Divorce had always sounded foreign to Dave; even though his marriage to Naomi was failing and they had gone more distant in the last few years, he never thought of leaving her. When they signed the dotted lines, it was for better or worse and he was prepared to remain married. The irony was, he remembered that he took vows to stay married but he had long forgotten the other components of the vows he took when they got married. As things slowly fell apart in the early days, Dave found solace in the arms of another woman. Whenever Naomi had a nagging match, he was quick to pick his car keys and rush to Regina’s house. There were times when he stayed there for an entire weekend. Little did he know that all Naomi’s nagging was her own way of trying to get his attention. No-one supports nagging, but Dave probably should have fixed the issue in his home, instead of running into the arms of another lady.
All of us at the office knew about Dave’s affair with Regina, because she was a constant face in our building, and they weren’t even trying to hide the fact that they were together. When concerned colleagues tried talking sense to Dave; he always had an excuse about not being able to put up with his wife’s nagging habits. One day, another colleague asked him if he had mentioned to Naomi how her nagging throws him off, he shrugged and said “this is something every woman should know. Why should I tell her? Can’t she use her common sense to know she is driving me into another woman’s arms”. All of us at the lunch table that day shook our heads; knowing that Dave probably always wanted to have an affair and only uses Naomi’s nagging as an excuse. He had not even taken the pain to try to correct that habit. Ronke, his closest pal in the office then added “so why don’t you just leave Naomi and stay with Regina, since you seem so happy with her?” Dave gave her an acid look before saying “God forbid, I can never leave that good woman. She knows I have someone outside but she still prays for me and gives me food, and takes great care of the kids.”
It was so shocking when Dave came to work last Monday looking so beat and wary. We had tons of meetings so there was no time to get down to the matter. After the board meetings in the afternoon, the Directors left and we Managers had the opportunity to ask Dave what was eating him up. He looked sick and scruffy and had also being so absent-minded during the meetings. At first, he wasn’t going to say anything, but on further prodding, he blurted out “Naomi is leaving me. She is taking the kids and leaving”. We were all shocked! Although we knew of Dave’s indiscretion, we never thought his wife was ever going to leave him. Ronke put her hand on his shoulder and said “don’t worry, she is probably just angry, she would forgive you as usual. She won’t leave you; she is hurt, that was why she told you that.” At that, big man Dave started crying like a baby. He was weeping and talking incoherently, when Ronke asked him to be more audible, he blurted “she served me divorce papers. This is not just talk. She is divorcing me. She is leaving me for good. How can she divorce me? What happened to for better, for worse?” We all abandoned our other assignments to be there for Dave. He was obviously very broken.
Seeing as I am not an expert in the divorce business, I couldn’t give him much professional advice. In fact, all I could advise was for him to beg Naomi to take him back, but that should only be if he was ready to leave Regina and focus on making his marriage work. Being served divorce papers can be such an overwhelming experience, especially since time starts ticking almost immediately. Our company lawyer, Terese told Dave that one of the papers he was served is a court summons, which tells a defendant that he or she is being sued and asserts the power of the court to hear and determine the case. It also informs him about his obligation to appear in court and the second paper is a called a complaint which is the initiation of a civil action. Terese advised Dave to come with the divorce papers the next day so she could explain it further for him, and also help him get a good lawyer, depending on what Naomi was asking for. Poor Dave asked her if there was anyway he could plead against the divorce, but Terese said she would have to see the papers first. The next step would be to get a lawyer, because for Naomi to have gotten a lawyer already and gone ahead to serve papers, she obviously wasn’t playing. We all knew that Naomi had enough grounds to sue for divorce, but others like me hoped that Dave must have been shaken to the point of repentance, and hoped that Naomi would take him back.
Dave was torn, wary, sad and confused. He kept saying he didn’t want to divorce Naomi. Terese said he had a good chance of convincing the judge that he was going to turn a new leaf. The judge could rule for the couple to give it another try, but Dave had to be sure that he really wanted to be with Naomi. He had obviously hurt the woman for too long, and if she was going to stay back, then conditions must change. “She also has to stop nagging” Dave said coyly. “Well, you have the opportunity to tell her that now” Ronke echoed. “You should have told her a long time ago, Dave” George said, to which Dave replied “I know, I know. There are a lot of things I should have done. I have left Regina already. I have broken up with her. If only Naomi would take me back and give me another chance to make things right”. Terese, the only objective person in that room said “Although it is often overwhelming when you’re greeted with divorce papers at your doorstep, you don’t need to panic. You do, however, need to act quickly and decisively and come up with a clear strategy going into your divorce case. There is no time, you have to get your affairs in order and get an attorney that can help you avoid this divorce from going through”
I had never seen Dave so emotional. I hope and pray for his family and marriage. I hope that this leads to a stronger union between him and Naomi, and like a phoenix, that their marriage would rise out of the ashes so beautifully. God help us all.