When The Table Turns

“NO snail ever crawls without its shell in tow.” This Yoruba aphorism, in my view, best describes the closeness, which ideally should exist between a husband and his wife. Where the opposite happens, it needs no telling that danger is afoot and all is far from well.

   Indeed, by the divine design of marriage, as it is observable in Christendom and I guess, as has been adopted in the secular world, it is unimpeachable that  ‘What God has joined together, let no man put asunder’ has become an all-time creed, on virtually every lip, at any wedding.  And far from exaggerating, even a nursery school pupil can recite it without any assistance.

   Frankly, I have seen couples live out this scriptural charge, with such dutiful, if not religious fervour. To some, marriage means shutting out any interference from a third party, no matter how close. Even when they risk being branded ‘ Me and My wife’, they merely go on with their lives, convinced that nothing else matters. Splendid! For others, untinctured marital bliss is that, which is characterised by endless bonding and sharing of information, money, meals and others. In fact, some take their sense of oneness to an admirable level by donning the same attire to Church or on specific family functions. Great!

   Really, there is a lot to learn from a husband and wife never tiring of pledging loyalty and showing love to each other while also spending everyday of their lives in the complete reassurance that what they share is not, in any way, a fluke. No wonder most children raised in such homes, where father and mother love each other interminably, keep judging anyone they come across against their parents’ standards and praying that their own love lives and, ultimately, marriages will be just as blessed and trouble free.

   I testify to having seen an old couple show so much affection to each other that they extend it beyond the four walls of their home, by taking early evening strolls, hand in hand, everyday. Until the man passed on, even young couples in the neighbourhood could not help going green with envy, at the sight of these old ‘love birds’ each time they engaged in their ‘love nwantintin.’ To all that marriage could only have been ‘minted’ in heaven.

   But, in recent times, modern day challenges and the exigencies of eking out a living or making ends meet have, persistently, hauled stones of temptation and damnation at most hitherto near perfect marriages and homes. So, serious is this issue that matters relating to bread and butter have made many ‘absentee parents’ delegate some, if not most of their duties to house girls, drivers and some other domestic staff. Or what do we make of drivers taking over ‘school runs’, house girls showing up on behalf of parents at PTA meetings and so on?

   Back to some of the challenges in marriages, today, such stricture can be the loss of a job, by the erstwhile breadwinner of the home: the man. And as we all know, romance takes a flight out of the home where finance is absent. Apart from that, a reversal of roles is not what any man wishes for even his enemy. Oh yes, a real man’s self – esteem and confidence simply nosedive where his wife takes over the running of the home. If there is no tension, at all, in such a home, it can only mean one thing: the madam of the house is divinely endowed with enormous patience, wisdom, largeness of heart and respect for the husband. But, in most cases, the result of this kind of ugly scenario has been grossly catastrophic.

   What can also deal a terrible blow on marital bliss, in some cases, is the inevitability of living apart by husband and wife. For certain couples, either of the spouses may have no power to reverse the situation when there is a job-related transfer to another state or town. And this is so common, these days. For instance, work may compel the wife to move to Abuja while the husband’s ‘work station’ is in Lagos. If they insist on living together, then one of them must resign to join the other. At this time, I can only sympathise with the couple, who must think up creative ways of managing the family, particularly, the children.

   Truly, it can be ‘a dog’s life’ when circumstances force them to live apart. It is also the time that the love between the man and his wife is put to its most rigorous test. While some couples have handled this well and without any hiccups, whatsoever, others would seem to have been caught napping. Some couples have also had to bow to a setback in their marriage when one of them, particularly the man of the house, suffers a permanent disability resulting from sickness or accident.

   As we live in a society everyone believes that it is their right to mind other people’s businesses, it is not uncommon for hearsay to fly around, when couples live apart. Some of these damaging tales include: ‘Oh … a certain man visits your wife every evening …’ or ‘I saw your husband dropping a woman off in front of a salon on Saturday….’ And if the couples, at the centre of this ‘tale bearing’ are not steadfast and strong enough to stand through it all, they may, in no time, find themselves in the ditch of distrust and consequent dissolution of their marriages.

   In this case, a few Nollywood actors and actresses have handled the wrong end of the stick, as they end up losing their marriages to cheap gossips and wicked fabrications. This is why couples will do well to communicate, as surely as the day dawns. Failure to do this will only be opening their flanks for haters to put a wedge between them.

   Yet, my ‘straight- from –the –heart’ counsel to couples; the women in particular, who find themselves in such a testing predicament, are to guard their minds jealously. It is only when they decide not to hear or see it, that the evil will be nowhere near to embrace.

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