Barin and Derin were a “perfect” couple especially as Barin was a sucker for good food and had an insatiable appetite for culinary diversity and quality while Derin constantly met and often exceeded his expectations in this regard. He absolutely loved good food and prior to marriage, Derin stopped short at nothing in fuelling this appetite. Even after marriage, this diversity and quality continued and their marriage was indeed blissful.

Cracks however surfaced about 18 months into the marriage when Barin was transferred to work in Warri and Derin suddenly stopped being the gourmet and traditional chef, rolled into one, that he had come to know. The meals presented were now unexciting, mundane and tasteless. Initially, he assumed something was wrong and she was probably distraught but his prodding was always answered with a wry smile and the words “Bee, I am fine”. Derin, realising the effect on her erstwhile wonderful marriage, resorted to buying food from eateries and restaurants but Barin was a connoisseur. He could smell the difference miles away. “Ah…ah Derin, this was not cooked at home now. This has a commercial ring to it”, he would often say and so one day, Derin was forced to tell him the truth about the perceived culinary prowess.

Derin: “Bee dear, I have something to tell you,” she said in a gentle voice after he had just polished off his Sunday Brunch at a 4-star hotel.

Barin:” Can’t a man enjoy a good meal in peace? After all, you cannot cook such a meal. What do you want to say woman?” he replied gruffly.

Derin: “You know dear, all those wonderful meals you had during courtship and early marriage”, after a deep sigh she continued, “they were actually mama’s handiwork. You know, she worked as Chief Chef in one of the five-star hotels in Lagos prior to retirement. She knows how to cook up a storm at short notice and with minimum ingredients/resources. Unfortunately, while growing up, the entreaties that I learn from her, fell on deaf ears as I felt I could always pay for the services of a good chef if needed. Unfortunately, your insistence that I am directly responsible for the preparation of your food was not envisaged which is why we have crash-landed where we are”.

A crestfallen and deflated Barin replied “Dee… what kind of woman doesn’t know how to cook. R-e-a-l-l-y, who doesn’t know that the way to a man’s heart is through a man’s stomach! So, what do you expect to do about it”?

Derin responded: “I have spoken with mom and she promises a crash course in all your preferred menu during my annual leave. So, with your kind permission, I will spend 2 weeks of my next vacation with her and you trust now, being the fast learner that I am, this will be behind us in a jiffy”.

Barin: “You are the best, always willing to view things objectively and not afraid to backstep when wrong. I love you as I know you genuinely sacrifice for our love. Permission granted”! With this, he seals the discussion with a kiss.

Derin calls her friend Obele and excitedly relates her decision and its basis. To her chagrin, Obele says – “Ah Derin, I think you are making a mistake. Your husband has no right to alter your disposition towards ANYTHING. If you don’t like cooking… that, is you period. Are you asking him to change? Why doesn’t he change his palate to accept your cooking? Anyway, that is my opinion though”.

Havilah however commends Derin’s decision and advises she sticks by it to enable her marriage to remain blissful. Her decision has unwittingly strengthened the marriage as it shows a willingness to sacrifice.

Importantly, Havilah advises “Never lose that which was the initial basis of attraction be it your fashion sense, intellectual discourse, wit, culinary expertise, style, etc. It goes to the roots of the relationship and helps to keep it renewed/reinvigorated.”




La Belle High School graduands arrange a Prom to mark the end of High School and Yeni takes her daughter Kemi for the event. She returns to pick her up and two of her classmates approach the car in the company of Kemi. Ibinabo and Amaka chorus a “Good evening ma”. Amaka continues – “Please ma, can you drop us off at home as we may need to Uber home and are a little wary at this time of night”. Yeni agrees to do so but raises a quizzical eyebrow before commenting on her observations. “Ibinabo and Amaka, good evening. Amaka, what a lovely dress you have on, but Amaka, hmm…you could have passed for any of the Celebrities on the red carpet at the Grammy Awards. This outfit may pass on the red carpet but…well, never mind. Is your mum in town”?

