When she heard that I was profiling stories of elite women that have overcome abusive relationships on my blog, she had already written her story and was waiting for a platform to share it. for the past four weeks, I have had the privilege of hosting elite women on my blog to tell their stories of victory from abuse. As I edited this story, it personally spoke to me as a single woman. She articulately narrates the pressure that society mounts on single women.
At 27, the pressure to get married was hiking. My age mates and those much younger than me were slowly settling in marriages and here I was without a boyfriend. “If I had not wasted my university days, may be I would have found a serious man to marry, I would be settling by now like my age mates”, I thought to myself. I had dated this boy since I was a fresh girl till the end of the third year at university. Our relationship was just a big joke that wasted my 3 precious years and led to a terrible heart break.
I joined the university with partial excitement, I had missed my dream course but at least I was glad to be in university, I didn’t have a clear purpose for my life, and the devil was soon going to use this purposelessness to bring me down. I had studied from a single girls’ Christian school where Jesus was being preached day in and day out, I had gotten this relationship with Christ, but albeit not so strong a relationship. The bible would describe me as lukewarm, neither hot nor cold. Revelations 3:15-16, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm- neither hot nor cold- I am about to spit you out of my mouth”. Had I been pure cold, may be then I would have enjoyed the things that the world offers, (clubbing, dating rich married men, and “enjoying a life of the sort”), but poor me, I have missed out both on the worldly pleasures and the Godly blessings. Being lukewarm is not a place to be!
My first friend at the university was this beautiful, humble born again girl. From our interaction, I realised she had a boyfriend. From my former girls’ school, having a boyfriend was considered sinful; but here I was seeing this pretty girl with a boyfriend. “I would have a boyfriend and be like my friend”, I resolved. This wasn’t at all hard; I had 4 of my year mates pursuing me to be their girlfriend and 2 others off my campus. One of these pursuers went an extra mile, he was my friend, we attended the same class fellowship and he always came to my room to pick this other friend of mine (they were staying in the same hostel).
One day, he looked really perturbed; I had known him well to tell that he wasn’t fine. I asked him what the matter was to which he told me that he had just realised that his high school girlfriend (who went in a different university) had left him for another boy. I counselled him and told him that God would give him someone else, he had to let go, I didn’t know that by counselling him, I was scooping fire to my own laps. He soon started behaving funnily towards me. He inquired from my friend whether I had a boyfriend to which to the best of her knowledge, there was none. This gave him grounds to “launch his manifesto”.
One evening, they stormed my room with this friend of mine; the man in tears went on his knees, requesting me to be his girlfriend. He was sure he had ‘heard from God’ that I was the right one for him. I was confused and moved with compassion at the same time. I come from a tribe where kneeling is done only for God, seeing a man kneel for me was so strange. I told him I would pray about it and give him an answer. Every time I went to pray, I didn’t get any response from God. “How does God communicate?” I wondered. My friend, on the other hand, was also praying for us and she surely got no revelation. Just because I wanted to have a boyfriend, like my friend, I decided I would give it a try. The relationship was a huge joke. I felt absolutely nothing for this boy, I didn’t know how it felt to be in love. I thought I was abnormal, I can’t recall the number of times I tried to break off the relationship, every time I did, this boy would cry uncontrollably, and moved with compassion, I would reconsider my decision. Long story short, he soon ended the relationship but I felt bad because I felt like I had wasted my three years.
By the fourth year, my friend was introducing her boyfriend to her mother; they would be wedding the following year. I attended her wedding; she was a beautiful bride on a beautiful rainy day. “If I had not wasted my years with that boy I would also be getting married soon”, the thought haunted me. I was at this time praying for a serious man to settle with. There is this particular one I was convinced was the one. He had all the qualities I would desire in a man; in addition, I had had several dreams about us together. I believed God still spoke in dreams since we see many examples in the bible that got to know God’s will through dreams (Joseph son of Israel, Joseph earthly father of Jesus, e.t.c). I prayed for him for two good years. No proposal came. I painfully gave up the struggle.
