Jopa’s Daughter with Olubunmi Ajai Layode
My younger friend had her introduction a few weeks ago and is getting married in a couple of months. I am so very happy for her because she could have made a bad choice that would have landed her in a miserable marriage. She was once engaged to a guy who said that he had to ‘break’ her and ‘mould’ her into what he wanted his wife to be. And break her, he did. Thankfully, he cheated on her and she found out. That put an end to the engagement. It was after they broke up that she told us the extent of the emotional abuse she endured in the relationship. She said when she complained to the guy’s mum about his meanness to her, the mum said, ‘You are lucky that you are marrying the gentlest of my sons. His older brothers beat their wives.’ My friend was horrified, and the would-be mum-in-law saw the shock on her face. She cackled, ‘Why are you looking shocked? Does your dad not beat your mum?’ My friend said no, she had never seen her father beat her mum. The would-be mum-in-law asked her, ‘How then does your dad correct your mum when she is wrong?’ It was the elderly woman’s time to be shocked. How can a man not beat his wife to correct her? Is that not the same way one beats a child when the child is wrong? Does this mean that one does not love one’s wife and children?
The fact is that she should not even have dated that kind of guy. Love should not belittle you. Love should not seek to shrink you. Love is selfless in that it wants the best for you. Love wants you to be yourself and a better version of yourself, not what they think you should be. My young friend has a good job in an oil company. She is extremely hard working and her hard work paid off in that she quickly earned the confidence of her managers who gave her more responsibilities. Even though initially, she did not get recompensed financially, she later got promoted faster than her mates who were employed around the same time she was employed. Then when her dad died, she came into some money from his estate. I told her to buy property and invest. She said, ‘Oh no! I couldn’t do that. What if I meet a man who has not bought property? He would think that I am arrogant or beyond his reach.’ I told her to think about this. Do you want to marry a man who is threatened by your success?
My ex also wanted to break me in order to mould me into what he felt I should be to him. I was more intelligent than him, yet he derided me and would get angry if I had an opinion that was more intelligent than his. So, soon, I learnt to not have an opinion, superior or not. I started dumbing down my intellect. He derided my very good English and would tell me not to talk in public because of my Naija accent. But the thing was this – my English was infinitely better than his. Not only did he speak bad English, he also spoke with a fake British accent. He derided my dressing. I could not further my career till he furthered his. Soon, the breaking and moulding became physical abuse. The thing is this – when a person is not satisfied with who you are as a partner, they don’t get satisfied. They keep on breaking you and breaking you till there is nothing left to break. I was with that breaker and moulder for seven years.
The good thing about a bad relationship is that it teaches you what you will accept or not. In the words of that comedian on Instagram, you do not like what you hate. After my friend left the breaker and moulder, she took my advice and invested in some land at Ibeju Lekki. She bought a jeep; she travelled on her own, took herself out to watch movies and generally had the time of her life. She was herself and did not shrink herself for anyone. Then she met a man who loves her just the way she is, the man who is confident in his own success and is not threatened by her own success.
Dear single person, please do not dim your shine for anyone. Marriage on its own is difficult even when you are married to your friend who wants the best for you. It is hell being married to an insecure person who wants to break you to fit their idea of what they feel a spouse should be. You only live once, my friend. Marriage will happen when it will, not a moment before or later. And even if it does not happen, you still live your life on your own terms. Live happily.