I once found myself eavesdropping on a conversation amongst a group of married women (only because I was unavoidably within earshot). It was about their mutual friend who had left her husband’s house because he was physically abusive. Then one replied to a speaker, who had tried to justify the break up, “oh, please, what a lame excuse! How many of us here will swear that we have not been beaten by our husbands, or that our husbands do not cheat on us?” They all kept quiet in consent. The speaker concluded. “She wanted to leave already; she just used this as an excuse.” The group of women, all of whom I knew, are educated and exposed. If I had the nerve, I would have retorted but wisdom tells you what fights to pick.

I do appreciate the views shared by (Ayotola Tehingbola) but I believe, today, that women get into the wrong relationships, not because they pick the wrong men but because of the wrong mindset. For me, it is not about the exit point but the entry point.

  • Avoid abuse by building self-worth

Ours is a society where marriage confers ownership status, over a woman, on her husband. Only in 2009, did a Federal High Court in Abuja pass judgement on the case between Dr. Priye Iyalla-Amadi (wife of the famous writer of The Concubine, Elechi Amadi) challenging the Nigerian immigration laws which stated that a married woman must have a consent letter from her husband to be issued a passport (or renew). By implication, until that date, all married women sought permission from their husbands to get a passport! I found this particularly ridiculous because it meant, as a single woman, I had freedom until I was married. If all women assented to this policy, imagine what tutelage they gave to their daughters. Today’s woman is a career woman, aiming for the top of the ladder. We will continually meet stereotypes which will challenge our self-belief. We’ve got to continually remind ourselves that we are no lesser beings and that we have something of value to give to the world and stand up to question such ridiculous standards that cage us

  • Build friendship through time

A career executive, ideally, spends eight hours every day at work, and another six hours sleeping – in reality, work takes more. The remaining 10 hours are split with partners, and other social relationships. Added to this is the fact that the world has become more ‘sexposed’. Cheating is not restricted to the male folk; ask (Mrs.) Rebecca Brooks and Andy Coulson. It is therefore very important for the couples to look beyond the façade of ‘relationship’ and build friendship. Have you ever wondered why sometimes it is harder for us to hurt our friends than our partners? It is because we have built such friendships over time and we want to protect them at all cost.

  • Discuss expectations openly

We were having a late night conversation in the newsroom once when a male colleague said, “I cannot understand how a girl agrees to be my girlfriend and she says no sex. I believe in pre-marital sex. If she doesn’t then there is no way we can be together”. For someone else, it might be laundry. For others, it might be money matters. Whatever the case, in building friendship, discuss such expectations openly. I for one cannot do laundry. It is a chore I detest but I do not consider house cleaning demeaning in any way. This is especially important with values. To have sex or not to have sex. Such decisions must be made by individuals based on their belief system and not under the pressure of a guilt trip. I do agree, sex is not a relationship-super-glue. If the expectations are not right, girl, take a walk.

  • Look all around

How does he treat his mum, sisters and other women in his life? If he cannot treat them with respect, kindness and purity of heart, then look no further for a soothsayer. You can be sure what treatment to expect. But there are exceptions in relationships with history of troubles. If he is working it out with them, then there might be a chance. Now, you should also look at his company of male friends. What jokes do they share? How do they look at women? Does he share in their jokes about women as sex toys are appendages? If you do not fancy such perspectives, sister, run.

  • Come to the table with value

Have you ever read an interview where D’Banj is talking about Genevieve Nnaji? He might be the koko master but I get the feeling he is another man when he talks about her. No one is born perfect, yes, he might be a spendthrift and be bad at time management but is he able to trust you to ‘steal’ him money and save for him, or to bully him into getting out of the house to meet up with his appointment?

I remember the day when famous gospel act, Kirk Franklin, announced to the world that he was finally free from porn addiction. By his side was his wife. They held hands. She stood by him all through his struggles. This crave for the ideal relationship leads to more broken hearts and broken hearts go into more relationships in search of perfection and, not finding, get on to the next with distrust. Only fools rush into relationships. Take your time, sister, it is true the bible says he who finds a wife finds a good thing but it also says, a faithful man who can find? Do not settle for less but when you get into a relationship – scarred or not – if the person is ready to share life with you, I say it’s time to build.

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