City Lights from the Plane


I love to fly into big cities at night. It’s so darn beautiful. It’s like a circus on the ground. Bright lights…glistering…you can almost sense the bustle from your window seat as you look down. The pilot’s voice comes on – “Ladies and gentlemen, as we start our descent, please make sure your seat backs and tray tables are in their full upright position …. Please turn off all electronic devices until we are ….blah blah blah.

Those deep yellow light bulbs clothe the city in a shiny golden blanket that shimmers and winks at you as the airplane makes that final turn to the runway. It’s almost like the city puts on a show for the flight arrival. It’s simply beautiful.

That’s how new relationships are, aren’t they? It’s like this person is covered in Gold…you’re seeing him/her from high up in the plane…no details… just a perfect package. The shimmer is so bright it’s almost blinding. Your excitement is at its peak as you simply watch the shimmer…your senses are so stimulated that you refuse to “ruin it”.

Starting a relationship is sometimes like moving to a new city. It’s a long plane ride but looking out that window right now, you’re excited about a new beginning. This “FEELS” right, you say.

It’s 7 am and the alarm goes off. It’s a bit early but you don’t mind. You didn’t sleep deep in anticipation of “meeting” your city and “exploring”. You can’t wait to begin life in the new city.

As you step out of the apartment, the sunny day that you saw 45min ago when you woke up, has disappeared. It’s pouring now and you didn’t factor “getting around on foot in the rain” in the plans. You had a car and a garage in the old city and when you Google mapped the distance from your new apartment to the subway, it was only 2 blocks. “NICE! HOW CONVENIENT-I can walk that every day!” That’s what you said…forgetting that two blocks in torrential rainfall is like going swimming in your clothes. So…as you move to your new city relationship, remember:

It’s not the raw distance that matters…it’s the obstacles and trials we face during that seemingly short distance, that matter. 

The actual acts and tasks of being a great partner in a relationship are not hard. It’s not about how long you have been together. Everyone seems to know what it takes to have a great partner. It’s the stuff (values, time, money, personalities etc) that surround those things that make them hard.

That’s how we humans switch from mood to mood too.  That switch is always a shocker in new relationships, isn’t it? The person you had so many cute, cuddly, heart pacing conversations with just goes from sunny: bright, positive, optimistic, encouraging and considerate, to pouring rain irritated, negative, pessimistic, and inconsiderate. – Just remember, the best relationships are not the ones with no rain. It’s just the ones that have more sunny days than rainy days.

We are humans; we can’t be perfect ALL the time:

No matter how great our new partner tries to be, he/she will not always be that perfect person. (of course if your relationship is just one big thunderstorm you may need to take a large bite of the sour truth pie).

You finally make it to the subway and on the train. It’s your first day in your new city and you wonder what it has in store for you. Before you complete that thought, someone steps on your foot and didn’t even look back to say sorry…they didn’t even know they did. You wince and almost reach out to snuff the life out of this offender but you let it go after some curse word almost makes it out of your mouth.

Sometimes, elements in our new partner/relationship will step on our foot without even knowing it:

They say something or do something that hits a nerve and they don’t even stop to acknowledge or see if they hurt your feelings…because they did what they are used to doing without thinking you’d be upset. Inside your head though, you’re hissing like a hurt Cobra ready to strike. It happens. That’s where your Emotional Maturity comes in. You’ve got to be able to convey your “frustration” without striking in the “hissing hurt Cobra” state.

You get out of the subway and its 3 blocks to the location of your job interview. The rain has stopped now. Thank goodness. You’re sort of lost so you ask for directions and the hotdog man confidently tells you how to get where you are going…You thank him and take off jolly. 15 minutes later, you’re not there yet.  You realize you’re lost and that curse word that was lingering around your tongue explodes as you realize that you WILL be late to your interview.

It is very possible to get wrong relationship directions from wrong, confident sources: 

Sources that are wrong and yet confident. They don’t have enough information about where you are going but yet attempt to confidently give you directions. You will get lost. If your map is the Bible, you are sure that any good direction will have to come from that territory. Anything outside of it rings in your ear like metal on metal

It is YOUR responsibility to know where you are going:

There is nothing wrong with seeking relationship advice but you’ve got to know where you are going in that relationship, what you want and why you want what you want. The more of that information the RIGHT advisor has, the better help you will get.

You finally make it to and through the interview. As you come out …fagged out and famished, you look for a nice restaurant. Food was great…only that it keeps you in a seated on El Crapper all night with your face looking like crumpled paper wishing you ate what you knew.

As the days go by, the picture of the shimmering city you saw on that plane fades more and more into some distant file in your memory. Nothing shimmering and golden about this city…people are rude, the weather is terrible, there are puddles everywhere downtown, and you swear there is a conspiracy. It feels like every morning, the Taxi Association meets to discuss how to make sure they splash water on you as they drive by, and your picture is in every restaurant kitchen so that when you walk in, they pack the crap from the trash and cook your food “specially” so that you’re always in a seated position between 2am and 4:15am…clutching to your stomach for dear life.

