Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
The subjects of this week’s Love Life, Michael (29) and Ada (24), are planning their wedding. They talk us through breaking the bro code, all the lies they told to be together and how their epic Valentine’s Day proposal almost didn’t happen.
How did you both meet?
Michael: In October of 2018, we met at a birthday party her brother dragged the both of us to. Even though I’d been friends with her brother for a while, the party was the first place I saw her physically. She didn’t school in Nigeria and had just returned a couple of weeks before to start NYSC.
Ada: I came to serve my country, and I found love. What a life. I’m a shy person, so that day was extra hard for me because I wasn’t just outside with my brother but with two of his friends. I tried not to do too much so it wouldn’t seem like I was looking for attention, but not do too little so they wouldn’t think I was proud. I was stressed.
Michael: I thought she was beautiful, so I approached her. We vibed really well and had a lovely conversation. We even exchanged numbers. After the party, I started texting her. It was going well, save for the times when she was forming for me.
What do you mean by “form”?
Michael: Twice, I asked her to hang out, but she said she was busy. What was she busy doing?
Ada: Technically, it was one time I didn’t get to hang out with you because I had an event to attend with my parents. The second time which was about a month after we met, we eventually saw a movie together.
How did that happen?
Michael: I’d asked her if she was free, but she said she had plans to see a movie with her friend. Later, my friend called to ask for a lift to the cinema. When I dropped him off, I was about to leave when I saw Ada walking out with her friend.
Ada: I was shocked to see him but went to say hi.
Michael: We just sat there and talked about many things.
Ada: Unlike the last time that meant planning something, we were both already outside. Nobody had to make any effort, so it was easier to just sit down and talk. I enjoyed spending time with him so much that I skipped going to church so we could watch a movie together.
Ada: It wasn’t the first time something like that happened. A couple of weeks after the cinema thing, in early December, I texted him that I was done with my PPA and was about to go get pizza with my parents. He asked if I could come see him at work, and I agreed because it was still early in the afternoon. I really can’t believe I gave up pizza for this man.
Michael: But I bought you food. Doesn’t that make up for it?
Ada: It does.
Michael: After we hung out in my office for a bit, I drove her to a bus stop. At this point, I already knew I liked her. We’d been texting every day since we exchanged numbers, and the two times I’d spent with just her were great. That’s why after gathering courage, I kissed her.
Ada: I was excited, but I also tried not to do too much because, even though we were in a car, it was still in broad daylight.
Michael: After the kiss, we didn’t become official. I was trying not to rush into anything.
Ada: I liked him too, but I was trying not to put all my eggs in one basket, so I still went on dates and hung around with other people.
Michael: Meanwhile, I was there, with all my eggs in one basket.
Ada, when did you realise you didn’t want to talk to anyone else?
Ada: Valentine’s Day of 2019. In the days leading up to it, I didn’t bring up anything to do with the holiday because I didn’t want it to look like I was expecting anything. When he asked to hang out with me that day, he didn’t make it seem different from any other day.
Michael: Meanwhile, I told my boss I was sick so I could take the day off. Missed my daily 2k.
Ada: When I got to his place, he’d made that signature bachelor stir fry spaghetti with carrots and bell peppers and bought me red wine and chocolate. He laid his blanket on the floor, and we watched The Notebook together. Because we weren’t even together, but he was intentional about doing things that’d make me feel special, my feelings for him deepened.
I love love. How was seeing only him like?
Ada: We tried to see each other as often as possible, but it was easier during work hours because he worked in Lekki Phase 1, and I worked in VI. We’d dash between offices during our lunch breaks. I’d occasionally lie that I needed to run an errand.
So how did both of you become official?
Michael: I don’t like to rush into things, so I wanted to think it through and ensure everything was perfect first. In June 2019, I told myself if I extended it past this period, I would be playing it too safe.
Ada: I was in his house, and he started pacing. I was worried about him, but he told me it was because he was nervous and had something important to talk about. That’s when he asked me to be his girlfriend.
Michael: I told her she didn’t need to give an answer immediately, but I just wanted to ask.
Ada: I told him yes because I’d grown fond of him, and my friends loved him. He asked me out a couple of weeks before my birthday. I’d told myself that by 21, I’d be more intentional with my dating life, so it felt like a sign. Plus, he’s my brother’s friend, so I knew if he did anything to me, my brother would find him.
But I thought it was against the bro code to date your friend’s sister
Ada: Bro code in the mud o because my brother didn’t even know we were dating for a bit.
Michael: We were trying to figure out how best to bring it up. Three weeks after we started dating, we all went to see a movie. Ada and I had planned to tell him about it together in the afternoon, but she went ahead to tell him in the morning. When I eventually came over in the afternoon, he and I just talked.
What if he’d said you shouldn’t date?
Michael: That would’ve been his business. We told him out of courtesy. Plus, he’s not that kind of person. If he didn’t want me dating his sister, we wouldn’t have been friends anyway.
