Love Life is a Zikoko weekly series about love, relationships, situationships, entanglements and everything in between.
Olaide (29) and Yetunde (28) started out as just friends. But Olaide had plans to steal Yetunde’s heart. In today’s Love Life, they discuss intentional romance, how to steal a woman’s heart, and navigating the first year of marriage.
What’s your earliest memory of each other?
Yetunde: We were in the drama unit at church. Every year, the unit recruits new people through an audition process, and he was one of the people who came to audition. I was an admin in the unit. This was 2019.
Olaniyi: The audition was slated for 10 a.m., and I got there at 10:01. When I stepped in, she said, “Hold on, you are late.” I was too tired to argue, I just looked at her and thought, “What’s doing this one?”
Yetunde: But let’s be honest, a minute late is late, considering you were supposed to be there at least five minutes before. Punctuality was the first step. Anyway, he did his audition and was selected. The new recruits go through a number of training sessions before they become fully integrated into the unit, and as an admin, I ought to be present at these meetings. But I was staying on the Island, and the church was on the Mainland, so I missed a lot of the meetings. I was also going through a difficult time in that period, so I went off social media too. And then one morning, he called to check up on me. He said he noticed that I was offline and he wanted to know if I was okay. This small act touched me: members of the unit who had known me for longer did not even think to check up on me, but this guy who just joined was the one doing that.
Olaide: And that’s how we started. I went for her heart and I stole it.
How did you do it? Abeg share tips.
Yetunde: Abeg, abeg, abeg. After he called to check up on me, we began talking from there. He would respond to my status updates, ask about my day, and try to make me laugh. The moment all these started, I quickly assessed him and came to the conclusion that he would rot in the friendzone. Besides, I was not even thinking of dating. I was in that phase where I wasn’t ready for anything serious. I had a number of guys around me and I was feeling myself and saying, “Yes. This is my moment.” One guy would deliver lunch, another would take me on a movie date. Why commit myself when I could take my sweet time to discover my own prince charming?
I’ll give him credit: he did his own share of flattery. He also paid attention to the things I said I liked, the ones I did not. I mentioned that I wasn’t a call person, just chats, and he stuck to the chats. He would send things to my office, and I would collect them and think, “Aww, Mr. Nice Guy.” A colleague at work saw all of the things I was getting from him, and she told me to be open-minded about dating him, but for me, that path was already closed. In fact, I was looking for girlfriends for him. I wanted to be sure that he was safe with someone and that nothing could happen between us. At some point, I told him to stop sending things to my office because I did not want a situation where someone would come and attack me for collecting things from him without intending to date him. Everyone said he wasn’t being nice for niceness sake, that he wanted something more, but he insisted that he only wanted friendship, nothing else.
Olaide: That’s the first tip to stealing someone’s heart: start with friendship. When we started talking, she was not in a good place. Approaching her by saying she would be my wife would be a lot to handle, so I started as a friend. But in everything I did, there was the undertone of my affection for her. At first, she acted like she didn’t see it, and then she said I was using secondary school lines. But me, I was focused. And you know why? God had already told me she would be my wife.
Ahan, Jehovah overdo! Tell me more.
Olaide: Before I met Yetunde, I was in a serious relationship of about 5 years that was sure to lead to marriage. But then one night we were at a vigil rehearsal, preparing for the 2019 June production. When she was leading prayers, a voice said, “Open your eyes and look at her, that’s your wife.” My first thought was, “Shey you dey whine me ni?” I just laughed it off.
But then later, after I had thought about it, I told God, “If she is the one I am to marry, then do your thing.” Not long after that, my relationship hit rock-bottom, and I got into my own hoe phase. The same way Yetunde had guys bringing her things, I also had babes around me. By December of that year, I told her I was going to “clear my desk.” In other words, I was giving all the other girls in my life a red card so I could focus on her.
So, Step 2 is “Focus”. Jotting things down.
Yetunde: And he did focus on me. In fact, he became the dominant guy in my life. With him, every other guy faded into the background. I was told to pray about it, but I refused. Praying about it would mean that I was open to possibilities and I wasn’t. Maybe I had a mental picture of who I wanted my husband to be, and Olaide was not it.
First of all, I thought he was a small boy. I also wanted someone who was Tall, Dark, and Handsome, a God-lover, who would also be charming, caring, kind, romantic, and sweet. He ticked some things — the important things, as I would later find out. But at first, I thought he wasn’t tall or fine enough to fit the requirements I had in my head. But since being married to him, I have come to realise that my village people wanted to get me, because, really, HAVE YOU SEEN HOW HANDSOME THIS MAN IS? Nothing can be done about the height again, sha.
Try beans and fertilizer.
Olaide: Ehn? Who do you people want to kill? Please and please, I’m fine the way I am.
He heard from God that you would be his wife. Did you hear the same thing too, or did you get any sign at all?
Yetunde: I can’t say that I did in clear terms. But I always say that God chose him for me or I would have missed it, and what a miss that would have been. Some of my reservations were based on the fact that he was still living with his uncle and wasn’t very financially stable. I’m not materialistic, but I wanted someone with some level of financial comfort. Nobody wan suffer. It seemed like with him, I would have to start from ground zero and the stories we hear about building with someone only for another person to come and hijack the building made me hold back.
