You met her in college. She was just 18. She was fair and slim. Soft and silky skin. No pimples. No blackheads. Curvy like Coke bottle. You tied the knot after graduation. Your honeymoon was like paradise. Just one shot and a goal is scored. Nine months and seven days later, you became parents. Year after year, the changes progress…

You begin to wonder what happened to your sweet sixteen. The breasts have migrated from the equator to the south pole. The skin is now dark and stretchy. The kids have taken away a great deal of her sanity. The ginger is fading and the bedroom is boring…

What do you do now? Run away or deal with it?

To Her:
* Love yourself. You can’t expect anyone else to love you better than you love yourself.
* Your beauty is in your heart. Focus on that.
* Make it up. Dress well. Smell well. Laugh well. Read well. Eat right.
* Makeup. It can be as cheap as a face powder and a lip balm. Just do something.
* Exercise. You don’t need to spend too much at the gym or spa. You can do this, even in the corner of your room.
* Communicate. Tell him what you want, how and when you want it. Don’t assume he knows.

To Him:
* Love her. We know you do already. Just do more.
* Spoil her. Take her out for a date. Shop with her, and for her. Surprise her. Kiss her on the protruding tommy and flabby breasts.
* Call her pet names that make  her feel younger than she really is. “Mama Hassan” is not cool.
* Say it lovingly. There’s a difference between “these stretch marks have disfigured you” and “look darling, I bought you some stretch marks cream!”
* Focus on other things. Her brains. Her patience. Her kindness. Her creativity. Her sense of humour…

To both:
*** Communicate. Pray together. Eat together. Play together ***

Khadijah Sanni-Tijani


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