All in Relationships

5 Women on the Triumphs and Challenges of Their "Inter-African" Marriage

I recall that I started this blog hoping to write a lot on inter-ethnic marriages, stemming from my experience. So I talked about it briefly in my second blog post and over time shared some more in-depth, like analysing my culture shock on kneeling, our cross-cultural traditional wedding, and answering a few questions about our union that we got asked all the time. But I didn’t have that much to say and I moved on to interviewing other inter-ethnic Nigerian couples—those features were very popular.

In the middle of these interviews, I realised that while many people talk about “inter-ethnic” marriages within a particular country as well as “inter-racial” marriages, I hadn’t seen much discourse around “inter-African.”

That piqued my curiosity. So I set out to as usual find answers by hearing from inter-African couples. But it wasn’t only I who was curious. When we put the call out on Twitter, it went viral (okay, viral for our standards). I’m excited to have 5 amazing women share with us. From Ethiopia to Kenya, Uganda to Nigeria, Ghana to Zambia, we get a glimpse of inter-African marriages—the triumphs and the challenges!

From Dating to Parenting: How my Love Language Has Changed After 12 Years

My husband and I have now been together going on 12 years—married for almost 5—and have a 16-month-old. In this time, I’ve noticed my love language change.

Knowing your love language and communicating it to your partner is essential in a relationship—otherwise, your partner might be expending so much on gestures that mean nothing to you. In his book, The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman claims that of the five, most people will only really have two dominant ones. According to him, the five love languages are:

- Gifts: Gifts and thoughtful gestures are important. Even small gifts go a long way to please such people.

- Quality Time: Focused and uninterrupted one-on-one time time is key. Special moments.

- Words of Affirmation:  They want to hear you affirm your love in spoken words, a note, text, or card.

- Acts of Service: They want you to help and alleviate their workload.

- Physical Touch: Be near, in person; hold hands. They value physical touch and intimacy.

Okay, on to my love language through the seasons!

Who Is Your Family?

My immediate family is small. It’s just me, my father, mother, and brother. For a while, my brother and I hoped we’d get more siblings, and my family even toyed briefly with the idea of adoption, but it never happened.

One of the things I wish I knew as a child is that your relationship with your family is never the same after you leave home. Moving away at 15 from a small town in the south of Nigeria opened the world to me. I lived in Europe for three years, learning to speak fractured Russian and exist in sub-zero temperatures for a quarter of the year.

Then I moved to the Caribbean, where I turned 20 and began to figure out my place in the world. In the first four years away from home, I returned to Nigeria every summer.

Four Tips That Helped Save Costs During Our Wedding

I’m usually not that crazy about weddings - even mine. So it was a bit surprising that last weekend, I had a bit of wedding nostalgia. The memories from my wedding came flooding back and I wished I could be transported back there (with a few tweaks).

I’m not sure where the nostalgia came from. Perhaps because a friend sent me a message at 3 am on Saturday morning saying a few of our friends were discussing how they had such a good time at our wedding. Or maybe because there were so many wedding videos on Instagram Story this weekend. Or finally, maybe it was because I was about to create a photo wall gallery at home and none of our wedding pictures made the cut. I’m probably one of the few people who 4 years into their wedding, don’t have an enlarged wedding photo. Heck, we still don't have an album, but I have now set that as a major target for Q4 2018.

Anyway, all these feelings meant that I deep dived into the soft copies of our wedding album and started glancing through.

8 Witty Responses to the "When Are You Getting Married?" Question

Wedding season is well and truly upon us. In fact, it kicked in about 2 months ago but it is now approaching its peak – at least in the northern hemisphere due to our challenging weather and the summer months being more conducive to [large] celebrations and social media worthy pictures.
I love weddings and I have had the privilege of attending many. Despite the utter chaos I have experienced at numerous [African] weddings, I still look forward to celebrating the love of my friends and family and somehow manage to remain optimistic that the next one will be more fun than the last.
As my various social media feeds fill with pictures, videos and snaps of #weddingguest #blacklove #weddingoftheyear and #couplegoals, so do some of my friend’s bodies with sporadic feelings of dread.

When Being Christian Isn't Enough: A Heartbreaking Story of Different Churches, Family Opposition and Lost Love

I am the first born of 5 children and an only girl with four brothers. I didn’t have the easiest childhood because of the expectations from my father. I was the model daughter, who never did wrong and I was often the basis of comparison with other kids. I couldn’t make decisions on my own where my parents were involved, especially my father. And although my mother didn’t agree with many things he did or said, she couldn’t really do much to help. I lived for my family, I did everything to please my father. Until my relationship with Kay.

