Uyi and Esosa had been married for five years during which a lot had changed. When the lovebirds married, they were Security Guard and Receptionist respectively, at a small sole proprietorship business with no education beyond their Secondary School Certificate. Uyi however craved a higher education and strove to attend a part-time course at the University while Esosa seemed content to remain the doting wife and mother with no intentions of furthering her education or acquiring a skill. Recently, she observed that she was outside Uyi’s new circle of friends as she felt out of place and awkward with them. Uyi was also becoming more critical of her, causing her discomfiture which gave her reason to seek out advice from Aunty Pauline.

After she explained the reason for her visit, Aunty Pauline berated her for her lethargy. “Come on Esosa, you have to step up! You are an intelligent lady. Polish yourself up, go back to school or learn a skill and excel at it. Make him proud of you. It can only engender respect. I think I need to share MY STORY with you”. Aunty Pauline continued:

“Anda and I are from underprivileged backgrounds and barely finished Secondary School back in our village. We both decided to move to the city to search for jobs and settle down in marriage. Anda had always been very ambitious with a zeal for higher education but his parents could least afford that. However, after our marriage, he retook the SSCE and JAMB exams and came out with excellent results. This spurred the church we attend to offer him a scholarship to pursue a course in Sociology at the Federal University of his choice. He graduated top of his class and went on to do a Master’s degree in International Relations as a Graduate Assistant at the University. In all that time, it was I who sustained the family on my meagre salary as an Office Assistant – holding up the family and supporting my husband. On completing his Post Graduate course, he obtained employment with the Ministry of External Affairs and was shortly posted out as an Ambassador to Botswana. This gave the family the opportunity to travel out but I soon discovered that Anda started avoiding being seen with me or presenting me as his wife. I appeared to be an embarrassment to him as I had nothing to contribute to conversations at official events and barely understood the topics of discussion. Soon enough, I got dropped out of these events and it placed a strain on our relationship.

One day, after some deep introspection, I decided I would surprise him – step up and match him or maybe…outdo him. I was equally intelligent but had put all my energies into raising and sustaining the family, believing that the education and enlightenment should be left to the children. I had felt I was past learning. Ignorance had appeared to be bliss but I realised my safe world was crumbling. Without hesitation, I investigated the learning opportunities in Botswana and enrolled in school.  At the age of 37 and after birthing three children, I was back in school with a hunger that propelled me into the Merit list of the school. I graduated with honours which earned me respect not only from my husband but from his peers and other members of our family. With education came enlightenment and technological advancement. I became a relevant source of reference and assistance – a sounding board for my husband who now respected me more than ever before and began to rely on my advice and in-depth analysis of situations and events. Needless to say, that was the tonic my marriage needed. Rather than lose to ignorance and lethargy, I “stepped up” and it paid off”.

Havilah sounds a note of advice here – In any marriage, both parties must build mutual respect. Unfortunately, this may sometimes be affected by a mismatch in education, exposure, interests, values and the like. When either party considers the partner as an embarrassment for any reason, respect usually gets kicked out the door and causes the basis for friction in an otherwise healthy relationship. Communication is key to every marriage and effective communication can only take place where both parties are operating at similar levels of communication. Both parties must be able to clearly understand what is communicated.




It’s another Friday evening and the three musketeers as they are fondly called, meet as usual, to relax with their spouses. The Friday Rendezvous is usually rotated among them and today, it is Manfred and Nini’s turn to host. They are always excited when Nini is hosting because her cuisine is always “Finger licking good”.

After finishing a sumptuous meal, Gbenga exclaims patting his protruding stomach – “Mani bobo…hmm, Nini’s cooking skills are extraordinary and coming from me, you know that the comment is a fact. It beats everything I have eaten throughout the length and breadth of Africa and beyond. As a connoisseur of good food, it beats me how she consistently churns out these sumptuous meals, year in and year out. It is the consistency in quality that boosts my admiration”.

Fola picks it from there with “Mani, you are a lucky man o. No wonder you are never interested in offers to eat out. Nothing you find out there can beat what your woman serves. She is gifted jo, KILODE”!

The main meal served, the “boys” settle down to watch the finals of the soccer world cup on the large TV screen in the living room while the “sisfrens”, as they refer to themselves, retreat into the kitchen to help Nini serve the dessert. The following banter ensues.

