There are two kinds of pain in this world
The pain that hurts...
The pain that alters...
He heard that line for the first time while
watching Denzel Washington's Equalizer 2
The line struck him, in a way it reflected
his reality or rather his marriage
His marriage was a disaster
It was so right from the beginning
There was nothing wrong with the two
of them while they were dating
They had such a wonderful time together
He noticed what eventually became their
biggest problem at the time
But he didn't pay mind to it
There was no way to measure excess
and inordinate in parental attachment
His wife was attached to her mother
When they were dating, she could barely
say a word without "My mummy says"
or "My mummy said"
He understood it at the time
She was living at home with her parents,
she was the first daughter and she was
very close to her mother
He expected things to evolve
When they were dating, he noticed that
her mother was the alpha in the marriage
of her parents
Her father was a very quiet man
He kept to himself and said very little
Her mother was the one with the money,
power and influence
Her father practically wags his tail at her
He remembered the first clash he had with
Her mother called him while they were still
She said she would like to see him
He was doing a lot of things at the time
He didn't jump into the car to go and see her
It was the same way he would have treated his
If his mother told him to come see her
He would say "Ok ma"
Then he would look for a convenient time to
go and see her
He certainly wouldn't abandon everything he
was doing and run to his mother's house
Her mother called on a Monday
He decided he would go and see her the
following Saturday, being a work free day
By Wednesday he received a call from her
He could hear her mother yelling in the
Her father said "Mummy sent for you and
you have not answered her..."
He tried to explain that he planned to come
around by the weekend
Her father wouldn't listen
"That is no way to treat an in-law!
In-laws are sacred and you must regard their
summon as sacred and urgent
How can you disregard your mother in law this
Don't you know it is disrespectful?
So when are you going to come?"
"Saturday sir" he replied
"No, today! You must come around today!"
That was the day he ought to have told
himself the truth
That was the day he ought to have thrown
in the towel
But he loved her
He loved her so much
He went to see her parents
As soon as he got there, her father spoke
urging him to apologise for his insolence
Her mother then came over to "chair" the
She explained to him why her daughter was
so precious and was never to be "beaten"
She said since she got married, her husband
only "slapped" her once
Her husband grew red in the face
She obviously was still unhappy and unforgiving
about the episode
Her father, tried to say a word, perhaps just
to explain what happened that led to the "slap"
Her mother looked at her father and hissed!
Her father kept quiet
He watched the drama in awe
He should have seen it coming...
Her mother continued her speech
"I don't want my daughter to suffer the way
I have suffered in my matrimonial home
I was the one feeding this family since I got
My husband had a job but family responsibility
took all his earnings
He never prioritized his family
I had to do a lot of things to put food on
the table for this family
So when my daughter told me she was getting
married, i decided to meet with you
My daughter has a right to do better than I did
I don't want her reliving my reality
So I will like to know what you are doing
and how much you are earning
I will like to know your plans for growth
I will like to know how you plan to take
care of my daughter!
He tried as much as possible to explain his
current financial situation and plans for
increase and empowerment in future
He spoke for an hour
Her mother grilled him
Her father watched on in silence
Her mother said she would like him to meet
a member of her family
Someone who could further give him counsel
about how to make it in life
He said it is okay
The following weekend, he and his wife to be,
set out to meet the person her mother
The man said practically the same thing
You need money to be a good husband
You need to be able to provide for your family
He got it!
They got married
Within two weeks, his wife started going
home to spend the weekend with her mother
She said the stress of the marriage was too
much and she had to go home to cool off
When she collects her salary, a certain
percentage goes to her parents
He started doing the same, his wife protested
"You give them a percentage of what is left
after we had settled all the bills in the house
and not before"
When he asked her why she was not doing
the same, she said "I am your help meet, not
the main provider here"
Sometimes his wife would go to her parent's
house for "Holiday"
I have spent so much time here, I miss my
mother! I need to go home and spent time
with my mother!
Off she would go
Those early days were the worst
His wife wouldn't even bother to prepare
anything for him and the children
She would just leave, sometimes for as long
as a week
Not even looking back to ask how they
The only time he complained to her mother
He got a rude look and "May God never allow
the breast of my milk to become sour!
Why would you have a problem with my
daughter coming to spend time with me?"
