I’m a man of simple things and don’t expect so much from my wife. All I want from her is to be the woman I married and nothing else. When we were dating, she was a beauty. Her fashion sense was top notch and she never put a color wrong when it came to choosing which colors to blend and wear. I always couldn’t wait for her visit. She could light up a dull place with just her presence. She didn’t need to do so much to make her presence felt. She was larger than life and that was all I expected from my woman.
So from the beginning, I told her, “Just be. Don’t change a thing because a woman like you doesn’t need to do so much.”
It wasn’t so long after marriage till I started noticing the change in her. She stopped trying. She was like a faded rainbow with some of the colors missing. She didn’t put much effort into the way she looked any longer. She could walk around the house naked all day. I told her, “Yea we are in the house but please put some clothes on. The excitement of a gift almost always comes from the way it’s wrapped. Wrapped yourself around here. It’s a plea.” She looked at me as if she didn’t get what I said.
She would change for a day. The next day, she’ll simply slump into her default actions.
Marriage change people, they say but I didn’t think a peacock will simply turn into a boring vulture. She threw her stuff around haphazardly. Her clothes could stay unwashed for days until she’s looking for a particular dress to wear and realized that particular dress had not been washed. She’ll go through the dirty clothes, pick that particular dress, raise it against the sun to inspect how dirty it is. She would then say, “Oh this dress I wore it only once. I don’t think it’s that dirty.” She’ll carry the dirty dress to the iron board and iron it. Tadaaa, the dress is as good as washed.
Nothing I say could change that. When she feels pressured, she would say, “Who am I impressing? I’m married and I don’t need to impress anyone for praises.” Sad. She didn’t know her husband needed to be impressed too.
Most often I let it go but deep down, I was sad. At some point, I had to throw away my standards so I could avoid altercations. Everything I liked didn’t matter to her. What matters was what was easy for her to do and what made her happy.
A lady in my office took unexpected sick leave and her job was added to mine.
That meant I had to stay late in the office and also had to call the lady often to ask questions concerning the things I wasn’t able to do without supervisions. I was chatting with her most often while in the office and when I got home and had to complete some work, I would call her in the night and ask for clarifications. My wife took notice of the change in me and started asking questions; “Why do you stay late at work these days?” “Who’s that girl you’ve been talking to on phone even when it’s late?” “Why are you always online on Whatsapp?”
One morning, I walked into her in the bedroom going through my phone. I quickly snatched it from her. Apparently, she didn’t read much but she was able to get the name; “She’s Naana, I know. You’re cheating, you see I’ve caught you?” To me, she was just on a ghost hunt so I didn’t pay her much attention. She kept asking me and I kept putting her off. She’ll get angry. She’ll talk for several minutes but I didn’t see the need to address a concern that wasn’t true.
Then I started seeing changes in her.
She’ll wake up in the morning, cook breakfast and invite me to eat. That was unusual. She’ll clean the bedroom, dress the bed every morning and arrange the living room very neatly. That was also very unusual. She would walked around the house in skimpy dresses seeking to draw my attention. Everything about her changed for the better and for once I was smiling a lot around the house and complimenting her every step of the way. We were both happy and being lovey-dovey around the house. One night, she brought back the topic again; “I still need answers, Felix. Who’s that girl? What does she do that I don’t do or what does she have that I don’t have?”
That night, I patiently explained everything to her. I even gave her my phone to complete reading the messages between me and Naana. I told her, “I was only working with her because she was on sick leave. Nothing.”
She smiled. She said, “I thought you were being a naughty boy.”
Few days later, she was back to factory settings.
All the things she did when she suspected I was dating Naana, she did them no more when she got the assurance that I wasn’t dating Naana. Back to not wearing ‘dross’ around the house. Back to not caring about what she wore. Back to picking dresses from dirty clothes and ironing them to wear once again. Back to all the things that were easy to do but caused us unhappiness in the house.
On my thirty-fourth birthday, my ex-girlfriend wrote a glowing message for me on Facebook and tagged me in it. My wife knew the story of me and my ex and how we nearly got married had it not been our tribal differences. We didn’t care about our tribal differences but unfortunately, our parents cared. We tried but couldn’t win against them so we went our separate ways. So the love between me and my ex didn’t die a natural death. It was buried alive by parents who were archaic in their ways of thinking and were never ready to change their way of thinking.
Till date, my wife thinks I still have something for my ex. The truth is, we both moved on long ago.—long before I even met my wife.
