I’m A Woman Under His Rock But My Marriage Is On The Rocks
I looked at my watch. It’s past 2pm on a Sunday afternoon. I looked inside the church. Most of the congregation had left. The choir president shouted from the outside, “Let’s have a short meeting before we go.” I was very hungry. I said to myself, “No I can’t have this meeting. Let me run away before he finds me here.” I picked my bag and started walking briskly out of the church. I heard heavy footsteps after me but I didn’t look back. It could be anybody. It could even be the president running to catch me. I quickened my steps. Just around that time I heard a voice calling; “Can I talk to you fora minute?” I kept going. I wanted to be sure the call was mine before I turn back. The voice said again, “Hello dear, just a minute.”
The voice sounded closer to me this time so I turned back to look at the person without breaking my strides. It was a man—a gentleman in his late thirties. He said, “I won’t take much of your time. Just a moment.” What caught my attention first was his shoes. It was well polished. It looked like a lot of attention went into selecting those shoes. I said in my head, “Nice shoes but I’m hungry. Don’t come and worry me.” I stopped for him. He smiled subtly. He said, “I’ve been waiting for you since the church closed. I enjoyed the service very much because of you. I love the way you led the music and every song you sang hit a special chord within me. Can we be friends?”
A month later we were dating. He made it easier for me to cotton to him. He said he loved music so he made time to attend practice with me. On Sundays, he sat in front of the church, where I will see him. Anytime I grabbed the mic to sing, I would look at his face first before I sing the first note. He will smile and wink. I felt seen. I felt appreciated, knowing someone sat in front of the church because of me and my voice.
When we started talking I asked him, “Where have you been all this while that I have never seen you around?” He said, “I live abroad. I come to church only when I’m back on holidays.” I said, “Oh that means you have a few days left?” He answered, “I have a couple of months actually. It’s a holiday so I don’t stress myself.” Every evening, he’ll drive to my workplace and pick me up. Along the way, we’ll find a place, sit and talk for a while before he takes me home. He did that every day until the day he had to leave the country. A day before leaving, he told his parents, “I’m leaving this girl here, if she doesn’t come around to visit you while I’m gone, don’t allow me to marry her.”
We all laughed but I got what he was trying to say—I should get closer to his parents. I did my best and got closer to them while he was away. His mother called me “Asiw kɔnɔfo” His father called me, “My son’s wife.” It was a statement of acceptance into their family. We spoke every day—I and my boyfriend. We made plans for tomorrow. We talked about yesterday’s disappointments. We made plans for the future. He said, “We are getting married the next time I come back to Ghana.” That statement called for bigger plans so I asked, “And then what? After we get married, what then becomes of us?” He said, “We’ll remain married until God calls us.” I said, “Remained married and apart or married and together?”
He said, “Married and together. If God makes a way for us to marry, he’ll definitely make a way for us to be together. We only have to trust his time and intentions.” I said, “We are not married yet but I’m suffering the way we are now. I didn’t want a relationship that both of us will live apart. Let’s make concrete plans so when we get married, we can stay together. If you want to be in Ghana, I wouldn’t mind. If I have to join you, I wouldn’t mind. All we have to do is to plan.” He said, “You’ll definitely join. We belong here.”
Two years later he was back in Ghana. We got married as planned. We had a beautiful wedding as planned. We had a month-long honeymoon as planned. We came back home and I was pregnant as not planned. When I found out about the pregnancy, he had only two days left for him to go back abroad. I remember how the news made him happy. He jumped around throwing his fist in the air as if he had won a jackpot. He said, “Too bad I’m leaving you at a time when we ought to be together and care for the child. I will speed things up. This baby would bring us luck I know. You’ll join me very soon.”
A couple of months later, I woke up suddenly from my sleep because I was experiencing this sharp pains in my abdomen. It cuts sharply at first and later dies down slowly. I lied on my back and put my two hands on my belly. Every now and then the pain will cut through and later die down. I took it as part of the pregnancy thing so I was relaxed until I felt a little bit wet underneath.I got up and my bed was stained. It looked heavier than the normal flow when I’m in my menses. I started shivering. I started crying. I was scared to think of what was happening to me. Who do I call? Who will get me to the hospital?”
First thing in the morning, I rushed myself to the hospital. Checks were done. The results came out of the mouth of the doctor; “I’m sorry to tell you this but you miscarried.” I sighed deeply. I didn’t intend to cry but tears found their way out and flowed down my cheeks. I called him. I gave him the news. He got angry. He blamed me for carelessness I didn’t know anything about. He shouted and screamed. I was surprised. I said, “Hey, we both lost something precious. Why are you making it about me? Yes, I haven’t gotten pregnant before but I know how it is to be careful with pregnancy. It’s not my fault.”
