The journey into my love-life with Oluwatosin Taiwo Sobiyi began on Monday, January 19th, 2009, when she walked into the Awo car park of University of Ibadan, Nigeria in the company of two ladies and a young man. They had come to borrow some colourful drapes and other accessories to decorate the venue for a proposed Christian event; an outreach to fresh undergraduates. I scheduled an appointment with them for my room since I was an officer in my Christian group and had custody of the materials they requested for.
On Wednesday, Tosin, against my expectation, came to my room alone, but as scheduled and on time. I wasted no time in dragging the heavy bag of drapes to her. We had a light friendly talk and I escorted her out. When we separated, I had a sensation of missing her. So, I returned to my room, knelt down and prayed to God to purge me of such an “ignoble” sensation.
The next time I saw her, it was on Saturday. It was the day her fellowship was holding “a day out with students” which was organized by her unit. Incidentally, we were holding an inaugural meeting with the new executive members of the Postgraduate Christian fellowship in the same building. After my own meeting, she caught my attention and I decided to hang out a little while. As I stood and watched as she performed her role as the compere at her own meeting, the memory of her previous visit to my room pervaded my mind. How was she able to leave such an impression on me? Although, God had told me to prepare to meet my spouse during my Masters Degree programme; I did not desire a lady from the undergraduate class.
The following day, I was observing my traditional “A Walk out with God”; it was my practice to always stroll along deserted roads to have a quiet time with God. While on the walk, I heard God tell me that I had finally met the lady He told me to prepare to meet. Excitement mixed with anxiety as I asked Him who He was referring to since I had a number of pleasant ladies in mind. It was a little of a shock when He identified EBUNMI as I later named her, as my spouse-to be. I kicked and queried. How can it be Tosin? She is a total stranger. Why should You chose her? I thought. If that was the first time I was hearing God speak to me, I could have argued I had heard another voice. However, I found it hard to accept. Why wasn’t it sister Laide (not her real name) who had won my admiration in recent days? Many more thoughts flooded my heart. Standing in there, transfixed to the spot, I heard His voice again.
“You have four weeks to decide” the words came out authoritatively. And at that moment, I felt His absence. I knew He had gone silent because I had been familiar with Him shutting up whenever I was being difficult to His instructions or disobedient to them. My retreat was over for the day. Sluggishly, I returned to my room. After two days of Gods muteness, the truth and seriousness of the situation sunk in and I began to give good thoughts of how I could reach out to her. She did not come across as a difficult task to accomplish; I was already having opportunities to get close to her and she had obliged easily to help me with the task of decorating the fellowship centre on Mondays for the meetings.
If I thought the sneak of the cat is cowardice, then I was in for a rude shock. She turned out to prove me wrong. I visited a couple of times, and then one evening, two weeks to the deadline, I summoned courage in me to ask for a date. She turned it down. “Is it because I obliged you to visit me? Now, you are asking for too much. Anyway, I don’t go out with strangers.” I was tensed and angry, but I acted as if her response didn’t sting me. The quest for a date continued for the rest of the week, but it was not successful. Another opportunity came for me to re-present came during the Valentine Period; one of my friends had put up a banquet for the student community on the campus which was designed to re-orientate and preach true concept of love celebrated on ‘Love Day’. I bought two tickets for both of us for the event. To my disgust, she turned down the offer and made it look like a waste of time to go there with me. I ended up offering a male friend of mine the second ticket and went off for the banquet alone. I had made up my mind I wasn’t going to see her again.
On February 19, 2009, exactly a month after we had met, she consented to having an evening date with me. So, February 21, 2009, which was a day less than the deadline, we went to a fast food restaurant. As we sat down to enjoy our orders, I was anxious to initiate my plans. I have to tell her now. I was at a loss as to what to say to her. Finally, an idea flushed in. I picked up my phone set, hid it under the table and sent her this SMS: “I AM UNRESERVEDLY ASKING YOU TO MARRY ME”. If I thought she would be surprised, I was fooled. But she sure found it hilarious, because she burst into hysterical laughter. Thank God we were the only eaters at that wing of the restaurant. Finally, she calmed down and began to ask questions. Following a number of other questions, she asked me, “What is your purpose on earth?” She asked as if her life depended on it. I took a deep breath. Somehow I knew this was my opportunity to make myself count to her. But I didn’t have an idea on how I could best answer the all-important question. Later I came to realize how important the question was. “Do you have your Bible here?” I finally thought about one way to respond “Yes” “Could you read out to Isaiah 45:3?” I politely requested. She brought out a pocket bible form her bag and read: “I HAVE RAISED HIM UP IN RIGHTEIOUSNESS, AND I HAVE DIRECTED ALL HIS WAYS HE SHALL BUILD MY CITY AND LET MY EXILES GO FREE, NOT FOR A PRICE OR REWARD SAYS THE LORD OF HOST”. She appeared stunned. She slummed into a row of silence and her personal ambience changed. I wondered how a scripture might upset her. I patiently awaited her response to my answer. Eventually, she said softly, “Well, someone else proposed to me and I’m about to give him a reply” Immediately, I had a witness from the Holy Spirit that she was about to give a ‘yes’ answer to her other suitor. Only then did I understand why God issued a four-week ultimatum. If I had not proposed to Ebunmi on that day, I would have never had her. The day after our date, she travelled. Three weeks later I made a call to her. To my amazement, she gave me YES for an answer. I was exhilarated. I wished I was with her. A few days later, she came around. As I looked into her eyes, I discovered the beauty I had never seen. Then came the questions in my heart; “Why did she say yes? Why this fast?” So I probed her. “Why have you chosen to undertake the marital journey with me?” And it was her answer that put paid to whatever doubt that remained in my heart about her. “You see, it is not that I have fallen in love with you.” There we go again; she would never end her weirdness. “You don’t love me, right?” “You love someone else. So, why have you chosen me instead of him?” I reiterated my question. “Actually when I was in secondary school, one afternoon I was studying the Bible when my eyes stood affixed to Isaiah 45:13 and God told me that the man who would be my husband would come to me with this scripture as His purpose for his life. The truth is I didn’t believe it would happen. It sounded to me like it was my minds voice, until three weeks ago when it happened that you popped out with fulfilment of the prophecy. How could I deny you were the one I had been waiting for? If I reject you because I didn’t have a feeling for you, then I would be making the mistake of a lifetime. If you can be patient with me, I know it is just a matter of time before I begin to love you.” I had never had an honest and sincere talk like this in my life. At this point, I knew the inevitable had happened. I had finally fallen in love with her and my struggling was over. She was my first lover in life. It took her hands into mine, we bowed our hearts and we prayed our first prayer as lovers.