THE DYING LOVE
Love is a beautiful thing. ‘It makes the world go round’ or so people say. Is it true? Yes I believe Love really is a beautiful and amazing thing. It is way better than hate and resentment. Marriage is also a beautiful thing. An amazing way that two people who love each other get to come together to create a family and pass their love on to the next generations. That is how love and marriage should be, but as life would have it, some marriages are not so lovely. Infact there are some women who live in pure dread of their husbands, they have never known joy since they entered the institutionalized love called marriage. The constant battle becomes, do they leave or do they stay for certain considerations. Some choose to stay because of the stigma of being called a divorced woman, some stay because of the joint investments that they have made with their husbands, other stay because they have nowhere else to go and some stay because of their children. Either way, to stay or to leave is a choice that I have discovered no one can make for another being. It all boils down to firm decisions.
The women of excellence organization recently lost a woman. We remember her as Nana(As we used to call her not her real name). She used to be the most consistent woman in the organization. If we ever needed anything done for one of our conferences, she was the one who would coordinate the whole event from start to finish. She organized how our speakers would be picked from the airport, taken to their hotels, what they would eat, took care of the logistics etc. She was such an amazing woman that I don’t think I can appreciate her enough.
It would have been okay with me if We lost Nana to an accident, or sickness but that was not the case. We lost Nana to marriage. Despite her outward appearance, her bubbly persona and selfless attitude, Nana was living in an abusive marriage. 12 years she had been married to a man who would constantly abuse her verbally and physically. And for 12 years, she kept silent on the abuse! She even learnt to accept that maybe she was the one in the wrong! She didn’t cook his meals right, so she deserved the slaps. She didn’t clean the house right, she didn’t take care of his kids in the right way, and she didn’t do anything right by her husband’s standards.
I believe that she would have never opened up to what she was going through if I had not stumbled on her putting on make-up over her bruises. I called her to my office for some small talk session and of course when I asked her about the bruises she had, she said she fell (As every woman who goes through abuse normally says). I didn’t know the extremity of her pains until I went in to give her a hug! The woman just cringed with pain and that is when I decided I had to know what was going on with Nana. I went back, locked the door and asked her to lift up her shirt. The horror that I saw was something I could not even narrate! Nana had whip marks allover her back! The back didn’t even look human but she kept all this hidden, she wore a smile every day and pretended that all was well. I sat her down and a told her we are not leaving the office that day until she tells me who did that to her! She was quiet for the longest time until it seemed she was not in the office. I opened up my bible to proverbs 31: 10 and I read it out loud ‘Who can find a virtuous woman for her price is far above finest rubies? The heart of her husband safely trusts in her, so that he finds no need for spoil…’ It was at this point that Nana Broke down wailing! I put down my bible and walked where she sat, knelt down, held her hands and began to pray. I cannot remember what exactly I prayed that day but that was one situation that I could not handle by myself.
I stopped praying when I heard Nana calm down, the wailing ceased so we sat down, I was still holding her hands and then she opened up to me! She told me how her husband’s beats her up almost on a daily basis. She tries to do everything right but he will always find something to beat her up about. I asked her why she has never left. And she said, she tried to leave him once, she went back to her parents’ home but her own mother sent her back packing to her husband. The man made sure she was not working, didn’t have an income and so she had no way to take care of herself and her kids if she ever left. I asked her how it all began, and she narrated how she was beaten on her honeymoon night over an argument over a TV remote. He later apologized and swore to never do that again. She thought, it must have been the stress of organizing the wedding and all so she let it slide. One month into the marriage, he slapped her because she didn’t wash his socks right! From there it turned into verbal abuse and when she went and told her mother, she told him that every marriage has its own storms and she should stay in her storm until it calms! I find that a very weird advice from a mother, truth be told; I wouldn’t let my daughter stay in an abusive marriage if she ever comes to me for help. Nana and I talked for 3 whole hours, and after I asked if I could help her get income, would she leave? And she said yes she will have to think about it. That evening when she left my office, I just sat in my chair and prayed for her. I prayed that she would be brave enough to walk out; I prayed that she would realize her worth.
That was the last time I ever saw Nana. I called her the next day but she didn’t pick up my calls. After a few days her line was switched off. It was after a week or so that another member of our group called me to tell me that Nana was in a very critical condition in the hospital. We went to the hospital to see her and she was in a coma. Upon investigations, her husband was arrested for attempted murder. Two weeks ago, we buried Nana. A victim of Love. When the Lord, Jesus Christ walked the surface of the earth, he once said that there is no greater love than that where one would lay their lives down for another. In Nanas Case I often wonder, did she lay her life down or was it taken away from her?
In the past 3 months alone, we have had cases where women have been hacked to death by their boyfriends, husbands, secret lovers and I have to say this; women ought to be their first point of security and safety. I believe that no one changes right before your eyes when you get into a relationship with them! They were always who they are now, but because sometimes we women get desperate to have a man, we put aside our value systems and settle for the man who shows us love, even if it is the dying love. An abusive man doesn’t suddenly become abusive, he was abusive even from the start, but chances are, the woman covered up his insecurity with saying ‘He is so cute when jealous’. When a woman minds about her welfare, her security and her safety, she will take her time before getting into a relationship, she will test her man, push his limits to see how he reacts under pressure. It is not setting a high unattainable standard believe me, even the female birds test their mates before committing to them, why should a woman lower her standards.
I teach women to develop a value system for themselves. Write down what you want in a man, in a marriage, in a business. Write it down and when you enter the dating scene, measure a man against your values. Secure yourself in advance and you will not be a statistic. Any woman who will put up with a verbal abuse when still dating, trust me, you’ve moved the landmark on being physically abused; it is just a matter of time before the first slap, kick etc. Any woman who can forgive a cheating boyfriend, well and good, it is just a matter of time before the woman gets married to a philandering man. When a woman has no value system, she will settle for anything, she will settle for that which breaks her spirit, breaks her esteem and worse end her life.
What does security mean to me as a woman? Security begins with me. If I can watch what I eat, because I care about my waistline, then I why shouldn’t I also watch what I allow to be spoken into my life? Why shouldn’t I care who I let into my life? Why shouldn’t I watch what I allow and disallow to happen to me? I am my biggest security! I am the best police over me! I am the greatest lover of myself. And if my value system is first and foremost based on Loving me, I set the standard on how the others should love me and if their standards is lower than that which I have set, then it is not worth Dying for. Nana is dead today because she allowed another being to define her worth, her standards, her values and align it to his twisted beliefs based on how he felt about himself. My encouragement to women out there allover the world who will come across this story is; Please secure yourself by setting up a standard for yourself. Don’t wait for a man to give you security, because you may never get that from a man, but give it to yourself.