As it is often said, no one goes into a marriage, expecting it to go bad, or worse, end in divorce. But it does happen. Bad marriages and divorces happen to good people, who are married, and whom you would expect to be examples of marital bliss.
Grace and her husband of 12 years was one such couple. They were a couple who matched in both their temperament and mien; a quiet looking couple, who would, once in a while, whisper into each others ears at events or in Church. They held hands, and generally were seen to be the ‘cool’ couple. When they did not get pregnant immediately after their wedding, that did not in any way affect their relationship.
They soldiered on, always presenting a united face, and never letting any strain that they might be feeling show on their faces, and thus invite questions. They were the couple whom singles ladies and bachelors prayed to be like, when they eventually got married. They said it to their faces, and Grace often smiled and moved on.
However, that smile slipped one day, when a favourite single lady of Grace’s said she wanted her marriage to be like hers. Grace looked her in the face and asked her to come with her. She did, and they found a quiet spot where she asked her to help her unzip her blouse. Thinking she needed to make some adjustment to her underwear, the young lady obliged, only to be confronted with welts and bruises on Grace’s fair skin.
She was shocked, and actually covered her mouth with her hands at what she saw. Grace turned around and for the first time in years spoke the truth to that lady about her marriage. She told her, “I got those open wounds this morning, but I’m sure, you can see other marks there that have healed. It did not just start today. Most days, I get beaten by the hands of my husband. He has a special belt for me. Don’t ever pray to have a marriage like mine! Ask God to give you the type of marriage He wants for you.”
Grace asked that she be helped with her zip, which was done with now shaky hands. She walked out of that room with her head held high, and her quiet mien in place, not a hair out of place, no one the wiser about what had gone on in that room, except the one who had the revelation, which she was yet to get over.
Grace’s marriage was not always like that. The madness had started in the seventh year of her marriage. She had been on the verge of cheating with a colleague at work, and when her husband had found out, he had been beyond devastated. He was inconsolable, all her protests that she had not done it intentionally (and ironically, she was the one who had mentioned the situation to her husband), fell on deaf ears, and that was the first time he beat her.
He apologised, but said she was the one who made him do it. When she turned away from his apologies, he forced himself upon her, and raped her; thrusting and begging for her forgiveness. But that moment was defining. Grace felt it. Her soul had left. Left the marriage, left her body and stood afar off, as it could not bear the injury being inflicted on its body.
But she stayed in the marriage, and had stayed for the last five years, and would most likely stay till death do them part, as their vows had said. She believed she was to blame for every thing; his behaviour and in-actions. She believed it, and no one could convince her otherwise.
Who would even convince her, when no one knew, except perhaps their children, who have to hear the screams from their bedroom, and the funny movements of their mom, when she eventually comes out? But they also witness the endearing ministration of their Dad to their Mom. What they don’t know is that their Dad is a master at manipulation.
Even when he had his revenge affair, where he actually went all the way, and relished telling the details to Grace, she was still to be blamed. She had pushed him into infidelity, by her own actions. Such a vicious cycle.
Both Grace and her husband are staunch believers, upholders of their faith, good neighbours and friends, nice in-laws, great sons and daughters to their parents, who have both been married for over three decades. Their home is usually the first of call for their siblings, who were always made to feel welcome anytime they showed up, whether with prior notice or not.
But theirs is a bad, very bad, marriage, and they both know it; both the manipulated and manipulator know it, yet, they are still together, and not likely to divorce any time soon.
The question now is, for how long will she bear the almost daily beatings? When will she wake up to the realisation that her marriage is bad and needs help? Urgent help, as a matter of fact. When will she realise that not everything is her fault, ad had never been her fault? When?
Depressing story, I know, but one which needs to be told, so all the singles praying to have a marriage like someone else’s, will cease. You can never walk in someone else’s shoes. Each will walk his path.
Cheers to finding true love and ciao to bad marriages.
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.