That will happen for a while until you get into a rhythm and you start to own the process a bit. You buy a large umbrella; find the “trip planning” hotline for the city so you can fire the hotdog man as your GPS; you meet a food connoisseur at happy hour and get the inside scoop on the best hole-in-the wall restaurants that cook the way you like it; you find a church you like; a local live music spot; you meet a few coworkers who are weird like you and like weird stuff like you; you join an organization as a volunteer so now you know people need you… You start to feel like you belong. You start to SETTLE IN.

Slowly, the city isn’t so bad…you start to find the things that YOU like about the city. Relationships are similar in the sense that we don’t really know what we are stepping into because we have the birds-eye view of the person from a high level. We have a general sense of what it’s like and our attraction for that person will bring us in.

Even when we do our homework (Body, Soul and Spirit), we don’t have the close-up knowledge. That can only come with prayer, time and a desire MAKE IT WORK.

So…can you relate? Have you ever been in that situation before or know anyone who has? How did you/they handle it? Any additional thoughts? Comment below.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail
  • Lara

    Right on boy!!!

  • Monique

    I cannot speak very confidently about relationships (well romantic ones), but I can say that I have experienced the same feelings in other types of interactions with others. I’ve met others who I thought at the time would become my best friends, potential boyfriends, or at least people who would respect me, but later, I learn the truth about our relationship.

    I feel like I am like that big city you described, and frankly, people feel like they’ve navigated every thought and every action I’ve made, and now, they know me enough to hurt me, so I’ve got to change my city’s layout now. I’ve got to let them never enter my streets of love anymore. It will be an interesting year, but it’s not because I wanted to shut down. It’s really because I wasn’t welcomed into the landscape of others’ lives. I will be listening to Beyonce’s “I Was Here”, and I will try to let people know that I care and that I’m trying my best to love them…
    Great post!

    • rita

      All i can say is, let God lead you. Pls don’t follow the view of “I’ve got to let them never enter my streets of love anymore.” I understand how you feel and i have been there but that’s not God’s way. We gotta give thanks for the afflictions for they make us stronger, wiser, and bring us closer to God. I hope you understand what i’m trying to say 🙂

      • Monique

        I understand Rita. Thank you for your response. May God bless you through your afflictions as He says in 1 and 2 Peter. :o) Tell Mommy Ude that I love her!

  • Sabrina P.

    The comparison of exploring a new city to a new relationship. The introduction on how you introduced the new city as you saw it from the plane… everyone meets/starts a new relationship differently but the lights… the warmth that overtakes your heart and mind for that person is just like the lights… no matter how many times.. it’s always warm and fresh. Each relationship is that new trip, vacation, new town… you never know what to expect. The brochures are one thing but the trip is another. You can’t go by past reviews.. it’s a course you have to take..

    Sour truth pie.. #hilarious!

  • I-met-u.com

    Dude, u r good. You know how to take a simple thought and brilliantly expand it to a provoking piece that captures our attention. Your words are true- that getting into a new relationship can be attractive until u get in and find out things u can put up with or not. Just to throw this in there, I once thought that it’s best to go into a new relationship without a preconcieved notion about the other person obtained from ppl who know the person. From your comparison with a new city, it’s wisdom to get some info about a city before u go. In the same light, it would be wisdom to get info about the person if u can. Kudos, Tobi.

    • ijustmetme

      @ I-met-u.com , Thanks for the compliment. Yes…it may help to ask someone else for some insight but remember, its got to be the RIGHT person and YOU have to have an idea of where you are going with it.

      Its about finding out as much as you can before you enter the new city but its even more about understanding that no matter how much you think you know now, it doesnt FULLY prepare you for walking the walk. Its about knowing that the work is in the walk.

    • rita

      well said, kudos Tobi indeed.

  • Wooooooooooooooowwwww….

    Ok Sooo…this is it! I Am sure there will be more “this is it” moments, but’ i’d have to say, this is it! Beautiful, well thought out and well put together! This is a complete write up Sir Atte. It balances your faith and reality. Thank God for Christ and for revelations. That’s all we really need. #revelation, then #action then #marriage then #babies..lol….let me stop…am bugging. ….*hitting the “ADD COMMENT” button and TAKING A NAP!.LOL

  • CheeringUon

    Niceee !BIG GRIN. I like *wink wink*. Yea so I can totally relate. Recently, I decided to check out the deli by my job, you know… dive into a new chapter ….my coworkers raved about their sandwiches, the deli was always packed with people during lunch time, the food smelt good… all seemed perfect on the outside. I was excited to try something new until I took a bite of “the sour truth pie”, lets just say we were not compatible.lol.
    Maybe if I had considered lesson 4 and 5 beforehand; took the time out to seek direction from the most reliable source…GOD, and gone into my new experience equipped with exactly what I wanted to get out of it….maybe I would not have been so quick to check off not compatible…or maybe it was just not meant to be…maybe.Great post!

