Days Before Marriage, My Wife’s Ex Came To My House To Give Me An Advice
I went home to visit my parents one Christmas day. The idea was to stay a day or two and get back to the city again to continue with the Christmas festivities. It was the early 90s and Christmas meant a thing even for the adults like me.
I went home and saw Adelaide. The first time I saw her something in me moved. It could be my ribs telling me, “Hey, this is what was made from the missing pieces. make a move.”
I stayed top all night thinking about Adelaide and what I would do to woo her. My ribs had spoken and they couldn’t be wrong. The next morning, I sat in front of my house all day, hoping she would come to pass. She didn’t. I had to leave the village the following day but I changed my mind.
Two days later, I saw her. I couldn’t say a thing because courage left me. A day later, she came to pass with friends. I wanted to call and talk to her but her friends were too loud it scared me back into my shell. The next morning, I went to her house looking for her. I met her dad. He said, “Isn’t it too early to come here looking for a girl? Did you sleep last night?” I answered, “I’m travelling right after here. It’s important that I deliver this message.”
He called her and she came out. I stepped out with her and told her, “I’ve been seeing you around. I even asked of you from my mom and she showed me where you live. Would you be my friend? I have to go back to the city but I want to be sure you’re a friend before I go?”
She was dead shocked. “Is that all? You came to my house just to tell me this? When I go back, my dad will ask what you told me. I should tell him you asked me to be your friend? It doesn’t make sense.”
So I dipped my hand into my pocket and put everything I found in there in her hand. “When he asks you what I told you, you can tell him a friend of yours gave me money to be given to you. He’ll understand.”
This wasn’t the era of phones so I didn’t get a number or a social media handle. I told her where I lived and in the afternoon, she came around. She was like, “Tell me the truth. Is it friendship you want or something else.”
I was a ship at sail. All I need was the wind and she gave me one. I told her what was on my heart and she laughed. I said, “I’m not here to waste your time. I need a woman to marry. If you say yes, it’s a yes to marriage.”
I was twenty-six. She was twenty-three. She said yes to me and I ended up spending the whole Christmas vacation in the village because of her. When I was leaving, I assured her, “I will come back in a month to marry you. Tell your family about me. I will send my family to your house very soon.”
A month later, I was in the village for our marriage. It was a late afternoon on Thursday when a guy came to our house to look for me. I didn’t know him from anywhere and I hadn’t seen his face all the time I’d been in the village. He was standing in the middle of the compound house looking for me. When I met him he said, “Can we talk? I mean, can we go outside and talk?”
I was thinking of what he could possibly tell me, “Or he wants to go to the city with me?” A lot of guys in the village did that. They thought the city could make them rich. There was something about the city lights. To them, the city light could shine on you and turn your life to gold.
He started, “I can see you’re with Adelaide now. I hear there’s going to be a marriage this weekend, is that true?”
I nodded my head. He wasn’t looking happy. Talking about marriage should bring smiles on every lips but he wasn’t smiling. He looked worried about something. He had the posture of an unhappy child while asking me that question. I nodded and asked if something was the problem.
He continued, “She will leave you. I know her and I know what I’m talking about. She’s marrying you not because of love. She’s doing it because it’s an opportunity to go to the city.”
“Who are you?” I asked. He said, “I’m the guy who was there before you came. We were fine. Everything was going well but she left me. We didn’t fight. We didn’t quarrel. She left because you came. She sees you as an upgrade. So just imagine when she meets a better upgrade in the city. I’m not angry and I’m not speaking from a place of bitterness. I’m talking to you as a brother. That girl will leave you. I know her.”
The first time I met her, my ribs did a thing. It was a sign that she was the chosen one. This guy in front of me can’t change my mind about her. He’s just a sour loser looking out for revenge. I thanked him and told him I would see what I could do.
I didn’t even mention our meeting to Adelaide. The marriage went on smoothly and the happiness was spread across the village like flu. Everyone caught it.
A day after the marriage, he came back again. This time around, I was angry. I asked him, “Is there something you want her to do to say sorry to you? Tell me and I will do it on her behalf.” He said, “I don’t need her sorry. It’s you I’m sorry for. When the time comes, you’ll come back to this village to divorce her. I will be here.”
I spoke to Adelaide about him. I asked what happened and she said I should ignore him because he was just bitter. They dated for over two years. I think the guy had hopes in marriage so he invested a lot into the relationship and just when he needed her the most, Adelaide took a bow.
