AK said I’ve embraced motherhood more than ‘wifehood’. Also, I’m not mean, he’s just the happy-go-lucky dad. He wiill let that minion get away with murder if he can.
LMAO. How’s romance like with a child in it?
‘Depeju: We have been compromising. We are not allowing the baby to ruin our romantic life completely. After I had the baby, we’d take walks, drive somewhere and just park there and be with each other for hours. We also picked a day of the week to have to ourselves only.
It’s not as easy as it was before, but we’re taking it a day at a time and making deliberate efforts not to let go of our life for the baby. We had my mum with us for a month, and after that, we got a nanny.
Akintunde: A few months ago, we had this getaway planned. The baby with her nanny would go spend the weekend with my parents. Babe and I would get out of the house and go spend the weekend somewhere else. Have a good time. Go pick them up after two days.
First thing babe said after I told her we’d be taking the baby somewhere else away from us, “What will I now be doing?”
Ogbeni, you will be doing me!
I’m screaming. Tell me, what do you love the most about each other?
Akintunde: ‘Depeju is perfection. She has a way to make everything in your life be in their right or appropriate place.
‘Depeju: I love Akin’s kindness. I’ve always thought that my mum was the kindest person I knew until I met Akin. He’s always being kind and a blessing to everyone around him. There was a time he was supposed to send me money for something. But this was back when we used to have our fights, and we were in the middle of a fight. Obviously, we were not talking to each other, so I didn’t expect anything.
He sent this money and told me we’re still not talking but that didn’t mean he shouldn’t do what he’s supposed to do. When he did that, I made up my mind that even when we’re fighting, we can still be kind to each other.
How do you both resolve conflicts when they come up now?
‘Depeju: We talk.
Akintunde: Yes, we talk. We have this saying: “Conversation is our superpower”, and so, no matter what happens, we have decided we’ll always leave the door for conversations open.
‘Depeju: We can spend hours resolving little fights because we talk about everything and anything. We also make decisions together. If I tell you no, and you go behind me and ask him, the answer will still be no because there’s every probability that we’ve talked about it.
Akintunde: Also, we look out for each other. We see parenthood as a shared responsibility, and this has been really helpful to us as parents. That way, no part of the journey wears one or both of us out.
‘Depeju: To be honest, we have just started the parenting journey, so we can’t say we’ve made parenting work until the child turns out not to be a crackhead.
Akintunde: My child will not become a crackhead, please.
‘Depeju: No nau. Just a weirdo, like you.
Is there anything you’d love to change about each other?
‘Depeju: I wish Akintunde will arrange his things in a more orderly manner. One shoe might be in Kaduna, the other in Kano.
Akintunde: At least they are both “K”. Me, I wish ‘Depeju would have a less sharp mouth. Ah.
‘Depeju: LMAO. But I don’t insult people nau.
Akintunde: Not to their faces. It’s me that will hear everything.
‘Depeju: You’re not serious.
How would you rate the relationship on a scale of 1 – 10?
‘Depeju: Omo! O ja scale.
Akintunde: It’s just how my madam has said it. This love is too big to measure on a scale.
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