Betty taps Nini on the shoulder with “Nini, na wa o. Where did you learn the culinary wonders, you churn out each time we are here? They are not dishes that are strange to us but they always taste intrinsically better. You have a way of tantalising the palate. Sisfren…pray, what is the secret ingredient? She concludes with a laugh”.

Nini replies with a smile “Truly sis, there is no secret ingredient, there is nothing to it. After all, you have sometimes assisted with the preparations, did you notice or see anything different or unusual?”

Rolayo continues by insisting “Haba, Nini, there must be something. Maybe you add it to the stock or some other ingredient before we are present. Referring to your cooking as finger-licking good is indeed an understatement”.

Nini heaves a deep sigh and replies “actually sisfrens, there is a secret ingredient and it is really very simple if only you can believe it works. For me, it works over and over again”.

Betty and Rolayo exchange glances and chorus in unison “We knew it. Come on sis, out with it”!

Nini continues” The secret ingredient is committing the entire process into God’s hand. As I embark on the preparations, I ask God to take control by making it wholesome for all who will eat of it and importantly, to not only nourish their bodies but make it excellent to their palates”.

Rolayo continues “You’ve got to be kidding me Nini. Who would have thought that to be the answer? However, on a second thought, the holy book enjoins us to entrust all our ways and endeavours into the hands of the Almighty and he will actualise it. What a practical application of that instruction. It is just that cooking seems so mundane, I would never have thought to involve God in the manner which you just explained”.

Hmm…Betty exhales slowly and responds “It is worth giving a try sis. It’s uncanny how God takes over and perfects things when we let him”.

With that, the “sisfrens” return to the living room with trays of delectable dessert and serve their husbands – each of them, determined to put into practice what they had just learned.

Havilah’s view? God is concerned in everything that pertains to us and if we let him in, he perfects us. Nothing is too mundane which is why he instructs that we commit everything into his hands.




Relationships are always a slippery terrain often fraught with challenges. Such challenges are usually shared with third parties usually with the intent to resolve conflict or disagreements or simply have some sense of relief from unburdening. Four ladies share their experiences regarding sharing their challenges with third parties outside of their “significant other”. The results are subject to your evaluation. Please read and learn.

Amy, gained admission to study a Master’s course in a city away from her fiancé, Kenny and proceeded, cautious of any entanglement that could jeopardise her relationship with Kenny. She knew herself to be friendly and engaging but she often placed a lid on platonic friendships especially with members of the opposite sex as she recognised that her fiancé was severely possessive and jealous. She, however, forged a platonic friendship with Michael who was a course mate and very helpful is assisting her to settle down in the new city. She did not hesitate to inform Kenny and keep him in the loop regarding her interactions with Michael, purely to keep his mind at rest. In that vein, she shared some of the pictures her tutorial class had taken at a picnic event with Kenny who was rather sullen and upset about it. Amy was devastated at Kenny’s reaction and blurted the surrounding incident to Michael who lent her a listening ear. Shortly after, Michael became her confidant and sounding board on issues relating to Kenny. Gradually, the bond grew and by graduation, a previously resolute Amy, was now confused as to whether to ditch Kenny for Michael or stick to her earlier promise.

Oluta on the other hand was married to Sokari until the marriage was shattered as a result of bad advice from her closest friend and confidant – her mom. Her incessant squabbles and quarrels with Sokari had formed the bedrock of her daily conversations with her mother who constantly urged her to stand up to her husband and even her scores whenever there was an argument. She constantly reminded her of the raw deal she had in the hands of Oluta’s father because she was the obedient submissive wife who never challenged anything he did. Even then, he had cheated on her with her best friend and married her friend as a second wife.

Ori on her part applauds the intervention of her mother in her marriage. She sees it as the saving grace her marriage needed. She explains…” I thought I couldn’t go on with all of Medu’s shenanigans. He was manipulative, dishonest and overbearing but each time I complained to my mother’s ever-listening ear, she gave me advice that would always calm the storm. Today, I enjoy a very happy relationship with my spouse who sees me as the “best thing” that could have happened to him. Thanks to my mom. Incidentally, before I turned to my mother for counsel, I had approached a Deaconess in our church whom I saw as a mother figure but things only worsened as Medu would always react negatively to being chastised by the Deaconess”.