No matter how you disregard a warning, your mind has a way of recording it and playing it back to you, especially when you see the signs of the warning approaching. Our first year was very turbulent. We were fighting almost every day and these fights had their roots in money. I was a teacher and my salary at that time would only make you laugh. I had a wife who wasn’t working. She had an SSCE certificate and the plan was to get her some work to do so she could save and go back to school.
Getting her a job was becoming very difficult for me and so for over a year, we had to rely on my laughable salary. Most of the fights weren’t her fault. It came from my own insecurity and lack. When she used so much salt, I complained, “See how the food is salty. If you continue using salt like this, we will go broke. Tone it down. Salt is expensive.”
So we fought about things that weren’t necessary and each time we fought, the voice of his ex played in my head, “He warned you but you won’t listen. This is what happens to a man who listens to his ribs more than his fellow man. You see your life?”
One day, I got her a secretarial job through a friend who was a lawyer. Mathew. Through that, she became very good friends with Mathew. Mathew had a car and their offices were close to each other. After work every evening, Mathew would come and drop my wife home. It didn’t sit right with me so I started picking up fights with my wife.
“Can’t you walk home after work? What are the shoes you wear for if you can’t walk in them? If Mathew dies today, won’t you go to work?”
I would smell my wife at night to see if she would smell like a lawyer’s girlfriend. I would smell her clothes while she was sleeping. I would go through her bag hoping I’ll see something that smells like cheating.
We didn’t have phones, I would have gone through them. We didn’t have social media, I would have monitored her activities at night and see if she posted something like, “Lawyers are bae.”
Her relationship with Mathew was killing me. Mathew had money I didn’t have and this brought back the echo of what her ex told me, “She’ll leave you when she finds an upgrade.”
Adelaide started walking home after work. one thing I loved about her, no matter how absurd my demands were, as far as it made me calm, she’ll do it. The day I spoke to her about Mathew, she asked me, “Is that all you want from me or there’s more?”
I felt ashamed but I couldn’t take my words back. Whatever she earned from her work, she put it into the marriage. We didn’t have a joint account as it’s called today but we had a joint effort to bring our dreams to fruition.
We bought a piece of land and started building our own house. At some point, we stopped because she had to go to school. I don’t know what about her but this woman only attracted men who were better than I was. In my mind, I was just a teacher who had a laughable salary so anything that sparkled around my wife dimmed the light in our marriage. The height of it all was when I had to go to her school on weekends and hide around just to see the men she moved with.
She would come home and I will tell her, “That guy in a yellow shirt you were moving with today, who is he? He was too close. Tell him to stay away.” Or the man in the white car you were talking to, what did he tell you?”
I was never enough in my own eyes so I feared that someone who was enough would one day take my Adelaide away from me. One day, after a heated argument she told me, “I don’t usually mind you because you’re not fighting me. You’re fighting your own self and your demons. I pray you conquer them so you can believe me.”
She was right, I needed to do something before I destroy my marriage with my own hands. When she completed school and started working, I started going to school too. I wanted something different. I wanted to leave the teaching field. My wife was working and was earning a good amount so I left the teaching field and concentrated on the new life I was trying to build. I was doing a degree. BA in Management. She was the one paying my fees and also paying the bills and the fees of our three-year-old son.
She had become the father of the house but she never complained or tried to order me around. I looked at her one day and thanked God for bringing her into my life. A woman who stays behind and pushes her man forward wasn’t easy to have. When my demons poked their faces, I told them, “Not today guys. Not today.”
I stopped being angry. I stopped fighting her and gradually, the voice of her ex started to fade away. There were times I heard it faintly at the back of my mind but what I said was, “Liar! She chose me because she’s the missing ribs. We are doing this together.”
Twenty-six years later, we are still here, together and strong not because I did any extraordinary things to keep this marriage but because the woman I married was determined not to fight back. On our twentieth anniversary, I apologized to her. I said, “I’m sorry for not trusting you. I do now and if there’s something I can do to undo all the mistrust I made you suffer, I will do it.” All she said was, “We grow because we are always kids and kids will do what kids will do. We were young and didn’t know better.”
Today, relationships are different. If there’s one advice I would give my son when it’s time to marry, I will tell him, “Marry a woman you can trust and when you do, don’t ever doubt her because doubt has a way of killing the root of love even before it sprouts. I was lucky. He might not get that lucky.
One day when our marriage was about six or seven years, we went to the village and I met Adelaide’s ex-boyfriend. He was still living in the village. He saw me and smiled. He couldn’t look at me in the eye. I thought he would stop and talk to me but he didn’t. I felt sorry for him because I knew deep in my heart that if he got the chance to marry Adelaide, his life would have been better. That girl makes things better. She touches dust and it turns to gold. If you doubt it, look at my life now.