“No ma” Amaka replies “but she had arranged with Aunty Chichi to pick something nice and fitting for the prom”.

“And where is aunty Chichi now”?, Yeni asked.

“Please ma, she paid for my Uber to the event but has lectures on Campus today so she cannot pick me” Amaka responds.

Yeni then admits all three school leavers into the car and sets about giving them a little lecture on the virtue of proper dressing and the folly of indecent dressing /seductive nudity.

Yeni explains that “Seductive Nudity in the form of very transparent clothing, exposure of breasts and other sensitive areas (private parts) of the body, underwear, may be the fashion trend but it has negative connotations and implications for the dresser/wearer”. She states further that “nude dressing may be the prerogative of Celebrities whose purpose is to strike an unforgettable image in the minds of their fans. It is meant for the likes of Grammy Awards and the Red Carpet generally, not for ordinary everyday folk like you and me. Celebrities may get away with it because they are above the average person’s reach. While, it is nice to keep up with trends, this must be done in moderation with due regard to morals and ethics. It is important to dress modestly and decently because that not only shows you are confident of yourself but also showcases you as a person of integrity and standards. Exposure of private parts is a specific “NO NO”. Private parts are referred to as such because they should not be flaunted in public, they should be kept in privacy.

My dear girls, dress is not merely a covering for your nakedness but it also sends a message about the kind of person you are. Indecent dressing belittles womanhood and a woman is often assessed and addressed based on perception. Certain types of dressing are associated with loose morals e.g. inordinately short clothes, exposure of private parts, too much cleavage etc. These invite prying eyes and reactions from the  public to what should remain under wraps, and have elicited many sexual violations and assault. Much as I do not justify such reactions, the way a lady dresses leaves lasting impressions. A lady is respected when  her dress sense is decent and stylish, leaving a lasting impression of dignity and class. Skimpy and indecent dressing on the other hand makes you look crass and cheap. I hope you catch my drift.

Even in the use of cosmetics and make-up, it should be used in moderation so you don’t appear garish. Try using colours that blend in with your skin colour rather than contrast with it.

I also see ladies tottering on heels that are a burden to them. Always wear things that you feel comfortable in whether clothes, shoes, hairdo or make-up.

Now to tattoos…that is another ball game. People with tattoos are generally perceived as displaying negative personality characteristics, lower levels of inhibitions, competence and sociability as well as higher levels of promiscuity. In other words, you can expect them to do the unthinkable without any qualms.”

All three girls thanked Yeni for her exposition on Fashion trends and for dressing right just as she dropped off each of them at their destination.

Left alone with Kemi, Kemi gave her a bear hug and looked her in the eyes. She said: “ Mom, I‘ve learnt so much from you today and I adore your sense of dress. I see you as my role model because you always look so good. Have you noticed how heads turn when you enter a room? Thank you mom for teaching me the right values and parameters”.

Havilah wishes to add that this admonition also works for adults who are meant to act as mentors to the youth but are themselves entirely misled about the right attitude to dressing. May we be guided by the right morals and ethics rather than follow the crowd blindly, all in the name of fashion.



BOYS AND GIRLS… come out to play!

Ajua hears the door bell and lets in three of her classmates – Angie, Bambam and Esosa. It is the 1982 – 1987 class set meeting and Ajua is hosting. Angie is the first to flounce into the living room but Bambam, immediately heads for the dinner table which is well laid out with delicious goodies. She opens dish after dish and exclaims…”Wow Ajua, what a spread and it sure looks good and smells good. I can’t wait for the meeting to be over to tantalise my palate with this cassava fufu and banga soup. Are those periwinkles I see and gosh this jollof rice looks really rich and different.” She continues to appraise each of the dishes until Esosa quips “Is this the Nigerian or Ghanaian jollof? I guess today will be the decider on which is tastier”. After picking their preferred drinks the four of them settle to await the arrival of other members of the set for the meeting.

Angie speaks for the first time – “Ajua girl, you are really prepared for us o. Your caterer must be good – with so much variety and on time too”.

