By Michael West
December 24, 2021
From time immemorial, Yuletide is a season of fun for children, affection for the loved ones and the time for caring, sharing and ample demonstration of love both in cash and in kind to the needy, neighbours, family and friends. It is the most celebrated festival the world over. Ornamental decorations, special songs, carnival like events, cold and chilling harmattan weather and bustling economic activities are the hallmark of the once-in-a-year festive season.
As joyful and pleasant the season is, it also portends a grieving and sad reality of situations in some homes, especially for those in bad marriages and relationships. The season becomes a time for sober reflection during which new and firm decisions are made going forward into the new year ahead.
In the last one week, I have been inundated with calls asking for “help” and “guidance” on the callers’ proposed plans and decisions to quit their acrimonious and tension-soaked marriages and relationships in anticipation for a new beginning in the new year.
At the beginning of each year, we are familiar with the cliché: “New year, new resolution”; surprisingly, people hardly implement their resolutions beyond the first or second month of the new year before they relapse to their old and usual ways of life. But well thought-out and far reaching decisions that bother on relationships and marital issues are hardly left unimplemented. Maybe because love life is deeply emotional and personal, except in some cases which are based on sentimental factors like children and family intervention, most decisions on relationships do get positive follow up.
Not a few callers wanted to quit their purposeless affairs at the end of the year. “I’m through with mine. This is the fifth year of dating. My guy seems to be having fun with me than getting serious about his future. Maybe because he already has two children from two different women he dated in the past, he’s not in a hurry to settle down. Each time I tried to get him to plan together, he felt I was choking him up with demand for marriage as if I’m desperate. Sir, I’m not desperate, God sees my heart but at our age we can’t just continue living without a focus. We need to plan for the future but he’s not seeing it that way. He’s 42 while I’m 37. He is a father but I’m not a mother yet. He can choose to stay unmarried for the rest of his life because he has children already but I need to plan my own life, too. That’s why I ask you to guide me on how best to go about it, sir. For real, I love him. He’s my kind of a man. He’s calm, hardworking and relatively dependable as a man but the only problem with him is his apparent lackluster commitment towards marriage which is not what he told me when we started dating five years ago. He actually proposed to me barely six months into our relationship; and since then, he has relaxed maybe because he has all he wanted in me freely.” A woman whose tone was laced with despair told me last week.
In the last one week, I have received several calls apart from SMS and mails from single women and single mothers who were complaining bitterly about the “motion without movement” kind of relationship they found themselves in. It has hooked them down to stagnation, moving in a circle to nowhere in particular. Only two men out of a whole lot called for counseling about their relationship. They actually asked me to analyze the women in their lives to know who to choose since they wanted to settle down in the first quarter of the new year. More women in bad marriages have engaged my attention more. Truth be told, there are more women planning to exit their marriages than those willing to enter. The homes are hotly suffocating!
A particular case is really touching and pathetic. Though such a case is not strange or new to me. I know some people in similar situation in their marriages but the spiritual dimension of this particular case is the reason I like to share her statement so as to help and sensitize others. Her words:
“I got married 10 years ago to this handsome dude while we were working in a multinational company shortly after my national youth service year. I got the job by God’s grace because I didn’t know anybody that could facilitate that kind of a well paid job for a young graduate like me. It was practically an instant mutual admiration when we met inside the elevator barely a month I joined the company. That was the genesis of my marital journey. We started the friendship and later moved to courtship and barely 16 months later, we got married. I anticipated a blissful and honey-sweet family life but hey, how mistaken I was! This guy told me point-blank that he did me a favour by marrying me. He said he didn’t want men to start passing me to another in our place of work, hence he quickly came to my rescue. Can you imagine that? He said since I earned so well like himself, the differential in our salaries was less than 30k and so, I should feed and cloth myself while he would pay the rent and the utility bills. Anyway, though I was shocked to hear those words early in my marriage but I wasn’t bothered because I can conveniently afford those bills. When we had our first child he said the baby was my responsibility. He was not ready to father any child yet. The second one came, he said it’s going to be a 50 – 50 shared responsibility.
“Since then, I refused to make more babies though he kept asking that I should get pregnant but I ignored him. When he started infecting me with sexually transmitted diseases, I became livid with rage, that was when he introduced violent assaults on me. He beat me at slightest provocation and sometimes threatened to throw me out or file for divorce. I noticed that I kept on staying back rationalizing his mad behaviours. I began to see him as a normal way married men behave especially when I think about gory tales I heard or I read in the media. Later, he was laid off along with the first set of workers that were retrenched four years into our marriage. He started a business and things were not working well with him. I wanted to quit but I feared that people will think that I left him in times of trouble. So, I waited, hoping that things will get better for him, then, I will leave. By the time his business began to boom, his mom died, as we finished the burial, I had a training program overseas for some months, planning that when I returned I will file for divorce. As I arrived, he asked for a big amount of soft loan from me to finance his new contract. Meanwhile, he was not responsible for anything in the house still. Nothing connected us together except sex which I allowed at my own discretion even when he assaulted me for it.
“One day, I dreamt that I was moving at a roundabout going nowhere in particular. I had a specific place in mind but I saw myself moving around the popular roundabout not far from our place. At another time, I saw a beautiful bird in a cage, flying up and down in the cage. It eats and drinks water and sleeps in the cage but it can’t fly out. Confused by these dreams, I told my uncle and he said it was a serious matter. Later, I discovered that my husband went diabolical to lock me down in the marriage. No matter how bitter I am I won’t be able to quit. Now that I know, I confronted him, he initially feigned ignorance of what I was saying but when I told him that my family said if he refused to confess, they will take me somewhere and anybody that employed diabolical means to manipulate me will run mad without a cure. Two hours later after making some private calls, he came back on his knees begging for forgiveness. He said he did it because he didn’t want me to go, yet, he’s maltreating me like a slave! What should I do? Sir, I’m fed up!”
Kindly advise this woman what she should do. Merry Christmas to you all!
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