"It's the imperfections in your marriage that make your marriage perfectly… unique," said Adaeze Chiwoko. And she would know! After her marriage was almost torn apart, a turn of events made the couple closer than ever.
Adaeze and Joseph Chiwoko seemed to be living their dream life, raising their three beautiful children together. Today, they appear happier than ever, but truthfully, their relationship wasn't always this harmonious.
With affairs and multiple breakups, their early relationship had its fair share of drama. But Adaeze has a unique perspective on these fledgling years of their love, and she even admits she's grateful for Joseph's indiscretions. But how did she come to feel that way? Let's go back.
The Initial Encounter
Let’s turn our minds to a starry night in London, circa 2001. This was the first moment that Adaeze and Joseph met in the corner of a club in the central city. Back then, the two young lovebirds had no idea how much their lives were going to change after that night.
At the time, neither of them was looking for anything serious. But when Adaeze glanced across the room and noticed Jacob, she knew that something was about to happen. And with one daring decision, a new life was set into motion; Sparks were definitely flying in this London club.
Love at First Sight
But why was Adaeze so drawn to this handsome stranger? "He was… different," she later said. At least that's how she felt as she steadied her nerves and drifted across the dancefloor to approach the man. For a moment, she wondered, would he even be interested?
But her fears were completely unfounded as she began talking, and the two fell into an easy conversation. "He was quiet and shy, a real gentleman," Adaeze recalled. And despite the loud music and the crowd moving around them, "Joseph made me feel like the only woman in the world."
A Relationship Starts
They quickly found themselves drawn to each other, and both Adaeze and Joseph knew that something significant had happened. The pair swapped phone numbers right away, and in a short period, they began seeing each other regularly. Before long, they became an official couple!
And as they took the plunge into a serious relationship, their connection only deepened. Seemingly in no time at all, Adaeze and Joseph were enjoying their fourth anniversary together. But the calm and steady progression of their love was soon shaken up by some unexpected news.
Baby on the Way
One clear summer day back in 2005, Adaeze made a shocking discovery - she had fallen pregnant. She and Joseph hadn't planned to have children, and they were unsure of what to do. They were deeply in love, yes, but would that prepare them for bringing a child into the world?
When the couple sat down together to discuss their future, the answers were laid out before them. They loved each other, and they were willing to jump into parenthood together. Adaeze and Joseph were committed to being together forever, but not just as boyfriend and girlfriend; As man and wife.
Wedding Bells Are Ringing
So the next step was obvious to the couple. In October of that year, this future mom and dad exchanged vows at the altar, the strongest form of commitment they could think of. Their wedding day was a beautiful one. Little did they know what the future had in store for them.
And at that moment, everything was peaceful. The newly-declared Adaeze Chiwoko was in a state of bliss. She had her husband by her side and her first child just months away from being welcomed into the world. They were ready to do life together - “till death do us part.” But it wasn’t going to be that easy.
Just five months after their special day, life became even more profound and beautiful for the young couple. Their perfect baby boy was born, and they chose to name him Joshua. Adaeze and Joseph were finally parents, and little Joshua was everything they could have hoped for.
But the pure bliss of parenthood only lasted for a fleeting moment. Soon their marriage and family life were turned upside down and faced with the brutal reality of what was really happening in their relationship. "Our new family life was far from a fairy tale," Adaeze admitted.
Things Became Rocky
Being a new mother should have been the most joyful time in Adeaze's life, but unfortunately, it was far from that. There had been some good times when the small family of three took countryside drives together, and things were peaceful. "All three of us, happy together," she explained.
But those moments became rare. The isolated life that replaced their former bliss was a bitter pill to swallow, and the newlyweds began to drift apart. Joseph's job as a bouncer kept him away for long shifts late into the night, and even when he was home, things weren't much better. The connection they once shared was fading.
Angry and Frustrated
As a result, their family home was often drowned in silence. As things continued to worsen, Adaeze found herself unable to stop the negative emotions swirling around her. "I felt angry and frustrated," Adaeze recalled. And she found herself unable to contain those emotions.
"You're useless," Adaeze later admitted of the words she once shouted at her husband. "You're crazy," Joseph shot back. The couple was truly on the rocks, and it seemed like nothing could put their marriage back together again. And as if that wasn't enough, they were about to be met with another surprise.
A Second Child
Adaeze found herself pregnant for the second time! The news was a shock, and not exactly the happy kind. There was so much more to worry about than preparing the nursery and thinking of baby names. How could they bring another child into the world when they weren’t even sure they could keep their family together?
Regardless of their worries, their second baby, Joseph, was born in 2009, and the Chiwokos expanded to four members. Amazingly, the birth of baby Joseph seemed to heal some of the cracks in their marriage. Things were finally starting to look up; But, sadly, not for long.