Ajua replies – “The boys will be thrilled to hear these compliments o. My three boys took over the kitchen and cooked up a storm. I only flew in from my workshop yesterday night and trust me, I was too tired to do much, except arrange for dessert. They had earlier agreed the menu with me during the week, and kept true to their promise”.

Bambam quickly cuts in – “Ajua, tell me you are kidding. How do you mean your boys? I can’t believe boys can do this…even the fufu”?

Ajua continues – “What do you do in my circumstances? I have three boys and no girl child. With time it became increasingly difficult to get good house-helps. Also, Misan (my husband) was not comfortable with having female maids as the boys reached puberty and I didn’t want a male help hanging around the house. I had to train the boys to be self sufficient and domesticated. After-all…I can’t kill myself. I also feel it prepares them for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) and beyond”.

Esosa adds – “Yes o. No girlfriends can bluff them”.

Ajua resumes – “Interestingly, I see it as an asset for their potential wives. I expect them to give necessary support and assistance to their wives as conditions demand”.

Angela chips in –  “You have a point there. I never really saw it that way you know. Dudu , my only girl of the three children constantly complains that I leave all the household chores to her while the boys can hardly keep their rooms neat. It’s always Dudu this or Dudu that”.

Bambam takes a deep breath and says “Ajua…thanks for the insight. My children are still quite young so I will take a cue from you in raising my only son”.

Esosa gushes – “Today, the ladies seem to be faring better in their careers and in the workplace. They seem better able to  multitask  without dropping the ball. Could it be that we have trained the girls to fit so much into their day that they learn early how to organise themselves and juggle their tasks efficiently to achieve the desired results. This translates into commendable performance at work as they are better organised and prepared to think on their feet without balking in the face of unexpected challenges”.

Bambam ends the discussion just as three other classmates come through the door: “I really think this should make for a good after dinner discussion for the house. Maybe we should raise both sexes with similar values after-all we say “What a man can do a woman can do also” and the women are proving it. Why not vice versa”?

If you were at the set meeting after dinner discussion, what would be your view? Please don’t hesitate to write your comment below or e-mail it to



THE DANGLING CARROT – Emotional Infidelity/Adultery

Modele and Andrew have been married for two years and have a seemingly perfect marriage with Modele’s 9 to 5 well paying job in an advertising agency while Andrew works with a Multinational company as an Executive Director in charge of the African Sub-Region. Consequently, Andrew’s work schedule involves short lived but frequent overseas tours within the African continent. They both agreed to hold out for two years after marriage before having children, in order to secure their careers.

Given Andrew’s increasing absence from home, Modele decides to spend more time at work to advance her career. As she does this, she receives increasing company from Bodun, a widowed colleague, who is the Creative Director. They start off a platonic friendship which gradually changes course. He starts by lending a hand at Modele’s home with innocuous tasks like changing burnt light  bulbs, fixing faulty gadgets, fixtures and fittings, car repairs etc. Out of boredom, they go for the occasional movie and Modele finds herself opening up to Bodun on intimate and personal issues. She begins to rely on him for counsel on matters that relate to her relationship with Andrew and his family as well as decisions on most aspects of her life. She looks forward to his calls, messages and occasional visits with excitement and there is a connection. She realises that she no longer misses Andrew but rather looks forward to his trips as a time to connect with Bodun. Of course , she tends to compare Bodun with Andrew , and catches herself increasingly thinking of Bodun and caring about him. Even when Andrew is around she sneaks around the house to make contact with Bodun through calls and texts. Her Christian upbringing however prevents her from any sexual interaction outside her marriage but she feels frustrations fighting her emotions.

One Saturday evening, her dear Aunty Molly calls to inform her that she would be attending a week long workshop in her city –  Abuja, and would like to stay with her for the week especially since Andrew was away. Modele was ecstatic. This would give her the much needed opportunity to discuss Bodun and her emotional entanglement  with her pragmatic young Aunty Molly.

