The moment after a dear friend confided in me that she was leaving her husband barely a year after getting married to him, was no exception. The words just spread out their wings and flew away into the Literary Sunset or wherever the heck it is they go.
Needless to say, I was Speechless.
What do you say to a friend, not even 30years old, with a baby daughter, who has made up her mind to ditch the man she pledged vows to less than a year ago?
The conventional “Babe why don’t you try to wait it out a bit”’ was finally about to venture out of my mouth, but it seemed her radar picked that up and she proceeded to relate the underground gist as to why her mind can never be changed, to me.
She got married to him after a few months of meeting and dating him. Her major reason for marrying him was that she was pregnant, and her parents would have rather danced naked in the Village Square than to have a daughter pregnant and eventually bear a child out of wedlock.
She did care deeply for him, however, left to her, she would have rather spent some more time getting to know him better, child or not, before taking the plunge. The Good Girl that she is though, she listened to her parents and went ahead with the plan.
It’s not as if the guy himself is some monster that no-one would want to marry; he is tall, good-looking, intelligent, and actually carries himself in a manner that elicits respect from people who come across him.
So my friend just accepted the turn of events as the will of God, and went ahead with it.
Few months down the line and the barely existent Honeymoon was not only over, but long forgotten. The reality of her situation began to dance and jiggle its ugly, scarred body right before her very eyes. What had she gotten herself into?
Her husband was lazy, verbally abusive and a Dreamer who was more interested in creating the illusion of ‘the good life’ than actually going out to hustle to make it happen.
My friend was certain that she had become the victim of a BAD Reality TV show and was constantly praying for the day the Film Crew would run out of their hiding place screaming “GOTCHAAAA!!”
Hours, days, weeks and months passed, and the intensity of her present hell became even more unbearable for her.
Let me pause here to tell you a little bit about my friend:
Aside from the fact that she is incredibly beautiful, articulate and absolute Fun to be with, she is also unbelievably hard-working! This is actually the particular virtue that draws me to her, as I greatly admire her Work Ethic.
She’s the sort of person that would not give herself a breathing moment until a task she has begun is completed and excellent. She would remain at work till Midnight if she had to, just to make sure that everything is done extremely well.
My friend is someone who if she was managing your business, you can go on a Lifetime Vacation, as you have FULL confidence that your business is in the best hands.
So you can imagine the personal torment she was going through watching her husband, whom she was supposed to hold in the highest regard, being slothful and unmotivated.
She spoke to me about the inner rage she felt whenever she watched him try to keep up with his affluent friends and give them the idea that all is well and good with him – on HER money!
As far as she could see now, she had become a mother of two; one a few months old baby, and the other a grown man in his mid 30’s.
She couldn’t believe what was happening to her, and so tried to gain some sanity about the issue, by talking to her mother and close family members. In the opinions of those, ANY situation was by far more bearable than that of a single mother in her 20’s, so they told her to ‘manage’, ‘be patient’, and to ‘support’ her husband.
She meekly heeded the advice of her elders once again, after all they know better, and went to be the submissive wife they had told her to be.
She encouraged him by gently telling him everything would be alright when he complained about how difficult Nigeria is for him. Deep inside her, she really felt like kicking him and pushing him out of the house to go and hustle or get a job, ANY job, like the millions of diligent, self-respecting men that hustled the streets of Lagos everyday.
But instead, she rubbed his back and said sweet words to him, while feeding him, buying his petrol, and supporting his false and extravagant lifestyle.
Very soon, she found herself skipping lunches at work because she had to reserve the money to buy Pampers for her child.
Not too long after, she got to the lowest of lows, as she had to begin pawning her jewelry and designer bags just so they could have food to eat.
She kept all these to herself of course, and played along with the ‘We are a young, affluent couple’ image her husband was bent on portraying to the world.
Anyway, it only got consistently worse and she soon made her decision. She couldn’t do it anymore!!
At that point, she shut her ears to her mother’s predictions of doom, and any other voice that was contrary to her decision. She finally released ALL the pent-up rage she had acquired while being the ‘Supportive’ and ‘Submissive’ wife and began to say the things that she really felt to her husband.
With her mind made up, she felt there was no point hiding her anger, distaste, and disgust at the man she had married, and whom she felt ashamed was actually the father of her child. She unleashed her inner Bitch, and I’m certain her husband got a full load of the UGLY side of his Bride.
Now, I believe that there are two sides to every story, and I haven’t heard the husband’s side, so I CANNOT make any personal judgments about him.
However, this is a very REAL situation especially here in Lagos. I know a number of women who have and are still walking these shoes.
What is happening to this generation of Nigerian men? It seems that unlike their fathers, they have become quite comfortable in letting a woman take care of all or most of their financial needs.
Otis Redding famously asked for R-E-S-P-E-C-T in his famous track which was redone by Aretha Franklin. They say that’s what a man wants the most from his woman.
But how is it possible to respect a man who fails to step up to his traditional role as ‘The Head’. Forget all that New Age crap that says respective roles in a Marriage should not be carved in stone. The average Nigerian and African man believes that he is the ‘Head’ and wants to be accorded the RESPECT and everything he feels that affords him.
Being ‘The Head’ entails providing, loving and protecting; however many young women today, are thrust into compromising situations out of the desperation that comes with having to go out and fend for both their Men and their family.
The Vultures out there sniff on their Desperation and prey on it. And you have a ‘Head’ at home?!
As I listened to my friend and as I’ve also heard the stories of other women in this same boat, I’ve realized that one of the worst things that can happen to ANY woman is to have a Man she cannot Respect.
If you are married and this is your experience, the choice my friend made is not the only solution, but be wise in whatever you choose to do. Do what’s best for your family, which includes your Husband, because let’s face it, you did make a Vow.
Men, PLEASE step up your game abeg!
For us Single Ladies, all I can say is SHINE YOUR EYE OOOOO!
May God help us ALL.
Tari’s Blog is www.tariere.blogspot.com