Felicia places on record that she has had one consistent, constant, unchanging and unfailing confidant in her 15 years of marriage and the marriage has been blissful. She starts by stating “Right from the inception of our marriage, Felix insisted that whatever happens in it must stay between us. No third-party intervention would be entertained as any such intervention would form the basis of things falling apart. Initially, this seemed like a Herculean task until I found the answer…I would invite the Triune God into the marriage. I developed a habit of taking all challenges, disagreements, and issues to God in prayer. His ears are ever open to hear me and after pouring out my heart I always encounter peace, good counsel and the strength to carry on. Burdens and cares are lifted and nothing weighs me down. This also positively impacts my husband and our relationship. My motto, therefore, is that there is only one party worth inviting into your relationship and he is the only one that can stabilise it. That party is God”.

The challenges associated with marriage sometimes make it attractive to pour out one’s heart and receive both some level of relief and counsel while doing so. However, is it a prudent thing to do? While spilling out your heart to anyone you can never discern what that party is likely to do with the information and to what purpose his/her counsel is targeted. Will the information be spread to mock you, to engender sympathy on your behalf, to exploit the exposed cracks in your relationship, etc? The heart of man is deep, who can fathom it? Havilah advises that the much-needed relief, release and counsel can come from God alone because he knows all things and the personalities of the couples are exposed to him. Always cast your cares and burdens upon him.




Philo (an experienced Therapist) was astounded when she attended the 50th birthday bash of her bosom friend, Mina. The party was well organised and gave all invitees a time to remember. The crème de la crème was all present and the guest list sported dignitaries from all walks of life. Philo felt honoured to be part of the occasion. However, the shocker that tugged at her senses and emotions came when Mina rose up to respond to a well-delivered toast. After extolling the virtues displayed by her father, his love and dedication in nurturing and caring for her, he went on to state that he acted the role of both mother and father… not because her mother was dead, but rather in her words “my mother starved me of love and care. Right after delivery, she behaved as if I did not exist and failed to carry out any maternal responsibility towards me. For her, it was I did not exist but I thank God for my dear father who took on the role of a doting mother”. The silence was palpable and it took a while before invitees responded with any form of applause. Philo was shocked to the bone but made a mental note to seek out her friend and elicit further details about what she blurted out.

A week later, Philo was opportune to be in Mina’s neighborhood and stopped by on a visit. After the usual small talk, she approached the topic of her intent…” Babe, what was all that talk about your late mum shirking her responsibilities regarding you, especially at such a public forum? That was a mean thing to say and importantly, we shouldn’t speak evil of the dead”.

Mina responded with “Philo, you can’t imagine how I have felt about it through the years. I felt like an abandoned child and seeing her every day turned my insides. I finally got it off my chest and got some release but I assure you, I still wonder what my birth meant to her, for her to behave that way toward me”.

Philo exhaled slowly and explained “I can only imagine how you felt but have you thought of how she felt knowing she was not acting right yet unable to help herself? Given your explanations about her behavior I believe she suffered from undiagnosed postpartum depression which resulted in psychosis. She was grossly misunderstood and deserves your empathy. Unfortunately, most persons are uninformed regarding postpartum ailments that may affect a mother post-delivery and postpartum depression is not often understood”.

She explained further “Postpartum depression can be described as a severe form of depression occurring after childbirth and sometimes during pregnancy. It typically occurs within the first three weeks of delivery although it may present later. The symptoms range from severe mood swings, excessive crying, change in appetite, intense irritability and anger to insomnia, fatigue and apathy. In severe or extreme cases, it leads to psychosis whereby the mother neglects or refuses to bond with the baby, suffers anxiety disorders and panic attacks and may even seek to harm the baby or contemplate suicide”.

Mina was immediately remorseful and exclaimed “May the Lord forgive me? You know, I can relate with a number of the symptoms you described. I guess mummy actually needed help and not condemnation. If only we knew what you have just explained”, she broke down weeping. After Philo succeeded in calming her friend down, the two friends spoke at length about the ailment and determined to set up an NGO for the purpose of enlightening women specifically and the public in general on Postpartum depression and to assist those diagnosed with it as well as their family members to better enable them to cope with the challenges it presents.

Havilah is of the opinion that antenatal visits to the hospital should better prepare would-be mothers for some of the postpartum challenges they could be faced with and how to recognise and handle them. Undoubtedly, birthing children is a joyous thing, however, occasionally, one may be faced with daunting challenges, post-delivery.