Wednesday, 24 October 2007

On......3 marriages? or 3 mirages?

He was surprised to wake up with her hand draped against his chest. He could not remember the last time that there had been any post-sleep contact between the two of them. They slept in the same bed, as they had for the past twenty years, with an invisible wall between them. Occasionally a renegade foot or hand would stray into opposition territory. Sleepy recoil usually followed. Perhaps it was the discomfort that had awoken him. Her arm felt alien. Heavy. Sweaty. He wanted her to move but was reluctant to wake this most fragile of sleepers. He enjoyed this brief period of peace. There was no pressure to retort or respond to the quips of another. Tranquillity reigned. But that arm! It was a weight on his chest. He had to take the risk. He bent his spine and sunk his back deep into the mattress. This created a small space between arm and chest. In one movement, he rolled to his left side and tried to wriggle under her arm. His manoeuvre was too swift and poorly rehearsed and he ended up on the floor. He found the carpeted ground not entirely uncomfortable. The carpet was made from sea grass and had been specially woven and imported from Panama. Last year he and his wife had argued at great length over the price. In his sleepy state he quietly thanked her for her ability to discern quality carpets. He extended his hand over the bed and pulled his pillows on to the ground. Sleep at last!

*

It was not that she was unhappy - far from it -but Adaobi had started questioning her own sanity. On the face of it life was grand. She had been married for eight years and had three lovely children that she adored. Her husband, Chike, had a big job in the city that paid big bucks so they could afford the big mortgage repayments on their big house. Big deal. Life had become a series of chores. She wondered, with increasing regularity, how the path from graduating top of her Stanford business class had led to a beautifully finished oak and granite kitchen. Her aspiring whirlwind career had been replaced by the quotidian beats of suburban life. Still there were many people in worse positions she thought. Mustn't grumble. Mustn't grouse. If only Chike spent more time at home maybe she would have someone to talk to. Maybe if she took a part time job. Maybe when the kids grow up. Maybe if her damn friends didn’t spend the whole day complaining about their bloody husbands. Maybe if she stopped getting these fucking headaches. Maybe…….
The sound of tyres on gravel cut short her mental meanderings. Chike was home and his food was not yet ready. He would not be happy today.

*

She couldn't recall the last time she had looked forward to a date with such fervour. Maybe it was his inimitable charm. Perhaps it was his endearing elusiveness and apparent worldliness . He travelled all the time and they had postponed this date many times. They had met cordially enough but an exchange of emails and text messages followed, each slightly bolder and braver than the last. After a month, it had become very clear exactly what they wanted to do to each other and the number of times they wanted to do it. She arrived at San Lorenzo's a few minutes after seven and was ushered to a discreet table in the corner. In spite of their electronic courtship, they had actually only seen each other a few times. He was more handsome and charming than she remembered and the dinner was a rousing success. She talked about Venice and DaVinci. He talked about Inarritu and India. They found common ground. He dropped her off at her place and she invited him in for a night cap. The sexual tension of a compatible couple is a terrific thing. They were tearing each other's clothes off before the key was in the lock. The sex was furtive and forceful but no less gratifying. They crumpled into a sweaty heap and slept the sleep of long-time lovers. She woke earlier than he and silently marvelled at his naked body. She betrayed her instincts and started playfully thinking of their next date and beyond. Had she had sex too soon? Were here emails too brazen? What would he think of her? Her eyes fixed on his hands and her dawn light reverie was cruelly ended. She cursed herself for not noticing before. How could she have been so blind? She averted her gaze to the ceiling but her eyes forcefully returned to the single, solitary digit on his left hand. The fresh imprint of a wedding ring was unmistakable…..

**

Marriage was once sacred. Now they tell us that 1 in 3 marriages will end in divorce. I met a man the other day who was on his 3rd marriage - at the age of 40. Where does it start going wrong? When do people stop trying for each other or making the effort? When do the early joys and euphoria of being part of a collective start turning into a dull routine? When does marriage start becoming so unbearable that you can no longer stand the sight of the person sitting across the breakfast table? When do you stop eating breakfast together? When do dinners start going cold as a wife waits for a husband who is 'working late'?

They cease to be marriages. They become mirages. They mask the pain and the suffering of people who have long since stopped trying or giving a shit. If you are married and you are reading this, never stop trying. The day that your 100% slips to 98% is the day that you start creating a mirage. Do not become a statistic. Yes it can be tough. You will peak and you will trough. But do not treat every dip like a knockout blow. Always find commonality in the things that you enjoy and never forget the reasons you started loving your partner. Indeed, find even newer reasons to love them everyday and I promise you that you will be together until the Reaper parts you.

31 comments:

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

This was very good to read. Marriage is wonderful but many of us forget that like anything, it requires work to maintain.
And yes, once your 100% slips a few points, it is time to put some work in it.

Very well written. Liked the Marriage vs. mirage...

SOLOMONSYDELLE said...

Oh my, I was first????
Cool!

Naapali said...

ah2-2,
I know you are psychic. I have been thinking of a post that this one broaches. Every time I meet older couples that have been together seemingly forever I ask them their story. I should write some of them.

My perception, relationships including marriage are work. All the skills and effort brought into play successfully in other aspects of life must constantly be employed. Also one must see it as a committment, no matter what (exceptions in my book are physical/mental violence).

onydchic said...

nice story... i actually read an article on something very similar on CNN, where people nowaddays still expect a marriage t perfect and when it isn't (shock), they're too emotionally lazy to actually mae it work. And it's the truth.

Waffarian said...

