So I finally got my copy of Toke Makinwa's much anticipated 'Tell it all' story on Monday morning and yes, I was able to finish reading through the 112 pages in about two hours.
Forget the excerpts we have been bringing to you since she launched the book on Sunday, the 14 chapter memoir has deeper revelations and I will summarize it in these 21 simple points below:
1. Why the Book was published...
Toke Makinwa for the first time (and probably last time) gave all the details on her marriage scandal that happened last year. Unlike entertainer Tiwa Savage who addressed her own marital scandal by granting an exclusive interview with Journalist Azuka and selling it to Pulse TV, Toke Makinwa decided to address hers in a book.
According to Toke, she was inspired to write the book after a friend gave her an instruction from the Holy spirit.
One morning, a friend reached out to me. She said that the Holy Spirit had instructed her to tell me to write about my experiences, and that it would change so many lives. She told me to stop feeling sorry for myself because the book, if written, would not be all about me.
Toke Makinwa however forgot to add that these other aims:
To make money (well obviously) and majorly "report" her estranged hubby, Maje Ayida and his other women to the world.
Maje's name came up close to 378 times in the 112 page book, the book was centered on HIM and not necessarily on Toke's victory/success story, or something.
"I was born into a family of six, which seemed to be the desired middle-class family model in the 80s: four kids and two parents. I was the second child; my older sister was born exactly 12 months before me, and then my sister and brother after me....Dad was an elder in church. He held himself to a much higher standard and that filtered down to us. We had morning devotions and prayer sessions at our house every day"
3. This thing called 'Malice' can destroy!
The part where Toke recounted watching her parents go up in flames was really traumatic. Every reader will definitely feel her pain at that point and it's even more painful when you discover that it was simply the failure to pass an info (due to malice keeping), that caused the tragic incident.
"The bang I had heard was the sound of the gas cylinder exploding. My mum had gotten the cylinder on Friday and brought it home only to discover a leak when it was turned on. She left instructions with Grace, who had been on duty that weekend, saying that the cylinder was not to be used and that she would return it on Monday. There was no way to contact the gas people before then. We had used a kerosene stove throughout the weekend.
When the other help, Ruth, returned early that Monday morning, Grace didn’t pass on the information because they weren’t talking. A rivalry had developed between the two women and they stopped talking to each other. Ruth, unaware of the danger, had put on the gas cylinder and tried to light the cooker. She died in the first blast. Grace survived the first blast but later died in the hospital. 😢😢
4. Her Parents' death affected her faith in God...
She was born into a Christian home but the death of her Parents took its toll on her; she didn't heal from it on time.
"I was eight years old when mum and dad died. And life continued....I couldn’t find closure....Where was God when that gas cylinder exploded? Dad had been active in the church and he wasn’t the type to act one way in public and another way at home. He had made sure we all took prayers, the Bible and everything else seriously. So what was the purpose of religion if it could not even save its followers? We had just finished morning devotion when the tragedy hit. Where was the justice in that?"
5. Living a wild life...
Peradventure you always wonder why Toke Makinwa attends all the social functions, parties and events, the reason is simple! It's been part of her since her days of youthful exuberance!
"After my parents’ death I became a difficult child, open with my siblings but closed off to everyone else.......University of Lagos was a whole new world for me. It meant newfound independence, and the truancy I had started in secondary school flourished. I had gotten admission to study English Language (Big Mummy thought I was studying Law and would find out in my second year that I wasn’t) but I never went to classes.
I found a group of girls just like me to ‘enjoy’ life with. We were members of a party club called ENVEE. It was like a rave club: we would throw and attend parties. Every day of the week found us at some party or club. My studies suffered but I didn’t care."
6. Maje is not Toke Makinwa's first love...
Toke was a teenager as at when she started dating Maje but she had dated some other guys before him; from Bidemi who'll buy her expensive stuffs, to Seun, the one that cruelly broke up with her in the club, where she now eventually met Maje.
"I could not believe I’d been dumped so unceremoniously at a night club, and in front of the girl I was being dumped for! The guy didn’t even have the decency to take me to a quiet corner and break the news over a drink… What was wrong with the men we had out there?"
