A lady sent a message today praising me to high heavens, she told me how lucky my wife is to have a man like me, a man who believes in female empowerment, supports gender equality and is not afraid to lend his voice to feminism. I have been called many things, from patient, loving supportive and caring, I may not be there yet, but by Gods grace I will be someday. This woman’s message made me realize that I may have erroneously projected myself as a perfect husband from inception, a man who has never done any wrong or hurt his wife, I am therefore compelled to set the records straight. I am nowhere near perfect, I am work in progress, I am the product of my wife’s perseverance, what we have today hasn’t come easy, like gold we have gone through and still going through the required heat to shine. I am learning from the mistakes I made in the past, I am determined to be happy and to make my wife happy, even if it means giving up somethings. Whatever I write, I or someone close to me may have experienced, I put these facts forward, not to judge anyone or to glorify myself, I live in the hope that these experiences may be a valuable lesson to someone who may be facing the same challenges.
My wife and I was not a perfect match, we were two individuals brought together by marriage, she had her dreams and I had mine. Sometimes the dreams clashed, some times also we wanted different things this inevitably led to disagreements some of them very intense, more than once I believed the end had come for us, I wondered if we will ever make it, those were indeed very turbulent times. Having come from very strong Christian families, the foundations our parents laid in us was solid, my wife inherited her mothers patience, tolerance and an unwavering loyalty and from my father I got a strong unflinching love for my family, a high sense of responsibility and total reverence to God in everything. So even in my days of youthful exuberance, I paused to remember that I was still answerable not only to my wife, but to the sacred institution of marriage which we both swore to uphold in the presence of God and witnessed by our families and friends.
It will be extremely unfair for me to take the credit for the man I have become today, my wife played the most important role to get me to this point. What she did and is still doing deserves a whole article on its own, but being a very modest woman, I will try to summarize her role in one paragraph. Having come from a family like mine, my wife had no problems tolerating my excesses, her mum did it, her aunts probably did it, so she took all the things I threw at her in her stride. Apart from domestic violence, I exhibited almost all the bad habits out there. The more I threw them at her, the more resilient she became. She had profound respect and love for me, she refused to give up on me, we fought, we argued but she never called me names or disrespected me and neither did I, even during these exchanges, we knew our limits. My wife never let who she is, her professional and academic accomplishments come into our marriage. In spite of her beauty and elegance, she has remained humble. Being a very progressive young man who wasn’t doing badly, I never made it about money or boasted about where I have been or the things I have managed to accomplish. The arguments were mostly done in reverence for my position as her husband and my response was also given in recognition of the fact that I was mostly the offender. My wife was the type of woman who will complain about something I did, no matter how serious, she will quarrel with me and next minute ask me what I wanted to eat, when I accepted the offer of food, my punishment was that she won’t sit with me during the meal, she will serve the food and leave. Insignificant as this punishment was, it always got to me.
I know I did things that was enough to drive any woman to madness, her calm disposition was a serious source of concern to me, I feared she may wake up in the middle night and strangle me. I remember wishing that she will scream at me and probably throw and break things but in the face of provocation she remained unusually calm, I felt really humiliated sometimes when that happened, it felt like she was ignoring me like she will do to naughty child, and indeed she was. She held our marriage together when all I did was try to tear it apart, we probably won’t be married today if she gave me back a tenth of what I gave her. Don’t get me wrong, she is not perfect, she has her own many faults but compared to mine, hers were insignificant. She was the sanity I needed in my insanity, she had more faith in me than I had in myself, she knew that deep down there was a sane man somewhere waiting to be liberated, the man she saw, fell in love with and married. Her tenacity, fortitude and spiritual guidance helped me discover that man. I am the product of this woman’s love and patience.
Marriage is a sacred thing. It takes two to be married, but it takes just one person to make it work, you may take turns being that one person, it can either be the man or the woman, but one definitely has to be ready to sacrifice anything and everything for it to work. Marriage only breaks down when a couple decides to give up at the same time, when none of them is willing to do all it takes to stay together. Bear in mind that when you strive so hard to win that argument, when you stubbornly insist on your right or try to subdue and lord it over your spouse, there is no price to be won, no gold medal to be hung around your neck and no trophies to receive, all you get is a damaged relationship deceptively cloaked in worthless pride with the semblance of an over rated victory; at the expense of what may have turned out to be a beautiful marriage. Sometimes you have to sacrifice your pride, you must set aside that ego and resist the temptation of fighting for that fleeting euphoria from a momentary sense of satisfaction.
I believe the marriages that work are those where the couple work together irrespective of their differences and imperfections, respecting each other’s unique personality, tolerating each other’s excesses and avoiding pride and ego. If my wife hadn’t been patient, if she hadn’t believed in the God she so desperately sought at the time, where would we have been today? Probably a couple who used to be married, locked in a constant battle for the children’s attention and love, how tragic it would have been for the kids and I to miss out on what exists between us today, a strong and united family, made possible only by my timely revival encouraged because of my wife’s understanding, tolerance, undiluted love and most importantly Gods special grace. So if you think you should, if you feel it in your heart, then go ahead and make that sacrifice today, sacrifice that pride and ego, it doesn’t make you less of a man or woman, it just confirms that you are the more matured one. willing to sacrifice for common good of your family. God reserves a special place for those who sacrifice – Sir Stanley Ekezie