About 22 years ago, when I was still dating my husband, there were no mobile phones. Whenever we were on school breaks, we used to communicate via letters. The post office was my weekly place of visit. Whenever we were back to school however (I was in University of Ibadan and he was in OAU, Ife), we relied mainly on one person visiting the other to stay in touch. We were in a serious relationship heading for marriage, and besides, we had no choice but to do what it required to make things work.
Being a student in Pharmacy School then, I had a regularly packed schedule of lectures, practicals, and lots of studying. Sometimes, when I felt like really seeing my boo then, I would go to the motor park and head for Ife after my last class for the day. Averagely, I would get to OAU at 7:30pm. Then the search for him would begin (no mobile phones, remember?). I would check his hostel, and would be told he left for tutorial hours ago. On getting there, I would be told he was seen heading towards BOOC, on getting there, someone could tell me he left not quite long with some people for New Buka. Haaa! That was the norm in our dating days. I remember one day when I went to surprise him on the eve of his birthday with cake and stuff, na me surprise las las; after spending hours looking for him. I eventually saw him of course; and the joy of seeing him would erase every stress that accompanied the search. That didn’t mean cases of endless search didn’t repeat themselves several times.
Whenever I share the above experiences with younger people, they are shocked. They wonder what kind of suffer-head life we lived. To us then, we never saw it that way. We did what needed to be done to make ‘us’ work. Maybe that’s why we are able to wade through challenges and keep moving.
These days, people dating have mobile phones. You can ‘at your own convenience’ build a relationship. That is bliss and massive leverage! You can ‘see’ each other everyday. Someone told me he was upset with his girlfriend because she didn’t pick his call when he had planned to pay her a surprise visit & was stylishly trying to find out if she was around. By the time they eventually saw, he was visibly upset. I’m like, really??
Technology is supposed to give leverage in making our relationships better; it’s not supposed to remove the investment of time, energy and commitment. Use Technology to your advantage; don’t let it make you lazy in putting in the required work of building a relationship. This reminds me of a Yoruba adage, ‘Oun ta ba sise fun, a pe lowo eni’. This means whatever we work for, is what truly lasts.
I don’t want to believe that relationships fail more these days because commitment is less, and that technology makes it worse. What do you think?