Of restlessness and marriage

Happy young couple moving into a new house.

Photo credit: Pool | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • There was always an excitement in the house hunting, then moving in.
  • But soon that excitement would wear out faster than the coat of paint.

I moved into 12 different houses in seven years since first coming to Nairobi. There was always an excitement in the house hunting, then moving in. But soon that excitement would wear out faster than the coat of paint.

Within months, I would be restless once again and find an excuse –they were plenty - to start house hunting afresh. It was expensive, of course, but most disturbing for me.

While my family and friends made fun, calling me a nomad, I wondered, why can’t I settle down like other people? 

Take one of my closest friends, for example, who stayed in only two houses for the entire 13 years she was in Nairobi, until the day she moved into her own home.

Same with a colleague, who when we were unsettled in our dating during our twenties, she was engaged to her long term boyfriend, got married and settled down as we watched. She is the most stable human I have ever known, still keeps the same bank 25 years later.

How much more stable can you get?

Yes, I have changed banks a lot.

Trail of broken hearts

This restless spirit presents itself in other ways. It could be you changing jobs like babies change diapers.

Do you know those blokes that are on their fifth job in the last two years? If you call them, you are likely to find that they just received another offer for their next job and you know - poor new employer – that they will not last?

I have a friend called Fridah*. Our hard-working, responsible, smart Fridah is on her seventh relationship and three babies later with different fathers. She told me, “I know I have a problem. I can only stay with a guy for a maximum of two years. Then I’m out.” 

She has left a trail of broken hearts behind her, but she has zero feelings for any of them. 

“I give my all during the duration of the relationship, but one day, I wake up, and when I say it’s over, that’s it.” 

The fact that she recognised it as a problem is the first step towards salvaging her situation. 

No, marriage doesn’t settle you. Remember when we would say how we wish to settle down in marriage?

Ironically, during our very first date with hubby, I was in the process of moving houses. He helped me find the movers. He was stunned, four months later, when I told him that I was back to house hunting.

But I realised my restless spirit was a problem in itself when after marriage and in our new house, I had excuses for why we needed to move out. 

“The constant water shortage is driving me nuts,” I complained.

“I will get an extra storage tank.” 

He did.

“I don’t like ground floors.”

“But you are pregnant, and you preferred the ground floor.”

“Well, now, I don’t.”

We argued about it repeatedly, until one day he firmly declared:

“I am not spending a coin moving unless it is to our very own home.” Hubby had only ever lived in two houses since leaving his parent’s home. 

Hard to commit

I went to whine to my friend, she of the stability of both career, home and relationship. She told me,

“Your house is beautiful. It is not a problem. You are.”

People with a restless spirit find it hard to commit. Until and unless they address the issue, my friend, their spouse will need extra grace. This restlessness comes from somewhere; I suspect a dysfunctional family background. I asked my friend Liz, a psychologist who told me,

“First, consider your spiritual life. There is something like a God void. That emptiness can only be fulfilled by a deep relationship with God, not marriage or career or a better house.” Fine, she did mention other conditions like ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) presenting as restlessness in adults. I told Fridah the same thing, to look inside, self-reflect and address her turmoil. 

Yes, I did settle, strangely enough, when I referred to our next house as a home.

When we did home hunting and not house hunting, I felt a deep attachment and commitment that nine years later, I have not even considered house hunting. 

Karimi is a wife who believes in marriage.

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