Read Episode 4 here
Read Choices here
As he lay on the bed that night after a long hearty conversation with Ife, Matthew wondered again if he should open up to her or let the sleeping dog lie. He feared that if she knew who he was, she would not be able to deal with it. She deserved someone pure and chaste, not a rotten murderer and fornicator like him. She deserved someone who, like her, had made the decision to keep himself until marriage. On his part, he had slept with ladies too numerous to count. Such was the depth of his waywardness that he had had to treat STIs twice. Ife did not deserve the pain of such information. He resolved to keep things that way.
“Wake up,” Josiah said as he tapped Matthew awake. “I need to discuss something important with you before I leave.”
Matthew yawned as he rolled on the bed. He opened his eyes and closed them again as the brightness of the fluorescent light hit his pupils.
“Josh today is Saturday. Allow me to sleep a little more,” Matthew said lazily.
Josiah pulled the duvet off his body. “I’ll pour cold water on you if you don’t stand up immediately,” He teased. “It’s already 8am.”
Reluctantly, Matthew dragged himself to a sitting position. He yawned again and rubbed his eyes with the back of his hands.
“What is so important that you wouldn’t even wait for me to have my time with God before we discuss?”
“Today is Saturday bro. you have the whole day to enjoy the cozy comfort of God’s arms. I’m leaving for Ibadan this morning, and the Holy Spirit impressed something in my heart which I must discuss with you before leaving.”
Matthew was fully awake now. He cleaned the sides of his mouth with his fist.
“What’s it about?”
Josiah took a deep breath.
How is Ife doing?
Matthew gave Josiah a quizzical look. That question was definitely out of the blues.
“Ife is fine.”
“Matt.” He paused. “Does Ife know about your past?”
Matthew’s heart missed a beat. The question was unexpected.
“Well, she knows I was once a very bad boy.” He responded. I’ve told her about my escapades.”
“Including your escapade with Olanna?”
The mention of Olanna brought a familiar pain to his heart. He stood up from the bed and walked up to the window. The sun was already out, casting a beautiful glow on the flowers outside.
“Some things are better left secret,” Mathew said quietly.
Jossiah chose his next words with care. “I think you should tell Ife about this. It’s too significant to be swept under the carpet.”
Matthew spun around. “I’m not sweeping it under the carpet! I just think it will be better for both of us if Olanna’s name never comes up.”
Josiah could sense his friend’s struggle. Deep down, he knew that Matthew was smitten with fear; fear of what could happen if his beloved knew this dark part of him.
“Ife is a sweet lady. I totally believe she will not hold your past against you.”
“What exactly is the point of telling her? What?”
“For transparency. Trust. Assurance. Matthew, let me ask you a question.”
Matthew stood with folded arms, staring at his friend.
“What if you found out, two months after your wedding, that Ife had two abortions before she met you and she hid it from you? How would you feel?”
“Ife would never do that,” Matthew defended.
“It is a hypothetical question, Matt. Put yourself in that scenario, and tell me what your honest reaction would be.”
Matthew thought deeply. He would be hurt and bitter. Even though he would understand that it all happened in the past, he would feel slighted that she did not trust him enough to open up. Besides, what if the abortions left her with possible complications? What if her womb got damaged in the process? Such revelation would surely rock the boat of their marriage, at least for a while.
“I would feel bad,” he replied.
“I would have issues with trusting her. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I would feel there was much more that she was hiding away from me.”
“Good. Is this what you want to subject Ife to?”
“Josh it’s not the same thing. It’s not.”
“I don’t see the difference here. Besides, it boils down to the same issues of trust, acceptance and assurance.”
Matthew sat on the edge of the bed. “Josh, I am ashamed of my past. You are the only one I know who is fully aware of the circumstances surrounding Olanna. I trust you, and I know my secret is safe with you.”
“Do you love Ife?”
“Of course I do.”
“How much do you love her?”
“With every fiber of my being.”
“Then open up to her. If you don’t, the nightmares will continue and it will get worse, until you think you’re going crazy.”
Matthew glanced at Josiah.
“That is the message the Holy Spirit gave me for you.”
Matthew continued to stare at Josiah.
Josiah patted Matthew’s leg. “You see, the journey to marriage is a journey of two becoming one flesh. The Bible says they were naked and unashamed. Nakedness goes beyond physical removal of clothes. It involves total plainness and openness to each other. Nakedness means that there is nothing to cover up or to hide. You know all that there is to each other- the good, the bad, the ugly.”
Matthew was listening attentively.
“The truth is that if you start hiding things now in courtship, the tendency to tow that path will be higher in marriage. And when you start been secretive, it gives birth to suspicion and fear. I strongly believe that God equipped the woman he prepared for you with the ability and grace to accept you for who you are- past, present and future. I haven’t met Ife yet, but I sense that she is that woman. Don’t mess up what you have together. Listen to the voice of the Spirit and do whatever he tells you. I’m praying for you my friend.”
He patted Matthew’s leg again and stood. “I have to go now.”
Matthew was lost in deep thought, trying to assimilate all that Josiah had said. He took a deep breath.
“Thank you, Josh. I appreciate your genuine concern.”
“Don’t mention, guy. Anything for you.” They hugged briefly and Josiah picked up his bag while Matthew got the car key. They then left for the bus park.
Thanks for reading. Episode 5 is next!