Before we started dating, I had said I wanted to be pampered in my next relationship. I wanted to date someone who would spend money on me, take me out on trips, buy me expensive stuff and all of that because me sef deserve am. Others were getting it, so why not me? But with him, I noticed that he may not have so much but he was willing to spend the little he had on trying to make me happy. That, for me, was more important than someone who had the money but wasn’t even selfless or giving. At least with Olaide, I could rest assured that when he blows, my pampering is secure. And now that we are married, he’s not doing badly in that aspect.
Tell me, Olaide. Does she pamper you as much as she wants you to pamper her?
Olaide: LMAO. She tries her best. She gave me the best and most memorable birthday of my life. She also buys me gifts, takes me out for dates, and sends lunch to my office. Until she came into my life, I never knew I loved gifts, or that receiving gifts was an important love language to me.
So, when did you become sure that you had stolen her heart?
Olaide: When she told me she loved me. This was in January 2020. The moment she said it, I said, “Ah, do you mean it?”
Yetunde: LMAO. But you had always said it multiple times. What made mine different?
Olaide: I said it multiple times to ensure a soft landing. I was basically wetting the ground so that it would be easier for you to bear when I started moving like a man ready to drag you to the altar. It’s why you would say something random and I would respond with “I love you.” You were laughing, but I was clearing my path small-small.
LMAO. So, Step 3 is “Say I love you multiple times” Hmm. Still jotting things down.
Yetunde: I don’t know when his tone changed from being playful to very serious, but I looked back at our friendship one day and realised that I had become attached to him even without meaning to. He had become special to me. Valentine’s Day was approaching, and I knew he was going to do something special. I could have delayed the “I love you” till then, but I did not want it to appear like I was saying it out of gratitude for all I was getting from him. I wanted him to know it was genuine. And so in January, I said the words.
Of course, he asked me to be his girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. He went all out. Rose petals, surprise getaway, a lot of drama. It was so heartwarming. This man understands love and affection. In July, he proposed, and we got married in October.
Olaide: I would have done more, but COVID did what it did, and so a lot of the places we wanted to visit were inaccessible, and then there was the lockdown too.
How has married life been?
Yetunde: Omo. Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener. That’s the summary of it. Marriage has tested me in many ways. The first year is a bit tough, and I often wonder if things would be easier if we had dated for longer, but he doesn’t see it from that point of view. I have had to let go of my stubbornness. Miscommunication occurs and I try to figure things out, and it’s not even working. Sometimes, it gets so difficult that I sit down and think, “What did I get myself into?” Sometimes, I think marriage is overrated. And there are also times where I just want to get through the day and not even think about love.
There are days when we fight and make up, but always, we try to get better. It was tougher in the first few months. He was constantly annoying, but I will be honest, I don’t think I can imagine marriage with someone else. Olaide gets me. Even when we fight, I know he is still my personal person. He’s not petty, neither is he out to get me. It’s rare how we fight and he still assures me of his love. And yet, he refuses to settle in being romantic and intentional, even though we are married. Day after day, he tries to know me more. It’s as though I am an interesting book he never wants to finish reading.
Olaide: Yetunde is my peace of mind with a sprinkle of craze. She brings me so much joy and yet keeps me in check. She’s my very own Comedy Central. She’s a great cook, and her affection is endless. I feel like I am kind, but she’s kinder. She is sweet, and takes to correction, even more than I do. Being married to her pushes me to do better, be better. She is a fighter, and will not settle until she gets what she wants. I could be lackadaisical but her fighting spirit keeps me on my toes.
I’m eager to see her smile, eager to come home to her, wrap my hands around her and kiss her. She’s a vibe and a whole mood, and with her, marriage feels new and fresh, not formulaic. People come to our house and ask why I’m packing her plates and all, but I am more than pleased to do this. She’s also very eager to cover up the places where I fall short, especially financially.
These are a lot of good qualities oh. Aren’t there areas you’d love to see change?
Yetunde: I wish he’d listen more and listen better. Many times, I have to repeat myself and warn him about things because my intuition tells me something is off. But he does not listen until it falls apart and he comes to me. Sometimes, I feel frustrated about having to repeat myself on things and I have told him that one day, I would print out a shirt that says, “Listen to your wife more” and give him to wear, but I am learning how to be patient.
Kindness comes easy to him. He doesn’t hesitate to be kind to me and outsiders. It is in the little things: how he boils water for me to bathe when I’m cold; how he often remembers to buy me Vitamin C. He’s easily trusting too, and these are things I want him to work on. No, I don’t want him to change, but I would love for him to question people’s motives, and take a more critical look at situations more before plunging into them. That way, people would not take advantage of him so much, and he would not take decisions as though he were still single.
Olaide: The dangbana choko part is the part I love the most about her and the part I love the least. I wish she would temper it down a bit, so that little things wouldn’t cause fights.
How would you rate your relationship (and marriage) on a scale of 1-10?
Yetunde: 8. I love that we have a solid friendship as our base. It’s what has helped us weather through, even when it seems like the marriage is turning on its own. It doesn’t feel like marriage in the traditional sense of the word, we’re just chill. We play, gist, gossip, banter ourselves. Even when we fight, we are eager for the gist.
Olaide: It’s an 8 for me too. Each time I wake up next to Yetunde, I feel like I have been given a new lease on life.
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