Feature Story: Is your marriage struggling to stay afloat? Been there done that

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There has been a very strong wave raising against marriages. I see marriages and relationships struggling to stay afloat. I see men and women trying against all odds to hold on to what they believe in. sometimes it’s worth it and sometimes it’s better to let it just go.
Well, I say that because I am that girl. That sister you never had, you know the one who has been there and done that? All of that? Yes, even what you are thinking about right now. I am that kind of sister. Sometimes I look at people struggling with some things and I empathize with them because I have been there and done that. I am about to share with you, some things about my life, that I have probably exposed only to very few people. I figure that if my nakedness can bless another life, then God will be glorified for it.

I can’t tell you all of my stories… they are too many and besides, I am saving them for later. Just believe me when I tell you that I have been there and done that. I have come out of great travail, tribulation, rejection, grief, violence, sexual abuse and etc. Pain knew my name because I walked its path so many times. I have been wrestled down often in the course of life, but… by the grace of God I lived. I survived. I overcame. I rose up, each time, like the morning sun. God said it was not over until he said, it was over. My story could have ended in that hospital bed where I could have bled to death unbeknownst to the medics, but… the mercy of God prevailed. Or…My story could have ended on that night when he violently assaulted me just a few days after my discharge from hospital. An invalid, weak and frail…. But the mercies of God prevailed yet again. I lived to tell the story.

It’s a story of victory. Of Gods mercies, and a naive country girl who God loves so much. I tell you in all humility, that God loves me a bit more… you know that daddy’s girl thing… I promise you that anyone who has laid mercy on me has been favored of God. Anyone who has laid a finger on me, has God delivered to my feet, wasted… and at my mercy. I am daddy’s little girl. Spiritually and naturally. I grew up protected. I was always too green when it came to certain things. I was too easy to please because I had very few expectations out of life and people. I worked hard, I have only been dependent on God. I was taught many things in the countryside, but no one taught me how to survive in the city. I am better of herding cows, ploughing fields and riding a Landrover Defender 110 or 109, in old faded jean shorts. I can dance better in the rain and muddy water puddles than on any dance floor. I will ride a bicycle like a man, yet I am only just learning to swim… well, swimming never brought in the napier grass for the cattle’s night meal. This is what I was familiar with; cattle, farming, mud, dirt, chaff, etc. I knew nothing about men. ZERO.
Then I enrolled in a university in the city of Nairobi. And, for the first time I heard my legs which, upto now, had had the sole duty of transporting me; being referred to as beautiful! Whoa… and the roller coaster rides began! From one crazy rideeee unto the next, speeds of 0-10 in a matter of seconds. steep climbs and sudden falls, the works. Two men I was courting both died in the course of each of our courtships, one after the other. I suffered deep grief. I was labelled and stereotyped. I was accused of things I knew nothing about, I grieved for long and I grieved hard. I was bruised, broken, and confused. I was unfamiliar with the malicious conniving side of people who were out only to make a gain for themselves. I rarely saw the wicked side of people, besides, I was trained to always look to the good things and meditate upon such.
At one point in my life, like many girls still do; I figured that marriage was not meant for me and I decided that I had had enough heartbreaks for one lifetime. So I would get a cute puppy to share the rest of my life with. There was this guy I had met at my friend’s wedding; where we were both attending. He had fought with my late ex-boyfriend over who should date me, and I had the privilege of choosing the late ex because this dude would only be good as a friend. I found, from the first day, that he was too weak to be man to a woman as strong as Nereall. I kept him, as a friend. And our friendship grew over the years… he was there for me whenever I needed emotional support and I was there for him financially, mostly. That’s how he ever really needed me, anyway.
When my old friend heard that I was planning on settling down with a puppy, he was very amused. He suddenly started making advances towards me. He figured, that if I could settle for a dog, why not the man I had been rejecting from day one. He could just be the one meant for me. After all, he was the one person who had not left my side, so far. Or so I thought. This made sense to this broken, over grieved young lady who was so badly in need of psychological counselling and not a husband. On hind sight, I realized that he knew how vulnerable I was, and decided to strike while the iron was still hot. He was in love with my lifestyle, not me. It was never me. So this time, I let my heart, instead of my head, decide for me. Bad mistake.
