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Valentine blues: What My Mom Told Me To Do To My Wife

As I stepped out of the house this morning to my office, I saw my wife burning some calories on the thread-mill in our in-house mini-gym. And as I CONTINUED to look and admire the gusto and frenzy with which she kept at it, I smiled. It was the kind of smile that says, “Wow! Jesus is Lord!”

And why would I bring Jesus into such a simplistic thing as someone burning some calories on a thread-mill? You ask. It is because of the memory that that act brought to my mind.

And what memory was that? It was the memory of how we got married on a shoe-string budget over 20 years ago, it was the memory of our first 3 bedroom apartment which was located on a “seedy” part of town somewhere in the outskirts of Lagos, Nigeria, it was the memory of how we could not AFFORD a full bed after our wedding but had to make do with a mattress on the floor, it was the memory of how my loving wife never complained about it, it was the memory of how it took the intervention of my late mom’s “motherly-audacity” to compel me to buy a full bed after two years into our marriage.

And how did that happen?

Well, my mom paid us a visit one Sunday afternoon and because of the large number of people in our living room, she requested to talk to me about something very important in one of the rooms in the 3-bedroom APARTMENT where we lived then. So, I took her to our bedroom for the mini-chat. But instead of telling me what the issue was, she yelled a big surprise at the sight of the mattress on the floor. She could not believe that I had enough money to build a big library full of BOOKS but could not invest in a full-fledged BED. And when I told her that I was trying to SAVE up some money to buy a good one, she mandated me to sell some of my books to buy one immediately despite my promise to buy an “oxygen-BED” when I raise the money. Then she added this to her verbal punch, “Son, the bed is not for you, it is for your wife….You can decide to sleep on a couch if you choose to, but get your wife a good bed.”

But my dear friend, before you call me this and that or probably laugh at me, I need you to hear-out my story along this line:

You see, I met my wife in the city of Maiduguri, Borno state in the present-day North-Eastern Nigeria during our mandatory National Youth Service Corps (N.Y.S.C.) in 1992. It happened by divine coincidence that my good friend and colleague, Dr Okey Unogu and I were strolling on the camp ground (having reported two days earlier to camp) when I saw this ebony-dark complexioned lady stepping out from a cab (minding her OWN BUSINESS) with her luggage. And just like Isaac acted when he saw Rebecca, something jumped within my heart, and the following conversation began between my friend, Okey and I:

Me: Did you see that black, pretty girl stepping out of that cab?

Okey: Yes?

Me: She is my wife!

Okey: Really? You didn’t tell me you got married during internship! What’s her name? What course did she study? Where is she from? Was she at your university campus?

Me: I don’t know her name, I don’t know where she is from, I don’t know what course she studied, she was not in my school, and I am just seeing her for the first time on this planet.

Okey: You must be crazy! What makes you think she would say “yes” to “a fellow youth-corper?” Do you have money?

Me: I may not have money like a Dangote or a Bill Gates, but I do have my heart to believe and my mouth to persuade.

I soon got to know from one of my course-mates, the then Nneka Anaka, who happened to be her friend on Camp that we were from the same state, and that she read Law in her school, and was a born again Christian like me.

Well to cut a long story short, we got engaged that year during our service year, got married traditionally the next year and had to wait for another year for the church wedding because of my mom’s insistence that we must wait for another one whole year for our brains to cool down.

Well, after these past two decades, and having survived many ups and downs of marriage, I am still as persuaded as I was in 1992 that I heard from God.

That was why when I saw her having a wonderful time on that thread-mill today, in this Valentine week, I still remember these words from my late mom: “Be sure to take good care of your wife.”

So, my dear friend, during this Valentine weekend, let us not get into the doctrinal arguments of ‘whether valentine day is scriptural or not,’ because of the many abuses of the day, instead, let us embrace the philosophy behind it, let us show love in a more practical way on a daily basis, let us think it, talk it and act it…and I can guarantee you that the world will be a better place for us all. Happy Valentine day!

Now, over to you!

Did I do well to obey my mom? Have you found yourself in such tight corners before? What did you do? Are you taking good care of your spouse? Let us hear about it!

Dr Iyke Nwambie is the President of the Advancement Ministries Inc. Miami, Florida

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