“Hey momma! Guess what?” My daughter ran into the kitchen, excitement written over her face as she beamed from ear to ear.

“Baby, whatever you have to say must be a a really good news because this one that you’re super happy ehn.” I said. “You know I’m not good at guessing so it is best you spill out what you want to say.”

“E tun ti de o (you have come again). Try to guess na. What could make your daughter of twenty something years so happy?”

“E gba mi ke (save me o). How am I supposed to know? The daughter I have is an always happy girl, but what could add to the happiness is what I don’t know o.” I said as I quickly focused on the food I was cooking.

“Well, get ready to have another counselee added to your long list of counselees. Though this counselee has no dime to pay as any fee sha o.”

“Dotun, help me find myself o. It seems I’m lost as to what you’re saying. Make it clearer.” I said, trying to decode the message she passed across.

“Mummy! He proposed! Gbolahan has finally proposed!”

I was shocked to say the least. Dotun had told me about how convinced she was that Gbolahan was the man for her. I joined her in prayers, counselled her and told her to wait till he came along. If he was the one, he would come, if not, he would go without her feeling any hurt whatsoever.

Years passed by and Dotun was already giving up on the thought of Gbolahan really being the one. She took her mind off men and faced her fashion designing business squarely.

“Ho ho! So my daughter can be this delighted because of a man. So, all the ‘men will come when they come’ was simply ‘shakara’.

“Go away joor. At least, I took after somebody now. Somebody that was also doing shakara for her husband when he came to propose whereas, she was dying of love for the man o.”

“E ma wo omo yi o” (see this child o). Who is the somebody o, if I may ask?”

“Mummy, I did not say anything now. Why are you allowing guilty conscience in your heart? What are you cooking?”

“Whatever I’m cooking is for me and the love of my life. You and your siblings will go and sort out yourselves o. It is his favourite.”

“Ha! Mummy. You and the love of your life ke. What of us? Somebody is hungry na.” She whined.

“Better go and ask your siblings what they are going to eat so you can sort out yourselves. The love of my life has gone out since morning and you know I don’t joke with his stomach the way he doesn’t joke with mine.” I said, raising my nose at her.

“Mummy now. This is not fair o.” She said.

“Let me go and call Joshua. It is his season of cooking.”

“See you. Don’t worry. I prepared food for all of you. You know I can’t ditch my babies when I choose to cook.”

“I love you mama. You know I can’t love you more.” She said, hugging me from behind.

“I love you too, baby. We need to talk o. This stage is a very critical one and you must not miss a step. I won’t want you to fall short of what I teach others. You have a higher privilege.” I said.

“Sure, mum.”

A knock on the door interrupted our chit chat.

“Dotun, I guess your Dad is back. Go and tell Caleb to open the door while we set the table.”

“All right, mum.”

Dotun and I transferred the tastefully prepared dish of Fried rice, Salad and grilled Croaker fish in a serving bowl to the dining table. I got the pineapple juice from the freezer to go along side the meal.

“Something smells nice, and my stomach is rumbling,” my husband said, pulling me into a long and warm embrace, planting a kiss on my lips.

“You’re welcome, honey. How was work?” I said, leading him to the table.

“Err. Work was fine. A bit stressful, but thank God I’m in my safe haven with the love of my life, and my lovelies.” He replied, placing a peck on my cheek.

We devoured the meal as a family as we shared our experiences from the day, and the good news of Dotun’s proposal. The news threw the whole family into a joyful mood and roaring laughter as we teased her with her past I don’t care attitude. We spoke at length and retired to bed after our night devotion.

Six months had passed in my counselling with my daughter, Dotun. Though I knew she must have learnt some things from the relationship between my husband and I, I knew there were things that she didn’t see or know about us because it was not made known to her and her siblings.

One of such things were our moments of misunderstanding and disagreements. To our kids, we are that ever happy and loving couple that never had axes to grind with each other.

During one of our discussions one day, I saw worry written on her face and I probed.

“Dotun, what’s wrong? You’re not as cheerful as you always are. Hope nothing?

“Not really mum. I’m just worried for Gbolahan and I. The temptation keeps getting stronger and it seems it is becoming harder keeping our hands from each other. Just yesterday, we were in a rather vulnerable and compromising situation. We were saved by the whiskers, else we would have messed up.” She said, tears forming in her eyes. “We really do not want to disappoint God, and we want to please Him even with our bodies, but it is not easy.”

“Hmm. This is a serious one, and I’ll have to address this with every member of this family in attendance. You’ll also have to invite Gbolahan over on the day we choose to have the family discussion.”

“Mum! Are you trying to report Gbolahan and I to everyone? We haven’t committed sin now. I thought it was meant to be between you and I, and if at all you want to involve any other person, it should be only Gbolahan. She said, a bit hysterical.

“My love. Far from it. I’m neither reporting you nor trying to expose this weakness to your siblings, but there is something your dad and I have to share with you that will help you soar through this phase without sinning, and it will help your siblings too. And you know, Gbolahan cannot be left out because he is gradually becoming a part of this family.”