The First Red-Flag
Sadly, the introduction of their second son was not a cure-all. Although things had improved, Adaeze was unable to truly adjust to their new life with a larger and somewhat happier family."I felt something change," Adaeze said. Strange thoughts began haunting her.
Was Joseph Sr. having an affair? The thought horrified Adaeze - just a few years ago, it would have been unimaginable. But now, things were different. Her husband occasionally started "vanishing for the night" and spent more time on his phone than ever; Adaeze had never felt more isolated from him.
Was Joseph Cheating?
Her anxiety only grew as time went on, and Adaeze wondered how she could continue the relationship at all. She felt trapped and alone and soon turned to her mother for company and comfort. But her mother's words were not what she'd wanted or expected.
She was harsh and somewhat dismissive, not what Adaeze had expected. Her mother's words left her aghast. She told the wounded woman to stop being so suspicious and give Joseph "the benefit of the doubt." Adaeze didn't know what to think. Was she being too paranoid?
By December of 2009, Adaeze couldn't keep pretending that things were fine; She knew she needed to take action. "I saw Joseph become withdrawn and depressed, losing weight and looking exhausted. We were rarely intimate," she said. She had to make a change for their marriage and their children.
After a year of confusion and uncertainty, she finally had a plan. Christmas was around the corner, so Adaeze asked for her husband's phone, telling him, "I need to ask your brother a question about Christmas presents." Though the question was innocent, her intentions certainly weren't.
It seemed to happen in a blur - Joseph handed his phone to Adaeze, she took it and ran down into the bottom floor of their house to look for evidence, terrified of what she might find. And as she looked through his text messages, all of her suspicions were finally verified.
"I saw one incriminating text message after the next," Adaeze revealed of the moment she discovered the terrible truth. "[The texts] were romantic, saying how much they cared about each other and making plans to meet." Her deepest fear had been confirmed, and she had to confront it head-on.
Facing the Truth
But reading illicit text messages wasn't enough. Adaeze had to go further, even if it meant punishing herself more in the process. Unable to contain her fury, she dialed the number that had caused her so much pain. She was about to get closer to her husband's affair than she ever could have imagined.
The 'other woman' finally answered her phone, and Adaeze let all of her frustrations loose. "You've stepped into my family! You've destroyed what I have!" she shouted into the phone. The woman on the other end denied it, but the interaction was what the devastated Adaeze needed to take the next step.
Placing the Blame
Once a devastated Adaeze hung up the phone, she had to face the bitter truth. Yes, she "was livid." The rage she felt confronting the woman hadn't subsided, but it did make her realize that the woman "hadn't made and broken vows or promises to me." It was Joseph who had done that.
Adaeze found it more difficult to accept the truth about her husband being unfaithful than it had been to blame the complete stranger on the other end. But she couldn't deny it any longer. "The man I loved had cheated on me," Adaeze finally admitted to herself. It hurt more than she could explain; "I was a mess."
Forced Him Out
But none of her planning had prepared Adaeze for what came next. The heartbroken woman confronted her husband with everything she knew, and then? She kicked him out of the family home. It was one of the hardest things she'd ever had to do and watching him leave made her feel trapped in a tsunami of emotions.
"As the front door closed behind him, I was a mess," Adaeze recalled. "We had a three-year-old and a baby – how could he do this to us?" His betrayal was beyond her comprehension, but she had no choice other than to accept it. And now, she was left to pick up the pieces of a broken family.
The Affair Haunted Her
So what would happen next? Did Adaeze just move on, accept the end of their marriage, and learn to live as a single mother? She was willing to forget it all so she could finally regain some peace of mind. But unfortunately, it wasn't that easy. The trauma of her husband's affair still haunted her.
She continued to obsess over the affair that had broken their marriage. "I hadn't seen a photo of this woman, so every time I saw a pretty girl, I wondered – is that her?" Adaeze revealed. Eventually, she had to call Joseph and discuss the situation simply for their children. "It hurt hearing his voice."
Making Things Right
But soon after Joseph moved out, something unexpected happened." In the Spring, I had a surprising phone call," Adaeze said. She slowly adjusted to life without her husband, so the following conversation came as a genuine shock. And it wasn't Joseph on the other end.
"It was a counselor that Joseph had turned to for help," she said. "As soon as I heard that, my heart knew it was true." After months of pain, fear, and uncertainty, there was a glimmer of hope in the distance. "My anger had calmed enough for me to think: Maybe we could get through this."
A Second Chance
After all that had happened, could the Chiwokos possibly fix their marriage? Even if they could, it would be a long and challenging journey to make things right. But Joseph was ready and willing to put in the work, so when Adaeze gave him a chance the next day, he made that clear.