7. Their beautiful meeting...
I was just giggling as Toke narrated how they met and the sweet things he did
He was such an adorable gentle man when he met her at the club; he comforted her after she got dumped by her boyfriend. He made an even sweeter gesture by surprising her with her best food the next day 'peppered Snail'.
He was everything Toke wanted in a Man.
Maje did resemble the dashing character Michael Power from the Guinness adverts of the early 2000s.Tall, dark and handsome, and with a great body, Power was every girl’s dream. And Maje looked just like him, down to the shaved head...
And he was romantic! He would send her flowers, buy her expensive gifts and use deep words like
“Trust me.I’ll never let go of you.”
He was a romantic and the man of my dreams. He paid me a lot of attention. There would be a message from him and we would go to dinner or go dancing. We held hands everywhere we went; he would open doors, pull out chairs – a perfect gentleman. ‘Bambino’ was what he called me, and I would get weak at the knees. Many times I fell asleep in his arms listening to Nora Jones’ ‘Come Away with Me’. It felt too good to be true, but it felt right.
He also made their first sexual act an unforgettable one!
Up until this point, Maje had never tried to get physically intimate with me. I felt electrical waves each time our skins touched, and I wondered if he felt them too. I was sure he did. Or didn’t he? I was confused, wondering why he was taking his time. Did he not desire me at all?
Maje visited one weekend in April, and we went out to dinner. It started raining just as we decided to leave. Maje was dropping me off when I blurted out the question that had been on my mind for weeks: was he attracted to me at all? He must have seen the look on my face as he politely asked me to come over to his. I quickly said yes and we drove in the rain to his parents’ house, where he stayed each weekend he came to town. The rain had gotten heavier, and we were trapped in the car. Our bodies stayed warm as we kissed.
At some point we decided to brave the rain and run for the house. Maje took off his shirt and gave it to me, to cover my hair so it wouldn’t get wet. It was the sweetest thing I had ever experienced.
We were lying in bed together and he said, “Can I make love to you?” No one had ever done that and it blew me away. I said yes.
9. Toke gullibly loved him "too much"
Truth be told, Toke was really dumb in loving Maje the way she did.
Despite the many times he cheated on her, lied to her (ridiculous lies for that matter), chose his side chicks over her in public, broke up with her one too many times, had kids with two other Women (Erica and Anita), messed with her emotions, treated her like trash, cancelled "their" wedding several times etc...she still kept accepting him back, JUST BECAUSE???....please, what kind of LOVE is that?
Just read this...
"That night my phone didn’t stop ringing as friends kept calling from the party to find out where I was. By morning I had gotten the gist of the party, how Hauwa had come to mark her territory in Lagos. She and Maje had made their entrance together and had been all touchy-feely and kissing. All this I heard from my cousin’s friend who had been at the party, and from friends who called me afterwards to ask where I had been while my man was with someone else.
Maje called for hours that day but I didn’t pick up....and dropped off a six-page handwritten letter at my house. It was overflowing with apologies and explanations: he and Hauwa hadn’t broken up by their own choice or because they had run out of love for each other; they’d broken up because her family was from the north and they wanted her to marry someone from there. The breakup had been difficult and emotional, and he didn’t want to be an asshole to her by flaunting me in her face as she was still heartbroken and hadn’t moved on. He had felt that having the two of us at the party would be a bit too much for him. I had nothing to worry about; he wasn’t interested in getting back together with Hauwa.
By the time I had finished reading the letter, I had softened... "
As I landed in Abuja my excitement turned into fear; I knew something was wrong. Maje wouldn’t come to meet me inside the airport; I had to take my luggage out to him at the car. We went to drop my bags off at his place. As I was putting away my things I saw all kinds of feminine items – earrings on the dresser, sanitary pads in the drawer. His explanation was that he had friends over for drinks at the weekend and people often left stuff behind;.There was nothing to worry about.
We walked into the bar and there was drama. A couple of ladies, there must have been about six of them, called out his name and immediately fell silent when they saw me. Maje was sweating profusely by this time and made no introductions, so I stood there feeling totally silly. We went to sit in a corner but things had gotten pretty tense at this time and he soon asked that we leave. As we walked outside I asked what all of that was about, and he brushed it aside.
“Who were those girls? Why are you so nervous, Maje? Is everything all right?”
