At my wife’s village, I met with her elder brother and two of her aunties. I presented my grievances before them, “After fourteen years of marriage, my wife is accusing me of wanting to kill her. I want to understand why I would want to kill a woman I took care of through secondary school to College Of Education. Why would I invest in her and marry her, only to kill her? She must tell me who told her I am trying to kill her so that we can address it.”
The look on her family’s faces told me that they already heard all about our marital problems. I don’t blame their disinterest in the matter. I believe my wife and her mother had already won them to their side with a watered-down version of the truth. “The second issue I want us to address is,” I added before they could dismiss me, “My wife claims our three children are hers. She tells me not to take her children out, as though they are not mine. A man cannot fight a woman over who the father of her children is. So I want her to tell me if our children are mine or if she is hiding something about their paternity.”
They looked outraged when I finished talking. They murmured and complained about my wife’s attitude, and then told me, “We have heard everything you have to say. We will call a family meeting. Your wife will be present at the meeting too, so we can get to the bottom of the issue.”
I left the village hoping six months ago but no meeting has been called for. It pains me that after everything we have suffered together as a couple, our marriage has been reduced to insults and accusations. I can’t even wrap my mind around how everything started.
It started with my wife’s obsession to give me a male child. All our children are girls, and I love them very much. I am perfectly fine with us not having any more children. My wife on the other hand insists on having a male child. For some reason, she believes her place in our marriage is not secure until she brings forth a son. I never did or said anything to give her reason to worry about such things but her insecurities are sometimes stronger than the love we share, shared I guess.
So she went off her five-year birth control and started working hard at getting pregnant. Soon enough her efforts were rewarded with pregnancy. However, by some unfortunate circumstances, we lost the baby. We all grieved but my wife grieved more than I did. I understand that sometimes women feel loss in a way men don’t. I comforted her when she was inconsolable. And when she felt ready, we started trying for another baby.
The second pregnancy also happened in no time. Her period seized flowing, and when we went to the hospital, it was confirmed that we were pregnant. However, my wife told me she did not feel pregnant. About a week passed and she still didn’t feel pregnant. So I took her to my company’s hospital. We were asked to take a scan, after which the doctor told us the foetus is dead. Another failed pregnancy, another crashed hopes of having a boy. I wondered how I would manage to console my wife this time.
Before we left the hospital the doctor told us, “You have to come back in a week’s time for us to get the foetus out.” “A week? Is it safe to leave it in for so long?” I asked. The doctor assured us that it is safe. On our way home my wife mentioned that she did not trust the doctor’s assessment that the foetus is unalive. I suggested she goes to another hospital to get a second opinion. In response, she said, “There’s this hospital I have heard about. I want to go there.” I thought the matter was settled until she announced, “This Friday, I will be going to a prayer camp a friend told me about.” The moment she mentioned prayer camp, I felt an ache in my stomach. But I did not object to her decision.
While my wife is a woman of faith who prays about everything, I am a realist. I approach practical problems with practical solutions. She is the sort of person who wouldn’t go to the hospital when she is sick. She prefers to stay home and pray until her sickness worsens and I have no choice but to drag her to the hospital. Sometimes she even does it with the children. When I complain she tells me, “As for you, every little thing you tell me to go to the hospital. Don’t you have a little faith that God heals?” The truth is, I don’t even have a pinch of faith. I believe that God gives us common sense to solve our problems so we wouldn’t wait around for a miracle.
With my wife’s strong faith, she did not go to the hospital for the dead foetus to be taken out. She chose to jump from prayer camp to prayer camp. I complained bitterly but she refused to listen. She did not have any fear that her life was in danger. I was worried for her but it seemed my concern was a nuisance to her.
