Beware of that one friend who becomes closer to you in times of domestic crisis. Some friends have been known to directly or indirectly fuel crisis in homes in the name of being supportive. A friend who joins you to condemn your spouse without hearing their own side of story is biased and cannot offer any logical advise. Some of them are very deceptive about their own circumstances, they will paint a scenario of perfection in their own homes to taunt you and make your spouse look bad, encouraging you to take actions they are too afraid to take despite the fact that they maybe going through the same situation as you or even worse. These are friends who will encourage you to keep fighting, supporting all the negative decisions you make, shutting you out from friends who will be fair, friends who will offer good advise.

Amaka approached an older friend of hers, ijeoma, whom she assumed was having a great marriage and therefore more experienced. She told Ijeoma how her husband had cheated on her and that he had gone to great lengths to show how sorry he is, she explained that she feels betrayed and doesn’t want to forgive him. Ijeoma immediately swings into action, screaming that she can never tolerate that from her own husband, she told her how she will immediately park out and leave the cheating husband because once trust is broken it can never be regained. The poor Amaka encouraged by Ijeoma’s stand moved out of her matrimonial home despite advise from her family and other friends. She found comfort in ijeoma and her radical no nonsense views, an unapologetic feminist, bold and fearless. She drew strength and inspiration from Ijeoma’s strength and resolved never to be humiliated again by any man.

Few months after she moved out, Ijeoma invited her for her husbands 50th birthday celebration, on arrival at the venue, she was ushered into the close family and friends section of the canopy. A young beautiful girl immediately caught her attention, she was very light skinned, almost transparent and she had a baby not more than 4 months old. This young girl had this air of arrogance and defiance like she wanted to prove a point to someone. Amaka also observed there was a strange tension in the air as Ijeoma doted on her husband, smiling at him with so much admiration in her eyes. She remembered her own husband who dared to cheat on her, anyway he can go to hell, she thought, after all she has moved on. As the party progressed she became more curious about this girl and her body language, she figured something was not adding up so she asked ijeoma’s brother Inlaw who the lady is, the answer she got shattered her world.

The lady was Ijeoma’s husband’s mistress who just had a baby for him few months before her ordeal with her husband. That means the lady had given birth when she was being advised to leave her house and Ijeoma knew. So why is she still with him, why is she all over him, why is she still at his beck and call, all these thoughts drowned the sound of the party, happiness and laughter around her as she calmly walked out to get a taxi home. On her way she kept wondering why Ijeoma had deceived her so much, what did she do to her, what did she plan to gain from her misfortune. Her husband only cheated and was truly sorry, but hers also did and has a baby to show for it, if she was still in her husband’s house why did she advise and encourage her to leave hers. The answer is simple, Ijeoma just wanted a partner in misery, she was satisfied with the “I am not the only one” feeling.

Unfortunately, this true life scenario plays out almost too frequently and people still fall for it. Men and women bragging openly about what they can and cannot tolerate just to appear strong and in control while in reality they are the opposite of what they claim to be. The foolish ones will listen to the bragging, then go home and break their marriage. My advise is that you beware of that friend who spurs you on for a fight, that person who is giving you a thousand reason why you shouldn’t work things out with your spouse, the one who supports you even when you are glaringly at fault, bear in mind that the illusion of a perfect marriage she/he parades might just be a mirage, the strength they claim to have may turn out to be a debilitating weakness cloaked in a false outward semblance of strength, they might be in a worse situation at home but patiently working on the relationship, advising you to destroy yours while they are still in theirs.

This type of friend will never discuss their spouses shortcomings, he is probably guilty of the same things you are complaining about and even worse, but from her you will only hear good things about him, how loving and romantic he is and how he spoils her. These are the Pharisees and Sadducees, the “do as I say and not as I do” friends. Focus on friends who preach reconciliation, the ones who condemn you without fear or favour, the ones who remind you of all the positive things about your spouse and your marriage, the ones who give you reasons why reconciliation is important, the ones who are willing to tell you the truth you don’t want to hear even at the risk of loosing your friendship, the ones who will stand on the truth even if they have to sacrifice that friendship for happiness in your marriage, those are the real friends.

Having a friend who tells you the truth is a privilege and must be appreciated. Choose your friends wisely, look closely before you trust a friends opinion about your spouse, they are not you, they are not the ones in the marriage and may not have all the facts to objectively advise you. All circumstances are different and so are husbands and wives. Do not compare your spouse to someone else’s, we all have our strengths, what you envy about them may be masking what you have that they lack . Though it may seem so, the grass is not always greener on the other side. Finally as the saying goes, “if you don’t know the story, don’t envy the glory” – Sir Stanley Ekezie