I told him I was leaving and he started to beg. I wasn’t having any of it at that point so I yelled. I started to cry out of frustration and I threw everything I could reach at him. When he saw that he wasn’t getting through to me he did what was typical – he flipped the script, talking about how, “When your man tells you he has issues, he has issues”, and he stormed out of the house.
I started to worry that I had pushed him too hard, and I cried some more. I felt my heart breaking, and it hurt; I didn’t know how to handle it.
No Woman deserves to be mentally and emotionally abused in a relationship like Toke Makinwa went through; she should have exited the relationship a long time ago, instead of hurting herself by stupidly accepting to STAY with a guy that obviously only saw her as a FLING!
Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.
One would have thought that this excerpt below, would be the 'last straw' for Toke but NO!
One day he showed up at my house unexpectedly, looking sad. I fell for it; I was too weak when it came to him. Maje told me that it was me he wanted to be with, and that he just needed some time to sort through his issues.His response shocked me. “You’re the wife, she’s the girlfriend. It’s high time you started behaving like my wife; she’s just a girl.”
I decided to respect myself as ‘the wife’ and not get into anything with Anita. We spent time together that evening and I didn’t talk about it again that day.
It was obvious that Maje was dating both Anita and me; the signs were all there. I would talk to him about it and his response would either be that he had broken up with her or I was the most important one in his life. I got fed up from time to time and broke up with him, but a few weeks later he’d be back begging and saying it was over between him and Anita, and I’d take him back until the next incident. When Maje began to apologize, he did it with everything....I hated myself for not having the strength to move on.
or Even when she discovered he had a son with one Erica or even this annoying conversation about Anita Solomon!
The night before the show I tried to talk to him, a deep conversation in the dark where we could bare our souls to each other. I asked why he wouldn’t let Anita go, why he would buy tickets for her to go on holiday. What was it about her? With tears in my eyes and desperate to save my home, I was willing to learn, to become like her if that was what he wanted. If it was the sex, I asked him to teach me her moves.
If it was her character I wanted to know, so I could become what he saw in her. I was drained; I had no pride in that moment. I begged him to give us a chance.
His next words were like a blow to my chest.
“You will never understand,” he said. “I care deeply for her, and the answer to all these questions will always hurt you.”
I cried all through that night. I had to be up at 5 a.m the next day to get ready for the event, but I was sprawled on the toilet floor, crying. I knew at that point that I could never win, but I was weak. I didn’t want to admit that the ship had sailed without me. I was a coward and I was ashamed.
10. Ladies, once bitten (forgiven), twice shy!
Don't keep hoping for a change and sticking your head in a relationship with a guy that abuses you in any way. You are supposed to be treasured, valued and treated with RESPECT by your MAN.
Slowly, I had become a shadow of the confident girl I used to be. I lived in constant fear of losing Maje. ‘I’ll just accept it all,’ I told myself. I was tired of being heartbroken and I figured maybe if he got tired of seeing Anita he would stop. I allowed it to happen even as we drove away with my two thousand naira at his gate. I made a vow to act like I didn’t know Anita existed, and just enjoy the times he spent with me.
Well, I am no relationship expert but I know that one shouldn't just fall in love blindly with the heart, the BRAIN is needed too.
It had been an unending cycle of hurt and betrayal. Every time we took ten steps forward in our relationship, we took fifty back. Each time I gave up and let go, Maje would come after me and hold on so tightly till I gave in. He would play the part of a changed man for a while, but just when things seemed to be getting better he would break my heart again, each time worse than the last. I was emotionally exhausted; tears, at this point, had become a constant companion. I was unhappy with him – afraid, suspicious, unsettled – but utterly miserable without him. I was in a bad place, and it got even worse.
11. Toke refused to heed warnings
They always say not all warnings or signs should be taken seriously but when a particular warning or sign is consistent from different peeps, please watch it!
Toke's friends warned her. Her sisters and cousins did. Even his Mother sarcastically did.
By this time I had been introduced to his family, and I spent Christmas that year with them. I remember his mum praying for me, saying that God would give me my own husband, and I found this odd as I was dating her son.
And his elder sister.
Maje’s sister ended our conversation with a warning: “Don’t marry my brother until you hear from God directly.”