Very well written. My own theory is to keep marraige away for as long as possible. Yeah, its going to be the same face for the rest of your life, why make the torture longer? hehehehehheh, but seriously, the same face? every single morning? for the rest of your life? dammmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm!

30+ said...

Lol at Waffy, so how long should one leave it for.

The marriage situation today is so sad. And they are getting younger by day. As in folks in their late 20's, 30's divorcing here and there.

You just wonder what is the point.

Yet in the beginning it was not so.

Ekoakete said...

Well said Atutu. A marriage needs constant attention and a huge commitment to it's success. Take it for granted and you'll be wondering where it all went wrong...

ozaveshe said...

beautifully written. and very true too

too abd about divorce rates, even here in Nigeria. too many broken homes these days

nice post. keep on wowing them

zerkhezi said...

Very well written, alot of people say there is that one special person for you out there. Don't really believe in it cos once 1 person marries the wrong person, the plan gets ruined for every1 else.
People don't spend enough time in long relationships (bcos its a relationship, the moment problems arise,or we get bored, we jump ship). Unfortunately, this mentality is being carried forward into marriage. For any type of relationship to work, the amount of commitment, patience and sacrifice needed is staggering. If we haven't learnt to cultivate any of thses habits in our youth, how are we supposed to successfully manage a marriage?

fantasy queen said...

nice one...more reason why i should run as fast as i can from it...everyone should...lol', but seriously, i've looked at my parents and most grown up relatives/family friends around me, they give meaning to the whole deal of making it work and sticking it out..theres a whole lot of grass to grace, better or worse situations with them..uh...conflicting i guess.

In my head and around me said...

A standing ovation!!!

Orientatednaijababe said...

thanks for the advice, will forever remember this post...

Kpakpando said...

loved this.
Too many people are too eager to get married but reluctant to put in the hard WORK it takes to maintain and grow a marriage... it's more than the wedding, it's a full time job with great benefits, but requires plenty of overtime with no extra pay.

CATWALQ a.k.a LAGBA-JESS said...

Marriage: a gift, a blessing and a serious responsibility....

Baby, u okay?

Afolabi said...

marriage or mirage? hmmnn..words for thought.

Nonesuch said...

Brillant Post. Marriage is like a 'Rose Flower'(gardener will tell you its a lot of HARDWORK to grow roses). My mantra in my 5 years of marriage is 'What you dont nurture can not grow'Liken that to the rose again and before you know it the flower is dry and the flower bed over flowing with weeds and other ndesirable elements. The thorns are all part of the bargain too.

cally-waffybabe said...

Well written as usual. As for the divorce rates, blame the very busy husbands whose families come second as their jobs occupy first positions...

geisha said...

i like the way u put the words together to paint the pictures..
these days it does seem like marriage is just a mirage

Naapali said...

CWB,
haba softly now. If we no work dem go say we be freeloaders, no get responsibility, no fit support family etc etc. We work now na him be say we dey put family second and work first. Eh. Wetin man go do?

Kafo said...

I love this

Three different scenerios, marriages gone wrong
and various stages


i like
truth spoken and the words so beautiful

Bitchy said...

Nice one, Atutu. Haven't taken the big step yet, and don't intend to anytime soon, but when I do, will definitely come back to this for what I'm sure will be some much-needed guidance - I bore easily. Hope all is well in Atutu Land? Xxx

Isi said...

this is so cute... i'm almost in tears. love is so ephemeral these days, u wonder why. guys are weary of girls. girls are suspicious of men... we all think in monetary or sexual terms.
sad!

Onome said...

sniff! sniff!! u should be given a nobel prize...dat was amazing........i hope both d married will remember this wen things dont seem as rosy/romantic as before...

princesa said...

Am late as usual!Latecomer like me,lol!

The number of 'mirages' around us is alarming, REALLY.
Nothing good comes easy,Successful marriages require a lot of hard work.

Aijay said...

Brilliant post Atutu!!
Its amazing how most people have given up on the possibility of having a healthy relationship/marriage. (I wonder how one can build one with such pessimism.)
I keep telling such people that there's no point jumping from pillar to post in search of... what?... The perfect relationship/partner?
It takes love, patience, commitment, dedication, compromise and lots of hardwork to make any relationship work.

cally-waffybabe said...

@ naapali: Shoo na only my comment you see? LOL. Don't tell me you're also guilty of that o...LOL

UnNaked Soul said...

In the euphoria of orgasm we take the vow... then when it all cums down, we say 'wow! wtf did I do?'

bottom line is, when NEPA take light for your marriage, trying to work it out from one side is as good as staring at the SUN on a very hot afternoon. You get fucked/frustrated each passing moment...

Life is too short... Play More

Where's my XBOX360 pad? oh, there you are :-D

UnNaked Soul said...

Ingredient for a successful relationship/marriage: ME! yes, YOU!

Without that, all the love in the world is not enough *wink*

zerkhezi said...

hello, it didnt seem apropriate to tag u on ur most recent post so i'm doing it here. pls visit my blog for details

curvyice said...

this was and is a good one. people need to hear this cos its becoming a pandemic......hw are you?

Shotmusinz said...

If u r over 20 and have ever suffered through the breakup of a relationship u put in all you could, being so hopeful that 'this is it!', u'd agree with the Igbo saying that 'the song wey dem dey sing wen dem dey go farm, no be d same dem dey sing wen dem dey return'.

People can theorize they want, but the truth remains: human beings (and marriage) are too complex to be put in a box. The large percentage of men & women who have 'worked' themselves to death all the name of saving their marriage proves that.