Recently, a wedding photo of a beautiful couple on Facebook caught my eyes. I read the caption, and it was something like this. Fine-guy met fine-girl at work, fine-guy liked fine-girl, their families thought they were charming, and so fine-guy married fine-girl. Only problem was fine-guy was a low key wéré under disguise.
Fine-girl was too embarrassed to start complaining about her marriage when they were still supposed to be in their honeymoon lovey-dovey phase. So she endured her crazy husband’s abuse and would even make up stories to cover for him. It got so bad, she lost her job in the process. Long story short, by the time fine-girl’s parents discovered what was going on, they found their daughter unconscious in an unstable condition. Crazy guy had beaten the life out of her and tried to strangle her to death! Her parents rushed her to the hospital right away, and thank God she survived.
Mom and I were having a conversation the other day about her dear friend who has 9 beautiful girls. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, NINE children, not by choice, but because her husband was waiting for a boy; the one that would actually count as a child. So back-to-back, this woman was pregnant, for a solid 14 years of her life. The olorire of a husband ended up marrying a second wife who bore him a son right away. Karma eventually caught up with the man, but that’s not the point of the story here.
Mom said the story with pity in her eyes. But I on the other hand, was furious! Just imagine how this woman felt time after time that she carried another female child her husband didn’t care for. So to mom, I responded, “Fun kini?! It’s not by force to stay married oh.” Mom later called me aside to advise me not to say the phrase, “it’s not by force to stay married”. She feared that having that mindset may affect my attitude in my marriage.
I don’t think so though. Of course I want to remain happily married to oko mi forever, and I will make reasonable sacrifices to make my marriage work, should things get shaky. I also really want other women to enjoy a happy married life forever. What I don’t want though, is for us to remain married at the expense of our mental health, and even worse, our lives.
So I’ll tell you exactly why I say the phrase, “it’s not by force to stay married”.
1. Because of the women whose husbands are not content, and constantly have affairs with the next “prettier” woman without remorse. Instead, they blame their wives for being “too fat”, or “too boring”, or “too nagging”…excuses iranu to justify their infidelity. Marriage should be one man, one woman. No excuse is permissible.
2. Because of the women who suffer emotional trauma in the hands of their husbands, and have sunk into extreme depression, all in the name of marriage. They hear harsh derogating and controlling words from their husbands in private everyday, yet the men act like some omo oba charming in public. So unfair! Verbal abuse can be traumatic, and it’s only a matter of time before it becomes physical. Marriage should be loving, and love is caring, not abusive.
3. Because of women who have died in the wicked hands of their husbands, and the women who live in constant fear, as they are married to monsters whose reactions are unpredictable. “Will he punch me because I made a stop by the store on my way home?” or “Will he kill me today because the banga soup is a tidbit too salty?” Uncle, calm yourself down. Marriage should be loving, and love does no harm to others.
To the women I describe above…
I’m sorry. You are my sisters, and I want you to know that you deserve better. So seek counselling, pray, get help, join support groups, forgive for the sake of your healing and because Christ forgave us, and find ways to be financially stable while you fight for your marriage… but please also know that leaving is a valid option if the situation doesn’t improve.
Your emotional and physical health matters. We the society of “other” women [and men], promise not to judge you, or look down on you, or blame you, because we love you, and you deserve to be alive and happy.
To women who are just not happy in their marriage for other reasons…
Here’s what I’ll say to you. Marriage is sacred. Leaving shouldn’t be the default action, plus it comes with it’s own baggage. Every marriage is unique, but consider asking these questions before taking any action.
- Is my life in danger?
- Do I have personal flaws that if I worked on could improve my marriage?
- Can this issue be resolved over time with proper counselling?
- Am I elevating the flaws in my partner’s character over their positive attributes?
- Can I work with my partner through wisdom to manage/improve their flaws?
- Am I putting in my absolute best into my marriage?
To the society of “other” women [and men]…
Let’s do our part to make the narrative a bit better for our children’s generation by being consistent in how we raise both our boys and girls. If we don’t want to passively groom a bunch of insensitive monsters, we must be intentional to raise boys who will:
- join us in the kitchen and learn to cook and clean for themselves,
- learn that they are not superior to their sisters just because of their gender,
- respect women, and understand that their duty is to love and protect them, and
- be simply kind as humans
I wrote the original draft some months ago from a place of hurt and anger because of friends that were affected by abuse and chronic cheating. I have my sister, Kemi, and my husband, Seyi to thank for helping to bring sanity to this post.
I’d like to know your thoughts. The topic of separation or divorce is complicated, and each scenario is unique. However, is there a reasonable point, especially as Christians, where the “for better for worse, till death do us part” commitment becomes “I love you, but it’s time to leave”?
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