I remember getting excited about my wedding and wondering how I would look in my wedding dress. Two weeks before the wedding, I stood in the mirror and asked myself, “You’re really going to do this?” I answered myself, “It’s now or never.”
The man I got married to was my friend for three months before we started dating. He supported me when I needed someone—when I was doing my masters. I needed financial help. When I told him, I thought the amount would scare him. He said, “Pass by tomorrow morning and get it.” The next morning, I was there. He signed a cheque and placed it in my palm. He said, “Pay your fees. I added GHC2000 extra. Buy something for yourself.”
He was at my graduation. He had a mini party for me after my graduation. My parents were at the party. I introduced him to them and that was when he jovially said, “I would come home soon with a drink.” My dad said, “It better be an expensive drink because this girl has her masters now.” We all laughed. He became friends with my father. Months later he proposed and I said yes
I said yes but I wasn’t sure if I loved him. I like him. He was a kind man and very considerate but was he someone I felt connected to? When I told My friend about it, she asked, “What about him don’t you like?” I said, “His age. He’s ten years older than I am and I feel we are world’s apart ideologically.” My friend told me, “The way you are, you need a strong man like him to complement you. Forget about his age. You’ll be forever young in his eyes and that would be the reason why he would love you to the end.” What my friend said made sense. I thought to myself, “Love takes time to develop. The most important thing is that he’s a good man.”
So I went into the marriage, thinking love would grow out of his goodness.
I moved in with him after the wedding and just one week later, I felt I’d married the wrong person and I’d married for the wrong reasons. Yes, his age was still an issue and the issue became larger when I realized he didn’t think the way I wanted my husband to think. My alarm goes off at 5am. I changed it to 4:30am and then I had to change it to 4am. All because the man I married doesn’t see the need to help in anything. I would wake up, cook breakfast, iron his clothes, serve his food for him to eat before he goes to work. For me to complete all these chores, I had to wake up early while he slept. When he needed to bath warm water, he would call me to boil the water for him. His hand touches nothing.
In his mind, a man has to provide while a woman does the chores. I go to work just like he goes to work. I close at 5pm just like he does. His work ends immediately he gets home while my work continues till I would break down and fall. I didn’t dream of a man who does it all. All I ever wanted was a man who would pass by the kitchen and have a conversation with me even if he doesn’t help with the cooking. A man who’ll love me desperately enough not to let me waste away in the kitchen while he sat on the sofa and fart. I didn’t think that was too much to dream of.
My friends are no longer my friends. I didn’t give them any memo that indicated that they could do without me because I was married. But somehow, they never called to tell me anything. I see photos of them on Instagram, having fun and visiting interesting places. One day, I asked them to invite me. I told my husband I would be going out with friends and he agreed. I left home at 4pm. Just some minutes after 6pm he called me, “Won’t you come home and prepare evening meals?” I said, “There are meals in the fridge. I even left some in the microwave so it would stay fresh.” He said, “A married woman shouldn’t be staying out this long. Get home before 7pm.
I was home at 8:30pm and this man wouldn’t have any of it. What names didn’t he call my friends? Then he sounded the final warning; “You’re married so behave like one. You can’t be going around with those small girls.” That was the last time I went out with my friends. But every Friday night, he would come home after 10pm. Ask him where he went and he would tell you, “I was with the guys, killing some stress.” He has guys but I can’t have girls. He can stay out there as long as he wants but I can’t go out with my friends
When I was single, I slept as long as I wanted on Saturdays but here, at exactly 5am, he’ll tap me and say, “It’s morning.” As if I don’t know what morning is. What he really means is that “It’s daybreak, wake up and start your labor while the master sleeps. I will launder heaps of clothes while he still stays in bed. Immediately he gets out of bed, the first question he would ask is, “Is breakfast ready?”
So, I looked at him and asked myself, “Is that all marriage means to him? A woman to serve him while he walks around like a demi-god?” So, I told him, “Can you help around here sometimes? Lift a cup for me, heat your own meals sometimes, boil your own warm water to bath sometimes. Those little things take some of the burdens away.” He said, “That’s why I married you. A man can’t do a woman’s job.”
So, a lot of things keep me awake at night these days. While he snores, I lay awake and think about my regrets and how I wish I could have the strength to call everything off. It’s been only five months and I’m tired already so how long and how far can I travel with an already tired heart? The love I thought could grow never sprouted. The kind man tag I had for him had been slowly washed away by his inconsiderate attitude towards me. I would be tired but can’t sleep because something or some thought had to keep me awake.
I miss my friends and I miss being me—me that lived life on her own terms and prayed for a man who could understand. This man here isn’t trying at all. He’s not even trying to make me his friend. “Go out with me sometimes. I need some fresh air.” I told him. He said, “We are not going there to display wives as trophies. It’s all men’s affair. No woman.”
A man with this mindset, what can change him?
It’s too soon to change anything and it’s too soon to make a decision but at the right time, water will rise to its natural level. When that time comes, nothing will stop me from making a decision that would liberate me and fill my heart with happiness. It’s just a matter of time.