“Oh. All right, mum.”

I discussed with my husband and he was more than eager to share our courtship experience. We fixed a date and made it known to the children. Luckily, they were all around. Dotun was the first born and only girl. Daniel followed after, while Joshua and Caleb; the twins, put an end to chid bearing. Joshua and Caleb were awaiting admission, so, it afforded them the opportunity of being at home.

It was a Saturday. Dotun had informed Gbolahan, and he was more than glad to come over for the discussion. We had woken up and performed our morning routine before the twins and I went into the kitchen in preparation for our big family time.

By noon, Gbolahan had arrived and we fed ourselves to a meal of Farmhouse and watermelon juice. After the meal, we moved to the sitting room. My husband and I sat in our couple’s couch while Dotun and Gbolahan sat on the individual chairs beside each other and the boys spread themselves on the longer couch.

“Who remembers this scene?” I asked as soon as we settled down.

“Childhood days.” Caleb, the most extroverted member of the family said.

“How can I ever forget the days we will seat and chat together and learn life lessons, and …” He continued.

“And what?” Joshua questioned, poking him and giving him a wry look.

“We have visitor now. Don’t let me talk. Mummy and daddy will understand.

“Talk. He is not a visitor. He is my fiancé.” Dotun chipped in.

“Hmm. I go love o. That’s what I’m talking about. You have not even married and you’re already behaving like mummy and daddy. Well, what I wanted to say is, ‘and mummy and daddy will be doing love in Tokyo, telling us that when we marry we will do same.” Caleb said.

We all burst out laughing, my husband and I in particular as we already knew that was where he was heading to.

“Well, thank God you have good memories of us, not bad ones, and you can be proud of your parents at any point in time that we were and still are good examples to you guys.” My husband said.

“You can say that again.” They all chorused.

“Mum, my ears are itchy already, eager to hear what we want to discuss. Why are you keeping us in suspense na?” Daniel asked.

“Ok. To the business of the day. We all know that our very own Dotun and Gbolahan are about to get married, and what we want to talk about will really help them these few months they have left. It will also help you guys when you get to that stage to.” I said. ” You know the courtship stage is one key area that if you’re not careful, the enemy could use it to drain all the spiritual experiences you have and the chief tool he uses is sexual sin. I can remember when I was still single, I always prayed that God was going to help me cross that phase without sin, and that I was going to keep my body undefiled. This was long before I even met my husband.”

“Same here.” My husband cut in. “Before my wife continues, let me tell you something you must take away even if you don’t get any other thing. Emotions are really strong, but the grace of God is stronger. Never give room for vulnerability at this stage.” He said, facing Dotun and Gbolahan.

“Let me tell you why he said that.” I said. At this point, all ears were raised to listen to my story. “One day, while we were courting, I can’t remember what really happened, but we caught ourselves gazing into each other’s eyes. We were singing songs of I love you when our heads started coming closer to each other. Our attempted kiss was broken off when we heard a crashing sound outside the restaurant we sat and we were jolted back to reality, and it was then it dawned on us that we were vulnerable at that point and almost gave in to our emotions. Well, thank God for grace. It could have been a different story.

“Ha! Daddy!” Caleb and Joshua chorused, a smile spreading over their face.

Dotun and Gbolahan exchanged knowing glances and fixed their gaze back on me.

“Another one happened when I went to visit her in a friend’s house, and her friend decided to excuse us so we could have our privacy.” My husband continued from where I stopped. “As soon as her friend left, I took my position beside her and we were talking. During the discussion, she placed her hands on my thigh, and immediately, cold shivers went down my spine. She wasn’t aware of the effect it was having on me, and she kept on talking. My mind was not there again.

I placed my hands on her hands, and it was then she realized that her hands were resting on my thigh. She looked into my eye and excused herself immediately. When she came back from the room, we hastened our discussion because we knew that any extended stay could lead us to doing something stupid. It was at this point we knew that we had to be extra careful, else we would break the scripture that says marriage is honourable in all and the bed undefiled.”

The atmosphere had changed already, and all my children were paying rapt attention to our story.

“The way we charged at each other after our wedding ehn, we knew it was only God’s grace that helped us to hold ourselves the remaining months of our courtship. We were both grateful that we waited and kept ourselves, and we had sex void of shame and guilt.” My husband added.

“Dotun, Gbolahan, I know how you both feel and you can see this temptation is not peculiar to you alone. We are faced with temptation, but you have the responsibility of fleeing from every appearance of evil. Once you’re married to each other, you both have legal and spiritual unrestricted access to yourselves, and no one can question you because it is approved of God.” I said.

“Very true. The way we have always had unrestricted access to each other from day one.” My husband said, drawing me closer into himself, pecking me on my cheek.
Dotun and Gbolahan have been married for five years now and they are really grateful they kept themselves despite the temptation they faced. Information reaching me is that there has been no dulling in that department, and there is no guilt or shame whatsoever.