That man over there is my husband, we’ve been married for 42 years.
Now is the time for us as a married couple to be enjoying the fruits of our labour; this is the period I often preach about, telling women to persevere in their marriages, that time would come and they would have their husbands to themselves, when the children have all left the house.
I used to believe very much in the preaching that a woman should be submissive. I just didn’t realise she would be asked to submit to nonsense.
I married early; I was just 22 years and my husband 25 when we got married; we met at the fellowship on campus. From ‘brother, sister’ thing, it became, the ‘Lord revealed to me that you are my wife’ what would I have said? No? Even though I did not get any such revelation from God? But I married him because I thought- ‘he is a good catch. This one will not womanise, this one will not spend our money on alcohol, this one will be a good husband,’ isn’t that the expectation one should have, marrying a man of God?’
I was wrong.
A few years after marriage, I soon realized that the so-called ‘pastor’ husband was worse than the men who have no relationship with God! He slept right through all the girls in the choir!
Please, excuse me, why do pastors always fall for choir members? I wish I knew. After satisfying himself with all of them, right round, he descended on other women in the church. I can swear by this bible!
But I didn’t know his madness would come home, by this time, after I heard about the choir and all, I stopped sharing the same bedroom with him. If I am dying, let me know what is killing me, I don’t want to carry any disease for any stupid man.
My younger cousin came to live with us, when she gained admission to UNILAG but couldn’t secure a room, so she stayed with us; we live in Akoka.
This cousin of mine was about 21 years old at that time she came; so she was a big aunty to my kids; I have four girls; eldest is 17. Anyway, so this cousin stayed with us. I didn’t suspect anything. I knew my husband was sleeping around but it was best to pretend all was well. The church was doing well, why start wahala that my hands will not finish?
Some of the women in church knew about my husband so I couldn’t discuss my situation with them. How can? When I organise women’s prayer meeting and counsel other women to stick with their husbands no matter what. If I tell them to pray for them, I must follow my own advice. So, when they knew my husband must have been sleeping with my cousin, nobody told me!
And I didn’t find out until later; right under my nose. When she was in her final year, I heard her arguing with my husband one night. I was shocked at her audacity. Talking rudely to my husband. So I intervened, I told her to show respect. But when small girl has seen your prick, she can insult you as she likes. I didn’t know. She just told me to go and sit down that I kept my head buried in the sand and things are being destroyed around me. She insulted me as well.
I then asked her to pack her things and leave my house. That was when she told me she pities me. That I am there pretending to be mother of Jesus whilst my husband was destroying everything around me.
I didn’t even pause to take it all in, my anger was against her insolence. I felt I had been good to this girl. Why was she insulting me as well as my husband, although I didn’t care about him.
Then she started talking, shouting in fact, that she and my husband have been having sex and that if truly I am a woman of God as I claimed, I should have known!
Ha, she didn’t stop at that, she told me my husband impregnated our first born last year and she went with the girl to remove it! And that it has happened again and when she learned of it, came to confront him and insult him for destroying his own daughter’s life!
All of these right under my nose! I began to bind the devil, she slapped me! She slapped me so hard and I’ll tell you the truth, it is all my fault. I simply chose to ignore many things. I felt it was safer for my own peace of mind. My mother is an outpatient at the psychiatric hospital in Yaba, all because she was killing herself over my father’s womanisng. When I saw the same traits in my husband, I thought I would just ignore it and not end up like my mother!
I realised I was living with a cursed man! My other daughters were not even safe. I closed my eyes to his infidelities and it is now come home to destroy me!
This girl was fighting my war plus the fact that it was God that helped me, that I walked into their fight that day! My daughter wouldn’t have told me anything.
My sister, after that incident, I knew there was no redemption for my husband. So, I had to move out. I did not care about the church any more, I did not care what people would say. I fought him, I screamed, I packed my load and left the house with my children after I secured a new place. I then reported at the office of the public defender. That is how come we are here today. I want a divorce, I want him to pay for all the psychological damages he inflicted on my children and I. I don’t care what anybody says anymore, after 42 years, my mumu don do!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)