Looking all around, listening and digesting all that my mum and sisters were saying, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was ever going to get married. You must understand, I come from a large family of 6 girls and I was the last and the only one who is yet to be married. At 23, my parents and siblings felt I was ripe for marriage. I had graduated and was working in my father’s company and still lived with them, but like my mum said, all the time, that was neither here nor there, cos I moved into the guest chalet and came and went as I pleased.
Now this hot Saturday afternoon, my mother had summoned a family meeting to discuss our father’s 60th surprise birthday party and for some strange reason, the conversation drifted to me when the issue of “Aso Ebi” (uniformed clothes) came up. “We all get ten yards of material. 5 for us and 5 for our hubbies. Only Misses there gets 5 yards or do you now have a man?” My Eldest sister asked.
“Oh no, she doesn’t, she’s too busy with her law career”, my other sister added. Before things got out of hand, my mother asked everyone to leave me alone and politely asked if I was coming with my date. I said to my mum “As a matter of fact, I am and he will not be wearing any aso ebi with me until we are married”.
As soon as the words came out of my mouth, I regretted every word. “So he has proposed?” My mum shouted. “Spill” went another. “You are too secretive.” “Who is he?” “Where is he from?” The questions just came pouring out, until I got up and ran into the toilet downstairs.
As I sat on the toilet seat hiding from my family, I wondered What did I just do? Why would I even tell them that I have a date? What was I thinking? It should have been a surprise. (All these questions kept flooding my mind). I knew my family were hungrily awaiting this mystery man, but why do they want me to be miserable like they all are?
For example, my mum; got married when she was barely 17, and had all 6 of us in rapid succession. We are just about a year plus older than each other. She’s just 48 and looks 10 years older. My father is a slave driver up until this minute, insisting on my mother cooking all his meals and which includes pounded yam from the mortar, which is as often as 3 or 4 times a week. If anyone else cooks any part of his meal, he somehow knows and he will get so upset and sees it as my mum betraying him.
Once, my elder sister bought half a cow and got caterers to cook and fry it for her, so she could freeze it and just use it as required. So she brought home some for Mum. Mum made some tasty jollof rice that Sunday afternoon. We all sat down to eat after the grace. As was a tradition my mum served my dad first. While he was eating the rice, he got his knife and fork and cut a bit of the fried meat, put it in his mouth. He couldn’t have chewed it for 2 seconds, when he spat it out, let out a roar saying, “You this woman, why are you trying to kill me”. He dropped his cutlery and stormed out of the dining room, leaving us to console my mum, who was now in tears and my elder sister ran after him.
She was gone for quite a while, when she got back from talking to our father, he explained that he has been married to our mum for more than 30 years and wondered when he had ever eaten someone’s food other than our mum’s. If he died and they put someone else food in his mouth he will wake up.
I started to think back and realized my mother had hardly taken a day off unless she and my father went away together. He eats out occasionally, but cooked food at home had to be done by my mum. My 2nd eldest sister wanted to take our mum on a weekend to Dubai on her 45th birthday. All my dad could ask was “Who’s going to cook for me?” My sister was about to get upset, but my dear mum covered her mouth with her hands and said, “He’s my husband, my responsibility, Let me stay”. No Way!
Our firstborn; married well, I mean into money, she is very prim and proper and an MBA holder. She got this dashing young man, who decided a courtship of 4 years was appropriate. He is a medical doctor and his parents are as well. The wedding was large, and beautiful, with the honeymoon in Mauritius. After 3 months of marriage, she found out she was pregnant, and that’s when the trouble started. Her dear husband said she will be a stay-at-home mum, once the baby came. She brushed it off thinking it was a joke. When she had the baby, she hired a nanny. Her husband didn’t say anything. She started back at work, he told her to put in her resignation. She refused and it became a huge issue. Coincidentally, both parents, his and hers, agreed that my sister needs to work with all her education, and besides the nanny was a relation of her husband, so the baby was in safe hands.