So I finally decided to settle down with this old friend of mine, and another mad roller coaster began. Everyone was against it but me. I avoided everyone who would discourage me. I was bent on finishing my life, married off, to this ninja. No amount of convincing would dissuade me. It is as though I was bewitched. A man I had never been attracted to, was now running my circus, and I was letting him! BIZARRE! It is no secret, that I am a very strong minded woman, and those who knew me well, left me alone, when they realized that my train was already in motion. This relationship was just wrong in every single way you want to look at it.
On the eve of the wedding, I had my final exams. I was taking my Masters at University of Nairobi. I was not able to make it for the final marriage counselling session, due to all the preparations at hand, and also my exams. This was the subject of our first big fight. When I got home from campus, I found him seething with anger. He scolded me for having missed the final counselling session. He took my phone and smashed it against the wall. I was petrified, ashamed and dishonored by the man I was to marry the very next day in front of my entire bridal team. I wept. I couldn’t believe it. Before I could sneeze, he banged the door and drove off in my car. The right thing to do then, was to call off the wedding. I didn’t do that.
I was weak… I was not myself. I asked one of the ladies who had a car to drive me to where my parents were spending the night. Really, I wanted her to drive me off to the Congo forest and hide me there. When I got to my parents’ house, they were upset with me, as to why I was marrying this man, and why I didn’t spend the night with them. My mother wanted to spend my last night as single lady with me. But, the ninja and I had just moved into a new house the previous day and I had a lot of work, including exam preparations. So I just apologized to my mother for having let her down, and I left. I didn’t tell them why I came. I was heavy, I was tired, I was drained, broken, confused, I wanted to die. I just wanted to die, that night. I had nothing to look forward to in a marriage that already had a promise of violence. I asked my friend to take me to sleep. I asked God to give me some sleep, please. I prayed I would feel better in the morning.
I woke up to commotion, it was my wedding day! Whoa… everyone was happy, ladies milling around in matching clothes… choir singing outside. I woke up late, and I just wanted to run away, from it all. The mystery was that, I couldn’t. something was not right. It is as though I was not in control of my faculties. I felt trapped in a body I could not control. I was a puppet, his puppet. I was very, very, sad. I dressed silently. And was whisked off to marry the guy whose face I could not bear to look at.
As I walked down that aisle, I was thinking about running away. I looked at the guests smiling at me courteously, and I smiled back at them. I thought about the shame and dishonor I would bring my parents if I run away from the altar. I was being led like a sheep to the slaughter and I knew it. Yet, I did nothing about it. That was the saddest day of my life. That night, I went to bed in my gown. It was a ball gown. I slept in it. I did not want him to touch my skin. Our fight the night before, had not been resolved. We were now married, and there was no way I was getting intimate with this ninja. ANYWAY! The miserly honeymoon period ended, and Afrosinema continued.
First, there was the male ‘cousin’ who moved in with us, almost immediately. He cooked, before I could cook. He washed the clothes they shared between them. Sometimes they shared undergarments too. At times he would refuse to eat whatever I cooked, and asked his ‘cousin’ to fix something he liked better. To be candid, this ‘cousin’ acted more like, a co wife. He was the preferred one. I was just a good cover up. There were nights when he preferred to sleep in the guest bedroom with his ‘cousin’ whom he would want to talk with privately all night long. There were many such nights. Some nights they would dress up and apply make-up and go for night long outings. I would be left alone in the house, listening to gospel songs by Angela Chibalonza and wondering what on earth these happenings were. The death of Angela devastated me, I grieved again. I admired her, she had completed her journey well. Her death was victorious! On some days, he would lock himself up in the bathroom and tell me, that he was demon possessed and that he was fighting his demons. He always slept with his genitals, and his phone secured in between his thighs. As these bizarre behaviors continued, my suspicion also heightened.
