Our pastor always admonishes us to marry within the church; “The men here would be good husbands because we’ve trained them in the Lord and they understand what it takes to be good husbands. The same with our women. We’ve instilled the fear of God in them so they would be good wife materials. Marry from within. Marry someone who will understand your spiritual growth and would not cut you away from God.” That has always been his words to us but at the end of it he will say, “But if you meet someone outside of the church and you want to marry them, bring them to me let me assess their spiritual growth before you go ahead with them.”
So When Charles came my way, I told him, “If you are serious about us and want us to go far, we will have to meet my pastor. He’ll advise us on the next step to take.” He was reluctant. He said, “But we are only dating. Don’t we have to wait until we are close to getting married before we meet your pastor?” I knew what my pastor has said to us and I wanted to obey him so I insisted. I really liked Charles and something in me said it was going to work so I wanted to quickly fix our feet on solid ground before we take off. One day he agreed to meet my pastor so we went to church together. After church, we went to meet the pastor in the counseling room.
He asked his name and asked the kind of work he was doing. He asked the questions parents usually ask suitors of their ward. He answered him perfectly while I sat there smiling to myself. He asked him, “Are you a believer of Christ?” He answered, ”Yes, I’m a believer.”
“You go to church and give what belongs to God to God and give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar?”
“Yes, I do. Every Sunday.”
“Do you pay your tithe? Or your church doesn’t believe in tithing?”
“My church believes in tithe but I often forget to pay.”
“When was the last time you paid?”
“Oh, it’s been over a year but I do a lot of things to support the church so I think I’m good.”
We were leaving the presence of our pastor when he called me back. He said, “A man who steals from God can also steal from you. If he forgets to give to God then he won’t remember to give to you. You have to be careful with him. I’m not saying cut him off. Study him properly before you commit to him. I don’t trust men who don’t give to God.” I said in my head, “If that’s the only problem you found with him then it’s not a problem at all. I can easily manage with that.” We got home and I gleefully said yes to Charles. He knew I was going to say yes so my yes didn’t bring any new excitement into his demeanor but he was happy to have me and I was happy to have a man like him to be my boyfriend.
A few months later, I started having problems reaching him on phone. Some days I will get him sometimes his phone would be off. I will send him a text on Whatsapp and he would take forever to respond. I went to his house one day and asked why. He said his phone was faulty. The keypad doesn’t work so he finds it hard to pick up calls. He had to switch off the phone and switch it back on before he could use the phone for a few minutes. I asked him, “Send it to repairs?” He answered, “No, I rather buy a new phone.” Weeks passed by, no new phone and the old one hadn’t been repaired. I got frustrated and took the phone from him and sent it to repairs. It’s a Samsung phone. The repairer said we had to buy a new screen. The screen was very expensive. When I told him he said, “That’s why I wanted to buy a new one.” I paid for a new screen and got the phone fixed for him.
When I brought the phone back to him, he looked at the phone as if he wasn’t happy about the repairs. He didn’t say thank you or anything. He put his sim card in and started making calls. Anyway, I didn’t take it in. Maybe he forgot to say thank you so we moved. It didn’t take so long for me to realize how difficult it was for him to part with money. I took him to a restaurant one evening for a date. He was happy. He enjoyed everything that was served. When the bill came, I looked at it and paid the waitress. He was looking at me while I was counting the money. When the waitress left, he asked me, “So how much did you pay for this small thing that we ate?” I didn’t answer. He snatched the receipt from my hand, went through it, and screamed, “Eish, GH¢250 for this small thing we ate? Do you know what GH¢250 can do in our lives? How much will we spend on a simple jolly if we cooked it at home?”
All night he was talking as if he was the one who paid the bill. We dated for almost six months and this guy never spent a dim on me. I’m not saying he should take care of me but the little things. My TV got spoilt. I’m not a TV person so I didn’t bother to have it fixed. He was the one who loved to watch Netflix whenever he came around so he started complaining and pushing me to fix the TV. I told him, “I don’t know where I can carry this to for repairs. Plus, I don’t usually trust those repairers. They can even remove something else from the TV and ask me to pay for it just because I’m a woman.” He answered, “Don’t worry, I have a friend who repairs TVs. He’s very good at his job. I will take it to him myself.”
