That’s how he proposed. It wasn’t a question. It sounded like a command—a command I was willing to freely follow. Our love was new so everything he did pleased me. He was the man I wanted to marry. But instead of giving him a straight answer, I decided to mess with him a little bit. “Answer this first,” I said. “On a scale of one to ten, how much do you love me?” His gruff voice answered, “My love for you cannot fit onto a scale.” I giggled at his response, “Smart answer!” “Now are you going to say yes to my proposal?” My man demanded. I laughed at his impatience; “Patience my dear, you know you are the only man for me. Of course, I will marry you.” At this, his face broke out into a wide smile as he scooped me up into his arms and claimed my lips in a searing kiss. At that moment I thought; “If our love remains this strong, we will indeed live happily ever after.”
Robert and I had been together for quite some time. He always had a gruff approach to life. This made him appear to many people as rude. But the people who are close to him understand that he is just a no-nonsense person. He tells things as they are and he gets upset when he doesn’t get his way. I was convinced that I had figured him out. I knew what made him tick and what made him melt. I had faith that our love would make our marriage a peaceful one.
Not too long after his proposal, we got married. That day was one of the happiest days of my life. Everything was beautiful. I smiled so much my cheeks hurt. Today, when I look at our wedding photos, I ask myself questions, questions like, “What happened?” “Where did the love and happiness go?”
I cannot pinpoint exactly when things took a sour turn but I can think of all the signs I missed along the way.
Before we got married I was running my own business. It was doing well and I had my own money. I wasn’t rich but I could take care of my needs without external support. And for me, that was a success. On our honeymoon, my husband casually asked me to stop working and be a housewife. My reaction was, “Where is this coming from? It wasn’t an issue before we got married? Why is it an issue now?” He replied, “Well, then let’s discuss it now. Before we got married, you had to work to survive. Now you have a husband, and it is my job to provide for you financially. So I’m asking you to allow me to do that. Allow me to be your husband.” I shook my head and said, “I won’t do that. I would like to be a wife who works to support her husband.”
Robert was relentless. He wanted me to concede by all means. “What are you going to do when we start having kids?” He asked me. “Who will take care of them while you’re busy running a business? I will give you time to think about it but I believe it’s the right thing to do.”
He said he was going to give me time to think about it but he didn’t. Instead, he put a lot of pressure on me. He started nicely at first but he became hostile when I kept saying no. The peace in my marriage was threatened at its budding stage. I didn’t want us constantly fighting so I agreed to be a housewife. When we finally moved in together, my husband playfully said, “Sell your electrical gadgets to me.” I was confused. “We are living together now. What’s mine is yours so why do you want to buy my possessions?” His response was, “I want to buy them from you so that the day you leave, you will carry nothing from this house.”
“Ah, what is he saying?”
Our marriage was not even a month old yet my husband was planning our divorce. I refused to sell my possessions to him but he didn’t let them rest. He is a man who insists on always having his way. This time, I wasn’t ready to budge. I stood my ground. “Dear Robert, I’m not selling them to you. We are one and one for all. What’s mine is automatically yours. You don’t need money to buy from me. You only have to take from me.”
That was when the first crack in our marriage appeared.
As time went on, he started cheating on me. When I confront him, he turned around and accuse me of cheating. This happened when I was pregnant with our first child. I had seen evidence on his phone that he had a mistress. I asked him about it and he denied it. Then he said, “The only reason you are suspecting me of cheating is that you are the one cheating on me.” That day he took my phone and went through every chat, asking me questions. He continued reading my chats even after I went to sleep. I was heavily pregnant but this man woke me up in the middle of the night and showed me a chat and asked, “Are you sure you’re not sleeping with this person?”
I got offended. I did not want to dignify his question with an answer so I kept quiet and tried to go back to sleep. He tapped me continuously and said, “You won’t mind me? How dare you ignore me when I’m talking to you?” Get down here. For your punishment, you’ll have to sleep on the floor.” I moved and slept on the floor without a protest. When he saw that I had fallen asleep, he woke me up again; “Go back to the bed. I will rather sleep on the floor.”
I felt frustrated but I went back to bed. He did this to me throughout the rest of the pregnancy and even through my next pregnancy.
There was a time he sacked me out of our room and brought in another woman. I had to go live in our uncompleted house with our two kids. There was no electricity, toilet, or bathroom. I used up whatever money I had saved from my business to complete it. My girls and I lived there until my husband got tired of his other woman and came home to us. After the building, I had no money left for myself. My husband only gave me just enough to cover food. I had to push money around before I am even able to afford sanitary pads. When I ask him to give me money for other things, he would make me feel like a burden and then ask for a divorce.
I can’t afford to buy clothes and toys for our kids. One time I tried to get a job and he found out. He threatened to divorce me if I report to work. That’s how my marriage has been. He expects me to do his bidding. He wants me to be at his beck and call without protest. If I do anything that he hasn’t sanctioned, he would threaten me with a divorce.
I try—I try everything possible to hold on to this marriage though it’s not serving me well. I do anything to make him happy. I endure verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and psychological abuse without complaints but he’s never satisfied. He would wake up in the morning, look at my face and say, “I don’t love you anymore. I want a divorce.” I would plead with him to allow us to work on getting back the love we once shared.
While I plead with him to give us an opportunity to thrive, he would go around fishing for reasons to leave the marriage. Sometimes he would make mountain out of a molehill. Something that shouldn’t be an issue, he would make it a big issue. I would be in our room arranging things and he would walk in and switch off the light. I would have to stumble through the darkness to find my phone and use the torchlight. He behaves like a spoilt child yet I see him as my spoilt child so I bear with him.
He insisted on divorce until one day I told him, “Great. Let’s do it. I’m sick and tired of everything. It looks like if I don’t accept to leave, you’ll never give me peace. I will leave. Just watch me.”
He gave me three months to pack out of the house with our children. I am not financially stable and I don’t know how I will survive but I agreed to leave. I was exhausted from all the fighting I’d been doing since we got married. I’ve stopped paying attention to him and I’ve stopped performing my wifely duties. I take care of my kids’ needs and leave him out. I have started looking for accommodation even though I don’t know how I’ll pay for it.
Now that he has realized that I don’t care about him anymore, he is going around telling people that I’m the one leaving the marriage. Our family and friends have called me to advise me; “Don’t break up your home. Forgive your husband and make things work.” “Where will you go with two children? Don’t walk out from what you can fix.” “There is no perfect man out there. Stay with Robert as he is.” He makes it look like I’m the devil who’s seeking to break the marriage by all means.
When I confronted him about it he said, “Yes, you are the one breaking up our home. We had a little misunderstanding and you’ve decided to leave.” He sounded very certain to the point where I almost believed him.
All I want right now is to move far away from him and everyone who knows us. He has turned them against me. I have tried to explain things to anyone I owe an explanation to but no one wants to listen to me. I know Robert will not change if I continue to stay with him. My problem now is the financial aspect of things. I have become so dependent on him that I have nothing for myself. Things will be very difficult for me and the kids if I insist on leaving. Because of this, I am torn between leaving and staying. I feel like I am drowning. Please I need your advice on what next to do.
I feel that when you noticed that he is not dependable, you should have taken action to get his actions and words on record. It’s very much like bullied of his kind to deny what they said. It’s not too late. Get as much as possible on record, and do this quietly, secretly, knowing that if he catches you at it, it’s trouble. You will have to be brave to forward the evidence to reliable authorities. It’s when he’s confronted with his lies that you will know whether the marriage is redeemable or if you’ll seperate, it will be on kind terms