How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? How we dealt with our ethnic differences.

by Onyinye Ogbuka
How to overcome obstacles in a relationship/ mildstrings/ twitter

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? Never did I believe I would end up with a man whose world is far away from mine. We had nothing in common and that was what attracted us to each other. There was an obstacle to our love but what did we do to overcome that obstacle?

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? Weddings and thoughts

Imagine, just imagine you attend a wedding not because you wanted to attend this wedding, most obviously the wedding is not your business.

You attended that wedding because you were dragged by your party freak of a friend who finds unspeakable pleasure in playing dress-up, attending weddings, and eating Jollof rice.

It’s obvious you are a Muslim because you are in a beautiful long powder blue gown with a glittering hijab of the same color as the gown.

You feel conscious of yourself at the wedding, you are the only one who seems to be dressed properly. Yes, you belong to the league of mothers and grandmothers who seem to be well covered. Every other lady your age there has just a yard of cloth covering their privates while three yards seems to cover the floor. It’s funny to you because you can’t seem to reconcile the image of yourself in that kind of dress.

You look at your friend, she is well dressed today, even though her mammary is on display a tad too much. She is taking Snapchat videos for her Instagram. She would say things like, “I like pressing people’s necks on that app”.

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? A shift into friendship.

You are rudely interrupted by the presence of a guy and his friend sliding into the other end of the round table you are on.

No courtesy whatsoever, he declares, “shift, this side is tight”.

“If I don’t shift, what will you do? You retort.

You have never been known to take nonsense, most especially, from a man.

“You meet people here and you cannot greet them as courtesy demands, you go further and bark out orders and think they will obey you like that?

You chide yourself mentally, you are a bit harsh. Words are like eggs, you have said them already and you decide to be nicer.

He is taken aback, he and his friend exchange glances. You decide to shift your chair to give them space when you hear a soft Igbotic version of, “I am sorry”.

You are suddenly embarrassed, it looks like the cat has got your tongue when you avoid his gaze and forcibly mutter “it’s alright, I am sorry too”.

You have always had a thing for men on low cut and this one before you looks like the god of low cut.

You have been sitting for a long time without the waiter coming to attend to those at your table and immediately after this guy and his friend arrive, the waiters come to attend to him. From his accent, you can tell he is an Igbo man. He makes his order and asks the server at the table to also attend to you guys. Hmm, you say to yourself, why does it feel like this is the work of money, or is he close to the groom or something? You ask yourself.

In less than fifteen minutes, your table has been adorned with different kinds of dishes and an assortment of drinks.

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? Yes, I am Emeka

You don’t waste time digging into your food. Halfway into your food, you casually throw him a glance and you find him staring at you. You force your eyes to return and focus on your food. You are more conscious of yourself, your ravenous appetite also seems to have vanished. Suddenly, you can’t finish the food before you, the same food you have been eyeing an hour ago on the table adjacent to you. 

“Nnem, are you not hungry again? He asks.

“Not at all, I am okay already”, you reply.

Okay, won’t you like anything to drink? He offers and you wonder why he is being nice.

“No, thank you”.

He digs into his dish with relish and at intervals, downs the food with a bottle of small stout.

After eating, he strikes up a conversation with you in which he asks your name and you tell him your name is Aisha, you ask him his and he introduces himself as Emeka. 

By the time the wedding comes to an end, you both are laughing like drunk people.

You friend is staring at you like you’ve grown horns.

He is so not my type

He offers to drive both of you home just to continue talking to you while his friend makes small talk with your friend.

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship/Pinterest pin/mildstrings

You guys get home and for the first time through you, a guy knows your house. This is super story.

After exchanging contact and promising to visit him at his shop in Alaba, you guys bid each other farewell.

Your friend spends the entire night laughing at your expense; she would tease you about being the wife of Emeka; importer and exporter, pure water and ice water. You would give her the stink eye and she would double over with laughter. Her laughter is so much that her facial cleanser spills on the floor and you laugh back at her expense.

Ugh, you can’t imagine Emeka being your husband, God forbid, he is not your type. He is handsome quite alright, but he is not the kind of man you think would make you salivate. You have always prayed to Allah to give you one fine Hausa man with pink lips and six-packs. You know this Emeka is not your husband because he downed three bottles of beer at the wedding, he drinks like a fish and has a big belly. This is not the picture of the kind of man you want.

Something to love

Over the rest of the weekend, Emeka calls to say hi, and after some minutes he has you in fits of laughter. You could never have known that you would enjoy listening to someone so much even if it’s not value-laden.

Monday is here again, and it’s to your most unpleasant surprise that your car has developed a fault. You make your way to Emeka’s shop at Alaba. You get there and that is when you realize Emeka sells motor spare parts, You explain your plight to him and he sends his mechanic to take a look at your car.

You are surprised at the rate of business activity going on in his shop. Watching him lose a big sale because he refused to inflate the figures makes your heart turn soft at the sight of such honesty. You have always had that erroneous belief that Igbos would do anything for money. It’s at this point you realize that it does not apply to everybody, especially not this one who would so much as not do something simple such as inflating figures to make a sale.

And a thank you

You enjoy your day in the company of Emeka at his shop and before the day is over, your car issues has been fixed.

You offer the mechanic money for his service but he declines and says Emeka has paid already. You try to reimburse Emeka and he looks at you like you are trying to insult him. You have enough sense to keep your money in your bag and behave as if nothing happened.

Emeka offers to buy you dinner, but you say no, and by putting you in fits of laughter, he manages to persuade you. He takes you to a restaurant and you guys eat. He says he wants to show you his favorite place and it turns out to be a pepper soup joint.

