By Maria Famakinwa
Yemi, a 29-year-old mother of two, divorced her husband Toba, after she discovered that her four-year-old marriage was based on deceit. She accused her husband of lying to her that he was a graduate before she agreed to marry him.
She said: “I got married to my husband in accordance with our tradition. Even though I had other suitors then asking for my hand in marriage, I decided to stick to my husband because we started our relationship when we were in secondary school and I didn’t want to disappoint him. I gained admission into College of Education and graduated with good grade while my husband travelled to Ibadan where he told me he gained admission into University of Ibadan to study Business Administration. I finished a year ahead of him and was working as a teacher with Ekiti State Government. Most times, my husband would ask me for money to support his education and I never denied him. I helped him financially in my own little way, and after he completed his education. We got married and within four years, we had two children.
“However, I started doubting my husband’s claims of being a graduate when he told me he was unable to get a paid employment and instead decided to open a barbing shop. Not only this, all his friends are either bricklayers, carpenters, or barbers. Anytime I asked my husband why he was so comfortable with barbing instead of intensifying efforts to get good a job, being a graduate of University of Ibadan, he would tell me not to bother, that God would do it. I was very shocked when I discussed his case with our landlord who is influential to help me fix him, only to be told by the man that my husband was not a graduate otherwise he would have helped.
“I argued with our landlord that my husband is a Business Administration graduate from University of Ibadan and the man sent for my husband. It was then my husband started begging for forgiveness that he didn’t attend any university as earlier claimed but he lied because he didn’t want to lose me. I cried that day because it dawned on me that I could never trust him again. I am still contemplating on what to do next since I don’t have any love for him again,” she said.
Sharing how his first marriage crumbled, Mr Adebo Ajibolu, a trader, claimed that his former wife’s insincerity was the reason he ended the union. While describing his former wife as a habitual liar, he narrated how she wasted his time and money. “I married my former wife, Wura, after four years of courtship. I waited for her to complete her fashion design programme before we got married. During the courtship, I told her everything about me, including what some men might find difficult to let out. She likewise did same and we both concluded that we could go ahead since everyone has a past.
“Two months after our marriage, Wura told me that her aunt’s son wanted to come and stay with us. I disagreed because it was not part of our initial agreement. Her mother also called me and discussed same with me but I still disagreed. When I insisted, Wura pleaded to allow the boy come for holiday because she has promised him. I accepted reluctantly and during last year school long vacation, the 12-year-old Ayo came to spend the holiday with us. “The boy was jovial, free with everyone and ready to do anything given to him. Because he was well behaved, we became close that he told me many things and asked many questions. A particular day when Wura was not around, Ayo came to me and asked why I didn’t allow his sister to come over. I asked which of the sisters, he replied “my younger sister Eniola”. I asked who was Eniola’s mother and he said Eniola was my sibling given birth to by your wife. I asked him whose wife? He replied your wife gave birth to me and Eniola before she married you.
“I pretended as if I had heard it before and told Ayo to wait for my wife to come so that we could discuss how to bring Eniola. I became confused and restless. I called Wura and she told me she was on her way home. I waited impatiently until she came. I called her in and narrated everything to her. She could not utter a word. I asked who Ayo and Eniola were to her and she started crying and begging me that she decided not to open up immediately because she was scared of losing me after two men whom she opened up to left her. She called everyone to beg me including our pastors and family members, but I quit the marriage just eight months after we tied the knot.
“Wura was nice though, but I could not stand a woman who could hide such a sensitive issue from me. If she had told me earlier that she had two children, it would not have changed anything because she was a good lady who must have been a victim of circumstances. As I speak with you, I am skeptical about marriage because I am yet to come to terms with the reality of Wura’s deceitful act,” he said .
An artisan, Mr Semiu Oyetunji, who also separated from his wife, Olabisi, after nine years of marriage, said it was a tough decision to make but believed it was worth it. “I believe it is better to live alone than living with a woman who is not sincere. I have been complaining about this behaviour in my former wife but she refused to change until I got the shocker of my life.
“To be frank, she was very supportive but not sincere. The day I stumbled on the traveling documents of my former wife would remain unforgettable sad tale in my life. She and her brother had concluded plans for my wife to travel to USA without my knowledge. I confronted her with the documents and she told me that she had planned to inform me when the visa was out because she didn’t like discussing such a thing with anybody when it was still being processed. I was not convinced because I think there should be a level of trust between us, having spent nine years together.
“I asked if any of our children was aware, she said no but that she wanted to get the visa before telling us. The visa came a month after and she started begging me to allow her travel. I told her to go but that I was not interested in the relationship again. She waited for another month to seek for my support and forgiveness. Our children also pleaded on her behalf before I told her to go. Though she is making arrangement for me to join her, I told her I am not interested. Our children went last year for visit and came back but I will not allow her to go with them because I don’t trust her.”
A marriage counsellor and pastor, Mr Joe Oludare, advised couples to always be truthful to each other to sustain the union. According to him, trust in the midst of nothing will always be better valued than distrust in the midst of affluence. He said even though he would never advise divorce for any woman or man who has been deceived, any partner has the right to be angry.
“It is emotionally draining to learn that a man or woman you have married and would be spending the rest of your life with has a secret or has lied about an aspect of his/her life. This is a betrayal some people may not recover from for a long time. It is better for would be couples to be open to each other during courtship so that they can know either or not to go ahead with the person because it can be so painful if after marriage such secret becomes known. This can help to reduce high rate of divorce in our society,” he advised.