“Go to school, get a good job, marry a good husband!”
I recited these lines like a nursery rhyme when I was a child. My sweet mother often pitched this dream of a beautiful, even perfect sequence of life to me. It stuck – this perfect plan. I grew up knowing that I would get a good degree and excel academically, get a good job and without delay, drama, mistakes or heartbreaks marry a good man.
As early as when I was in secondary school, I was preparing to be the best wife a man could have. I would read books on dating and marriage. As a teenager, because of my knack for reading and knowledge, I had wisdom that was more than my years. When I had conversations with those who were older, they were often pleasantly surprised at the knowledge I had especially with respect to marriage and relationships.
It was a no brainier that this “go to school, get a good job, marry a good husband” narrative would be my story. I was careful and guarded my heart for the most part of my early life. I didn’t really date until I was a year away from graduating from the university. I was very certain that this first relationship would be the only. We would get married just as I’d always dreamed.
My brain started to experience a reset when I discovered that we both had AS genotype. What this meant was that if we got married and tried to have children without medical intervention (those were very rare and expensive in Nigeria), we could have a child who had Sickle Cell disorder. As you can imagine, I was devastated, shattered, deeply hurt and in emotional pain for a long time. After tearfully considering lots of options, I had to let that relationship go.
That was the beginning of the roller coaster ride I experienced with love and relationships. You see, in this life, it’s the little things that control the big things. Too often, we experience patterns in our lives and we can’t explain why. We don’t understand why our relationships keep falling apart or why nothing seems to be working for us. The reasons are usually right there. It’s just that sometimes they seem so unrelated, insignificant and invisible that our subconscious minds don’t connect them to the situations we are faced with.
During the period that I had my first relationship, I had this person in my life who although is not related to me, was like a big sister figure. I looked up to her in many ways and she had major influence over me. She was much older and probably felt jealous of the fact that I was in a stable relationship while she wasn’t. She made it a point of duty to let me know that my relationship wouldn’t work out. Don’t judge her. She was probably insecure and suffered self-esteem issues. In return, I was determined to prove to her that that relationship would work.
Can you imagine the embarrassment I felt when that relationship ended? Ahhhh! I was embarrassed – even though it wasn’t anyone’s fault. I imagined that she would laugh behind my back and say “I said it!” A seed of fear had been sown in my heart. Everything I did from then on was out of fear. I was afraid I wouldn’t get married. I was afraid I wouldn’t meet a good man. I was afraid I would be all alone for the rest of my life. I was afraid I would never be able to see a relationship arrive at the altar.
Fear is a horrible, dangerous thing. Fear paralyses and causes you to make irrational decisions. Fear caused me to start to go from one relationship to the other, heaping baggage upon baggage on my frail shoulders. I saw myself go into relationships with people that should never have made it past “hello” because I was afraid and just wanted to be in a relationship. Being in a relationship provided me with a certain level of security. My sense of self worth and value was becoming attached to my relationship status.
I remember being one of the first of my friends to get engaged. It was the night of my birthday and I had posted this beautiful photo of me flashing the tiny ring on my left hand. Everyone except me was excited. Deep down in my heart, I knew I couldn’t and shouldn’t marry that man. I knew that I was signing up to a life of misery if I went ahead to marry him. I wanted out but I was too controlled by fear to make that decision.
Somehow, as I always like to say, God lured me out of that relationship. It wasn’t long after that I carried my broken, unhealed and unwhole self into another relationship (which eventually didn’t work out). I was in a vicious cycle of failed relationships because I had root causes I was yet to deal with.
When I had established for certain that I was in a terrible cycle that could continue if I didn’t do anything about it, I decided it needed to stop. I started to dig deep to uncover and understand the patterns in my life and relationships. I started to deal with limiting beliefs ad mindsets that I had. I started to work on my sense of self worth. I started to dig deep into God’s word and spend time with Him. I spent a lot of time discovering and actually starting to walk in God’s purpose for my life. I started to work on my character flaws and weaknesses. I started to love myself and uproot all the negative seeds that had been planted in my heart over the years.
I started to be whole and complete as a person. I began enjoying my life! I stopped obsessing over relationships and marriage. I was determined to live my life to the fullest whether or not I ever got married. I’m a Christian, so I deepened my walk with God and completely abandoned this broken area of my life into His care. In this time, He started to show me beautiful things about my life and future. He showed me things about the man I would marry too! I was so excited because now I had a blue print and I could never go wrong with relationships again!
When I met my husband, I wasn’t even ready. I was enjoying my single life so much that I was like “Waoh! So soon?” While I’m not saying that there’s a formula to meeting the one for you, I’m saying that certain things begin to flow naturally when you’ve dealt with areas of your life that you need to deal with. As long as we remain in the dark, we will keep going round in circles and perpetuating miserable cycles. Once we experience the piercing light that sets us free from the inside, this freedom will permeate and change every other variable on the outside.
What I loved the most was that this time, my decision to be with my husband was not born out of fear, but out of a quiet, confident trust that this was the one for me. I went in with a healed heart and a clear head. I went in as someone who was bringing value to a man that valued me. Everything God had showed me about my husband was true of him. All the years that I seemed to have wasted were fully recovered. I got engaged to him within six months of our meeting. We got married the following year and every day, I wake up thankful not just for him, but for the process that led me to such a beautiful place.
If you’re struggling with failed relationships, know that you’re not alone. You just have to begin to uncover your whys. To help you, I have a free gift for you called “5 Reasons Your Relationships Aren’t Working Out”.
You can also follow me on social media @tosin_yemisanni to get more encouragement and free resources!