After one such night out, read; ’kesha’, I was looking for something in my car when I went under the driver’s seat and found a soiled vest. It was his vest, alright… but since they shared clothes with his ‘cousin’ I wasn’t sure who had used it. It was full of barely dry semen. I put it in a bag, and took it to the house. I asked him about it, and he obviously denied. So, I demanded for the ‘cousin’ to leave our house. He left, but I was made to feel very guilty about it. about two weeks later, he also decided to move out of our house and move in with his ‘cousin’. He said he needed time off the marriage to think about if he really wanted it, in the first place. He said, he thought he may have made a mistake to marry me, yet it was not my fault and he wished I would not get hurt. He moved out. I was collateral damage.
By now, I had made friends with my solitude. I loved my own company. I was very tight, never talked much. I was hurting. Many people never noticed that anything was amiss because, I lived on the surface. I stopped trusting people, I almost became paranoid. I made new friends. Kambua and Angela Chibalonza. Through their music, I managed to drift off to sleep. I listened to them all day, all night. They walked with me. They spoke comforting words that gave me hope. I had never met any of them, but I knew what they were about. I loved my two friends. For the next 3 months, or more… I never saw nor heard from the runaway groom. I heard of him though, of his powerful worship ministrations at the church where he was a worship minister. I was horrified, for the alter of God is not a place to smear dirt upon. Anyway, the church never was really concerned about his life after ministration and so status quo prevailed.
One day, over three months after he moved out, we met impromptu in town, and he was drawn to me. I yielded. He apologized and wanted to make up for his foolishness, I dared believe him. Bad mistake! I did not want to be the stubborn one who led us to divorce. He moved out from where he lived with his ‘cousin’ and back to our house. Nothing changed. If anything, he was worse. He would throw strange parties in my absence. He lied more boldly. He had multiple personalities. He kept his different lives, worlds apart. He still went to those bizarre night outs in make-up, he still hid his phone and genitals securely between his thighs every night. We lived like brother and sister. I asked nothing, confronted nothing, I just existed. He made his ‘cousin’ to believe that I was cool with everything they did. One time, they had a fight between them, and he switched off his phone. His ‘cousin’ actually called him on my phone and asked me to pass an apology to him, and ask him to call him when he was less upset. I was speechless. I passed on the message and continued to exist.
Once, the Bishop of the church where he ministered, summoned us to her office. She wanted to know why he spent too much time with young boys yet he was a married man. Well, he said, he just loved their company, he cried a lot and the Bishop just released us. The meeting was very brief. I don’t know why she wanted me to witness it. We went home quietly, when we got home he made a few phone calls to God only knows whom, and later started throwing tantrums and threatening to commit suicide. He continued with the side shows, to divert attention from the main issues. He complained that I was too fat, I was too dark… he even brought me a mixture of ‘mkorogo’ from River road to lighten my skin, so that perhaps I could appeal to him. He had many fantasies most of which, I was unqualified for.
He never took financial responsibility for our welfare. He was always noncommittal, like a passerby. I paid for everything, except rent. He kept his money and ATM cards in a drawer in the office. He spent his money as he pleased, I never questioned him. Auctioneers visited us one day, they were demanding to sell all our household items to recover unpaid rent. I promised to sort them out asap. I knew I had some cash in an ATM card that was missing. I called him up, he said he had it and he wasn’t going to surrender it, and I should do as I pleased. Whoa… the spell he had on me, expired that day. I HAD HAD ENOUGH. My head snapped back in place and I asked myself, what I was doing in such a place, with such a person for a spouse. Now, I could see clearly. I called him back, in the calmest, firmest voice. I asked him to bring my ATM card home and it better have all the cash that was in it when he took it. He knew the ballgame had changed and the end was near.
When he came home, he said he was stressed and he did not want to be bothered. I could hear none of it. With the auctioneers on my tail, there was no time to play diplomat. I took the bull by its head. He felt cornered, yet, he had no answer for me. He had spent all the cash in that account. Aghhhh…. I lost my cool! He got violent, that night, he wanted to kill me. He hit me with everything and anything he could lay his hands on. Mark you, I was an invalid when all this happened. I had just been discharged from hospital where I had had a near death experience. The neighbors heard the commotion and came to my rescue. That was the end of the road. I was not going to be a statistic. It was clear. He knew he had crossed the line. I was no longer under his influence. I went ballistic, all hell broke loose. I wanted out. It was not up to him. If you are still mark timing in an unhealthy relationship, just know that it’s a time bomb. One day you will have to vote out, or get consumed by it. The choice is yours, make it today, or make it whenever.
