Let me say that marriage is honourable and beautiful when the right ingredients are in place and properly mixed to make it work. However, I don’t believe that marriage is a do or die affair as most people would want to take it. Some people go to any extreme to make sure that they get married forgetting that marriage is a journey that one needs to embark on carefully. It requires its own form of education, planning and preparation. It requires a whole lot of compromising, perseverance and maturity. As it is often said, it is a university that you are awarded the degree before embarking on its training.
Yet, it is a beautiful experience. Marriage is like being in a well kept garden; a lot of efforts and hardwork is put into it to make it beautiful. It is a well kept garden yet it is filled with rocky paths and valleys that require its own special training on how to tread. It becomes successful when you embark on the journey with the right person. It is not a journey you go with the next available person.
A lot of people have made the mistake of embarking on this journey with the available person therefore, making a well kept garden become an abandoned one overgrown with weeds and thistles. What baffles me is that despite the issues associated with the failures in marriage, a lot of people still commit exactly the same errors those that went into it blind did. I thought the Yorubas say that the person who falls into a deep pit teaches other passerby to tread carefully. I have since found out that this is not the case when it comes to marriage. If this is not the case, how come there are many bad marriages out there. I have heard a lot of mind boggling stories about some marriages but nothing beats the story I heard about my once upon a time friend and her husband.
I said once upon because our friendship became strained because I had advised her at the time to think carefully about the guy before committing herself. Despite all appeal, she went ahead and got married to the man. I had never seen a more downcast and unhappy bride in my life. She was so unhappy that we kept on reminding her to smile on her wedding day. Soon after, they settled into the marriage. I lost touch with her for a while until I ran into her at a wedding. Initially, I was excited to see her. We hugged and soon got down to the business of catching up. She asked about my marriage and I regretfully told her that I was single again. She heaved a huge sigh and I braced myself for some preaching since that was the norm with people. But she kept quiet for a while and then she touched my hand. “Ose,” she said, “you are very brave”. I was stunned since that was not what I expected. “I am burning in hell” she continued. I looked at her carefully and I realised that she has aged though her carefully made up face hid some of the strain and tension. I held her hand and whispered “It is well!” “No, it is not well. I have deceived myself for too long. I have made too many excuses but I know now that it can’t be well” she blurted out. I kept quiet as I was short of words. Moreover, I have learnt from experience to keep quiet at moments like this since there is peace in the silence. We were like this for a while. I held her hand trying to assist her to draw out some strength from mine. “Ose, he brought a prostitute home and slept with her on our matrimonial bed” she said quietly. I opened my mouth to talk but left it hanging out of shock. “He didn’t have money to pay her and the girl started making trouble. The children were home and they fought right there in the presence of my children.” She said with her head bent. She was so embarrassed that she could not look at me. The whole story as I could link it up with the disjointed way she narrated her ordeal was; she had gone out without the children and her husband seized the opportunity to bring home a prostitute. She would not have known anything about it except that he had no money to pay the girl for the service rendered and since prostitutes do not provide service on credit, an argument ensued with the girl holding tight to the trouser of my friend’s husband. It was at that point that she came back home. Wondering what could have happened, she asked her husband what the problem was and when he refused to answer, the prostitute proceeded to tell her about the service she just rendered in which she demanded full payment for. My friend felt so humiliated that she had to pay the girl.
I sat there not knowing what to say to her. Finally, I asked her what she intended doing and she said she had moved out of the bedroom and she would never allow him to touch her again. I looked at her with my eye balls struggling not to pop out of its sockets. I wanted to tell her if she had some pathological hatred for herself that she had to subject herself to such humiliating circumstances. I am sure the look on my face said it all because she said “I can’t leave him”. “Why not?” I asked flabbergasted “Because of the children” she said. “The children?” Do you think that’s a healthy environment for your children to live?” I asked. “I am a Christian and God hates divorce” she replied defensively. I held my peace at that moment. I know that God hates divorce and it is not an experience I wish on my enemy but I equally know the only ground for divorce in the Bible is adultery.
I ask, are there deeper reasons why a woman will not want to leave a bad marriage? Is it because of societal stigmatisation or because woman just lack the will power to do so? Or are women masochist?