My sister came home one day to her surprise, no baby, no nanny. When she asked the house help. She said, “Oga came and took them both”. She runs around calling her husband but didn’t get through to him on the phone. Eventually, when he came home, he was without their child and nanny. She asked him where they were, and he asked her to sit and said. “I grew up without my mother, she and my dad were too busy to look after my brother and me. We were molested by the housemaids, driver and relations staying with us and I have vowed it won’t happen to my children. Since you my dear wife decided to go back to work and leave our son with the nanny, I have taken matters into my own hands. I fired the nanny and took our son to the motherless babies’ home, at least there the nuns will take proper care of him. She passed out and needless to say the next day, she handed in her resignation.
Got me thinking, about all that education, all the money spent on going to the UK for her masters, all that time spent reading all night and day, only to sit at home and look after a baby. No way!
My 2nd eldest sister-well she was the free spirit who always said no man could tie her down. She moved out of the house at age 18, claiming it was the legal age of freedom. My father went ballistic, he wondered what kind of child this was and where my mum brought her from. Poor mum, she always ended up taking the brunt of our father’s fury for everything we did. Only the wrong though, for the right things he conveniently claimed the victory. She was the only one who went over the 25 years threshold for marriage and when she finally did, she picked a bum. All he had was fine looks, but as lazy as a sloth. He lived off my sister and calls himself a writer (he has been writing one book since they got married), she pays the rent, and bills. Even down to buying his clothes. All he says is “Inspiration is on its way”.
I thought about it and I must give him some credit though, he loves my sister to bits. Literarily, can’t go anywhere without her. But is that what I want for my life? Never!
My 3rd oldest sister; She is, lady the Bible or nothing else, everything was and is about the church. She gave her life to God at the tender age of 10, joined the choir and since then wouldn’t leave the house without a scarf. She also has a master’s in public relations. My father got her a job in the civil service because he said he couldn’t handle her holier-than-thou attitude if she worked for him. Before graduating from university and going for her master’s, she already had this pastor that told her God said she was his wife. But politely told her to go pray about it and get convinced. She said she prayed and got confirmation, and immediately after her master’s program, she got married and started pumping out children. The worst thing is that he hits her, and warns her not to tell anyone. So she conveniently hides it. When we spot the bruises, she lies and says she fell or her child threw something at her. He must have threatened to kill her, if she tells anyone. Now, she has 3 and she’s expecting the 4th. They have only one car which works today and not tomorrow. She still comes home and mum gives her food and cash sometimes to add to whatever merger salary her husband gets. The civil service doesn’t pay regularly, so she’s still owed some months’ salary. My 2 other sisters chip in every month to pay for her children’s fees and clothing, so she’s getting along, but when asked, she says God has a plan, it can only get better and IT IS WELL.
Looking at my sister’s life, yes, she claims to be happy and her husband was God’s choice according to both of them. But honestly, how can God Almighty choose a wife-beater as your soul mate? I cannot get my head around that. My father says until she confirms he actually does beat her, there is nothing he can do. Besides that, maybe she enjoys the suffering and smiling and believes it’s her portion, for someone who grew up comfortably.
Our father was shrewd, but it paid off big time. We lived in a 7-bedroom house, where we all had our rooms. On graduation, Dad will ask what you want and he gives it, from cash to a car, to travel. Then he fixes you up in a job and he backs out. My 3rd sister requested a trip to Jerusalem and that’s what she got a two-week trip fully paid for. At least now she has JP behind her name. I could never go through what she’s going through, being beaten, living in a 2 bedroom flat and struggling with 3 children and a 4th on the way without money, no matter what. Never!
My 4th Sister; we don’t know what she was thinking, but she married a rich philanderer. He was everywhere, anything in skirts. My sister claims he wasn’t like that before they got married, but we don’t believe her. Or should I say I don’t believe her? What I think and I have said over and over, is that he met this naïve little girl a virgin and decided he loved the idea of marrying one. So he kept her to himself throughout the university, as he was doing his youth service when he met my sister a freshman. He would buy her things, give her money, and take her out but never requested sex, after the first time when she told him she was a virgin.