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? A date and a question

Once your tongue taste the pepper soup and your taste buds scream in delight, you forget your home training and chew in relish. Emeka watches you in amusement and regales you with tales that threaten to send pepper to your head.

The night ended well with Emeka jokingly asking you to be his girlfriend, and you tell him you can’t be his girlfriend because you don’t do guys that drink and have a potbelly. He stills for a moment and mutters something in Igbo, which he translates to, “where they joke is where they tell the truth”.

You say your byes and depart.

A few months down the line, you and Emeka have become best friends despite your differences in religion and tribe. Your friendship with Emeka has left your friend in a puzzle and his friends in a bigger puzzle.

You spend your leisure time at his shop, and in no time you have developed some sort of salesmanship skills. It is oddly satisfying that you can make people whip out money from their pockets. You are also an attractive female and that seems to draw customers to you like bees to honey.

Emeka’s neighbors at his shop are confused as to why a Muslim sister would come to their neighbors’ shop and spend most of her time. Emeka often tells his neighbors that you are his lucky charm.

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? Two sides of a coin

Emeka is caring, he always calls to ask about your welfare. You feel so comfortable and trust him not to judge which he does not. Even in your fights, he is still kind. Even if you guys are just friends, he is always doting on you and trying to ensure you are comfortable. You have never met a man with such thoughtfulness. You consider the woman that will marry him lucky and you don’t know why you became sad at thought of that.

Emeka is responsible and focused, his efforts at promoting his business is something to be studied. Emeka could be arrogant, he prides himself on being able to take care of a woman and that woman is you. He has never allowed you to pay when you guys are out, you find it funny and sometimes annoying. Emeka tends to talk loudly but it doesn’t seem to matter in the grand scheme of things, he is just your friend and that is all.

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? Just to have you

You notice that shortly after you guys met, whenever you guys go out, he does not order beer, he just orders water. You ask him why the change and he says what you said the day you guys came to the joint for the first time touched him. He affirms that he does not want to die young and desires to lead a healthier lifestyle hence the reason why he is avoiding beer and going to the gym daily. Maybe then, you might consider him worthy to be your boyfriend. You feel yourself going soft and you somehow feel flattered. Also, you notice the progressive reduction in his stomach and the growing muscles slowly filling out the sleeve of his shirt.

You guys end up having a fight when Emeka says he does not like the Muslim guy that comes around to visit you. You have issues with that and you tell him he does not own your life. You can see he is not happy.

The kind of healing that I want

Emeka does not call you for two days to apologize, and you are not just happy. You miss him so much that it brings tears to your eyes and that is when you realize you love this man. He is not your type but that does not seem to matter anymore because you love him. You make your way to his shop to apologize since he will not. You get there and you are told Emeka has not been in the shop for the past two days. You have been trying to get through his mobile, but it has not been going and this gets you worried. You thank your stars that you have visited his house once or twice.

You find your way to his house and on getting there, you find out this wonderful Igbo man of yours has been sick for the past two days. When he sees you, he smiles weakly. You berate him for not calling you and he tells you he does not want you to see him vomiting his senses out. You leave him and get to work.


In a short time, you have a steaming bowl of spicy chicken soup before him. He tells you he is not hungry and you retort that it’s not your business. In the most annoying thirty minutes of your life, you ended up bullying him and spewing all sorts of colorful threats to make him finish his meal which he does amidst grumbling. Oh, he is such a big baby.

While you are both relaxing before the TV, Emeka apologizes for quarreling with you and says even though you guys are friends and are worlds apart, he loves you. You apologize and tell him you also love him too. A look of understanding passes through both of you and it’s not something that tribe or religion can separate. He asks you to be his girlfriend and you say yes.

He kisses you and you feel lightheaded. It’s your first time kissing and you certainly love the feeling it evokes in you.

How to  overcome obstacles in a relationship/ mildstrings
How to overcome obstacles in a relationship

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? Take this love

You would later find out Emeka is the most unromantic of them all. Emeka is the sort of man that would give his all to a woman he loves. While you date, you make your fears known to him about getting married to an Igbo man. He assuages your fears by making you understand that he values both genders of children. He would support you in whatever you set out to do. Most importantly, he accepts you for who you are. He assures you that in as much as your choice of religion is not what he wishes for in someone he loves, he is content with it as far as it does not come in between the two of you besides, someone cannot be perfect. You also allay his fears and promise to adjust accordingly.

In a few months Emeka proposes marriage and you say yes to him. 

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? It has to be Emeka

It is when you go home to discuss with your parent that you realize the gravity of what you have done.

 You are marrying an Igbo man and they are against your marriage to him. For once, you stand up to them and tell them you will get married to Emeka without their consent. At some point, you start crying and threaten to run away.

This is when they realize that you, their daughter is love and has found a man worthy of her affection. They try to reason with you and show you the Hausa man that is coming for your hand marriage.

You meet him, he has all the physical attributes you want in a man. However, he is not Emeka, he does not have Emeka’s igbotic accent. You don’t like the tilt of his nose, it’s too haughty for your liking. At the end of the day, your parents accept Emeka.

How to overcome obstacles in a relationship? Beautiful decisions

You tell Emeka the good news and he is joyful. He relates his experience with you; his family are not pleased with him marrying a Hausa woman but cannot do anything about it. They say he is old enough to know what he wants.

You meet each other’s family.

It’s a beautiful beginning when you both get married in court followed by a reception. 

A few years down the road, you don’t regret standing up to your parents. You became Emeka’s manager when he offered you a job at his shop with a great salary. You are not only his manager, you are his confidante and the mother of his two beautiful kids.

People find it difficult to reconcile two worlds falling in love but it’s something they have to get used to.


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