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You’ll Never Know Until You Get Married

You’ll Never Know Until You Get Married

I was twenty-four when Josh proposed marriage. We had dated for two years. I told him, “But Josh I’m only twenty-four. How can I get married? I don’t think my mother will even allow that. I’m too young to marry.” I ran under the banner of ‘I’m too young to marry’ but actually that wasn’t the reason. Josh was my second boyfriend. He was twenty-nine and had had a lot of experience with other women. I thought I deserve to meet other men too before I can finally decide who to marry. I felt inexperienced and felt inadequately prepared to take such a giant step.

He asked me, “So when? When will it be proper for us to get married?” I answered, “Maybe when I’m twenty-six or twenty-seven or even thirty. Honestly, I don’t know but I feel this is not the right time for me to get married.”

I don’t know what came over Josh. He was so sure about marriage and he was sure about me that he wanted to do everything to get me to marry him. My mom liked him very much but her reasons for liking him weren’t deep enough. She liked him because he was tall and had a handsome face. She said, “He looks like a man you can hold as a prize at functions. He’s the kind of man you show off at parties. The kind of man that gives you beautiful products of the womb.” Those reasons didn’t cut for me and I wasn’t going to trust my mother’s judgment when it comes to men because she had very bad taste in men. Evidence is the kind of man she married. My dad. A woman who married a man like my dad shouldn’t be trusted to make good judgment when it comes to men.

A year later, Josh asked again, “Can we marry this year? It’s been a year already and I think this time around, you are mature enough to decide.” I used my job as an excuse. “I don’t like my job. It pays peanuts but I dig a mountain each day. I need a better one. I’m looking for it. When I get it, I may decide to settle down.” Four months later, I got a new job. Josh made it possible for me to get a job that paid better and also demanded less of me. The following year he asked me, “Now what? What’s the excuse again?” I said, “I don’t have any excuse, Josh. But it looks like I’m scared to take that permanent decision with this my temporal heart. Do you think I’m the right woman for you? Don’t get me wrong. You’re a good person. You’ve held me grounded. You’ve helped me become the woman I am today but do you honestly think I’m a finished product? Something  you can take home and start using immediately?”

Josh doesn’t talk a lot. He’s the kind of man who will rather act than talk. But that day he spoke for over an hour, telling me the good things about me that I myself didn’t know. He concluded; “Humans are not finished products. All of us are a work in progress. We wake up each day and do things that make us better than who we used to be. That’s why we are alive. To make amends for yesterday’s mistakes. The finished products are the ones who die.” After that long talk, he said, “I won’t mention marriage again. When you’re ready, just let me know.”

So at some point, I had to assess my life to see what was really holding me back. I asked myself, “Why am I scared to get married?” The answers were numerous. 

I was scared he won’t be the same man after marriage. My friends who were married told me that men change after marriage. They used their marriage as examples and it was always negative. Matilda told me, “When I was my husband’s girlfriend, he treated me like a queen. There was nowhere he went without me. He bought gifts on my birthdays. And took me to places on weekends. Today, I have to remind him it’s my birthday before he remembers. Even that, he’ll still do nothing about it.”

I didn’t want to end up being the woman he leaves in the house while going around with other women he thinks are more beautiful than me. “Marriage makes you look older than you actually are.” That’s the words of one of my married friends. She said it’s the reason our men go out for slay queens and leave us behind because after child, birth, everything changes and it changes for the worse.

Most importantly, I didn’t want to end up the way my mom ended up. She got married when she was twenty. Gave birth to me when she was twenty-one. Gave birth t my brother when she was twenty-four. Got divorced when she was thirty-nine. No matter how positive I wanted to remain, these things kept ringing a bell in my head. It got me scared and it was the reason I couldn’t sleep at night. 

One day Josh asked the right question; “What are you scared of?” The answers flew from my mouth like the water from the fountain. I told him everything I was scared about. I asked him. “You think you’ll be any different?” He said, “So because of these reasons, you won’t ever get married?”

“Josh I asked you a question, answer me. Why are you trying to answer a question with another question?”

“My question answers your question if only you can answer my question with all the honesty you can muster.”

“Now I’m confused. How can a question answer a question, Josh? Just answer me and I will also answer your question.

“Your fears are true. It may happen and it may not happen. But until you marry, you won’t know the answer. You’ve known me for years. Do you think I’m someone who will do all that to you? If you’re convinced that my character may lead us to that dead-end then you have every right to call it quit. But if you think I’ve been good enough, then why punish me for the troubles other people are going through?