She even had DREAMS
I had had dreams that warned me against marrying Maje; even some of the things I’d heard from his family were a warning. All the signs had been there, like neon at night. But I prayed them away and convinced myself that every argument, every humiliation, every betrayal would be the last one. One last hurdle and we’d get the happiness and peace we deserved.
12. It is not how LONG but how WELL!
One of the reasons Toke kept holding on was because of the many years (over 12 years or more) they had spent together.
In spite of all of this I didn’t leave Maje. I loved him with all of my heart and was determined to see the good in him. And so after months of pleading with me, I accepted him back. But I knew it deep down: this was a mess. But wait, maybe marriage would fix us… Yes, we had to get married. It was the only way!
There was nothing more he could do at that point that could shock me. Plus I was scared of starting over with someone else. Better the devil I knew.
13. They shouldn't have gotten married
After cancelling their wedding twice, he finally married her in 2014 in a private registry.
Maje and I managed to keep the news of our marriage secret for two days after the ceremony. Then the press got wind of it and broke the news. By then we had enjoyed the solitude and taken our time settling into the beautiful home he had prepared for us.
There were so many comments, some hurtful, others congratulatory and hopeful. There were those who berated me for not having the ‘proper’ Nigerian wedding and others who expressed doubts that the wedding was a surprise. How did my wedding dress fit so well if it was a surprise?
None of this mattered to me, though. I was happy to be married to my best friend – in spite of everything, Maje was the closest and dearest person to me – and no comments could change that. Our relationship had been a rollercoaster of emotions, but I had got my fairytale ending. The princess had got her prince. I liked knowing that I’d married someone who had witnessed some of my lowest points, knew what could bring about a crying jag or a complete meltdown.
Sadly, Marriage worsened it.
He didn't stop cheating and seeing other women especially Anita Solomon
My career had taken flight. I had become successful in my own right, yet I was very insecure. I was a bundle of contradictions: hopeful on the one hand, afraid on the other. I had gone from a single woman obsessed with trying to find out if her boyfriend was cheating to a newlywed who questioned her husband’s actions constantly. What was he doing? Who was he talking to? Was it a harmless conversation or was I witnessing him sow the seed of a future affair?
Was I going to fight another battle? It didn’t help that the day after our wedding I found Anita’s recent picture in Maje’s iPad.
When Maje got back we had an argument, and I asked him why he had Anita’s picture on his iPad. He said he missed her and had gone looking for her picture and saved it. I knew then that I was in trouble, and this time there was no getting out of it.
Would my marriage fail? What would people say?
This one woman’s ghost had haunted my relationship through the years, and now, at the beginning of what should be a new journey, here she was in my marriage. It was one thing for Maje to go on her social media pages to check on her, but to save her picture was a different thing entirely.
Neither did she play her wifely roles.
If I was going to stay in my marriage, I was going to have to do everything to make sure I didn’t get hurt. And so I mentally stepped out of the situation. I gave up on my marriage even before it had taken. I drafted a plan: I would work on myself and focus on becoming. I promised myself that if Maje carried on with other women, then I would not be on the ship when it sank.
I threw myself into my work, to distract myself. I’d never been one for domestic chores, and even now – especially now – I made no effort. I didn’t make my husband any meals because I didn’t think he deserved meals from me. I didn’t think he deserved my time.
It felt like we were flatmates most of the time, strangers even, just sharing an apartment and bills. Our sex life was also affected. Each time we wanted to have sex, I would see flashes from the sex tape with Anita. And even when I made the effort to tempt him, maybe wear some sexy lingerie, he wasn’t into it. We would go for weeks with having sex, and I couldn’t help feeling that he was having his needs met elsewhere.
My work was also a point of contention between us as Maje would accuse me of being all about my work. But I didn’t change anything because at that point my work was all I derived joy from. He wasn’t as busy as I was because he had just set up his fitness business and it was still in the early stages. Money was another source of tension for us, not because I was constantly demanding it, but for the opposite reason – I never asked Maje for anything. And when he didn’t have enough I covered our expenses. One piece of advice Big Daddy had given me was that money could cause a lot of issues in marriage, and that I should make sure I pulled my weight. Maje believed I acted the way I did because he didn’t have as much money. But that was not the case. I was just so disappointed with every aspect of our marriage that I was not about to put myself in a position of financial vulnerability, on top of everything else.