He came to my house one Saturday for the TV. Later in the day, he called me. He said, “The taxi driver who took me to the repairer charged GH¢25. Can you send it through Momo or I should wait and collect it the next time I come around?” I was quiet on the phone. I said, “Charles, I didn’t ask you to take my TV for repairs. You did it. I’m not going to pay anything to you. If you like, bring my TV back to me.” He got angry. He spoke harshly to me on the phone; “It’s just GH¢25. If you don’t have money just say it. You don’t have to be shouting. What sort of sick attitude is that? Is the TV mine?” Then he dropped the call on me. I sent him a text and told him my mind. I called him stingy and he texted back calling me inconsiderate. We didn’t talk for four days. I called to apologize to him so peace would prevail.
Days later, he brought the TV back in a taxi. He said, “The taxi is charging GH¢25, please pay him. I paid. He brought the TV in and fixed it on the wall. He said, “The repairer’s charge is GH¢275. This is his number. I told him you’ll send through Momo.” I stood still and looked at him. He asked, “What?” I answered, “Nothing. But why didn’t you ask him to reduce the charges? It’s too expensive.” He screamed, “Eiiii women! You want a reduction in everything. This small amount too you want him to reduce it?” I sent the Momo to the repairer. I said to myself, “My pastor is right. This guy won’t be good for the future.” But I loved him so when such thoughts come to my mind, I brushed them off as insecurity. I tell myself that I’m judging him too soon. I rest my mind and continue loving him and hoping that he will prove me wrong.
One Saturday morning he called me. He said, “I miss your meals. Why don’t you come home and cook something for us?” Some weekends I went to his house with food ingredients and cooked for him because he had nothing in his house. I will buy the foodstuffs on my way to his house and prepare two or three different dishes for him. Not a single day did he make an attempt to reimburse the money I used to cook for him. It didn’t bother me. I was doing it for love. Once in a while, what the pastor said to me will flash in my mind. “What he said may be true. This man isn’t worth it.”
That day, I bought all the ingredients on my way to his place and picked Uber because I had a lot in my hand. When I got to his place, I paid the Uber driver but he said he didn’t have change. The trip was GH¢30. I gave the driver GHc50 and he didn’t have change. I called Charles from the inside of his room; “Do you have GH¢30 on you?” He asked, “What do you need GH¢30 for? He came out to see that I was paying for Uber. I explained the situation to him and he gave the GH¢30 to the Uber driver. Just when we were about to enter his room he said, “Give me the GH¢50 so I give you a change.” My hands were full of items. I said, “At least, wait until I drop the items?” He followed me. I dropped the items. He took the GH¢50 note from me and gave me a change just as he said. I left the items in the kitchen and went to sit in the hall.
I was processing what just happened and felt like crying. He asked me, “When are you going to start the cooking?” I didn’t mind him. He repeated the question. I told him, “Charles, do you know what it means to give? I mean willingly doing something for your girlfriend without asking to be repaid. Do you know how to do that?” He asked me, “What are you saying?” I started from the beginning recounting all the issues we’d been through and how he had never given me anything since we started dating. “I do everything willingly because I want this to work. Do you know how much it cost me to buy all these things? I won’t ask you to pay for them but just GH¢30 you have to strangle me to get it. Is that how the future looks like between the two of us?”
He answered, “Oh is it because I took my money back that’s why you’re singing all these songs? You should have told me you wanted to keep it and I would have given it to you. what is GH¢30 that we have to fight about it?” I said, “It’s not about today. It’s about every day. You do it to me at any given opportunity. You don’t even see it because that’s who you are. Are you going to change? Or I should grow used to it?” He snapped. He came close to insulting me and my generations of women. “You all are like that. You always want a man to take care of you. How do I save money to marry you if I spend what I have on you today?”
He was still not getting it. I ordered Uber while he was there busily talking. When the driver called that he was out, I gathered everything I bought for the cooking and carried them back to the car. I told him, “Save all your money and marry who you want to marry. It’s clear to me now that I don’t need someone like you in my future.” He screamed back, “You think I want a woman like you in my future? A woman who wants to sit back to be taken care of? I don’t have time for lazy women.” The driver drove away. I sat quietly in the car for minutes. All of a sudden I shouted “Men!” The driver asked, “Relationship problems?” I don’t know what came over me, I narrated the whole problem to him and he said, “Don’t go back to him even if he comes begging. A man like him will accidentally break a piece of rock and sew it back together because he can’t afford another rock.”
And he came back saying sorry. He said he didn’t know he has to do all that because no woman had been frank with him the way I was frank with him. I told him, “Now you know the right thing. Do it to your next girlfriend and she would love you the way you want to be loved. I’ve moved on.”
He still comes around. He calls just to check up on me but I know what he wants from me. He tries to bring back the good times we had when we were together any time he calls but I don’t fall for it because nothing will take me back to where I got hurt over and over again.