Attending events is two things for me, a responsibility (like it is part of my work and an opportunity to create content) and an opportunity to teach and be taught. This is why I jumped on the wagon when Isioma, who is one of the organizers invited me to this event. I registered and of course, showed up.
Attending this event was really the boost I needed to kick off all my event plans that were stalled due to covid lockdown. Thanks to Isioma Ononye of reflecteveryday.com, Tobi Fusika, and Chiamaka for organizing this event. I was really intrigued by the speakers @askebuka and @vivianokoye and other people like Eketti who really expressed themselves while enlightening us on issues like emotional abuse. It was indeed an amazing experience and I’m here to share all that was discussed with you.
Isioma started by asking the key speakers some key questions, so we will take them seperately.
Firstly, what is love?
This kicked of the discussion of the day as Vivian Okoye explained love as a commitment (rather than a feeling as many believe… in my thoughts). It is deliberate, a conscious effort to express it. It is not something you do whenever you feel like it. It is not a mood thing… you know, you can’t be or not be in the mood to love someone. Now this different from wanting alone time. As much as love should be unconditional, you should know when something is beyond your tolerance level and when to say, it’s enough.
Three Key Takeaways from Vivian’s speech:
- Love is a decision and a commitment
- Be sure the other person deserves your love… if s/he under-appreciates you, use you or abuse you, then they don’t deserve your love.
- You must love beyond the reason why you fell in love in the first place. This was raised when the subject of men not being sexually attracted to their wives after they put to bed and their bodies change or even in the long run (probably in marriage) when their views about life, carrier choices, etc being to change. Love should accommodate your differences (in my thoughts, so long as it is not life-threatening or abusive or negative in any way… really).
On the subject of Love and attraction, Eketti Ette raised the topic that women, especially in Africa are frowned on when they vocalize their attraction towards men or even voice out their sexual fantasies. I AGREE. It is almost a crime for a woman to say, “Oh! My God! That man looks good!” without sounding canal or slutty. Hence, she was of the opinion that women should be able to do that… not just in the bedroom… behind closed doors. According to her, we love men with six-packs too. We want our men muscular and fit too… check most wellness/fitness groups, 90% of its members are ladies. We want the men to start working out too (everyone laughed and agreed with her on this… especially the ladies)
The second question took us to a lengthy discussion, but I’ll try to be as brief as possible.
This time Isioma asked, “What should youths focus on when it comes to finding the right partner or in relationships that involve love, sex and marriage?”
According to Vivian, to find your life partner, you have to find your life first. You need to have something for someone to partner with. You need to ask yourself what you are bringing to the table when choosing a life-partner. So while making a list of what to expect from a partner, ensure you are working on yourself as well to meet up with the standards that you are setting for another person. You need to know yourself, what you like and what you don’t like, your love language, etc. This will enable you to identify red flags fast.
This led us to discuss the importance of communication in relationships. Eketti, being a great storyteller was quite emphatic in highlighting the importance of “having the discussions” in relationships, even from the first date. Know your new or current partner’s views on sex, money, violence, etc. in relationships as this helps you have a clearer picture of where you are both at or heading to.
Ebuka also gave an interesting input, when he highlighted the 5 key things youths should look out for while seeking a partner;
- Spiritual Alignment. You may both be Christians but have a different relationship with God or have different ideologies about how to serve God.
- Mental Alignment. In relation to intellect, education, do you connect when you discuss? Are they sound mentally? Do they have an inferiority complex, etc.? Can you both have a discussion without being bored?
- Emotional Alignment. Understand each other’s love language, temperaments, how forgiving, problem resolution abilities, etc.
- Physical Attraction/sexual compatibility. Hmmmmm… so in the end, this is very important too for both partners.
- Money Matters. Spending limits, planning, accountability, trust, job/career, etc
These five things should not be overlooked or undermined according to Ebuka, if you get them right, chances are that you will have a happy and healthy relationship.
Of course I had a few things to say… you know, I shared a little bit about myself . Hello. It was a relationship and marriage meet-up, of course I had something to say.
I basically encouraged youths not to let the “marriage age bracket” force them to settle when neither they themselves or God is not ready for them to be married. I mean, the rate of divorce is so high already, can we do our best to reduce it? Moreso, I also raised the issue of cohabiting and the role it plays in building a healthy/unhealthy relationship and of course, we all had different views about it (all that gist will make a a whole different post).
So I’d recommend that the next time you here that Isioma and her team are organising one of these events, just make out time to be there.
Happy marriages are possible. Healthy courtships are possible. If you can be wise in your decision-making, be considerate, observe to identify the “warning signs”, have good emotional intelligence, and of course, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you’ll find a great life partner. Oh! And also, don’t put your life on hold waiting to find love or get married, be engrossed with fulfilling your purpose, let your significant other find you doing that.
What’s your favourite part of the subjects discussed on this post? It’s Ebuka’s five keys for me. How about you?