That birthday message got my wife triggered. She was so worried she couldn’t put words together to express her angst. She started asking me questions about it. My character is such that I don’t give voices to things that don’t exist so when she asked questions painted with her own jealousy and uneasiness, I decided to ignore her. Then I realized that slowly she was turning a new leaf.
This leaf wasn’t only greener, it was so beautiful I wished it would never wilt. I said in my head, “This is the woman I married. She started turning colorful again; She cooked and served. She dressed well in skimpy things to draw my attention. She would lay on top of me on the sofa while we watch movie. She’ll wear fragrance when going to bed and stay cuddly all through the night.
That made me realized one thing; my wife is built for competition and she’s ever ready to compete and win no matter the cost and sacrifice. So when she senses a woman near her husband, she sees it as an opportunity to compete and win. She knows what I like and she knows what will bring me to my knees and beg for more. To her advantage, she had what it takes (beauty, brain, colors, body, mannerisms) to win and she wasn’t so much perturbed when it came to competition. The only problem was when there was no one to compete, she will slump into chaff and remain bland until someone wakes her up to compete again.
I got the drift and decided to use it to my advantage. If who you love loves to competes, then you should also love to create competitions even when there are none.
I removed the password on my phone and left it around carelessly knowing she would pick it and read. I created fake conversations with people to make her think they were interested in me. She almost always picked the bait and she was always armed to teeth to kick whoever coming into her territory out. For so long I got her to act well and be her best around the house. My wife is the most exciting person in the world when she turns on her button. You can’t beat her but for how long could I continue creating fake battles for her to win?
So one night, I decided to tell her the secret. I gave it all out to her so the two of us would stop the charade once and for all. “I’ve realized you act well when you suspect I’m cheating on you. The truth is, I can’t cheat on you even if I tried. It’s you I want and all those perceived women are just me creating troubles where there is none. I do it intentionally knowing that you’ll be at your best. So darling let’s agree to remain like this every day and we’ll have no reason to fight.”
She laughed when I told her the truth. She said, “So it’s me you’re toying around like that?” She promised to be a good girl. She even laid down some rules and activities for me to follow. That wasn’t difficult. Love is love.
Some few weeks later, she reverted to factory settings and there was nothing I could do to bring her up to speed. My old trick wasn’t working again because I’ve told her the truth. “Tell no one your secret.” I learned the meaning of this phrase the hard way. I was feeling like Sampson. I’ve told the Delilah in my life the secret of my life and now my hair is gone and my strength is lost.
I could only complain and she could only continue to do what benefits only her.
We had a fight one night and the next morning, I went to a pool party some friends invited me to. My ring wasn’t tight enough. I was scared I will lose it in the pool so I removed it. The following day, friends and mutual friends started posting photos and tagging me on Facebook. That was when my wife angrily rushed to me in the bedroom; “You’ve been removing your ring when you go outside so you can cheat, right? You see I’ve caught you?”
I don’t give voice to things that don’t exist so I decided not to say a word. That day, when I was leaving home, I removed my ring and she saw it. She was very angry and ready to pounce but I cared less. The old trick wasn’t working again so just maybe this one might. When I returned home later that day, “She was all over me asking me why I’ve removed the ring; “Are you not interested in the marriage again? What has come over you? Answer me…Am I not a woman enough?” I said no word. I kept it civil and I kept my composure.
Days later, the green leaves started to sprout. I said in my head, “I knew it…this will work.”
She called me for breakfast and I told her, “Don’t start what you can’t continue.” I didn’t eat. She started doing everything right again but I wasn’t ready to reciprocate because I knew the end result. Instead, I used the opportunity to ask the question I hadn’t ask all this while, “Why are you doing this?” She said, “Can’t I cook for my husband again?” I asked again, “Why are you being nice? Let’s talk. You think I’m seeing someone else?”
“Not that at all. I’m trying to turn things around here.”
“For how long is this going to continue?”
“As long as we are here but don’t leave everything to me. Do your bit. Work with me. I only need your support.”
I asked her what support means to her and she made a list of so many things. She had a point. I didn’t look at it that way, maybe because she didn’t also say it right from the start.
We’ve been great for over a year now. I’m not saying it has been rosy but I’ve come to realize that results can be very dicey so instead of always looking for results sometimes we have to look at the effort. Have we made enough effort to see the change we’ve been fighting for? Yes, we have. Have we seen the results we’ve been working towards? “No we haven’t gotten there yet but there has been a huge improvement in our lives and that is worth celebrating. We’ll get there. We won’t stop trying.