Some things are not worth fighting for. IF THERE IS NO HOPE IN IT, LET IT GO.
And so, the boldness and the courage I lacked, to walk away on that fateful day when I made the biggest mistake to marry the ninja I never loved, returned. I did not care, about who would be dishonored. As long as they were not wearing my shoes, they did not matter. I did not care who was talking behind my back when I passed by, I was just happy to be alive. The short roller coaster ride was over. I lived, one minute at a time. I inhaled, and exhaled. I listened to the music of Kambua and Angela Chibalonza a lot. The journey towards my healing had begun. I started taking professional counselling. I learnt a lot about men, and the institution of marriage in general. I saw my mistakes. I learnt my lessons. I found those I had been separated from by my previous relationship. I pursued their forgiveness, and mended the bridges. Then, I divorced him.
Divorce, is a very straight forward, legal process in Kenya. Many are deceived that it is complicated. It is none of the things you have heard. I was told that it may take 7 to 8 years. It did not matter to me. I had reached that point where I wanted my life back. I wanted to correct the mistakes I had made, even if it took 20 years. It did not matter. So I approached a lawyer, and the process was over in a snap. My case had all the five grounds for divorce. There was: desertion, denial of conjugal rights, infidelity, negligence, and violence. It was a very simple case. The ninja was served, and he refused to sign the service. The court of law heard of it, and ruled that he be served on a newspaper. It was done, and I was granted the divorce. Pronto! No one can forcefully cling on to you in the name of marriage without your consent. Do not ever be deceived.
Now, there was a very handsome man I had met a while back, and whose friendship, I was denied by the lies of some players who had their own interests at heart. I first laid my eyes on him at a parking lot in town where I was consulting on behalf of another friend. He was the technical guy who would shed light on the matter. We never exchanged numbers, but… I never forgot him. During the turbulent times, he appeared in my life out of the blue. We started having a soft friendship where he would offer me emotional support from time to time. There are times when I would disappear from him without notice and for long. I never really opened up much, about my troubles. He was a good listener, and he loved my cooking. One time I went out of reach for a while. I never picked up his calls for close to a year. I was drowned in all the troubles from my previous marriage.
He heard about what had happened from some rumor mills and he wanted to verify, as well as offer me his possible support. I was unavailable. Soon, the Ex ninja called me. He wanted me to allow him to marry a woman he had met and fell in love with. By that time, I was healed. I felt no anger towards him. If anything, I felt sorry for him, for he was terribly lost. So, I blessed him and released him in good faith to his marriage or whatever. Quite frankly, I could care less…
As weeks turned into months, I realized that shutting people out, would keep me safe from heart breaks alright, but, I would have no one to share my life with. I would grow old all alone. I had a paradigm shift, and did the unthinkable. The next time my friend called, I picked up his call and melted in his care. It was so refreshing. I made it clear to him that I was not interested in a relationship. He had also come out of a devastating relationship and we just enjoyed each other’s company. Period. He was so different. He was a gentleman. He treated me like a queen. He showered me with his attention.
And then, accidentally he fell in love with me. I was so upset with him. How could he spoil such a wonderful friendship, with love… how could he fall in love??? We were not supposed to fall in love…. He broke the code. I avoided him like the plague. The more I avoided him, the more, my unruly heart yearned for his companionship. I was sick… I had fallen hard. I was in love with him and I did not even realize it. I dared to trust again. I dared try love again. It was the most courageous thing i had done. The rest is history.
He had found his gem. A gem which had been disowned and thrown in the gutter. He picked it up, washed it, polished it until it shinned, then he cut it up into a shape suited for himself. He recognized the value in his gem. He went to my parents and asked for permission to marry me. He was received very fondly. The parents blessed our union and sent us off to face life, together. We got married the next year, in a low key celebration. It was my dream wedding and the happiest day of my life. I smiled, until my cheeks hurt so bad. We were two mad people committed in love. Nothing, could hold us back. I was finally at home. With the first man who had ever loved me, truthfully. I never had any questions, he dripped of it. He is to date, the love of my life. There will be no other. The back ends with him. If I died today, I would die knowing what it feels like to love and to be loved back by another mortal. And as Tyrese made our marriage anthem with his song “best of me” … we danced into the sunset and lived happily ever after.