One night we were lying in bed when she started tossing and turning. From the way she clutched her abdomen, I knew she was in pain. I tried to take her to the hospital but she said, “No, just lay your hand on my tummy and pray for me.” I did as she asked, and a few minutes later she went back to sleep. The next night, the same thing happened, and she asked me to pray for her. On the third night, I refused to pray for her. “I will not take part in this madness. Go to the hospital and have this thing removed.” She was not happy with me but I stood my ground.
The next day I called her mother against my own wishes. I asked her mother, “Has your daughter told you the child in her womb is dead? She has refused to go to the hospital to have it removed. You are her mother and she listens to only you. Let her do the right thing if not, don’t hold me responsible when things go south.” Her mother responded, “Nothing will happen to her in Jesus’ name.” I shouted, “Amen!” to make it clear that I do not wish anything bad would happen to my wife. I have been married to my wife long enough to know that her mother is the reason she chose to attend prayer meetings instead of going to the hospital. So I made that phone call to declare my stance against their team efforts.
Because of the distance between my house and work, sometimes I stay close to work throughout the week and only come home on weekends. So I was at work one day when she called me, “I felt as if I was in labour so I came to the hospital. I am yet to see the doctor.” “Sorry, my dear. Let me know what the doctor says when you are done,” I replied.
In the afternoon, she called again, “I have delivered the foetus.” I considered it good news that she no longer carried a dead foetus in her womb. I returned home on Friday after work to find my wife doing well, and the sight washed me with relief. However, my wife couldn’t sleep well that night. The next morning she was literally crawling all over the room. I saw that she was in pain, but for obvious reasons, I did not ask her to go to the hospital. Early the next morning, she took her bath and told me she was going to the hospital.
She called me when she reached the hospital and told me she was going to be admitted. I just responded, “Okay”. We were both quiet over the phone momentarily before she said, “Bye” and hung up. Moments later, she called back and I asked if she told her mom that she was admitted. She retorted that she does not stay with her mom. I became furious, “What shows that you live under my authority? Your mother is the only person you listen to so call her and leave me in peace.” We argued for a while but I was unmoved. I wanted to prove to her that I had enough of her lackadaisical attitude.
On Monday morning, I called my boss and requested emergency leave, so I would stay home and take care of our children. I focused on making breakfast for the kids, taking them to school, cleaning up, picking them up from school, and making dinner. I actually enjoyed it. I did not pay any attention to my wife in the hospital. I believed she brought her predicament upon herself. She was discharged after three days but I kept looking after the kids when she returned home.
While she was supposed to be resting, she was on the phone telling someone “They wanted to kill me, but my God has shamed them.” She made this kind of phone call day and night for several days. All this while, the tension between us kept increasing. Then one day she confronted me, “You wanted me dead but your plans failed, so now you are not happy.” We argued. I always cook when I am home for the weekend so I told her, “If you believe I want you dead then don’t eat anything I cook again.” She then told me, “Don’t take my children out again. I don’t want your girlfriends poisoning them for me.” I asked her if they are not my children too, and she kept quiet.
I called one of my elder sisters and asked her to reason with my wife, but this woman told my sister with conviction that I want to kill her. Out of anger, I left the house and returned in the night to sleep. The stalemate between us continued to deepen like spiralling cracks in a wall that would soon collapse. She was not prepared to pull the brakes, but I was. That is why I went to her village to speak to her family so we would iron out our differences.
I went to her family instead of mine because I believe they are the best people to reason with her. I also didn’t go to our pastor because he is tired of hearing about our marital problems. I used to report her to him when she wouldn’t cook, and organise our room. The last time we went there the pastor told us, “This is the last time I am hearing about your problems.” So I have resolved not to take this matter to him.
We are unable to solve it on our own so we are just in the marriage without any emotional connection. I provide for her and the children and only come home to see the children occasionally. My wife said she has the wedding ring and our marriage certificate so I should do what I want. It seems she is happier married to her wedding ring and the marriage certificate. I don’t want my family to fall apart because of one bad decision that has led to a chain of unfortunate events. What else can I do to bring peace to my home?