Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.

What’s your earliest memory of each other?

Gbemi: I was standing on the road, waiting for a bus or bike, when this car stopped in front of me and wound down. It was actually the second car that stopped to offer me a ride that evening, but the no in my head immediately turned to yes when I felt the AC blow out of his car. I quickly thanked him and opened the door.

Muiz: I remember seeing this fine girl standing close to the bus stop. I wanted to get her out of the sun and into my life.

I’d just come out of a long relationship with someone I was sure I would marry, so I wasn’t thinking about a relationship when I decided to offer her a ride. I only wanted fine company and to give her some comfort.

Hmm. Were you both going the same way?

Muiz: She said she was going home, but she lived much further than my destination. I thought I’d drop her as far as I could go, and at least, I’d have made some part of her journey comfortable.

Gbemi: Unfortunately, it would’ve been hard to get a straight bus home anywhere around where he was going compared to where he’d picked me up from. When I told him this, he felt bad, so I downplayed it. I really didn’t want to get out of his car. It was so chilled and smelt nice. On top of that, he had Keri Hilson, one of my favourite R&B musicians, playing on his radio. I would’ve followed him wherever.

Muiz: We got to talking. I asked her about work, her family. I’m generally a curious person, so I’m always asking people everything about themselves. But with this complete stranger, I felt particularly interested. I like the way she speaks. Na she learn English pass everyone in Nigeria. 

I ended up taking her all the way to her house because I wanted to hear more, and I didn’t feel comfortable dropping her on the road anymore.

So you liked each other already at this point?

Muiz: When I think back now, I think I loved her already. I’m not normally nice enough to drive complete strangers to their doorstep that’s at least 30 minutes away from where I’m going. I’ve never done that before. But also, I wasn’t tripping in any way I ever had before. I genuinely enjoyed her company like I would a friend that I love.

Gbemi: I enjoyed how curious he was about my life and how much he really seemed to listen. At the same time, I didn’t get that vibe that he could be a criminal planning to kidnap or assault me. Girls will understand what I mean. I was so comfortable being in his car and talking to him that it didn’t even occur to me until later that night that I should’ve been more on guard. 

From that day until today, he’s never left my mind for one second.

Muiz: We didn’t even collect numbers that night. When I left her house, I started regretting, but I still had my last relationship to manage. 

I’d broken up with my ex when I found out she’d been cheating for a while, but she was still harassing me to get back together. I just wanted peace of mind for a while.


Gbemi: Some weeks later, he came to my house to ask about me. 

He’d come some days before, when I wasn’t home and left a handwritten note with my maiguard. Nothing romantic. It was something like “Just so you know I dropped by. I hope your life is going fine.”

Muiz: When I finally met her at home, the first thing I asked for was her number. We went to a nearby eatery to chat for like an hour over chips and chicken. After that day, we talked on the phone regularly for months.

What were you talking about?

Gbemi: Nothing really. They weren’t long calls. I think the point was this constant need to check up on each other.

Muiz: One day, we talked about this bulb that just stopped working in my room. Another day, it was how I wished she’d come cook asaro for me in my house.

Gbemi, did you go and cook asaro in his house?

Gbemi: Before we got married, never.

Muiz: I tried my best to make her, but she no gree. 

Gbemi: I was too busy making it every other day in my father’s house to come and continue the struggle in another man’s house.

So when did you accept that you loved each other?

Muiz: One day, I was on the phone with her when my friend, who was crashing at my place that week, told me to just ask her out. He was like the way I was smiling while talking to her was not normal. 

I thought about it and realised he was right. She really made me happy.

I remember, when I met my ex, it was chaos from beginning to end. I liked her because she was crazy and made me feel alive. But with Gbemi, I have peace and it’s like I’m in heaven with God’s angels.

Gbemi: I always looked forward to our calls. They were short and sweet and left me feeling good about myself. It just got to a point when, once I saw his call, I’d drop everything to answer no matter what I was doing or who I was talking to. My siblings used to laugh at me all the time. 

Also, one of the reasons why I never passed the talking stage with other guys was because they’d always make snarky comments. One time, I made a passing comment about my hair, and this guy responded that he hoped I wasn’t trying to get him to pay for it. Another one, we were at a restaurant waiting for our food when I grumbled about them not giving us garlic bread and water to just hold our belly. He responded that “Are you trying to impress me?” 

But Muiz never made condescending comments like that. He was always sensitive and thoughtful. I noticed that very quickly.

How did the asking out go?

Muiz: It took her a week to say yes. She kept saying she’d think about it, and she wasn’t sure she was ready for a relationship.

Gbemi: He was the only guy I ever dated. Before him, it was eternal talking stage after talking stage. I don’t count the guys I dated in school because those ones weren’t serious.

Muiz: Someone somewhere is telling people you were their girlfriend. Not knowing you’ve erased them from your history.

Gbemi: Sorry for them. 

I was scared because I felt I liked him too much. I was already thinking of what I’d do if he broke my heart. I sha said okay after a while because he kept sending me gifts. Every day, he’d send me something small: a novel, a pair of earrings, a CD of my best series. I had no choice but to agree.

What was dating like?

Gbemi: Nothing changed for at least a year. Except that I went to his house sometimes. We mostly spoke over the phone. 

He continued sending me small small gifts, but of course, not as often. I still have some of those gifts together in a box somewhere.

Muiz: It made me feel much better knowing we were exclusive. I just knew I could trust her to be faithful and that made me love her even more.

