Loving life: our friendship means more to us than our love

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Love life is a weekly Zikoko series about love, relationships, situations, entanglements and everything in between.

Kenny, 32, and Yinka, 29, have been married for three years, dated for two years and were friends for nearly a decade prior. This week on Love Life, they talk about their crush on each other in high school, stepping out of each other’s friend zone and not conforming to society’s rules about marriage.

What is your earliest memory of each other?

Kenny: Lycée Saint-Sauveur in 2009. I was our biology teacher’s favorite, so she sent me to all SS 3 classes to write her homework on the board. I would go to Yinka’s class, and her friend would tease her that her husband is there blah blah blah. I smiled, did my job and left.

yinka: Mine was when we went on a field trip to Silverbird Galleria in SS 2. I saw him and just admired his personality. He was jovial, talking to many people. When we went back to school, and I needed to reach my mom, he offered me his phone to call her. I just thought, “He’s a really nice person.”

When did you realize you loved yourself?

Kenny: I took computer training with my twin while applying for college. Yinka joined the school at some point. She was still just a friend at the time, but I remember she dressed really well. She is dark skin, and she wore all kinds of silver jewelry — necklaces, bracelets, whatever — that looked so good on her skin. It made her very beautiful. Seeing her like this every day, I started to develop feelings for her, although we remained friends for many years afterwards.

yinka: While we were in computer school, there was one particular day when I had to go to his house — we lived in the same neighborhood — to wait for my mother to come home from work. I was so tired that I just sat with him and his twin in their living room while they dozed off. I don’t even remember what the conversation was about, but I liked the way he spoke and the reasoning behind his words. TBH, at the time, he was a ladies’ man. He was always surrounded by girls and always knew the right words to say.

Kenny, why didn’t you just ask him out right now?

Kenny: Because we were already friends na, and that’s something too.

How long did it take you to realize you had to go beyond that?

Kenny: About nine years, I think.

Ah. So when did you two know you fell in love?

Kenny: As friends, we saw each other a lot. Whenever I was in Lagos or Ibadan, she would try to see me. If I was somewhere else, she would always hold out her hand to me. She was consistent with her approach. Then once I was at my best friend’s house in Ajah, and after work she took an Uber to visit me. She did not come empty-handed. She had bought some catfish, so she made us pepper soup and cleaned up. She just took responsibility even though we were at my friend’s house and he was supposed to be our host. I think my love language it’s when people do something tangible for me. She spent the night and I asked her out the same evening of 2018.

yinka: Well, for me, it was the fact that I like when people understand me. You know when something is going on and you think you are overreacting or going crazy. But you explain it to someone who understands and breaks it all down for you. We had a conversation once and it happened. I think that’s when I really fell in love with him. I knew that with him I would have someone I could always talk to and who would understand things from my own perspective. The night he’s talking about, we had a conversation about sex and how I wanted to wait until I was married. His answer made me happy.

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God, when? Do you remember what your first major fight was about?

Kenny: While we were friends, she came to my house; sometimes I would drop her off halfway home and stuff like that. So we got on well. We never fought as friends. But fast forward until she became my fiancée in 2019, she used to visit me in Ibadan. My best friend would usually be there when she comes. Once, Yinka and I had a moment, and he decided to put his mouth on. We all started yelling at each other and Yinka was crying.

Expect. To slow down. What exactly happened?

Kenny: They went to the restaurant before I got home from work. I had already told Yinka that I wanted my food to go, but somehow my friend influenced her to eat there and I would come soon. When I arrived I saw that my food was already served and it was getting cold. They had already eaten and were just waiting for me, so I had to hurry too. Besides, I wasn’t even ready to eat yet. I wasn’t happy with Yinka, and told her when we got back. It wouldn’t have been a problem because I was just communicating my feelings to him. Normally she would have just apologized, but he pushed her, and it all blew up. our first big fight.

yinka: More like a misunderstanding. It wasn’t between us. It was the influence of a third party. We almost never fight.

Goals. Meanwhile, bride? What was the proposal?

Kenny: It was not dramatic. Just the two of us spontaneously accepting forever one day while at my house.

How is this relationship different from previous ones?

Kenny: She’s a long-time friend, and we see each other through the relationships we’ve had with other people, which is rare. Moreover, Yinka is a very peaceful person. Life gets stormy, but for me it literally calms the storm. She has always been there for me and someone I can count on to do what she says she will do. Unlike other people who are mainly concerned with being young, silly and having fun, she is a reliable partner. I can entrust my life to him.

yinka: When I lost my father in 2013, we had not spoken for a while because I attended Covenant University, where telephones are not allowed. But he was the first to contact me. He didn’t even know that I had lost my father. He just called randomly and knew from my voice that something was wrong. He keeps talking about my consistency, but he was too. Even after my graduation, he came with his friend from Kano. Kenny is always there for me, and that support is essential, even more so than love.

What’s the least conventional thing about your relationship?

Kenny: The fact that I am a Muslim and that Yinka is a Christian. It was a huge struggle to get our parents to agree to the marriage. But the fact that we’re able to build a relationship, get married, and even have a child proves that we don’t really care about labels. We built on what is most important to us, which is the friendship we had since day one, the trust we built, and our compatibility.

yinka: Another thing is that we don’t follow society’s rules of what a wedding should be. We are more like friends engaged in a life together. There’s nothing like it gender roles; we share everything equally. We both work, take turns taking care of our little girl, cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. We’re just laid back about our marriage.

How has the relationship changed you?

Kenny: The “single” me can stay home seven days a week, 12 months a year. Meeting Yinka’s family, I had to adapt a bit to their way of life. My mother-in-law is the life of the party, and I really don’t like to party. It was my social life that changed sha. The rest remained the same.

yinka: Me, I am now a mother! I constantly think of my husband and my child. But the biggest change is how I have become more active in pursuing my dreams and goals. Kenny always says things like, “You know you can do this. Dark. Try it. But even try first”. Then I exit successfully. He’s like, “You see. I told you you could do it”. It’s so encouraging. Sometimes all we need is a little push. Since we got married, we passed japa, and I started my mastery, things that I always wanted to do.

What’s the best thing about being married to each other?

yinka: The fact that I am naked. We know everything about each other. I tell him everything. We have no difficulty making decisions because we understand each other so well. I’ve had a lot of people say to me, “Wow, you and your husband are so in tune.” Sure, I mean, we’re done see yourself end. Also, we don’t follow the rules. While I was pregnant, different members of our two families had everything to say about what I should or shouldn’t do, and we stood up for each other. Kenny was like, “Don’t just bother you o. Don’t listen to anyone”.

Kenny: Our understanding and timing make it so good. Once I was home and she was outside. Her aunt asked her something and then came home before her to ask me the same thing, and we gave the same answer. We always consult before making decisions, and that’s what marriage is all about.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate your love life?

yinka: For me, it’s 10/10 because, what more could you ask for? He’s a wonderful husband, and we have a wonderful child together. He is nice, supports me 100%, good sex. Please, I’m living my best life.

Kenny: You heard it from the horse’s mouth. I do my job well. So I’m going to rate it 10 too, minus nothing.

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