Jumai glanced at her phone and hurriedly put it on speaker. It was a call from Vivian to remind her of her rendezvous with “the girls”. She was running late for the appointment because she had stopped to pick up her “mate’s” children from school because their mum (Billie) was experiencing severe cramps and had asked her to help out. As she pulled into Vivian’s drive-in, she found that Adijat and Gloria had both preceded her in arriving at the venue. Jumai breezed into the living room mouthing apologies for her delayed arrival to which Vivian quipped “Meet our quintessential woman living peacefully and comfortably in a polygamous relationship. I doff my hat to you Jumai, picking up your mate’s kids. How do you do it”?

Jumai settled into her seat and asked in a matter-of-fact manner “What’s wrong with that?” She continued,” Billie is such a sweet girl and she has two adorable children who keep our home lively. You know my children are all grown and away from home We take turns to supervise the menu and cooking and sometimes collaborate especially on occasions where we have guests over. So, it is a pleasure to have these little ones around. There is absolutely no rivalry or competition as she ascribes to me the position of a “big sister” and fondly refers to me as “Yaruwa” while I treat her as I would my younger sister”.

“Hmm…” Adijat cuts in and continues, “polygamy seems to sit well on you o. As for me, I can’t imagine living in the same house with my “senior wife”, how much more sharing chores or collaborating on issues. Bode knows I can’t stand her talk less of allowing her to get close to my children. I don’t trust her. We are so different and our philosophies of life are so far apart. I sometimes wonder how Bode copes with our extremes. Although he spends four nights a week at my place, I sometimes wish he could spend more time with me though”, she whines.

Gloria responds with a quizzical look at Adijat. “Adijat, you should be grateful you know where your husband spends his time and money, outside of you. At least, his relationships are in the open and not shrouded in secrecy. Besides, his religion permits polygamy. What does one make of Charles who under the guise of attending vigils and other church-related programs, is involved in extramarital relationships? In fact, I understand he has a family outside of me, yet he is not man enough to mention it, how much more discuss it with me. “Anuofia”. I am simply watching and playing along for now”.

Vivian interjects with “Wow Gloria! Is she a “baby mama”, “side chick” or a second wife?” She continues “You know I think it is always better to know what you are dealing with. A man who is courageous enough to be polygamous should be man enough to take it out of the closet”

Jumai nods in assent and advises – “transparency helps everyone understand their situation and determine the best way to handle it. I must admit when Ahmadu first broached the issue of bringing a second wife, I found it unpalatable but at his insistence, I prayed about it with an attitude of accepting what I cannot change. Over time, I found peace and adapted to the situation. These days, you will have observed that I travel at will and that is because I have someone, I trust to take care of Ahmadu’s welfare when I am away. Of course, we sometimes have our misunderstandings as every family does but they are easily resolved and forgotten”. She continues, “Openness in relationships helps build confidence and trust in one another. Undoubtedly, we all have our downsides but marriage is about making the best of the situations we find ourselves in and achieving peace and happiness. Unfortunately, courtship does not always reveal the challenges ahead in marriage. To Adijat, my admonition is that you strive for a peaceful environment because, with that, you thrive. Peace encourages progress and fends off illness, anxiety and the like. For me, I have a peaceful home where things work, I have gained a younger sister and enjoy all the privileges the situation accords”.

On that note, all four of them fill their platter with the barbecue goodies on display and start a conversation about their school’s upcoming Founders Day Anniversary and the proposed plans.

Havilah likens marriage to a surprise package. You are excited about receiving the package and can’t wait to unwrap it. When you do, your reaction may be one of elation, indifference or depression. These reactions can change along the line and can occur at any time during the marriage. It however calls for a determination to live at peace with yourself and those around you to navigate the storms that may assail and end up fulfilled.




Yaruwa                – a Hausa word for elder sister.

Anuofia               – An Igbo abuse of a worthless man.

Baby Mama        -Mother of one or more of a man’s children, who is not his wife or current partner.

Side Chick           – Slang for a mistress.


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