Seek Help Early
As our careers grew, so did our egos. The idea of submission became totally removed from my mind and we were living most of our lives like civil housemates in University. The sex slowly went down the drain and that made even more bitterness set in. We definitely were not living in accordance with our marriage counsellor’s tenets. We were also not speaking to each other about the real issues affecting us. Our moments of true happiness were few. My anger at Femi’s harsh words in the car had been totally blurred and I honestly could not remember the cause of our fights.
Each week ushered in a new argument. It was a tumultuous period for me and I longed to talk to someone, anyone. I wanted to be happy and at peace in my home but pride had taken me so far away from the right path and retracing my steps seemed impossible. My work provided me with distraction as it disguised my feeling of emptiness. I was doing well, I was rising. I was grasping the intricacies of management consulting quicker than was expected of someone at my level and I was given more complex tasks than my contemporaries and constantly labelled “excellent”. The theory of Labelling and Self fulfilling Prophecy came to pass in my career. The more I was praised, the better I wanted to do. The more effort I put into my work, the better commendations I got but unfortunately, the less happy I became at home.
Femi started staying out longer too. I was not sure if it was on account of his work but one thing was certain: we had gradually found happiness outside of each other. Or at least, he had.
As a young girl, everyone had warned me: do not tell people your issues, they will only compound things for you. Most people don’t care and the rest are probably happy that you are not happy, they warned me. Whatever you are facing, make your bedroom your court room and end it there. Everyone goes through problems and they just pretend that all is well, they advised. So I kept the issues to myself and made even more errors and so did Femi.
I would pretend to my friends and family that all was well when in reality, Femi and I had 35% happiness and 65% sadness and now, I know that’s not normal. I kept it all in even when opportunities presented themselves for me to open up to my mom or my sisters. I didn’t want them to be sad or judge Femi or judge me and so I dealt with it alone. Femi’s solo trips became the norm and when people asked after him, I would lie that he was away on business because telling people that my husband would rather be by himself holidaying than be with his wife was going to open the flood gates of inquiry and I not ready to face that.
I recall the bridal shower I attended last Christmas. The preponderance of advice was this: keep your problems to yourself. Sure enough, it came mainly from the unmarried folk whose ideas of marriage is based on fairy tales. A few married ladies too gave that advice. And I was disappointed because, in my view, they should know better. It is a different thing if the issue you are facing is that your spouse snores or has foul morning breath and likes to kiss you without first brushing his teeth. I think it is a big fat lie that is only sure to compound the problems. If I had told someone how I was feeling and what I was going through, I might have realized earlier on that a lot of people go through challenges and I was not strange. Nothing is new under the sun.
One afternoon, I was in the 2nd floor Coffee Room making myself some tea and I went down memory lane, thinking about my life and reminiscing on how Femi and I started out on our marital journey. I didn’t even realise when the tears started flowing down freely. But Steve, my boss’s boss did…
To be continued…
The Lesson: We are all human. We make mistakes. There, however, is a reason people have walked paths ahead of us: to teach us the way and ensure that we do not make avoidable errors. Whilst telling just anyone would have been a bad idea, I regret not carefully selecting someone I could trust and who would be objective enough to tell me my mistakes and how I could correct them. Telling a parent may be a bad idea because their natural instinct is to want to protect you (as an individual) and not both you and your spouse or your marriage. Even after you guys have made up, your parents will not easily forget the pain you went through at the hands of your partner and may hold a grudgeSome tell everyone everything. Some tell no one anything. Neither option is ideal. We were not created to go through life alone. Choose your audience wisely however: tell those who have something to contribute positively to your situation and this, you can find out by praying and calmly deciding who is best suited to confide in. Sometimes, we Christians over-spiritualise everything: whilst praying and fasting is key, it is also important to seek help and even the Bible says that in the multitude of counsel, there is safety. I now understand the benefit of routine marriage counselling in addition to speaking to a confidante. I found a certified counsellor in Opebi and I thoroughly regret not having met her earlier. According to her, you need not wait for your marriage to be in shambles to book an appointment. As with visits to the Dentist, regular marital check up is beneficial. Had I spoken to someone and gotten good advice, I would have begun the process of mending my breaking marriage earlier and perhaps not fallen into the trap set out for me by the devil…
Thanks so much for reading guys! The feedback has been amazing and I trust we are learning one or two lessons to prepare us for marriage or help improve ours. Watch out for the next part and find out what trap Ore was referring to!
Have a great week ahead.