She was unemployed when I took her home to meet my parents. My dad had no issues except for the fact that she wasn’t working. He said it wasn’t practical; “It’s a tough world out there. It’s no longer like how it used to be when we were young. A woman, at least, should be able to support herself first before she becomes a wife. You can wait if you have to.” Mom also didn’t have any problem with her except for the fact that she wasn’t working. She didn’t have much to say. She told me, “You’re the one getting married to her. If you think it will work, I wish you well.”
To me, it wasn’t a big issue. I had known Esi since she was in school. She was topping her class though she was in a male-dominated class. I knew it was just a matter of time and that time was just somewhere around the corner. I told my parents, “She’s a trained engineer. These people don’t stay home for long after school. She’ll get a job right after marriage, you’ll see.”
We got married not long afterwards and she came to live with me. She was going up and down looking for a job when we got pregnant. She was devastated because according to her, she was close to a breakthrough. She blamed me for not protecting myself when she asked me to. She called me selfish but the harm had already been done so we agreed for her to give birth and later start searching all over again.
I never for once shirked my responsibility as a husband. We were only two in a family and my income was just enough to take care of us. Apart from housekeeping money, I gave her weekly allowances that should take care of her personal needs. I didn’t want her to come asking for money whenever she needed to do something for herself. She could go to the salon, fix her nails and hair, buy dresses for herself and also be comfortable though she was not working.
When her parents called on her for assistance, I knew they were indirectly talking to me so I responded. It was hard. It put a huge dent in my resources but I made the decision to marry an unemployed woman so there was no room to complain.
We had a boy. When our boy started walking, she also started attending interviews. While she was away, my mom came around to take care of the boy.
One day she had a job and the job was taking her away to another town to be a supervisor for an ongoing project. According to what she told me, the company promised to bring her back to Accra once the project was done. To be honest with you, I didn’t like it, especially when I didn’t know when she was coming back. She showed me her appointment letter. The money was huge. The allowances were better than my salary. She said, “This is the breakthrough we’ve been waiting for. I will go and come back and make our lives better. No need to worry.”
Our boy was a year and a half when she left him to my parents and travelled to the job site. She came on some weekends. She called often while she was away. When she had long off days, she came home to spend them with us. I remember telling her, “I’m happy you didn’t listen to me and went for the job. It looks easier than I thought it would be.”
A year later she was home. She was back to where it all started. All the while my wife was away, I was never once concerned about her money and what she was using it for. I continued providing for the family while she kept what she earned. When she came home, I was expecting a change but that change never came. I was looking forward to her taking over certain expenses. Not the big ones but the petty ones that she could just enter her purse and pay for them. She never did and I didn’t complain.
She had come to settle so I thought it was time for us to start making our next baby but Esi started giving me excuses whenever I tried getting closer. It was either a headache, or she had been in the sun all day and wanted some rest or she had a yeast infection and didn’t want me to worry her. When I pushed for it, she told me, “If only you’ll use a condom, I don’t have a problem.”
“Condom? For what? Are we not married? How do we conceive if I use condoms for intimacy?”
Her answer was, “That’s the whole idea. I don’t want another baby now. Very soon, the company would select people to go abroad and work. I want to be available for selection. How can I do that if I’m carrying a baby when the time comes?”
She came home with a pack. Anytime I wanted shuperu, she would pull the drawer and throw one at me. “If it’s not on, it’s not in,” she will tell me. I will protest but I was the one who needed the satisfaction so I would grudgingly put it on before a game could start. We’ve been doing this for about a year now.
That aside, She doesn’t do anything in the house. She doesn’t cook and doesn’t clean. After setting the child up for school, that’s all. The child is the only responsibility she has in the house. Anything concerning me is out of the conversation. She doesn’t cook because she’s tired all the time. She doesn’t work on weekends but when I suggest we cook something and put it in the fridge, she will tell me, “I can get something to eat before coming home. If food is that important to you, then do it yourself.”
We’ll argue. She would ask me what I had done for her lately; “I work hard to provide for myself. The car I drive, I bought it. The clothes I wear, I buy them. I’ll do all these for myself and you still want me to cook for you?”
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We ended up in front of her parents. That was the day I realized she had completed her parents’ house for them. She was the provider for them so there was very little they could say to her. I was looking for some sort of stern warning to her to change her ways but all they did was beg her to change. She came home and continued being the woman I complained about. I was so ashamed to bring my parents in knowing what they told me before marriage. Somehow they got the hint that all was not well but I assured them that all was well.
one night, we had a fight over shuperu. She said she was tired. Later she said something about abdominal pain and shifted to yeast infection. I wasn’t ready to listen so she said, “If that’s all you want, then get another wife and leave me alone.”
I was shocked to the marrow; “Esi, are you asking for a divorce?” She answered nasally, “I haven’t said that but if that’s what you want, then so be it.”
When a wife gets that far, then it means something has been opened to her. I was interested to see what that thing was so I started probing. I went through her messages and found nothing. It was on her recent activities on Facebook that I saw she had commented on a post on Tell it Moms. She was advising someone who was complaining about her man. She said something like, “Hustle and get your own, you’ll realize that you don’t need a man.” That alone was enough for me to get into her mindset.
My dad recently asked me, “Did you maltreat her when you were the one taking care of her?” I answered, “I can swear before any chosen gods that I never did that. I was giving her weekly allowances. I was listening to her needs and providing for them even before they arrived.” My dad said, “If she had a job before you talked about marriage, she would have said no and all these would have been avoided. The ball is in your court now.”
What Was Your Response When An Ex Wanted To Come Back?
I feel so embarrassed hearing my parents insinuate that they told me and I didn’t listen. I’m not thinking about divorce now. I will keep digging deeper to see what’s rocking her boat. Divorce would have been easier if we didn’t have a child. I don’t want to be that man who had kids with two different women. I don’t want to be that man who brought another woman home to maltreat his child. No, I don’t want to be a divorcee at this young age. I will keep trying and see how it goes. If it’s the money that’s going into her head, one day she’ll know money doesn’t answereth all. If there are ulterior things influencing her new lifestyle, I’ll find that one out very soon.
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