As soon as she graduated, they tied the knot. He flew her to Kuala Lumpur for 10 nights of honeymoon and they had sex every single day. He spent the first 2 days explaining and gradually teaching her how to satisfy a man and be satisfied, oral sex etc. And on the 3rd day, they put it all to the test. My sister came back and said if she knew sex was this sweet, she would have been doing it since birth. Now they have sex almost every day except when he is out of town or when she’s on her period. He made her get family planning and said they were not ready to have children yet, just both of them having sex all around the world. She can’t even say what he does for work. He has business in almost 10 countries and once a month she gets to fly out with him and it’s sex and sex all the way. Her eardrums are full of stories of her husband’s philandering, even seeing him with her own eyes. Texts, overhearing conversations, but she just shuts her ears and eyes to it. She loves him and she believes he loves her too, everything else is just noise. My sister is a full-time housewife and she’s loving it.
I thought about her life and I could never do that, marry a man and all he’s good for is sex. Where is the place for children, emotions, and companionship, I am not a sex machine- Never!
Now my 5th Sister; The one who found herself back in her parent’s house. One would ask, why would my parents take her back, knowing how strict they are? Well, I will tell you. My sister, God bless her, we were like twins, she was born in December and I was in December of the next year. So we get along pretty well as you expect. She met her “Mr right” at the 4th sister’s wedding. They were both on the bride and groom train. He was handsome, rich and very charming. He won my sister’s heart at first sight. She claimed it was love at first sight. They got married exactly a year after, at the same venue. I must admit initially I was a bit jealous because they seemed like the perfect match. He would hold her hand everywhere, and send her perfumes, flowers, chocolates, etc. At work, she will then stop by my office to show off to me. I would kiss my teeth, roll my eyes and say “ Don’t worry mine is on the way”.
Barely six months into this seemingly perfect relationship, she came back home from work early because she was feeling sick, walks into the house and finds her darling seemingly perfect husband on top of his supposed male best friend. Needless to say, she found out her husband was gay, and so she was right back where she started.
Now my darling sister thought she had the perfect man, but we later found out his parents knew but didn’t want to disgrace the family name so forced him to get married to cover up. He could call his gay partner his best friend and no one would be the wiser. But, like my dad would say “Every day is for the thief and one day is for the owner.” I thought about her marriage and asked myself, is that the kind of man I want? – Never!
Oh my gosh, I’ve been drowning in my thoughts for about 30 minutes. Before I realised I was still sitting on the toilet, with my head in my hands. I could hear my sisters banging on the toilet door and my mum shouting “Are you, okay baby?”. “We promise not to talk about it again, come out please”. Honestly, if I had my way, I would stay in there as long as it takes them to leave, but my mum, she’s so sweet, I didn’t want to hurt her. And besides, since she promised no more marriage discussions. I decided, for now, let me go out and face my future.
She Heals Take:
As much as she has a point;
Choosing a life partner is one of the most important decisions you will ever make in your life. It’s a decision that will impact your happiness, fulfilment, and well-being for years to come. Therefore, it’s important to take the time to make an informed and thoughtful choice.
Here are some tips on how to choose a life partner without comparing your decision to what happens in other marriages:
- Know yourself: Before you can choose a life partner, you need to know yourself. Take the time to reflect on your values, goals, and what you want out of life. This will help you identify the qualities you are looking for in a partner and will make it easier to recognize a good match when you find one.
- Focus on compatibility: It’s important to find someone who is compatible with you in terms of values, interests, and goals. You don’t need to have everything in common, but you should share some fundamental beliefs and have a similar vision for your future together.
- Don’t compare your relationship to others: Every marriage is unique, and it’s not fair to compare your relationship to someone else’s. Instead, focus on building a relationship that works for you and your partner, and don’t worry about what other people are doing.
- Look for a partner who is supportive: A good partner should be supportive of your goals, dreams, and aspirations. They should encourage you to be the best version of yourself and should be willing to stand by you through the good times and the bad.
- Take your time: Don’t rush into a decision to choose a life partner. Take the time to get to know someone before making a commitment. Spend time together, talk about your values and goals, and make sure you are both on the same page before making a decision.
- Trust your instincts: Finally, trust your instincts when it comes to choosing a life partner. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Listen to your gut and don’t ignore red flags or warning signs.
Remember, choosing a life partner is a big decision, but it’s one that can lead to a lifetime of happiness and fulfilment. By focusing on compatibility, finding someone who is supportive, and trusting your instincts, you can make a decision that is right for you and your future together.
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