He would have none of that. It’s my fault, he thought. It’s all my fault that his first child died. He talked about it for days and weeks. He wrote about it on Facebook though I wanted it to be private. Friends sent me messages; “I heard about your situation. May God give you a replacement as soon as possible.” I felt embarrassed but I gathered strength and moved on.
I visited two doctors to check if there was something wrong with me. They both said the same thing. “You’re fine. You can conceive again but just be careful when you do.”
A year and a half later, my husband came back again. We lived like we had forgotten our troubles but it was still apparent in his tone and behavior. We lived our lives each day like couples do until it was time for him to go. He spent two months and didn’t talk about our future living arrangement. I didn’t want to remind him. I felt he might think I’m being desperate about traveling abroad. Two weeks after he had left, I started getting pregnancy symptoms. I checked and it was positive. I held the happiness back. I wanted to be really sure. I checked again after three days. It was positive. A week later I checked. It was positive.
I let out all the pent-up happiness. I went to the hospital for confirmation and care. They told me, “Be extra careful because of your history.” I walked like I was walking on eggshells when I was going back home. I picked the phone and called my husband, “Dear, guess what….Just guess.” He went right for it, “You are pregnant?” I screamed, “Yes! Yes! I’m pregnant again. You’re the man.” He jubilated with me. He said, “Please go back home and live with your parents. They know better. They are experienced with these things. They can help you care for yourself. I also have happy news for you. I’m getting positive news about your traveling arrangements. It won’t take long at all. Say four or five months later, you’ll travel here and live withme.”
Joy twice-fold. I didn’t know how to handle myself. I told my parents about it. They agreed for me to move in with them. Two weeks later, I packed and went to live with them. I woke up one morning and felt wet underneath. I looked up at the whirling fan and asked myself, “Did I urinate on myself while asleep?” I got up and saw a large stain on my bed. I screamed, “Oh God no. This can’t happen. I called my mom in. She asked, “You didn’t feel any pain. I said, “No. Not the slightest of pain.” She said, “Wash down and let’s go to the hospital.” I was shivering throughout. When the doctor was about to tell me what the issue was I prayed, “God Let him say I’m ok. Please God let it be a false alarm.” He said slowly, “I’m sorry but you lost it. The good news is, you are fine. No danger detected.”
“How can I be fine, doctor? How can I be fine and still lose two pregnancies in a row? How do I tell him this one?” It was like a funeral. When I got home, I gave the phone to my father. I said, “You’re the man. Call and tell him.” He said, “This is private news. We are your parents but we need to respect your privacy in times like this. Call him and tell him. After that, I will talk to him myself.”
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It was a repeat of the first one but more intense than the first one. He cried on the phone. He asked me, “Why do you keep destroying my babies? Huh?” Again, it was all my fault. I took all the insults in with the grace of a battered soldier who still remains unbowed. He called me one night and asked me, “Be honest with me, what did you do to your womb in your previous relationships that it can’t hold babies? Just be honest with me.” I said calmly, “I won’t answer that. Though it’s insulting and degrading, I won’t answer it. God is my answer.” He didn’t talk to me for weeks. His parents called and gave me trouble but I remained calm. I stood in the middle of the storm with my hair and dress flying. I only stood firm enough so I don’t get blown away. Again, he talked about it on Facebook. When friends came into my inbox they said, “It’s the work of the devil. You need deliverance.” They gave me a list of pastors I have to see to get delivered. I thanked them and moved on.
My husband came to Ghana, visited his parents, and left without seeing me. I heard about his visit from a friend after he had left. When I called and asked why he told me, “What would be the use of me seeing you? Get you pregnant so you can chew it when I’m gone? I don’t have that time.” Heerrrrh, my intestines. I looked up and said, “God, it’s me ooo. That your child who turns the church upside down with the gift you endowed her. Why me? Did you hear what he just told me? Are you proud of it? Was it funny enough to make you laugh? I chew kids. Me? Me that it’s even hard for me to bite into a sausage”
Our marriage is on the rock now. Husband doesn’t talk to me. Husband’s family doesn’t regard me as one of their own. But thanks to my parents and the church, I’m still holding it together. I don’t know where I go from here. I’ve prayed a prayer to God. Whatever his answer be, I’ll let you know.