True to her word, Aunty Molly arrives the next day  and after settling her in, Aunty Molly in her characteristic manner asks : “Dele dear, what’s new and how is work? Any gist”?

Discussions start off with work and Modele tells Aunty Molly about Bodun and excitedly describes their friendship and the void his relationship fills.  After 42 minutes of listening Aunty Molly clears her throat and says…”Hmm…my dear daughter, it appears to me you are playing with fire. This is a classic case of ”emotional adultery”.

Modele replies in a daze, “Haba…adultery aunty? We have not had that level of interaction. Aunty, no sex is involved! I just feel extremely comfortable with him and can broach ANY matter with him. He always has workable solutions, he is witty and empathetic”.

Aunty Molly asks “Is Andrew aware of this… “friend?”

Modele replies “…Well, he knows him as a colleague but, aunty, you know Andrew, he can be jealous. I can’t tell him o”.

Aunty Molly chides her niece “Dele, Dele, Dele…how many times did I call you? Listen and listen good. What you are doing with Bodun is playing with fire! You are having an EMOTIONAL AFFAIR which amounts to Emotional Infidelity/adultery because you are a married woman. Let me break it down for you.

As a Christian you know adultery is unacceptable to God. It is also a legal offence punishable under the country’s Penal code and Sharia Law (which is applicable in the Northern part of the country) although it only serves as a ground for Divorce in the Southern parts. That means, Andrew can use Adultery as a basis for divorce.

What is Adultery?  Adultery can be defined as voluntary sexual relations in which at least one participant is married to someone else.

In the absence of sexual relations, can there be adultery?  This is where EMOTIONAL ADULTERY comes into play. In Matt. 5:28, the bible states “But I say to you everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. This shows that you don’t have to have sexual intercourse before you commit adultery. The mere thought of it suffices. The important thing here is the intention not necessarily the act. The word of God also teaches us to “Flee from all appearances of evil”. What do you think anyone who saw you at the Cinema with Bodun would think?  That qualifies as an “appearance of evil” my daughter. Sin starts from the seemingly harmless and then dwells in the mind before it is acted out. Every unholy act proceeds from the mind. It should therefore be clear to you now that you don’t have to be involved in a sexual relationship to be in an adulterous one.  

That said, how do you identify Emotional Infidelity? The emphasis here dear Dele, is on the word emotional. It occurs when an innocent platonic friendship starts arousing romantic feelings and inclinations even without physical interaction. It is a relationship you prefer to keep concealed especially from your spouse,  you are more comfortable discussing your challenges or problems with “your friend” rather than your spouse and you end up neglecting your partner’s emotional, physical or psychological needs. It also showcases in your call or chat log with such “friend” being lengthier than that with your husband.When these happen, it is time to analyse the purport of such relationship. Dele, I hope you now understand where I am headed.

Emotional infidelity is not something that one is intentional about but it slowly creeps in on you as it starts by filling a void you may not even have realised existed until you start relating with each other. It is indeed common in many marriages at one point or the other but it is important to recognise it for what it is – A dangerous carrot NOT to be swallowed –  as it can actually consume the marriage.

Having identified it, you must consciously address it in order to save your marriage.  It is certainly easier to prevent yourself from falling into the crevice of emotional infidelity provided you recognise the symptoms but once you are already in it, the next best thing is to scamper out of the crevice before Andrew even catches a whiff of it because its effect can be as devastating as actual physical adultery. Dele dear, I am not crucifying you for where you find yourself because many marriages easily fall into this snare, but you must  identify it for what it is, an evidence of a fissure in your marriage that must be fixed to enjoy the sanctitity and harmony of marriage. Modele ruminated over Aunty Molly’s admonition and made up her mind to do three things:

  1. Deliberately cut off her interactions with Bodun and intimate him of her decision.
  2. Discuss the impact of Andrew’s frequent travels with him and collectively navigate a solution.
  3. Prepare her mind for children while sourcing better ways of being occupied when Andrew has to  travel.