While the internal pressure was mounting, the external pressure from my own mom was also there. This is the person who never wanted me to go in a mixed secondary school for my high school, for fear of me interacting with boys, but here she was pestering me about marriage. “This God doesn’t seem to understand the pressures that I am dealing with, I will do things my own way”, I decided. I would date which ever man that was ready for marriage. The first one I got wanted me in bed before knowing my second name, he wouldn’t marry someone he hadn’t “tasted” and he would only be ready in 3 years. I let him go. There was this senior bachelor, I didn’t like him because he drunk alcohol. My sample size was only of worldly men. There was one Christian that was really interested in me but I honestly didn’t like him. Then soon, I landed my self in hell.
As I was busy searching for Mr.Right, I was also searching for a good business having recently read a book “poor dad rich dad” a book that clearly explains that it is hard to become rich through earning salary alone. In the quest for riches, the thought of starting a business at the university where I was teaching came in my mind. I thought of a photocopying machine that I was sure would make me money. The only way I would secure a place for my business was by seeing the estates director. “Who sent you to me?” He asked I told him that no one has sent me. When I met him, he was with his wife heading home, he turned to her and said that he was sure it was God who had led me to him, he had all along admired me, and if he was to be a young man again, he would pursue me for himself until he marries me, but now that it was impossible, he was going to ensure that his own son marries me. I laughed hard, but at the same time, I was confused. Who in this era would get a wife for his son? I thought that this was a joke. He told me that he would do anything for me on condition that I accepted to marry his son that I hadn’t met. I told two of my colleagues, one told me to ignore the deal, and another one told me to play politics, “Who tells you that son doesn’t have a girl friend already?, Just play smart, get a place for your business”. I accepted the offer of the place, if his son appeared, I would know how to handle the situation.
One day, as I was chatting with this mature lady (relative) who had accommodated me before I got a place of my own, our conversation led to her asking me whether I had a boyfriend. I told her about this strikingly handsome man who seemed too eager for the bed. I told her of a senior bachelor that I didn’t like and then somehow told her of the conversation that I had with the estates’ director, wanting me for his son. But as far as I was concerned, I didn’t have a boyfriend at the moment. She counselled me that in a girls’ life there are times suitors are many and after some time, they all disappear, she advised it wouldn’t be good to put off all men just like that. She requested to meet this other guy who seemed so eager, but then she said she would also investigate on my behalf this director’s son. She thought it was better for me to go in a known family than date a stranger. The next time we met, she didn’t want to hear about my stranger stories.
She had done her research and was assured that this director’s son was a “good guy”. I told her that this whole thing was his father’s idea, whether good or bad, he had his own tastes and preferences, to which she intercepted that no man in his proper mind would refuse a girl like me. I was slowly settling for shit. My other mature workmate who knew this boy so well told me that he was a “good boy”. He had been like an older brother to her son while at Ntare School and he also taught in her husband’s school during his senior 6 vacations. She told me how the husband was fond of him because finding a student far away from home committed to church was uncommon. Was God finally answering my prayers as regards a marriage partner? We soon met with this guy that would be my husband. There were no butterflies, no chemistry, and no nothing. We both had studied from the same university, but we had never crossed each other’s paths. A little inquiry from his classmates told me that he wasn’t a bad boy. “I will settle with this man”, I told myself; that would bring to an end all these internal and external pressures. His father took the lead in preparing for the wedding.
“I am in love”, I told one of my close confidants. she discouraged me because the guy was a Seventh-day Adventist. I would not let this man go because of mere religion. My friend’s pleas fellow on deaf ears. I didn’t give a damn about what she thought; I just wanted to get married!
