What you need to know:
- Men also dream of happy families, love and warmth from their wife.
- No one believes that a woman can be the cause of divorce.
“Men are suffering. And we are always blamed for the marriage breakdown.”
We sat outdoors at his office grounds in observance of social distance. He had on a Breton hat and would easily have been mistaken for our former Prime Minister were it not that he was a tall light-complexioned man.
Gerry* had written me a while back, sharing his marital woes. I had referred them to a marriage counsellor.
“Men also dream of happy families, love and warmth from their wife. No one believes that a woman can be the cause of divorce,” he says.
“Well, it takes two to make it work or to mess it up,” I offer, but he continues as if he did not hear me.
“We also like to post happy faces on social media while holidaying, you know.”
They had dated for about a year before getting married. They went through an intense six-week pre-marital counselling as per their church requirement.
Some red flags
“We were born again and stayed celibate until the wedding night.”
For the first three years, all seemed well, though Gerry says that he noticed some red flags, such as frequent job changes. He was concerned that his wife could never get along with any of her bosses and kept resigning.
Her restlessness affected their relationship when they had their second baby.
“My wife broke us. Nothing was ever good enough for her. Not her job, not me, not the children. She was always angry and quarrelling with everyone; house helps, her parents, my parents and our children.”
Gerry dreaded getting home after a long peaceful day in his office.
“But I had to get home to the children. They needed a break from their mother, who had quit her latest job and acted like a raging bull towards them.”
The children were always weepy because their mother would shout at them for not eating or showering and dressing fast enough. Gerry says that he would come home and ask her how her day has been. This would elicit a quarrel.
“What do you think?”
She would shout and go on to vent her frustrations on him, mostly blaming him for her current state of affairs.
Gerry says he was miserable at home, but his career was thriving. He moved them into a bigger house, bought a family car, and funded his wife’s business. She had told him that she preferred to run a business then get into another job. She ended up opening and shutting two businesses within the first year.
“Mind you, one of the businesses needed heavy equipment. I am still servicing the loan I procured to get her the machinery.”
Gerry knew that something was beyond him – and probably his wife – when she left the children on their own. She had fired the nanny, and Gerry came home one evening and found his young children asleep on the sofa. They informed him that their mother had left in the morning as soon as Gerry had left for work.
She showed up two days later without an explanation. Her mother, who had been part of the search party, convinced them to seek help, and that is when Gerry reached out to me. But his wife was not keen on what she referred to as external forces and stopped attending counselling after two sessions.
Gerry believes, after Googling her symptoms, that his wife has bipolar disorder, but she is not willing to seek treatment.
“People should heal first before getting involved with another person. She seems to get energy from making our lives miserable.”
They are now separated. What broke the camel’s back was an affair she had with a ‘brethren’ from their church.
“She blurted it out to my face during one of our fights.”
That night, he packed and left with his children.
“I never imagined, I, a Christian husband, would ever desire a divorce. But I cannot imagine a life with her, not anymore.”
He is not keen on remarriage either.
“My joy is to watch my children laugh and make a racket at home, without anyone shouting at them.”
“What about for better or worse? If she has a mental illness, shouldn’t you support her?” I asked.
“Not anymore, I can’t. No one should drive the other to an early grave just because they don’t want to address their issues, mental or otherwise.”
Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage. [email protected]