The book, On Becoming, by Toke Makinwa is tagged a must tell. It is so because its content is a touching narrative of a story, by a woman whose hurtful experience, she decides to tell the world. Her decision to tell the story seems to be inspired by two reasons; one, letting it out is part of the healing process that would help her find inner peace and then, she wrote the book so people can learn from it.

Toke’s story in On Becoming is that of love, but it is that side of love that people often do not want to talk about. It is about that side of love that is unfair and for a lot of people, leads to emotional drain. She shares her experience as a lover, whose capacity for love in her marriage with Maje, could only bear the hurt of his unfaithfulness for a while. The hurt had to end, and when it did, Toke Makinwa searched and found her peace elsewhere.

The story Toke Makinwa told in On Becoming is not a fictional story, its her story, it is about how she she lifted the weight of a failed marriage, a weight that a lot of people in the society today have sunk under. Toke’s perspective in the book reflects her triumph, how she rose after the failure of her marriage. Her story touches aspect of relationships which includes love, trust and commitment. There are lessons to learn and things to understand about relationship from her story. Here are five key lessons to learn from Tokes’s story in the book, On Becoming:

Love is not always a beautiful thing

We often see love as the perfect emotion, and relationships as the best places to find happiness but a lot of times, we’re left disappointed. Not because one cannot find bliss in relationships, but because the partner has to be right for the relationship to feel right.

Love is actually a beautiful thing and in the case where it leads to a relationship, it is best that the parties involved share a good level of commitment and understanding. This is because the strength of any relationship or marriage depends on the level of commitment of the parties involved. I must say that most complete form of love in any relationship, is one that is requited.

From Toke’s story, she talked about how much love and emotion she invested in her marriage,  but it still wasn’t enough to keep it sailing. It can be concluded that it lacked the wholeness that relationships need for it to have the idyll ambience, if you take time to read the book you’d find out why.

The warning signs during dating/courtship are not to be ignored

The period of courtship is good for you to observe the nature of your relationship. In this period of observation, you’d see the two sides of partner; the strengths and flaws.

Of course part of showing love to your partner, requires you to tolerate his/her flaws. But in your tolerance, you must be true to yourself. You must ask yourself important questions that will guide you in making the right decisions.

In the case of Toke, the signs were there but she believed marriage, being the ‘sacred instituiton,’ would change the course of things between herself and Maje. She would later find out that she should not have ignored the warning signs.

Being independent and virtuous is beneficial

The dependence of a lot of people on their partners, is what keeps them stuck, even when the relationship has lost its bliss.

Going by her account in book, Toke found it easier to make bold decisions about her life and her happiness in the marriage, because she didnt have to depend on her husband. Yet she advised in her conclusion, that being virtuous, either as a man or as a woman, is principal to the success of your  relationship.

Find and protect your happiness

In her narrative, Toke talked about how much commitment she put into her failed marriage to Maje, but despite her sacrifices, her happiness was continually drained by the numerous disappointments she suffered.

From reading the book, you’d understand that for Toke, and for most people in the society, all they want is happiness and fulfilment. This is what they want in their relationships, as relationships should be a source of happiness  and not otherwise.

Toke found peace outside of her marriage, without the emotional struggles that ensues betrayal by her ex-husband. With this, she decided to protect her peace by walking away.

Seek divine guidance

This is an important aspect of Toke’s life that she projected in her book. She made countless references to God in her story, narrating to the reader how he guided her through the heat of the problem.

At some point, you’d almost think On Becoming is a spiritual book because Toke Makinwa was persistently highlighting the influence of God in her triumph.


This article was written by Ibironke Oluwatobi. He tweets via: @ibironketweets

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