I’ve been married for the past nine years with three beautiful children. Currently, we all live together but I have applied for a transfer so I could move away with the kids, and subsequently get a divorce if things don’t change in my marriage. This is not something I want but it’s something I’ve been pushed to do.
Ever since we got married, I have been nothing short of a supportive wife. I am a health worker and he earns more than twice my salary but that never stopped me from contributing financially to our home. I help him pay the kids’ school fees, our rent, utility bills, and food for the house. When it comes to clothing and shoes for the children, he doesn’t give anything to help. I am the only parent who provides these things for our kids, and I have never complained about it. There was a time I tried to tell him to do more for us but he explained that he couldn’t. I accepted his explanation and hoped that things would get better eventually.
Our life was not perfect but we found solace in each other. And everything was peaceful in my marriage until I travelled to my hometown in September 2020. My aunt had died and it was the ‘One Week Celebration.’ I was gone for three days and the entire time, my husband didn’t even call to ask, “How are things going?” I was the one who called them to find out how they were coping in my absence. If I got too busy to call them, he wouldn’t call. It was quite unusual of him to do that, so I became concerned but I tried to relax until I got home and spoke to him.
By God’s grace, I got home in one piece. While I was happy to be back, my husband didn’t seem happy to see him. I asked him, “What’s going on with you? You’ve been off these past few days.” He just said, “Nothing.” All my attempts to get anything else out of him failed. That evening when I made dinner, my husband said he wasn’t hungry. I served his anyway, thinking he would eat it later but I woke up the next morning to find the food untouched. I thought of asking him if he was okay but the expression on his face when he saw me approaching him discouraged me from talking to him. He didn’t speak to me when he left the house for work, and he returned home very late that night. I woke up the next morning to find that his dinner was untouched, again.
I tried asking him what the problem was but he wasn’t ready to open up. His behaviour continued for months until my aunt’s funeral was due in November. I expected him to ask, “What are the funeral plans? How are you going to make contributions?” But he didn’t. He didn’t even say, “Take this money as a token of my support for the family.” I became very worried so I informed my parents about everything he had done up to that point. They called him several times to find out what the problem was. But anytime they called he’d tell them, “I can’t talk until both our families sit in a meeting.”
I kept going through my memories wondering what I might have done to piss him off. “The only thing that would cause him to request a meeting of both families is if I cheated or stole from him, and I haven’t done any of these. So what’s his problem?” I asked myself repeatedly. When December came, he didn’t give out money for Christmas shopping for the kids and the house. I didn’t want my children to experience a dry Christmas because of our marital problems so I took care of everything. After Christmas, I accidentally burned my foot. The pain was so severe that I could barely walk. My husband ignored me as always. I knew at that moment that his heart was hardened against me.
I called my parents and they came to visit us. They seized the moment to try and settle whatever problems we were having. My told them, “I will only talk about the problem if we go to my family’s house. I am outnumbered over here.” This man didn’t care that it caused me a great deal of pain to walk. And because I wanted to bring back the peace in my home, I limped barefooted to his family’s house. When we got there, both families sat down to talk. That was when he said, “I want everyone present here to ask my wife why she didn’t change her name after marriage. I also found some land documents of hers that indicated her brother as her next of kin. Why not me, her husband? Unless she is planning to kill me and take over my properties.” My jaw dropped at his accusation. “How can you say that?” I demanded. “If I am wrong, then change your surname to mine. That is the only way I will trust you enough to eat your food again.”
His uncle told him, “This is not a big issue that should make you treat your wife poorly. Whether or not she changed her name after marriage does not change the fact that she is your wife. Talk to her about it and resolve it peacefully, before this gets out of hand.” He wasn’t happy that he was called out for making a big deal out of nothing. So he took it out on me. I got infected at work with the coronavirus, and my husband didn’t give a hoot if I lived or survived. It was my family and friends who showed their support and helped me pay for my medical bills. He did all this but I still held on to our marriage, hoping that he would come to his senses. But he gets worse each day.
Now he is telling me that I have to feed myself and our children without his input. He wants me to continue to clothe them, and buy groceries for the house. He has also asked me to pay for TV bills. I don’t understand the point of living together if I’m going to be doing this all by myself. I don’t think things are going to be better so I have applied for a transfer to another region. He doesn’t know it yet but when it is approved, I will leave with the kids, and then I will file for divorce and be free of him.
My question is, am I being rushed in my decision to leave? Or do you guys think I did him wrong by maintaining my maiden name after marriage and using my brother as my next of kin?