My friends call me abo ko ku!
It means one who wants to die for the sake of her husband.
I agree I may be that and I have no apologies for being who I am. I have no apologies for loving my husband the way I love him, all these years, no apologies for not giving up on him even after 8 years of separation through divorce. I loved him even when he asked me to leave his house.
My husband made me feel whole; he was my cheerleader. He made me believe I could do anything I put my mind to do…but our marriage did not last because I needed him to love me in a particular way.
Do I belong to the old school? I have no answers, I just know that I made a mistake the first time we got married. This second time around, it’s even better and sweeter and we have a set of twins to show for it.
Let’s go back a bit. I met my husband at the university; I was the fervent dull Christian sister; he was the jaiye jaiye boy on campus. He was handsome, he was athletic, he could get any girl he wanted and he was popular; we were in the same Faculty-Social Sciences but different departments. I studied Accounting, he studied Economics. We became acquaintanted through a mutual friend when we took some electives. Then he would just compliment me but I never warmed up to him because I felt he was too worldly for my liking.
I said I was dull because I wore my Christianity like a huge cross; big clothes to cover up, no social life; I went from class to church and back to my hall of residence, a typical triangular student.
Our paths crossed again at the NYSC camp in Adamawa; you know how you have a tendency to bond with people from your school once you get to camp? You are looking for familiar faces, so you tend to bond with faces you can at least relate to. That was how it started for us and we were assigned to the same place of primary assignment; we were both teachers in a secondary school in a remote village.
I tried to make a Christian of him, while he tried to make a worldly woman of me. He would tell me if I wore my hair in a particular way, it would bring out my beauty; if I wore particular clothes, it would show my slim figure…haba brother in Christ, why are you so worldly?
I, on the other hand, felt comfortable wearing big clothes that covered me, even though I was so slim, people called me thin. I loved wearing caps and scarves on my head even though my hair was long and thick. so when he suggested things to me, I felt uncomfortable.
I said we were deployed to a school in a remote village in Adamawa state, Ganye. At that time, the villagers apparently weren’t familiar with women wearing trousers. So every time I went about in my NYSC khaki uniform, kids would follow me singing songs and mocking me. One day, they got bolder, they were actually pulling at my trousers, like they wanted to strip me naked in public. A few adults tried to stop them but were unsuccessful…I was very frightened. It was Charles, that’s his name, who chased them away and led me safely back to our quarters. I stopped wearing my uniform after that incident.
Of course, as my knight in shiny armour, the one who rescued me from almajiri attack, he became someone I always sought out to talk to. From talk, we bonded, from bonding, I realised he was a fine gentleman after all and he meant well. It was Charles who helped me see that I could be a Christian and still have fun in a decent way.
We began to date a few months before the end of our youth service and we got married five years after service, I was a virgin till our wedding day, o.
I told you my husband was jaiye jaiye, a bubbling guy, he was a Christian but hmmn, his Christianity had a comma as far as I was concerned.
We had our ups and down, like any marriage. I was the so called war room woman. I hated confrontations. I would always take everything to prayers. I preferred it to facing reality. This always frustrated my husband. He would prefer for us to talk about it before praying about it.
For instance, I was quite frigid, you know. I didn’t like sex much. I would prefer long prayer sessions to…yes you are laughing. It’s true. But my husband wanted us to discuss it, discuss sex ke? What did he want to say or hear me say? So, many times, I would pretend to be sleeping whenever he came into the bedroom. Well, he must have been frustrated because he began to spend more time outside. I was kind of relieved because I was just so very frigid. it was a miracle we had a son…humnn.
From then on, other things of course began to emerge; we were quarreling most of the time and as far as he was concerned, I was just never good at anything; my cooking was bad, I was raising the son wrongly, I was too dull; my conversations were off, in fact, they annoyed him…four years into the marriage, he came home one day and asked me to pack my stuff and leave. That was the end of the marriage.
A few weeks later, I was in my parents’ home with my son when I got a letter from the court, it was a divorce notice. Two years after back and forth from court, we were officially divorced but I still loved my husband. I was heartbroken of course but I still loved the man. You know what I did?
For the next six years, yes, every day for six years, I sent him scripture notes. Each was about love, about long suffering about never giving up and about God’s grace.
I began after two years of processing the divorce papers, courts and all, it was as if it finally dawned on me that we were over as husband and wife.
Why did I keep sending him messages? my sister, I wanted my husband back and in all of that period, I was going through changes myself. I learned a lot along the way; I joined cooking classes, I went for my Masters, on the matter of sex, I learned, well, more like I read, got counselling from friends and watched a lot of helpful stuff to help loosen me up because I also realised if I didn’t work on that, even if I met another man, I would have the same problems with him. But I didn’t want another man, I wanted my husband, I wanted Charles and of course, I kept praying he would never meet another woman…
He did, but it did not last!
As for him, many times I realised he won’t even reply my messages. He told me to move on with my life as he had. He would beg me to find someone else…I wore him out!
All his relationships after our divorce failed and finally he came back to me! Oh, there’s a lot more than I can really tell here but the bottom line is, I won my husband back. We are married again. We have a set of twins as well as our son from the first time.
What do I want my story to teach people? Resilience, I guess. If you love someone, never be afraid to chase after them!
(series written and edited by Peju Akande and based on true stories)