She wasn’t the only one that discouraged me, there was this female doctor who warned me that I was bound to be cheated on if I went ahead and married this guy. At the climax of it all, my friend gave me this movie “WHY DID I GET MARRIED”. In this movie, there was this particular lady who wasn’t loved at all by her husband. He would bring in girls in their matrimonial home, right under her nose. When she had had it all, she divorced the guy, the guy married his mistress and they later had issues. Luckily enough, this other unlovable woman got a loving man who married her and made her forget her former problems. My friend hoped by watching this movie, I would change my mind about this WORST decision, but I didn’t; Ooh I did change my mind a number of times, a month after our engagement, I was sure that I wanted to break off the engagement, I was convinced that my fiancée was marrying me to honour his father’s choice but not because he loved me, I let him know what I was planning, he came and assured me that irrespective of the fact that his father saw me first, he had grown to love me. One week before the traditional kuhingira, there were all these ‘red flags’ (his dependence on his father to make all decisions, some funny family dynamics, e.t.c). I cried uncontrollably, I called this lady who had acted as our “go between”, I told her that I wanted to end “this whole thing”, and she was like, “don’t be stupid, how do you end the relationship when it is only one week to the wedding?” Then on my wedding day, I felt this strong urge not to say the vows, deep inside, I felt I was doing the wrong thing, I am generally the smiling type, but smiling was hard to come by that day. I thought of saying “No, I don’t”, instead of “Yes, I Do”, but then there were all these people from my village, and the thought of making the news headlines the following day, may be weeks or months and years (BRIDE DENOUNCES GROOM ON WEDDING DAY) crossed my mind, it would be weird, what would all these people think of me? Especially the ones from my village? I surely would be the talk of the village. Oh, how I wish I had done it that day. It would have saved me all the heartache I have had to endure all these years. The news would be in archives by now, and I would either be living happily single rather than endure the hell I have been through. I have had to share my teenage house maids as my co-wives and a bunch of many other nasty things that I would equate to what was taking place in Sodom and Gomorrah.
When I was supposed to be celebrating 8 years marriage anniversary, I was instead filing for divorce. Actually, for the 8 years of marriage, we had spent 6 years miles away from each other, and in those 6 years, my ex-husband used “to change women like pants”. I had been more or less single, though married on paper. But what took me all this long to make the decision to quit? When I am well conversant with what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7: 15, “but if the unbeliever leaves, let him do so. A believing man or woman is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace”, It took me longer because I didn’t want to suffer the shame that I thought accompanies being divorced, it is a social disgrace. And also I kept hoping after hope that if I stayed maybe he would change and we build a home together. My friends who were concerned about my failing marriage gave me this Christian literature that would teach me how to become a Godly wife, but no amount of trying could change this guy. Then after realizing that he was never going to change, I was advised to pretend and stay around until I snatch back the money that I had invested in the awful marriage. Like Lot’s wife, I kept looking back, I didn’t like what I was doing, but I told my self, if only I could get my money back, then I could quit for good. The final straw was when I read his Facebook and WhatsApp messages he shared with his mistress discussing our sex life, it was too much for me that I couldn’t take it anymore. If the divorce meant that I lose all the things I had invested, then be it, at least I would regain my esteem with time.
I would choose to live single for the rest of my life than be in the kind of marriage I have been through. It is surprising that I would end up with a man that treats me like crap as if I was the worst of the worst. There is a saying that “experience is the best teacher only for the fools”. I have been a fool, but you don’t have to go through what I have gone through to learn a lesson.
I am free and forgiven but the consequences of a wrong choice do remain; taking care of the children as a single mother and the constant worry of whether their father’s immorality will catch up with them when they become grown up men.
To the single girls and boys, my advice to you is not settling for less than what God has promised. Husbands are instructed to love their wives just as Christ loved the church. How did Christ love the church? To the point of death! Yes, that’s God’s standard, that this man should lay his life for you. If he’s not treating you right, with respect and love before he marries you, he’s not going to all of a sudden change after marriage. But the truth is that no man or woman can love the other like this unless they know the Lord, for God is love and is the only source of love. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is [a]born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 1John 4:7. Religion or going to church and trying to be/do good doesn’t cut it but fully trusting in Christ’s finished work on the cross and having a relationship with Him. My husband too was and still is religious; goes to church on Saturday and even led a Bible study (what a joke!). So don’t be deceived by external things like this but rather look for a changed heart which will be manifested in character. A person who knows Christ has a changed life that is different from the ways of the world. Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.2 Corinthians 5:17, so anyone who claims to be in Christ yet stays the same, behaves the same etc is a liar. But a life that has been transformed is characterized by love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Galatians 5:22.
someone said to me, “When you marry the right person, there is nothing like it! And when you marry the wrong person, there is nothing like it!” Another person said, “There are worse things in life than not being married, like marrying the wrong person.”
Side Note: Are you an overcomer of an abusive relationship and would like to share your story? Please share to encourage those that are stuck in these toxic relationships. Get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would like to tell your story.