He had to adjust
Sometimes he would be talking to his wife,
her mother would call to gossip with her,
she would pick the call and whatever they
were discussing would be trashed!
Every time he complains, people felt he
was just trying to drive a wedge between
her and her mother
But it was not so
Her father didn't help matters in anyway
Her mother was always right
Her father had learned the right way that he
must agree with her mother or face the music
The marriage was overburdened with outside
Everything they say at home gets a direct
response from her mother
Her mother is into every detail of their life
It was unhealthy
As their marriage clocked five, he decided
he wanted out
Enough was enough
But the church rose up with all sorts of
"It will get better after this first five years,
you guys will settle into each other and
come into a place of understanding and
Just give it a little more push!
Financially, he started to do much better
after their marriage clocked five
One day. his wife saw his savings account
balance and freaked out
"So you have 250,000 Naira in the bank?"
"Where did you get 250,000?"
"I saved it"
"You saved it? What? How?"
"I saved it from my salaries and bonuses"
My mother says "Men are always faithful
until they have more money than they can
spend at a go! Money is what drives men to
cheat! Money is also what encourages ladies
to sleep with married men!
I am not saying you shouldn't have money
but I want to be in control of it
I am a better manager of funds and if
you don't have any sinister intention, it
shouldn't be a problem"
He said "No"
He had saved his money by himself and
his family didn't suffer any lack
Why would he turn over his savings to
She had her savings and he didn't
feel threatened by it
Two weeks after the row over the money
he had in the bank, her parents sent for
She had accused him of cheating
She didn't have any evidence apart from
the fact that he was keeping secrets from
How could he have so much money without
They didn't start out like that!
Her mother wanted to know why he started
He said "Everything that happens in my home
gets reported here! It feels to me as if my
family has been amalgamated or annexed!
I have tried to address this issue for many
years to no avail
It almost always resulted in a disagreement
So I decided that I will not tell her everything
I didn't tell her when i got promoted at work
I didn't tell her when i opened the account
I didn't tell her when I bought the land and
that I have started building
Everything i didn't tell her prospered because
it was not brought to this place for satellite
That was why she was shocked i had money
I remained poor because she kept exposing
all my moves and plans to the whole world
When i kept my mouth shut, she didn't have
anything to report and i started doing well!"
It was an emotional outburst
It was open-ended
It was interpreted in many ways
Her mother was very offended
It felt to her as if he had accused her family
members of sabotaging his success in life
His wife was offended she talked like that
to her people
She said he had no regard or respect for
His wife's father just hung his head in misery
He was disappointed in himself
It felt like taking an axe to the neck of a
They were still a couple when they left
the meeting but everything had changed
Resentment and ill feelings lingered
Her mother was quick to say "They have
labeled me a witch, please keep your
family matter away from me"
His wife felt he had ruined the goodwill
between her family and his
It was his fault!
The families started drifting apart
His wife's family would be having
a social gathering and his wife wouldn't
even bother to tell him
Since he kept his secrets, she started
keeping hers too
That was the pain that altered!
The previous issues they had were
painful in a hurtful way
They could patch things up and move on
but that outburst altered everything
His mother-in-law distanced herself
His wife was caught in between at first
but she eventually chose to flow with
He was always an outsider!
They limped and pushed for another
He refused to compromise by apologising
and telling his wife everything in order
to get along
His wife saw his defiance as a slap on her
She told him they needed to part ways
She wasn't happy in the marriage again
She didn't want a marriage in which her
family members would be treated as
She didn't feel loved and trusted anymore
She wanted out!
He didn't plan to drive her away
He never wanted them to part ways
But it seemed his push to be independent
from her family was a bit of a stretch
She wouldn't go that far with him
He had to concede
So they parted ways!
She told him it was called irreconcilable
He realized she had been doing a lot
of reading on it!
Funny enough, he wasn't as devastated
as he thought he would be
He didn't feel relieved
He just felt altered!
Ps: This story got to me in a strange way
How was a man or woman to know that
the subject of his or her affection would not
be "all in" after the marriage
Would it have been better if the young man
had accepted fate and carried on with the
marriage the way it was even though he was
unhappy and frustrated with the whole
Were they both thinking well?
Who made the better decision?
Were they just two different people who
wouldn't have worked out?
So many questions!
What do you think?