Kay and I met at the University of Jos as students. We were both in the same class but we weren’t friends until our third year. Initially we were just friends and in relationships with other people. I didn’t have the slightest inclination that we will end up lovers.

When I first met him, he wasn’t the type I would usually date because of the age bracket. He is a year older than I am and I had a preference for older guys. Also, he was a catholic and that was a keep off zone.

Pain. Despair. Wins? - How My Nigerian Ethnicity Ruined my Chance at Love

I was midway through one of my university internships when I met him - who I fondly called E. I remember getting home that day and telling my cousin I had found my husband. He had just been employed at the firm and though I knew almost nothing about him at the time. I just felt he was the one.

Days later, I found out he was from Edo state, and I was all shades of sad because I knew my parents would definitely have issues with him.  So I went from seeing him as ‘the one’ to seeing him as my senior colleague. He being a naturally jovial person made me start having a crush on him. I didn’t pay much attention to it because of our ethnic differences and also because I knew my internship was coming to an end.

Nigerian Inter Ethnic Love Stories || Mercy & Chris Okere

The first time I saw the name 'Mercy Haruna - Okere', I knew that I'd love to interview her and hear her inter ethnic story especially because I had assumed that the name Haruna was somewhat affiliated to the Northern part of Nigeria. So after many months of looking forward to this feature (and actually meeting her in person!), I'm glad I can finally share her and Chris' lovely story and oh-so-beautiful photos of their family. 

Mercy is Igala from Kogi State and Christian is Ndoki/Igbo from Rivers and Abia State. They've been married for four years now and currently live in Kent with their beautiful 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter.

According to Mercy "Chris was fascinated by the fact that I was born in his home city, Port Harcourt (PH) and I think I fell in love with his bald head… #TeamBaldie". They both grew up around ethnic and racial diversity, and have succeeded in having a beautiful union despite inter-cultural differences. They share their experiences with us - about the beauty and challenges of inter-ethnic unions - one of which is Mercy's inability to understand some Chris' favourite foods...

To Couple Twin or Not? ( + a JORD Wood Watch Giveaway)

A friend Wumi recently tweeted that she was going to be so extra for her pre-wedding, wedding and her pregnancy photo shoots. I replied her tweet saying I didn't know how to be extra even I wanted to. Then she said "... but you know you're low key extra with your husband". Another mutual friend Nims replied saying, "more like perfect key".

I was about to contest Wumi's opinion but then thought, "well she qualified it by saying low key extra", so that's probably correct. For example I'd always prefer an usie photo to a selfie or personal photo, and I love all those super cute things couples do that can be somewhat cheesy. But I don't think I'll go over the top.

Take the issue of twinning and matching outfits for example. High key extra is where couples wear the same kind of outfits often - especially where it's the same fabric or design of clothing.  Uhmm. I'm definitely not into that. But then I do often like the idea of a subtle twinning. So perhaps like wearing somewhat similar colours. Or Christmas jumpers, like we did in this post. Or again, like wearing the same watch!

So when JORD watches asked if I would love another watch, as the low key extra wife that I am, I asked if I could have a masculine one for Tee instead!

Comfort Zones & Familiarity in Relationships: How Far is Too Far?

I love being married. And if I'm being honest, one of the reasons I love my marriage is the fact that many times I don't have to put up appearances. Although now that I think about it - I was never one to put up appearances even while dating. On our first date, Tee accused me of eating chicken with my hands - but hey I saw no need for putting up airs. Or so I thought. Anyway, I've been thinking about familiarity and comfort zones in relation to relationships. How far is too far really? Where do we draw the line between being absolutely comfortable and being overly comfortable that it takes out the mystery, attraction and allure between both of you.

I thought I'll consider some of the more popular areas - especially from the female perspective.

1. Hair & Makeup

The first time I met Tee, I had the most horrible looking braids; and from then till now, I've had such bad hair days that should ordinarily make him cringe. But he's often such a good sport about it, and in some weird sort of way prefers my real hair as opposed to any weaves. But then, I think he reached his limit with wigs!  For many black /afro-Caribbean women today, wigs are the in thing - with our real hair plaited underneath in cornrows. But it gets tricky in so many ways, and for many it's a love-hate relationship.

Recently I was having a chat with someone about this, and she said 'at least you're married…it's so difficult for we that are still dating'.