Ada: My brother wouldn’t let me around people he didn’t trust. The actual obstacle we had to face was my father. I’m the only girl, so my dad is extra protective of me and didn’t like the fact that I was staying out so late. Whenever he came back from work and didn’t find me at home, he’d be upset. My mum, on the other hand, was a bit more laid back. When I told her about Michael, she just warned me to be careful. She even started covering for me with my dad sometimes.
If I wanted to sleep over at his place, I’d have to lie about staying with my friend, Dammy. I was 21 and still living with my parents, so I made sacrifices like staying back to spend time with him instead of following the rest of my family on a three-week trip. When they asked why I couldn’t go, I just told them I couldn’t take leave from work.
With physical touch as my love language, I really need to be in situations where I can just hold him. Three weeks without seeing him could have killed me.
You must have hated lockdown
Ada: I almost lost my mind.
Michael: There were no more sleepovers or quick dashes to each other’s offices . We tried to make do with video and audio calls, but it wasn’t the same.
Ada: At 7 a.m. on the day they lifted the lockdown, I borrowed my mum’s car and went from my house in Ajah to his in Yaba. I couldn’t go another hour without seeing him.
See love o. Did you ever confess about the Dammy thing?
Ada: No, but my parents can’t do anything to me now. I’m a married woman.
Tell me about the proposal
Michael: I started preparing to propose to her in January 2022. I enlisted her friends to help find out the kind of ring she wanted and her size. A friend of mine who owns a restaurant in Lekki offered it as the venue. I also had to speak to her parents and get an event planner.
I made sure before I bought the ring, I’d told my family and hers. When I got their approval, I went ahead with getting the ring and setting up a plan.
I told her our friend group decided to have a big “February 13” Valentine’s dinner in VI, but the truth was that the event was in Lekki. I didn’t want her to get too suspicious of what was happening. The plan was that she’d come “pick me up” at Lekki, I’d propose to her.
On that day, everything was set. Our friends were hiding in the dark, I was on my knees, and the ring was in my hand, but she refused to come down from her Uber.
Ada: In my defence, I was being reasonable. He’d told me to pick him up from the place in Lekki so we could go to VI together. I didn’t see the point in ending the trip then trying to order another ride. Plus, I had some bags with me. I didn’t want to wait with my load when he could just walk to the Uber, and we could go.
LMAO. What now happened?
Michael: I don’t know how her friend did it, but she convinced Ada to come inside. They started playing her favourite song as she walked in. I asked her to marry me. After she said yes, our friends came out, and we had dinner to celebrate.
Ada: I remember walking into the room and trying hard not to step on the roses on the floor because I thought it was for someone else’s Valentine’s Day surprise.
LMAO. Does that mean you weren’t suspicious he wanted to propose?
Michael: I think I played it well enough that she didn’t know. There were a few close calls like when she was searching the glove compartment of my car for something while the ring was in there. Immediately she went to do something else, I removed it and threw it under my chair.
Ada: LMAO. Can you imagine? When he wanted to talk to my parents, I was a bit curious, but I didn’t put my mind on it.
Congratulations. How was the wedding?
Michael: We’ve technically not done a white wedding yet, but we’ve done an introduction and court wedding. We wanted those things to happen a month before the white wedding.
Ada: We’re married by law but haven’t had a wedding ceremony.
Why bother with one?
Ada: For me, it’s for the things before and after the wedding; getting ready with my bridesmaids, walking down the aisle and the afterparty. I want to celebrate and have fun with my friends. The rest is just formality.
So, let’s talk wedding planning. What’s shocking you and what don’t you understand
Michael: One thing I’m yet to wrap my head around is the price of a cake.
Ada: It seems like such a waste of money. How many people actually eat cakes at a wedding?
Michael: The people we’re trying to get a cake from told us we’d pay ₦150k for a three-tiered cake, but only two tiers are actual cake. The base layer is fake and the other two layers are edible.
Michael: DJ’s also cost a lot. I thought we could get good coverage for like ₦70k. If you’re not holding ₦250k upwards, you won’t get anything decent. Also, when it comes to inviting people, you might not think you know people, but you do.
The venue we’ve gotten can seat only 250 guests, but now that we’re counting, it’s getting to 400+. I keep trying to tell our parents that the hall will not fit all the people they keep inviting but keep insisting that it will. Where will they stay? I’m thinking of doing it strictly by invitation so everyone will have space to breathe. I really don’t want a crowded wedding, but if it ends up that way, that’s everyone’s business. I’m married to the love of my life.
God, when o. How will you rate your love life on a scale of 1-10?
Ada: 10. I’m huge on compatibility and Michael has always fit in with any area of my life. My family and friends love him, so it’s always been him.
Michael: I’d give it a 9. Everything about our relationship aligned and she’s everything I’ve ever wanted. We have a lot of plans for ourselves and I love that they align.