  • Found myself thinking if the significant other is a city like Lagos or one like Abuja. Does that make a difference in how tolerant we are of flaws, or how persistent we are? Do we even try at all if they are full of strife like Jos?

    Well done sir.

    • ND

      hmmmmmm. Deep questions Mayowa!

  • Gloria

    Wowwww is all I can say at the moment.. its true… Not all that glitters is gold.. In a new relationship, things seem sweet and beautiful, but as time goes on, all that beauty may disappear, it all depends on how you look at it… You’re right tho, relationships isn’t hard work, its the circumstances around the relationship that can make things seem hard, you’ve just gotta keep your head up and seek the right advice from the right people..

    Loved the article, lol..

  • Oluwatosin

    Really nice write-up! U should be referred to as “Love Dr.” don’t u think? Lol. Seriously though, I’ve learned a couple of things about relationships that will help me in the future… Ride on man!

  • rita

    Tobi pls don’t take this the wrong way but I love you. There is nothing sexier than an intelligent black man. what a great read, i love how you pull your readers in (i felt like i was totally on that plane, caught in that rain). Relationships or the subject of love is one that is so important but unfortunately the one we often go into without caution. I can totally relate and as for me, what i did was crawl back to God and promised HIM never to lean on my own understanding anymore.

    • ijustmetme

      rita, aawww. Thanks for the compliment. That was a “picker upper”.lol. I especially want to thank you for reading through the comments of other people and responding to them as well. Thanks for stopping by…see you soon :o)

  • Taiwo Durowade

    Wow, this piece is something, I can’t believe how you made that connection; insight, insight, insight! In some cases i’m familiar with, sometimes it’s your conversations with the person that creates the first attraction, esp in this age of social networking, you don’t even meet in person before you’re attracted. Then you finally hang out, and….there’s no spark, even though they seemed like the perfect package, what a bummer. The city loses its shimmer just as you spend a few days in it. You may not even stay long, but you keep it in mind for good memory, so you can visit from time to time (meaning he’ a nice guy, stay friends etc) BUT this article emphasizes making a relationship work, it’s not gonna be candles and roses all the time, but in a case such as this, should you even try? As it were, It’s not even at the stage of relationship yet…

  • Dami

    Concur- for some reason, sometimes people go into relationships without humbly asking God. And if it (e.g. the marriage) all goes wrong, then they begin to subconciously or consciously ask God for help in a relationship they never consulted Him for.

  • Lovethispiece!

    I think what is important is to let God guide you , as you enter a relationship. When you meet a potential person, read the Word of God…..is this person in line with God’s teaching? Does he/ she share the same values as you? Does he/she want to serve God just like you want to? If you are happy with the answers to these questionis and you have prayed about this relationship, then it is safe to go into it, ofcourse being prayerful throughout the process, because, you just never know. That is why it is important to keep yourself untill marriage. Just because you have prayed about a relationship to God, doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is the one for you. In relation to what you said above, you are right, no one is perfect, we all make mistakes, as long as he/she meets your core values, I think that is enough, there will always be disagreements along the way, it is a given. May God lead us to enter the right relationships IJN.

  • Rapfadoju

    Great Post Bros. I am no expert with regards to the relationship process, I’m still on the learning curve; learning from great posts, discussions like these, and other mini-experiences. The city or cities’ light may look great from the plane but the perceived view of greatness sometimes depends on how long and how willing one can adjust or adapt to the new environment. The new city may be one of many stages of the learning curve in the relationship process or it may actually be the destination pre-orchestrated for ones life. Posts, discussions, experiences, manuals, and the rest are great and often helpful but the Ultimate Confirmation of Ones’ Destination should be gotten from Ones’ MAKER. HE IS THE OMNISCIENCE. HE SHOULD BE CONTACTED TO ENSURE THAT THE CITY’S LIGHT SHINE BRIGHTER AND BRIGHTER IN ALL SITUATIONS.

    We believe God for more fresh and insightful posts Bros-Mi-Sir T in Jesus Name.

  • Victor

    Wow. If I didn’t know, I would have thought the person behind this would have been married for at least five years :-).This just goes to show that you are due old boy. The plot is excellent, the story has a life of its own. There’s something that needs some clarification though. How did he come to the conclusion that that particular city was the RIGHT one to travel to? that in my humble opinion, is the most important part of the story. Whether it’s the right city or not, there are always going to be causes for concern that either needs surmounting , understanding or getting used to- that I know, but that background knowledge that ‘I am in the RIGHT place’ provides the inner strength that keeps one going. This is one piece every one who is, or plans to be married should read. Thanks Tobi for being such a blessing. NEEEEEXT.