Our daily routine was disjointed. At the time I would be dressing up to go to work, Maje would just be going to be bed because he’d stayed up all night playing video games. By the time I got back, he’d just be waking up, and we’d both be on our laptops in our own separate worlds.
Maje and I should not have gotten married.
14. Everyone wears a smile to hide the pain
Despite the issues she was having at home, Toke didn't let it interfere with her work or career. She put up a strong face and composure.
The story trended the entire weekend and into the next week. Gossip blogs and celebrity news sites fed the frenzy by speculating on everything, even going as far as dredging up unrelated matters, anything to keep traffic coming. Two things were clear to me by the end of that weekend: husbands with pregnant mistresses were not an uncommon occurrence, and the wives almost always got blamed for it. To the world, I knew of the other woman; in fact she had been there all along, and it was I who had snatched Maje from her with my celebrity status. She was the victim, and I… well, let’s just say karma had caught up with me. I could see the jokes and memes online, and it was the strangest, most painful thing being the subject of people’s laughter and mockery. In the office, everyone was on pins and needles around me, probably wondering when I would go off at them or burst into tears. As soon as I walked into a room there would be a hush, and everyone would try not to stare.sometimes I would walk into a place and feel eyes boring into my back, or I would sense a hush in the room and know that my marriage was the ‘hot topic’ they had been discussing. I would turn on the TV and there would be presenters hashing out my issues with their callers while I watched.
Did Toke deserve it?
Did she not?
Was she ‘homely’ enough?
Was it because she was always working?
Did she attend too many parties?
Could she cook well?
Did she allow Maje enough room to be the man in the relationship?
Apparently, these were all valid reasons for a married man to cheat on his wife and get someone else pregnant. The verdict was out: Toke was to blame because she was busy running a vlog talking about relationships while her own marriage was a raging inferno.
She even lost an endorsement deal...so sad.
Just before the news about my marriage broke, I had been very close to signing an endorsement deal with a telecoms company. We had been in talks throughout May, exchanging emails and having meetings. First week of June, I got an SMS from them asking for my name as I wanted it to appear on the contract. We were supposed to have a final meeting to sign the contract on the Monday after the news about Maje broke.
That Monday I didn’t hear from the company. I reached out but they kept putting things off, until eventually I was informed that they had decided to go in a different direction.
I couldn’t blame the company. In the wake of my marriage scandal, they didn’t want their brand associated with or their reputation buried under all the gossip. While I understood the company’s reasons for pulling out, it didn’t ease the hurt. It was supposed to be a huge campaign, one that I had prayed so hard for, and when I found out it wasn’t happening anymore I almost lost my mind.
All the while I had managed to hold myself together with some semblance of control, but when I got the news I unravelled. I cried all through that night. How could a man I loved hurt me so much? How could they take food from my mouth?
Indeed, I was at my lowest, and it seemed like I would die there. Life was being unfair. I was being punished for someone else’s crimes.
I told the universe to do what it liked with me. What was the worst thing that could happen at that point? Yet, even as I lay there, it felt like someone was patting my head, reassuring me. So I picked myself off the floor, crawled into bed and cried myself to sleep.
Another day had passed, but by the grace of God I was still standing.
15. Why she kept mum on the scandal after the media got wind of it
She had to heal!
I considered giving an interview that would shut it all down and expose the truth. But I knew that painful as it was to remain silent and be judged, silence also gave me a certain kind of power. I didn’t want anyone else telling my story.
At that point I was only interested in my mental state. I would not give anyone the power to sensationalize my story or pick me apart all over again. I knew that there were too many women like me, struggling with the same kind of betrayal, publicly or privately. It didn’t matter if these women were crying private tears in office bathrooms, hiding the truth from their families or pretending that all was well. At that point, I shared something in common with those women: the pain of betrayal, a betrayal so deep that it would scar you forever, if you let it.
Soon, I was going through a bottle of wine every night. I would sit at home with the lights off, drinking myself to sleep, struggling not to think about how low I had fallen. I was the ‘relationship expert’, with all of the tips and advice on matters of the heart. My roof was on fire, had been for so long without my knowing it. With everything that I’d gone through with Maje, I hadn’t seen this coming. It’s easy to be smart and sensible – objective – with other people’s troubles. But what advice could I give myself now?