Gbemi: Then toward the end of 2013, I met his so-called ex and she did everything she could to frustrate our relationship.

What happened?

Gbemi: The first time I met her was at an event I attended with Muiz. The funny thing was I was admiring her from afar. I didn’t even know who she was, but she was dressed so beautifully. I was about to compliment her when someone introduced us, and she just snubbed me.

Muiz: Then I don’t know how she got Gbemi’s number, but she started harassing her with calls and threatening messages.

Gbemi: I had to block her.

Muiz: I thought she’d gotten over me. But the moment she found out I was in another relationship, she started her drama again. There’s no one I didn’t call to warn her, from her mother to her grandmother.

Gbemi: One day after we got married, we randomly walked past each other on the road, and she just shoved me back. It remained small, I would’ve fallen right on the road, and a bike zoomed past right after. 

My whole body was shaking, my heart was banging. By the time I’d settled down, she was gone.

How were you guys able to marry despite her disturbance?

Muiz: We ignored it as best we could. It wasn’t something that was in our face all the time.

Gbemi: We also talked about it. I asked about their relationship because I wanted to understand why she was behaving like that. But I think that’s just her personality.

Did her behaviour scare you?

Gbemi: It did. 

Sometimes, I’d think to myself, what if this babe tries to attack us in our home or sends boys to beat me or pours acid on my face? But then, I had to just calm myself down.

Muiz: I kept reassuring her and doing my best to caution my ex. 

By early 2014, I knew I wanted us to get married as quickly as possible. I proposed in my sitting room one day, and as soon as she said yes, I went to meet her dad.

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How did it go?

Muiz: Her dad told me, “Uncle, she’s my last born. You have to treat her like an egg.” He made me swear on my life that I would.

Gbemi: Muiz was intentional about everything. Our parents set a date for six months after the proposal to give us time to plan properly and raise money. At no point during this period did I even think about his ex. My mind was completely at peace because I loved him and I wanted him to be my forever.

What was it that made you guys so sure of each other?

Gbemi: For me, it’s his character. He’s a serious-minded person. He’s sure of himself and intentional. He made and still makes me feel secure. 

He also always shows genuine interest in me and the things that make me happy. My career, hobbies, likes and dislikes? He pays attention.

Muiz: She’s smart and has always had her priorities straight. She’s good with work and money, but she also always puts me first.

Then, there was just this sense of trust between us. When I say something, she takes it like that. She doesn’t get suspicious without provocation just because I’m a man. I can’t give a specific example, but I really valued that.

What was life after the wedding like?

Gbemi: Beautiful. We had a great honeymoon period without the honeymoon. The ex tried her best to ruin things, but she didn’t succeed.

Tried to ruin things?

Gbemi: She was always showing up at events and putting undue attention on us. Or trying to get in touch with either of us through unknown numbers. 

The worst was when she showed up at my office calling me a husband snatcher. It was so embarrassing. But more for her than me because no one really took her seriously.

Muiz: I felt bad that she was doing these things. Not just because of how uncomfortable it made Gbemi, but also because this was someone I dated for close to four years. Sometimes, I’d ask myself, “Did I do something wrong to her to make her act this way?”

But she cheated on me. I will never understand why she behaved that way after. Those were crazy times.

Did she eventually stop or you got the police involved?

Muiz: She did not o. We had to leave the country for her.

Gbemi: I’d been a customer service worker at an international airline for about eight years when in 2017, they transferred me to their office in Jordan. They paid for me to relocate and covered part of the costs for my spouse.

Muiz: It was a lucky break for us because we’d just found out she was pregnant before she received the promotion. In fact, we had to hide the pregnancy from the company. Let them not change their minds. You know these big companies can be funny at times.

Gbemi: Come and see us praying to God that my belly doesn’t become obvious before the trip finally happened. That’s how we escaped the crazy ex o. 

We’re now in Canada with our own travel consulting business, so we’re grateful to God for how everything worked out.

Sweet. What was your first major fight about?

Muiz: We have two boys, and if we’ve ever had major fights, it was probably triggered by them.

Gbemi: We have very different approaches when it comes to parenting. 

I’d always told myself I’d be the type of parent to understand my kids and talk to them like they had sense. Muiz is much more traditionally Nigerian, although he’s been taking some of my suggestions. 

Muiz: At the end of the day, I believe discipline wins when it comes to children.

Gbemi: But I draw the line when it comes to shouting at them. I always disagree with that and intervene when I have to.

Muiz: We’ve never had a major fight outside of that. I don’t think we ever even argued before we got married.

How does a major difference like that affect your marriage?

Gbemi: I see it as part of the package of growing old together, so I try not to internalise it or make it about me.

He’s gotten better. I’ve noticed him grow much softer, especially with our second son. He’s much more willing to have conversations with them and get on their level.

Muiz: Parenting as a whole, how much time we devote to caring for the boys, takes a toll on our relationship. There are many times when, between work, the boys, and even school — because she’s studying for an MBA and I’m taking some courses — we don’t have as much one-on-one time as we’d like. 

But I know one day soon, we’ll find ourselves retired and the kids will have moved out to start their lives, and we’d have all the free and peaceful time in the world. So I’m not worried. 

If she’s too soft with them, it only balances out my occasional harshness.

Gbemi: The important thing is he’s a good father and his love shines through most of his actions towards them. And that’s where I come in.

Great. How would you rate your Love Life on a scale of one to ten?

Muiz: 10 because I can’t really imagine things being better than this.

Gbemi: 10. Our journey has been nothing short of perfect so far.

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