I said yes to his proposal. Not because he quenched my fears. I said yes because he had been nothing but a good man. The signpost when I was lost and my compass when my bearings couldn’t hold themselves together.

The day I told my mother we are getting married, she was so happy it looked like she was the one getting married. She said “My daughter, that guy will make you happy. He’s a good man and it shows.” Again I judged her in my head. “You know a good man? Then why did you settle with the wrong one?”

I was eighteen when my mother ran away with me and my brother because my father was maltreating us. He stopped my mother from working and yet didn’t provide for her needs and ours. Anytime my mom asked something from him, it turned into a fight where my mother didn’t stand a chance. He beat her at any given chance. He could even beat her just because she breathed. When I completed SHS, he told my mother to send me into an apprenticeship. My mom said no. It turned into a fight. When my mother raised enough money to send me to school, he questioned how my mother made that money and accused her of sleeping with other men to raise money. My mother had to wake us up at dawn, so we could sneak out with the first bus to my grandparents’ place. My mom thought my dad will come looking for us or even come around to cause mayhem. He never did and that was the end of their marriage and the end of the relationship between us and my mother.

I asked her, “Why did you marry him?” She answered, “Who knew he would turn this way? He was a good man who turned into a beast.” That answer also fed into the series of fear I had about marriage.

The night before our wedding, I was with my mom. I said, “I can’t believe I’m doing this. Forever and ever I’m going to be with this man and you think he won’t get bored and treat me like dad did to you?” She said, “You can only know when you marry him. Some people are good at hiding who they truly are. I don’t believe Josh is like that. For all I know, he had been very consistent. It shall be well. Just believe.”

So we got married and went in together. Whenever he was silent, I told myself, “I knew it. He has regretted marrying me already. Why is he not talking?” Whenever I cooked and he ate less of it I concluded, “He has started eating from another woman’s pot, I know it.” When he called from work that he was going to be late, my head started spinning like a carousel. I was never at ease. 

We survived a year. We celebrated our second anniversary with a baby. We survived our third year. And then the fourth came with another child. We had a party on our fifth anniversary. We had another baby when we were six years together. Through it all, he remained the man I had come to know. A little bit changes here and there but it wasn’t so huge to tip the scale. We celebrated our fifteenth anniversary a month ago and it was wow. I remember waking up at night and asking myself, “Was it not only yesterday that we got married? How come the calendar says we are fifteen years old?”

Fifteen years later, I’ve never met any of the fears I had before marriage. Maybe, that’s why fifteen years look like a day. We’ve had a series of fights but he made me win. Later he told me, “You’re the one who cooks the food around here. If I win today, you can decide to have the last win and that will be dangerous.” “What do you mean Josh? You mean I can…” “Nooo, I haven’t said anything. You’re the winner Ok? Just accept it. Look at me. I’m on the floor, beaten. Or I should cry small to make your win flawless?” 

“Silly man. Get up and fight like a man.”

We have over fifteen photos on our wall. They all tell a story. A story of our beginning. Our journey to where we are now and a story of days we don’t want to forget. In all of the photos, we are smiling. What happened to the days we were not smiling? The days we fought, why are they not in photos? Because happiness is all that matters. We work only to make our days of joy permanent. Our days of sorrows? We work to forget them. 

We still do the little things like taking a stroll around the neighborhood. Like going to parties and pretend we don’t have kids. When I see a man who’s hot, I tap him and ask, ”Should I make a move on him?” He’ll say something like, “If only he’s strong enough to fight me, then go ahead.”

We eat our favorite ice creams, buy our favorite things with our last pesewa and stay broke for days. We lie to our children sometimes because why not? Our own parents lie to us sometimes so we have to pay back so our children can also pay back when they have their own children. We hold hands a lot. Sex doesn’t happen often but we take whatever is given. There’s more to do for love than just being on top of each other. The ultimate question is, have we always loved each other? The answer is No. Love is ephemeral. It comes and vanishes into thin air and appears later at some point. Love alone doesn’t do the trick. It’s the commitment to each other that keeps us going all these years.

To anyone who’s afraid of marriage, let me tell you this, you will never know until you marry. Sweet? Sour? You’ll only know after marriage. It’s the risk we all take but when we do our homework right and the two decide to commit no matter what, the storm will come but we’ll have the last win. Not the kind of ‘last win’ my husband was implying. I’m talking about a win that takes you to a pedestal. A wi you can celebrate each year with pride. 

–Lady Antoinette 

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Source: CelebritiesbuzzGh | You’ll Never Know Until You Get Married