These after-work binges started to take their toll on me, but only I saw it. All everyone else saw was a strong woman who seemed almost nonchalant about what had happened.
The public didn’t make it easy; it felt like people were just waiting for me to make a move. But it was still my relationship and my life. I was trying to learn my new life but millions of people were intent on making my decisions for me.
And then there were the outrageous comments:
‘Maje spent ‘X’ amount of time with Anita so she wasn’t the mistress, Toke was.’
‘She didn’t break your home, you did. You came between two people who loved each other by marrying him.’
Everyone marvelled at my silence in the face of all this, considering it a show of strength. But I was still struggling with self-doubt. So how could I explain my pain when nobody wanted to listen? My phone would ring and it would be some journalist or a media house hankering after an interview, or a magazine asking me to be their cover girl. But I knew that all they wanted was to ask me about my marriage and where it was heading.
I’m thankful for the strength that helped me stay silent; who knows what ugly things I might have said and regretted? I was not going to be bitter or hateful, nor would I waste time planning vengeance. It would have made recovery a lot harder.
I swore not to get caught up with blaming the other woman for ‘stealing’ my husband. Two people are always involved in these things, and no woman can ‘steal’ a husband who isn’t interested.
16. Walking out of her marriage was difficult
Toke found it hard to quit but it was the best decision.
I chose to leave my marriage. It was the most painful decision I had ever made, but I had to be true to myself. Maje and Anita had a child now, a special bond. I also knew that Maje had never loved me, not enough. I had never been and would never be enough for him, and I had to come to a place where that was okay. It was unfair, to both of us, for him to stay with me and want another. I thought about the future....
We were strangers living in separate parts of the house. He lived downstairs while I lived upstairs, and we only crossed paths when heading out or returning home. I could be friendly and cheerful while I was out but then I would develop a strange headache as soon as I got on our street; I dreaded being in the house and seeing what Maje and I had been reduced to. I guess I could have insisted that he moved out for a while but I didn’t want to have to deal with the ghosts of our memories.
I got a new flat and doing it up took my mind off how heartbroken I was. It helped me focus on other things and I was thankful for that. Maje hadn’t made it easy for me to move on. He’d begged like his life depended on me staying, but deep down, I knew that they were just words. He had also apologized online and got a lot of flak for it.
Leaving the house Maje and I had shared wasn’t as hard as I’d imagined; indeed, that was the easy part. After that, things got harder. I had never lived alone and I didn’t know how to adjust. I did not enjoy living alone and running a home by myself. But it had to be done.
17. Family members tried to intervene in having them back together
After moving out of the house, there were moves from close ones to have them back together.
And then there was family, some of my closest people, insisting that there were worse things than a pregnant mistress and that I needed to stay in my home. And who can blame them, when our culture preaches that a woman must endure anything just to keep her marriage and home. Don’t we all know of at least one woman who has lost her life as a result of this?
I remember Big Mummy saying that everyone had a cross to carry, and that the child outside of our marriage was mine, that most men had vices that their wives had to deal with. It could be anything from drunkenness to mismanaging money, womanizing or working too much and neglecting his duties as husband and father. She must have been talking based on life as she knew it, but the options she was giving made life seem very bleak, like I could not win. Like life was just a dark slippery slope I was bound to stumble and fall trying to climb. Were there really no other options besides a drunken husband or a philanderer?
My former landlord and his wife also called for an ‘intervention’. They found out I moved out and so they reached out to me. We met, the husband with Maje and the wife with me. She said to me, 89
“No woman is woman enough to make you leave your home.” I understood her concern and I respected her enough to listen. But I knew I did not have to act on her advice.This made me further thankful to God that I didn’t have a child with Maje. My heart went out to women who had to endure loveless marriages because of their children. Or the women who left their marriages with their children and had to deal with the guilt of watching their kids adapt to a new life without a father present.
I was lonely too, but I knew that I had to stare down the pain and win.
One night became one week, one week became one month, and before I realized it I had lived in the apartment for two months.
By the Christmas of 2015, Maje had apologized more times than I could count.
He wrote me a letter saying how he was sorry; he didn’t want to lose his home and wanted us to work on our marriage. He promised to be a better man and would defer to me if I gave him another chance. I wouldn’t be disappointed if I did.
