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Made-In-Naija Wifey: Remembering the Good Times Can Save Your Marriage



Ipheoma ElebeI remember it now with a coy smile…that breezy Saturday morning. We sat in church with other couples, listening attentively to one of our pastors. It was a marriage seminar and as Pastor Kenny spoke on forgiveness and letting go of past offenses, I couldn’t help but hear the conversation behind me. “I am telling you, that is exactly how my wife behaves. You think she has forgiven you for one small wahala but wait until you commit another one; then all your past sins would be brought to the throne of judgment”. His friend responded in affirmation “I thought I was the only one oh! Debby crucifies me every time over all errors; past, present and future! She would make reference to what I have done before, criticize the latest one I did, then still give prophesies on the one I am yet to do. If I eventually commit the one she predicted Lobatan!”.

I smiled as I listened, only to catch my hubby smiling too. Apparently, he had also overheard the conversation. He could relate to their plight. He had been there and suffered the same sentence from an honorary member of The Judginas Club. Suffix it to say, I am a repentant digger of past sins. That Saturday, I was relieved to realize that it wasn’t just me. It was probably a common problem of the female folk. Although I had figured out a way to solve this issue, it was still good to know that it wasn’t a battle I faced alone. My husband and I exchanged knowing glances before he leaned in and whispered “thank God that phase of our lives is over”.

I cringe now as I remember one week that hubby was on leave, when I dished out the cold hard cuisine of judgment and labelling. Hubby had been a sweetheart all week and I had showered praises for every thoughtful thing he did; from helping with the dishes after dinner to bathing our daughter and serving me breakfast in bed (no mind that the breakfast was just a cup of cappuccino) to taking me to the movies to buying a dress I saw on IG and wanted…the list long fa. Bobo really spoiled me that week in an attempt to make up for the romance I missed on weeks he worked hard at his job. Come Sunday night, I was watching a movie on MNet Romance and just twenty minutes to the end of the movie, the channel changed to SuperSports; someone had set auto reminder for his game. I knew he allowed me watch my movie just because he was patiently waiting for this EPL game to start.

I quickly changed the channel back to the romantic-comedy I was enjoying as I begged him to forgo the first-half of the game for me. He no gree. Started a sermon about how I had been controlling the remote since we got back from church (ask him who had the remote while I cooked Sunday rice) and how the game was really important for his team and he couldn’t afford to miss any minute of it, because ‘in football, anything can happen’. I changed the channels back for him, silently prayed for his team to lose the game *insert demon emoticon* and then said ‘it’s time we get an explora in this house’ before I marched into my bedroom…seething! I had learned a long time ago to curb my acid tongue and resist the temptation to say things I would regret later but that (at the time, I have since repented) didn’t stop me from giving hubby a piece of my mind in my head while I settled to watch a movie on DVD in our bedroom. I used choice words from selfish to inconsiderate as I wondered why he was so loyal to this club. “Very soon, you would have to choose between Arsenal and me in this house; let’s know if Ozil would cook for you” I caught myself saying out loud. After his game, I was giving me the PG version of the yabbing I gave him in my head, when he said “So everything I have done this week doesn’t count anymore because I wanted to watch Arsenal’s match? It is well oh. I would try to please you all week and I because I didn’t do one thing right, I am now an evil selfish person abi?”

That was when I knew I needed a wall of remembrance. We all know walls of remembrance as walls built and filled with names of fallen comrades (Not 9ja army ohh) so their families and other veterans could remember them and their service to country. Well, I needed a wall of remembrance because just like most married women, I needed to be reminded of my husband’s strengths whenever he did something wrong, so I could temper justice with mercy. When my need to be in the right pushed me to dig up past mistakes, or to over-flog the present issue just to make a point, I needed to remember all the ways in which he gets it right. By the way, why do most of us women always need to be right? Why do we handle every argument like a court case and strive to bring up as many evidences as possible against the accused? And then we appoint ourselves as Persecutor, Jury and Judge at the same time! I saw the look in my husband’s eyes and I remembered every sweet thing he had done that week. Frankly, dude needed the break and I felt really ashamed of myself. The same lips that had showered praises were just as swift to condemn.

Now, I technically do not have a wall of remembrance in our apartment but my dressing mirror is filled with stick-up notes of little thoughtful actions and things that hubby does. I initially tried writing all the wonderful things he does in a journal but I realized that I found it impossible to purposefully pull out a journal filled with lovely things about him; when I am mad at him. Stick-up notes on the dresser works because vanity would always push me to look in the mirror…mad or not (who else checks herself out in the mirror when crying or mad? J). Now, the good deeds are way up there where I am sure to see them and fortunately, whatever crime he must have committed always paled in comparison to the things he does right. Often, I would feel my pride die a slow sad death as I realize again that the bobo dey try sha and I would then create room for reconciliation. You should try it, if you are like the rest of us that tend to over-flog an issue or always quick to judge and sentence your man when he errs. Every point he scores with you should be written where you are sure to look when your temper rises. It could be as big as pushing your CV to his uncle to get you a better job or as little as getting your Cold Stone ice cream and driving through two hours of traffic to get it for you. With practice, you would no longer need a physical wall as your mind would be trained to automatically remember his good sides.

Two things we should never deny are: our humanity and the humanity of others. If it’s hubby that needs to have a wall of remembrance, it’s definitely a conversation that needs to be had. I doubt there is anything as frustrating as ingratitude or digging up past offenses.

Made-in-Naija Wifey is written by Mervis Ipheoma Elebe; who works in a leading ICT firm by day. A repentant foodie, smoothie addict and movie enthusiast; she enjoys traveling, playing on beaches and reading when she isn’t playing dress-up with her daughter, stalking her role-models on Instagram or cuddling up with the hubby. Made-In-Naija Wifey chronicles her experiences as a married woman in Nigeria because as they say “Love is blind, but marriage is an eye-opener”. She can be reached on [email protected] or via Instagram on @ipheoma_