When God has pronounced a blessing over you, nothing can hinder it! He works in mysterious ways. Out of your deepest pain, blessings will spring forth. Just, never loose focus on the constant no matter what season you are in. Let God be that constant in your life. Let him be the foundation on which you build upon your entire life and all will be well, in the end. You have to be courageous. God hates divorce. He has only allowed it due to the stubbornness of the heart of man. Marriage takes two but the sole responsibility of a failed marriage is upon the man. Did you know that, men?
A large number of men today are bisexual and prefer anal sex when with women. The injustice in it, is that, these perverse orientations are not exposed to the unsuspecting bride until well, into the marriage. I just want to say, that if your partner is having extramarital relationships with men or is addicted to pornography, it’s not very easy to decipher. Most of the times, the odds are against you. Look with the third eye, and trust your instincts. If he doesn’t want you, he will find every reason to leave you. There is nothing you can do about that. Do not give in. Do not give up your faith. It is not about you. The spirit of lust ravishing him, is not your fault. Guard your own heart, from whence the issues of life spring forth.
No matter, how good and submissive a wife you are, if the man does not want to wife you, you can do nothing about that. You cannot stay married to yourself. A bad relationship tends to isolate you from your support systems so that it can fragment your inner person while in solitude, and make you believe in lies. If the mathematics doesn’t add up, it doesn’t- add-up. Leave it alone. If you cook up the formula, you will end up with a crooked result that you will find difficult to reverse.
God, did not call you to be a door mat, nor a punching bag. When you are in such a lowly state, you do not glorify God. Your suffering does not bring God, any pleasure. You need to understand that, God created us for his own pleasure, and for his own good pleasure did he create us. It’s not a score for him. Some marriages are already dead in the spiritual realm. It’s as though ghosts are living together, trying to hang on to sacred vows which were already defiled. Our God is so deeply understanding, and compassionate, He is extremely loving and kind. He is none of the things we make of him. He is bigger than the little issues we have. Some women are in love with the idea of marriage. Who is fooling who? Time makes all things known, please quit those games. Or you will pay for it, with a premature death. Marriage is not for girls and boys. It’s for grown ass ladies and gentlemen who know and understand what it is all about. It is for those who have taken interest and time in equipping themselves for the journey. It is for those who have made themselves ready, and are committed to stay the course and do whatever it takes to sustain it. If you are not ready for the ride, do your partner a favor and vote out!
Had I not gone through the pain I went through, I would not have been able to recognize a good man when he came by. I would still be scratching the surface. Incapable to look at people beyond face value. To see their heart, and what they represent. I would not have been able to empathize sincerely, with those who are walking the same path I walked upon. I would probably be judgmental like all those who judged me, and segregated me. Those who felt too holy, to associate with an adulterer because a remarried divorcee according to them… is an adulteress. Them I forgave, for they do not know what it is, to walk this path. I will let God be the judge of that, in the meantime; Pharisees, I will advise you to concentrate on working out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Let the one who has no sin, cast the first stone. I have a life to live, and a generation to influence.
This is my passion and my calling. To stand in the gap for those who have not yet made the marriage commitment. To equip them about things that they need to know prior to making one of the biggest decisions of their lives. I am passionate about proactively ensuring less and less ladies and gentlemen end up in the same place I found myself in, many years back. I fearlessly inspire marriages, towards respectful submission on the ladies’ part and unconditional love on the gentlemen’s part. I am all about intentional and deliberate parenting. I believe these, are some of the key areas through which, we can change the destiny of generations to come. Marriages are at the core of society and strong marriages mean strong societies. To God whose mercies have carried me though it all, give I all praise and honor.
Reproduced with permission from Nereall Yongo Bosire

See her blog https://nereall.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/i-have-been-there-and-done-that/