I didn’t buy it. By then I was so used to him apologizing like his life depended on it; it had become an act. I didn’t see the remorse so I stayed aloof.
18. You can't please the public
No, you just can't.
Maje and I both agreed to counseling and opened up a line of communication between us. We started hanging out again, but it was awkward at first. Maje’s apologies felt like drops of water in a deep, empty well, but what else could he say? No words would make up for his actions and their consequences.
The truth is that I wasn’t afraid of being without him anymore. It had taken a long time, but I was ready to build again alone. I didn’t love Maje anymore, but each time I said this I was told it was the anger talking. People had gone from speculating to simply assuming Maje and I were back together, and I didn’t blame them much because I wasn’t saying anything.
Maje and I would meet at public functions and the press would ask for photos. If I said no, it would be the next day’s headlines: Toke declined to take a picture, things must still be shaky; they are over, they hate each other. If I said yes, it would be in the news the next day anyway: They are back together, they are united, they are still married. So even as I posed for the pictures, I thought I knew what to expect. What I wasn’t ready for was the backlash I got simply for a picture. I was criticized for going back to Maje. I was called a hypocrite and weak. I was shamed and abused for letting him off the hook too easily.
All of this put a further strain on Maje and I, but we kept at the counselling and talking. The public’s reaction also showed me that you couldn’t please the world. I was called names for leaving, I was laughed at for not being strong enough to keep a home. And now there was news of a possible reconciliation, and even in this the woman gets blamed.
Our counsellor was a nice Christian woman, and she was eager to work with Maje and I because she believed that we would be a Teflon-tough couple if we could work through our challenges successfully. She was so convinced that we would inspire other couples struggling with infidelity. We held sessions via Skype.
19. This ugly conversation between Toke and the side chic, Anita
One time Anita called Maje to say she needed money for the baby. But because of the new rules I was the one who got to communicate with her. I kept asking Maje for her account details but he wouldn’t give them to me so I called Anita.
“What’s your account details,” I said, dispensing with any pleasantries. “I have to send you some money.”
“Keep your money,” she said.
“I am not doing it for you,” I said. “Left to me, this money would buy shoes or designer bags. I don’t really care about your situation. I’m doing it for my husband. You don’t want to deal with me but you should have thought about the fact that you’re having a baby by a married man. How did you think this was going to play out?”
And she went, “Oh, right now you probably think you’re superior to me.”
“I actually don’t feel superior to you. I feel sorry for you because you fell for the oldest trick in the book. At your age, you’re older than I am, a man told you he was going to leave his wife. So he came to you and told you he wasn’t happy and he was leaving me and you bought it, hook, line, sinker. That’s on you, that’s not on me. You can’t be mad at me for reaching out to pay my husband’s son’s monthly fees. You didn’t do anything special; he already has a son. I now have Maje by his balls, and if I wanted him to forget you for the next five years he would forget you and only deal with you away from my eyes and the eyes of the press.”
“Hmm,” she said. “Typical Maje, telling you what you want to hear. My child was not a mistake, my child was planned.”
That conversation was one of the points where I realized that if I stayed married to Maje, this was what my life would be about—forget what I’d said to Anita about having Maje by the balls. As if it wasn’t bad enough that he had committed adultery, there was a constant reminder in the form of Anita and her son who would never go away.
It was a battle, and I was exhausted from wounds that were yet to heal......
Then this happened
“Maje....this is how you almost ran me mental, because there’s clearly something more that I don’t understand. There is something that is bigger than me between you and this girl. Because she gave birth for you, you weren’t at the birth of your child, you publicly apologised to your wife. What did you say to her that would get her to write a business plan for your work? Don’t answer that, thought. Call her on the phone because I’m not going to listen to your side alone. She knows we’re working on our marriage. The counsellor told you to write an email apologising to me and letting her know you’re working on your marriage, and that going forward the only way she is to contact you on your child is via this email thread with me in copy. Clearly, that’s not what you’re doing. Thank God I didn’t go back to you in a hurry. Thank God I took my time and moved out of the house because I can only imagine, if I was in the house with you this is what I’ll be dealing with? She’s back writing business proposals? What next? You’ll lie to me that you’re travelling and then go and spend some time with her and her child?”
By this time I’d dialled Anita’s number and she was on the phone. “Anita, why are you writing business proposals for my husband?”
