Marriage is a tough business; it requires compromise; your marriage should never be compared to another person’s own, each marriage has its own DNA. I am not just being philosophical; I am trying to tell you what I have learned.
My marriage failed because I wanted to be justified; I wanted to be pitied; I wanted the world to see my husband as being wicked. Looking back, I was the wicked one.
We were married for close to 12 years; two kids and like many marriages, we had our issues. I made the first mistake of always telling my family about my husband’s short comings; I never really told them the other good things he did. You know, looking back, I don’t think I did it with the sole intention of making him look bad; just that it was always easier to complain about the things he did not do than to praise him for the things he did.
My husband beat me one day, in all of the years we had been together, he had never raised his hand against me; I know I provoked it but it was a beating that got me packing all my things and leaving the house.
Yes, I know you say nothing should ever provoke a man to beat his wife; I agree with you. But hear me out.
That day; we had a quarrel, I can’t even remember what caused the quarrel, I just know that I told him he couldn’t go out that day; he was going to watch football at the club and I know how devoted he is to the club. So, I hid the car keys and his wallet. He was so angry that day and went for my handbag to take money to go out, that was when I splashed soup on his tshirt. All I wanted to do was make him sit at home that day.
He just flew into a rage and beat me so badly; I was too shocked to cry out for a long time! As in, what did you do! what happened to walking away?
Well, I overcame my shock after some minutes and began to curse him. That is how I realized, now that this man has been pushed to beat me; this will only be the beginning of more beatings. You know, it’s true, once a man raises his hands against you, you are finished, he will never stop.
I moved into my sister’s place with our only child, a girl, while our families tried to sort us out. My husband called me, begged me, came to my office to talk to me but each time, I simply refused to listen to him. It didn’t also help that my family kept urging me not to take him back; my sister especially, who looking back now, I think was actually jealous of the relationship I had with my husband. My family said he was a terrible human being who didn’t deserve the likes of me.
In my mind, deep within me, I knew he wasn’t all that bad but I wanted to save face, I wanted him to be humiliated, so I refused to listen to his entreaties.
I also had a few friends who kept saying, they would never take that kind of treatment my husband meted out to me; they said, they would do so and so if their husband ever tried that with them. This kind of emboldened me and made me more stubborn, not to give in. I mean, my husband was not the model husband; neither was I the model wife. We had our moments of joy or happiness and of sadness too, this one just got out of hand!
After sometime, he just stopped coming to my office and calling me.
My sister said,’ ‘Ehen, now we know he never truly meant to have you back, he is already tired after just a few weeks, is that how you behave with a wife you battered?’
That was like two months after I left the house but even then, at this time, I wanted my husband back, I wanted us to go back to being man and wife, I wanted my daughter to live normal again instead of sharing a room with me in my sister’s house but I wanted my husband on his hands and knees, I didn’t want my friends to think I took him back too quickly or made it easy for him.
So, apparently the period he stopped coming, he had an accident; an okada accident, he was crossing the road to his car to come and visit me when an okada ran into him. So for like, two weeks or more, there were no messages, no calls, nothing.
Fortunately, or not, his own people too had told him to forget about me. They never really liked me and the feeling was mutual. So after they had gone to my family and my family insisted I said I didn’t want to go back, they told their brother to forget me and move on with his life but he didn’t listen to them, he kept calling me, sending messages and hoping I would change my mind. His friends too were telling him that he should man up and forget me as I was embarrassing him by being so stubborn…all these happened without me knowing. He was fighting to have me back but I was holding on to looking good before my friends and family.
So, the period I didn’t hear from him, he had told his sister to tell me he was in the hospital and that I should come see him; she neither called nor sent messages. He couldn’t call because his phone was taken away from him that period of recovery.
About a few days after he was given back his phone, though he was still in the hospital, he called me and told me about his accident. He wanted me to come see him. When I told my friends about it, they said I shouldn’t go; that if truly he was in the hospital, I would have been called by his siblings.
So I acted foolishly and didn’t go.
What would it have cost me to go to the hospital? Why would a grown man lie about his being hospitalized? My friends who claimed they would never take such from a man may be taking more and I foolishly adhered to them.
But maybe they were being sincere, maybe they deceived me. I will never know.
What in the devils’ name prevented me from taking food to him? He was in need, why did I even consult with family and friends before deciding whether to follow my heart?
Well, I was hoping, when he came out of the hospital, he would resume his begging and afterwards, I would give in.
He never came back.
Three months later, I was served a divorce petition!
That is why I am here today. I am the one begging him but apparently, another woman has taken my place, it didnt take so long after all; I have seen the lady with him twice now and I believe she is the new woman in his life. How did I know; I check his status on WhatsApp and I check what he does on Facebook.
It is over, I am trying now to face my reality and admit to myself that, I was responsible for this, 100 percent!
(Series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)