It is really painful that I will be the one that will be telling this story because many years ago as a young girl, when couples quarrelled, I used to think they were not being mature. I remember in the face-me- I-face-you apartment where I grew up in at Mushin , there used to be a couple who quarrelled incessantly. They had become nuisances in the neighbourhood such that whenever they had their fight people used to keep a distance because the wife would stop at nothing to make her point while the husband answered her with punches at times which were reminiscent of a boxer.
Seeing those scenes made me make up my mind that I would never have a bad marriage, coupled with the fact that my mother was a single parent because my father had absconded. I was determined to make my marriage work and I worked hard and prayed about it. I was a young convert although a matured lady in her early thirties, I took my time to pray for a marriage partner and I trusted God for the best. Did God give me the best and did not see, or did I choose wrongly? I really cannot answer that question. But I know that God in His wisdom is causing me to learn some lessons.
It is quite painful as I look back over the whole episode. But I think it is important that the lessons learnt in my 12 years sojourn with a man, who appeared to the public as a minister of God, a Bible school graduate and “committed” church worker will go a long way to help intending couples to make up their mind on marriage and allow God to lead them aright.
I believe there are instances God wants to lead us but we don’t follow his leading. Rather, we follow our mind or sentiments. And that is exactly what happened to me. I was a young convert and quite new in the Christian faith. Can I say it was God who gave me my husband? I believe I went out of His will and did it in my naivety.
I was mature for marriage and around that time many of my friends had married. As a matter of fact I became the most treasured chief bride maid among many friends. About five of us were friends. We went to the same university and had things in common. Only one of us was not a Christian. The rest of us were tongue talking Christians and we had good times as friends. The one who was not a Christian had some religious orientation too. It’s just that she did not completely surrender her life.
She had the tradition of moving from one boyfriend to the other. Incidentally she got married before anyone of us. As a matter of fact she married an Alhaji who we suspected strongly of being fetish, although he was financially buoyant, we were really disturbed and worried for her. We had to organize special prayers for her and we took time to counsel her that she shouldn’t have made that mistake. We knew she was not a Christian in the real sense of being born again. But we felt that going to the home of a fetish man was something that would be too big for her to handle. They married all the same and we had to keep our distance.
The rest of my friends also married one after the other and I was the only one left. I was the one that served as chief bride maid in their weddings. It became embarrassing to my mother that she did not allow me play that role again for anybody, she began mounting pressure on me, “Can’t you marry too?” I gradually became a pity symbol and it looked as if the whole world would collapse on me. Thoughts of frustration and backsliding began creeping into my heart and I rebuked them. I had to pray that God would help me. But then I wanted a man desperately. I was already in my early 30s.
A couple of brothers actually came my way, but I did not spare a thought for them. Some of those who came were brothers I thought were lay “abouts” I believe you understand what I’m trying to pass across. These brothers are such that they try to create some artificial impression in church. I never liked men who behave like that so I said to myself that I would have nothing to do with such brothers in the fellowship, I said I would have to look for somebody probably from other churches that would suit my tastes.
I wanted to have a relationship that will be unique and I really got one. I got a man who wanted me but who only wanted me so he could mortgage my life. He was an agent from the pit of hell. I’m really sorry to use that word. I’m out of the marriage now, but it was like living in hell for twelve years. It was hell. I thought it would work. But it did not just work.
It’s one long story. I’m sure people would want to know how I married him and how he came to my life. My estranged husband was a first timer in church. He came to one of our weekly services. I had started work in a multinational company and was an usher in church. That particular week that he attended church I was not around. But I was given the assignment to ‘follow up,’ by putting a call to him by the pastor since he said he worked on the island.
My pastor was perhaps responsible for this. In his bid to help, he also forgot I was young in the faith. So, when this brother came to church he gave an instruction that I should follow him up. He did it in the innocence of his heart. But I’m sure he just wanted me to be engaged to someone. I loved my pastor but when I look back after 12 years of a strange union, I will say my pastor is responsible for my trouble. It is not as if I’m blaming him because he meant well. It is just that the whole thing has now collapsed.
I did the follow up. I put a call to him one day in the office. The moment he realized it was a female voice, I could sense the excitement in his voice. Then there was no GSM I used the office phone. He was into business and usually in a friend’s office on the Island whose office line he left as his contact. We spoke on phone for about a minute or two. I encouraged him to come to church the following Sunday and he promised he would come. I gave him my office address which incidentally is not far from his own office. So we became friends. He started attending church and showed some zeal.
As a matter of fact I did not contemplate marriage with him. He too just believed we could be friends. He was coming to church regularly especially on Sundays and I did a good work following him up. Eventually he joined the workforce of the church. That was where my pastor came in. Just as I was about leaving the church one Sunday, pastor called me and asked about my marriage and what was on ground. I told him I had not seen anybody and that those that were coming were not my kind of people.
He sat me down and began to counsel that I had to make up my mind and begin a relationship, that a woman’s time of waiting is short. He said some words that created fear in me and got me worried. But shortly before he rounded off the discussion he brought up the issue of the brother who had just joined the workers of the church and he said he had found out that he was not married and went on to suggest that I marry him.
I told him he had not proposed but then I did not feel anything for him apart from God’s love for a brother. I didn’t take the pastor’s counsel seriously but what shocked me was that pastor, as I later found out had been having discussions with this brother and he had actually suggested to pastor that he would like to marry me. Unfortunately, pastor did not see through this brother’s facade. I was also naïve.
We continued talking until one night after a revival service, the brother, my ex-husband, came to me and asked for a relationship that will lead to marriage. He said he was convinced that I was the one that will bring sunshine to his life. He said he was willing to do anything for me. I was swept off my feet. He began to regal me with tales of how he had had some disappointments in the past from women but that he believed our relationship will be real and genuine.
Maybe my pending situation at that time blinded me from some tell tale signs I ought to have taken note of or maybe I lay down all my senses because I was in church. One thing led to another.