    • ijustmetme

      Hi Victor!! Trust me I FEEL due! lol. But how right you are about the feeling that “I am in the RIGHT place”. It IS vital. It’s the key, and we have to ask the one who knows it all. It is important to know that love is not about feelings…its a choice (I know this is at the top of the “easier said than done” list.lol) but knowing, verifying, confirming that you are in the RIGHT city, will indeed provide the inner strength that will keep you going. Victor I am really glad you shared. Thanks!

    • Kunle Falae

      Yes’ Tobi is due :: lol…

  • Toluse O.

    This is good, bro, real good — I like the humor, the wordplay, and, especially, the MESSAGE. You really should be leading singles retreats/conventions. Though it’s been some time since I’ve “been to a new city,” I can definitely relate to all the lessons. Especially the part about humans switching from mood to mood like the weather. Another side of that is that the shiny new city can quickly go from heart-racing exciting to been-there-done-that boring after a few months or years. I think it takes maturity and wisdom from God to avoid such situations — and we’re all in need of more of that. Keep up the good work my guy. God bless

    • ijustmetme

      Toluse, Thanks a lot for stopping by..and for those awesome compliments about the retreats etc. I am sure that when God decides to open that door, It will surely happen. You ARE right about the Maturity and wisdom from God that it takes to navigate those waters…sigh. God help us all. lol

  • Bolade

    Sorry I delayed with this, after reading I realize it’s my loss that I delayed. This is BRILLIANT!!! Really good piece of work Tobi, wow! A few pointers which I will send to inbox, but….wow! Pls keep it coming, I can’t wait for the next read.

  • Insightful! It’s always great when the things we are familiar with are used to illustrate important facts, and you just did that. The good news though is that there is someone who has the map of the new city and who knows exactly how to have a good life in the city. God is the one. When we follow His ways; He makes all things work for our good.

  • Dawn

    Very insightful 🙂

  • Tolu Oyeniran

    Good write bro!! Tis always a refreshing piece to read and ponder and pray about. . . . Couple of points. . . first and foremost is the fact that until you land inside the city, you still remain in that airplane, flying around the city and just admiring the outward appearance. . . There are people who are still flying in that airplane. . . admiring. . .. but not landing. . .

    I like your last paragraph. . . Every city has so many beautiful things that they offer. . .but until you take the time to actually “get lost” and explore every street, every attraction, every “musical performance”, the city will still remain a mystery to you. . .

    “. . . until you get into a rhythm and you start to own the process a bit.”

    We all need to visit the city guidebook. . . .they call it the Bible. . .

  • Shuttle-Friend

    WOW!! WOW!! WOW!!! Tobi Atte!!! I am still digesting this one….heavy something.

    You are such an insightful writer……I think i’ve fallen in love with your “writing soul”. (I’ll explain to you later in depth, in case you don’t understand what I mean)..but yeah I am still digesting this one, hmmmmmmmmm……….

  • Jomiloju O.

    love, love love itt! love the scenario and the lessons! very creative 🙂
    I can totally relate because i am such a people person.. been in relationships and friendships that started off great and i thought would last forever but nope! that not always the case… one thing or another comes up and you see the true color of your “friend”… not saying im perfect or anything, no one is perfect like you said, but sometimes i wonder why everyone cant live in peace and just be happy with one another… but i guess its life. If things weren’t this way life would be so boring lol… God definitely knew what he was doing haha

  • Sherine

    Pure artistry! Your words on the screen are like vibrant colors that were carefully and thoughtfully stroked on a canvas. Their sole purpose was to create a simple yet mind-blowing, life-alterting picture of reality.

    Mission accomplished! Mind blown. Life altered.

    I love it!

  • gee

    This is definitely a mind blowing piece. I am not relationship expert I must say but I believe this piece is priceless for everyone in a romantic relationship. The summary is ‘Love takes work’!

  • Bliss

    Fine read. I particularly like the faith angle. You are quite knowledgeable my friend. I will totally bookmark this web page.

    Oh dear, cities cities cities. What if you keep looking down from the plane at all these handsome cities and none seems to be to your taste, so you don’t apply for jobs in any of them and you just keep circling round in the sky. Suppose the pilot says you are soon gonna run out of gas, how do you know which one to land in or “settle for?” Is it you being too narrow minded/scared or you just know when the job offer is right?

  • OmogeNaija

    I know I’m also like that city from the birds view, beautiful face, supple skin, soft palms, figure 8, hard working, caring, honest, but I also have my flaws, my lazy times, moody moments and much more, so, it’s easy for me to accept others, no one is perfect!