"He confessed to everything, apologizing for what he'd done," Adaeze recalled. "He was absolutely sincere, and said he'd do whatever it took to rebuild our marriage." It was a promising first step and a hopeful reprieve after months of separation. But would it be enough for Adaeze? Would she be able to forgive him and move on?
She Was Torn
It was time to make a choice, and it may have been the most challenging choice Adaeze ever had to make. Her husband wanted to make things right - he had apologized, put his heart on his sleeve, and made his intentions clear. And now it was up to her to make the next move.
But she couldn’t just forget everything that had happened in their marriage. After all, they were in this situation because of Joseph’s betrayal and the sacred vows he had broken. It had ruined their marriage and deeply affected their family unit. How could she just forget?
Let Him Back In
Adaeze spent days mulling over these thoughts, trying to make a decision. Finally, she knew what to do. As hard as it was going to be, she had to give her past a second chance. "I decided to give him that chance," the dedicated wife confessed. "But on one condition."
And that condition? "We weren't going to piece our old, broken marriage back together," she said. The foundations of their previous relationship had been fully eroded by Joseph's betrayal, and new ones would have to be built. "We were going to start again from scratch."
And how would that work exactly? "It's harder to start a fire than to keep it burning," Adaeze admitted. But that was what they needed to do, and they were going to do everything in their power to mend their marriage. But the couple needed to start off on the right foot, and that involved absolute transparency.
"For the first time, we were clear about what we needed from each other," Adaeze explained. Poor communication had failed them before, so they couldn't take it for granted. They wrote a "marriage contract" together, one that set the terms for the future of their relationship.
And the emphasis was on Joseph for most of this. "He needed to win back my trust," Adaeze said, and Joseph didn't back down from the challenge. "Every time he was invited out somewhere, he asked me first. And if I didn't feel happy with it, for whatever reason? He wouldn't go," she explained with pride.
After a year and a half, things were on the right track. Because of the positive progress in their marriage, Adaeze admitted she could finally "look back on that time [of infidelity] without any emotional pain." And from that happy time came another blessing - their third son, Jude.
Giving Other Couples Hope
To many people, it seemed as if the Chiwokos had achieved the impossible. They had weathered the worst of marital issues and came out of it stronger and happier than before. This may be why Adaeze chose to share her story with the world back in 2016.
"I wanted to share my story to give others hope that if both sides work at it, you can get through it," she explained about her decision to share the gritty details of their relationship on Facebook. But how would so many internet strangers react to their story?
In a matter of time, Joseph and Adaeze Chiwoko's story gained the attention of the masses, taking social media by storm. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on the relationship, and more than a few people were skeptical of Adaeze's forgiveness. But they also found many supporters.
"The response was amazing," Adaeze said of the many messages that overwhelmed her inbox. But she also discovered something that came as a shock to the happy wife. As she scrolled through her messages and comments, she realized that "many people don't know how to even try to save a marriage."
"If you would have told me in the 'dark days' of our marriage… that years later, I would be helping couples around the globe? I would have laughed and cried at the same time!" This is how Adaeze discussed the events that transpired after her initial posts. She saw so many relationships on the rocks and felt she had to help.
Adaeze formed her own business, Marriage4Real. After talking to so many lovelorn strangers online, it inspired her to become a full-time relationship coach. She describes herself as a coach "who'll grab hold of your hand and give you tools you need to create the marriage and life you deserve, regardless of your past."
The Chiwokos Today
Internet spectators were fascinated by the Chiwokos' story, and some of them even benefitted from Adaeze's advice themselves. But what does the couple's relationship look like now? Have they fully moved on, or are there still some lingering feelings from the past?
Thankfully it appears that the Chiwokos' relationship, and their family life, are better than ever. Joseph is a loving and devoted father, while Adaeze describes him as "my best friend, my hero… my rock." 11 years together, and things are better than ever. And that's just the start.
A Learning Experience
Over the course of those 11 years, the Chiwokos went through the eye of the storm and came out of it in one piece. The highs and lows of Joseph and Adaeze's relationship have been more intense than they'd ever imagined. But Adaeze remains grateful for the lessons they've learned along the way.
"I'm now grateful the infidelity happened," she revealed in hindsight. After all, the incident "meant the opportunity to start afresh." Despite the initial pain and heartbreak, "we had the chance to build an incredible marriage - one that I am grateful for every day."
The Way Back
Though their lives were forever changed by that fateful incident, Joseph and Adaeze Chiwoko don't look back with any regrets. They know things will never be the same as before, but they also realize that's not necessarily a bad thing. Plus, their experiences have even helped others.
Adaeze remains firm in her belief that working through their problems was the best decision. "I know some people say, once a cheater always a cheater. That a woman is weak for staying with someone who cheats," Adaeze shared. "But we? We're proof there is a way back."