“You don’t have to worry. The very day this marriage stops working for me I will tell you.”
“What?” I asked as I watched him walk away from me. At my age, how does my husband expect me to someday accept that our marriage is no longer working? The more I think about it, the more confusing it gets. Who would have thought that he would change this much after marriage?
When I met Ofori four years ago he was gentle and effortlessly kind. He didn’t have a lot going for him on the financial front but I saw his potential. I believed we were brought together by God himself. If that wasn’t the case, we wouldn’t have met in church. The interesting thing is that we were both in the same church for years yet our paths never crossed till that particular day. That’s why I was certain that our meeting was divinely orchestrated. It is also why I did not allow our pastor to tear us apart. Oh he tried, but I was a woman in love. So every testimony he spoke against Ofori’s character fell on deaf ears.
I still remember some of the things he said to discourage our relationship. “This gentleman you are in a relationship with is bad news. He has dated quite a number of ladies in this church. All the women came to report him to me at some point. These women complained that Ofori refuses to work. And when they finally push him to get a job, he worked poorly till he got fired. Apart from that, he cheated on them several times. He is inconsistent in every aspect of his life. Please I advise ending the relationship with him before things end badly.”
That day I looked at my pastor and defended Ofori, “I don’t care about his past. All that matters to me is that Ofori is no longer the man you just described. You don’t know him as I do so I understand why you would judge him so harshly.” My pastor shook his head, “I don’t want to see you get hurt. You are way older than that boy. And you have two children from your previous relationship. Do you honestly think he would have dated you if he knew?” I answered,
“That’s where you are wrong. He knows that I am eight years older than him. And he knows about my kids, and that they live abroad with their father. He doesn’t have a problem with any of it. We love each other and that’s what matters.”
After that conversation with my pastor, I was more determined to make our relationship work. Ofori was unemployed and practically homeless at the time. I did my best trying to get him a job. Five months into the relationship I got him something big. His salary was three times higher than mine. He was given a company car. In his first month on the job, I gave him money every day to fuel the car. His feeding was also my responsibility. Our relationship did not tow the conventional line where the man was the provider. But that did not make it different from all other relationships. We had our good days and we had our bad days. And when those bad days came, we sat down and talked about our problems, and dealt with them as a couple.
When I turned thirty-nine, Ofori proposed that we have a baby. It was something I also wanted so we started trying. We did whatever we could but nothing was happening. I felt I was the problem. Every month my period showed up, we both felt disappointed but I carried the blame. I’d say to him, “Maybe it’s because of my age. You know these days some women start menopause before they hit forty.” He responded, “Maybe you should take a break from internet research. It’s messing with your head. If you had menopause there would be other signs.” He tried to put my mind at ease. We kept trying and failing until we eventually consulted a specialist.
After a series of tests, we found out that I was fine. My husband on the other hand was diagnosed with low sperm count. The news of the diagnosis changed his attitude toward having a baby. The eagerness with which he was trying for the baby reduced. I had to push him till he agreed that we should try IVF. Even with that, he said he didn’t have money to pay for it. So I took care of it.
The treatment worked and I was able to conceive. We planned to get married after the baby comes. When the baby came, my man started dragging his feet about our plans. “What’s going on? When I talk about us getting married you give me a look that suggests you’ve changed your mind.” He replied, “Oh no I haven’t changed my mind. There’s nothing I want more than to officially call you my wife. The problem is money. You know I spent a lot of money preparing for the baby, and the hospital bills also took a toll on my finances. It will be a challenge for me to finance our marriage.” I told him, “You know I am ready to support you whichever way I can. Let’s start the process and see how it goes.” His sister also called and advised me, “Now that you have a child together, the marriage must come on. Keep it simple to save cost. And I trust that you will meet him halfway with the expenses.” I told her not to worry about any of it.
By the time the marriage ceremony was over, I’d spent more money than he spent but I didn’t mind. These things don’t usually matter when you are basking in the sweetness of love. What mattered to me was that we were married. As I write this, we’ve been married for two years and I must confess that things have gone sour. I feel tiredness deep inside my soul. It is so severe that I cannot capture it with mere words. I can count the number of words we have said to each other these past few months. There is a chasm between us that has severed our intimacy. We had a fight about something trivial but my husband used the opportunity to tell me, “You stink down there and you lack the right to talk to me that way.”
How can a man say this to the woman he calls wife and the mother of his child? That insult is tattooed on my memory. Every time I think of it, I feel a stab in my heart. What hurts most is that he didn’t apologize for saying that.
About three months ago he proposed we have another baby. Just like the last time, his sperm count is low. When we found out he said, “I have changed my mind. I don’t want another baby.” I didn’t try to pressure him to change his mind. With the way he is behaving, I suspect that he is having an affair and I am concerned that I will lose him if I push him too hard. So I give him a lot of space and tiptoe around his mood swings. Moments like this remind me of what our pastor tried to warn me about. It isn’t that I regret marrying him, no I don’t. I just wish he hadn’t changed this terribly.
Last week he left home for his hometown. When he returned I tried to talk to him. But he didn’t seem interested in holding a conversation. In an attempt to get his attention I asked, “So are you serious about not wanting another baby?” My husband flared up, “Yes I am serious. Taking care of the one we have is taking an emotional and financial toll on me. I cannot add another baby to the mix.”
His statement triggered an argument about the problems we are not addressing in our marriage.
It went on until he uttered the words; “You don’t have to worry. The very day this marriage stops working for me I will tell you.” I don’t know where to go from here. I am turning forty-two soon. And yet I don’t know where I stand in my husband’s life. Despite everything he is doing, I still love him, and I am not ready to give up on our marriage. I need help getting back his attention and his love. How do I get him to start desiring me again? How do I save my sinking marriage?