She said, “Is it that you’re jobless?”
Maje replied with, “You guys, stop. I can’t do this. I can’t handle this.”
It was at this moment I knew I was going to file for divorce.
I kicked Maje out of my house. The last thing he said to me was, “I’m going back to her. She’s a much better person. My worst mistake was marrying you.”
“I agree with you,” I said. “Go back to her. I’m going to be calling my lawyers.”
20. The God factor and victory!
When there is no one else to turn to, God is always there!
There is strength is forgiving, letting go and having God!
It wasn’t until I was on a flight from London to Lagos and I was reading Open Heavens, the daily devotional by Pastor Enoch Adeboye, that the last of the puzzle pieces began to fit.
That day’s topic was about making marriage work, and it hit me so hard that I cried like a baby. I wasn’t a virtuous woman; I was a girl! A girl with a daddy-void so large that she had laid all of her issues and expectations on a man who was still trying to discover his purpose. All my mistakes became clear to me. I hadn’t lost my marriage to another woman. I had given my marriage to her.
She had been more of a partner to Maje than I had been for a while. I’d stopped asking him about his work and never showed enthusiasm about his projects. He’d needed a partner but got a housemate.
It was not enough to ask God for forgiveness. I would have to agree that I had not been perfect and ask my husband’s forgiveness in the spirit of true repentance. So I called Maje, and after I apologized I and felt a weight lifted off me.
Regret is so exhausting. I am ready to put it all behind me but I know that this new phase of my life is one that will be characterized by change, making sure I don’t slip back into old ways. I’m learning to give myself a chance.
My journey will be about becoming a better person and living my full potential in every aspect and not just my career.
I’m not sure what the future holds but I’m sure it will tell a better story. It will tell of a Toke that stopped hiding and started living to the fullest.
While I’m not sure if I will find love again, I am sure of the contentment I have found in a God who’s got my back 100%.
I will be content to keep working on finding myself and working on my fears, embracing my flaws while working towards an improvement. They say everything happens for a reason, so the pain hasn’t been for nothing. Let us just say that the time is coming soon, a time to reap rewards.
21. Toke Makinwa's lessons from it all!
Deep lessons I must say!
But the lessons I have learnt are sure to make my life easier going forward:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Forgiveness is hard. Saying it is easy but doing it is real work.
Self-love is important. Love yourself enough to put you first.
You must accept the reality instead of wishing that your past were any different.
God’s plan is bigger than you. The greater the pain, the bigger the purpose.
I’ve learnt to laugh at myself. Now I laugh so hard, until whatever situation I find myself in becomes genuinely funny.
What I would advise you to do if you happen to discover a stranger in your marriage:
1. Cry if you want to. There’s no shame in that because betrayal hurts and it will change you if you try to keep it all in.
2. Find out if the infidelity was a mistake. Nobody is above mistakes, not even you. What if you cheated and expected your partner to show mercy?
3. Find out what your partner feels for the other person, and if you can get him/her to open up then you might end the situation before it is too late.
4. Don’t waste time. Pray for direction. Pride, anger and self-pity will make it hard but you have to fight those feelings and talk to God. You won’t find the answer anywhere else.
5. Seek counselling. What do you have to lose? You will end up talking about pent-up feelings; you can vent without neighbours or passers-by judging you, and the ‘guilty party’ is footing the bill so I say win-win. On a more serious note, I would recommend counselling, and you shouldn’t wait until a stranger is threatening your home.
This book is not an advocacy for divorce. It should not be an option if we married the way God ordained marriage. There is no joy in divorce. Do I wish my situation were different? Every day! But I have learnt that grace is real and God’s will won’t take us where his grace cannot cover us. They say God hates divorce, but God loves you more and he cares about your wellbeing, and I am yet to see someone leave a situation that did them no good suffer. A lot of people stay in a hopeless situation because they are afraid of being condemned. It takes the acceptance of grace to look beyond the judgment of the world.
What’s next, you might ask? Divorce is one of the hardest things ever but two people must part ways if happiness is no longer served on the table called marriage. It is a long road ahead to my destination but I have found a new freedom. I can be, I will be and I will continue
I really admire Toke Makinwa for rising above the whole issue and even making money out of it :) Cheers! Have you read the book, what's your take on it?