It’s my wedding anniversary and I am alone. Perhaps I should re-phrase that: I am not alone, as there is a handful of children in my home but I am lonely. In eighteen years of marriage, I wish I could say this is an isolated experience but it is not. As a matter of fact it has become strangely familiar, even reminiscent of a childhood and teenage years when the reason for my loneliness was a sister with a completely opposite temperament and a houseful of family members who did not slow down enough to notice my melancholia.
Burying myself in books, I created an alternative reality in which I had a long-lost twin with whom I longed to be reconciled. Having someone who knew me instinctively and who communicated telepathically became a fantasy that probably saved my sanity but it was not long before I started to desire marriage as ‘the next best thing’ to having a twin.
When I met my husband, it seemed that my fantasy had come to life before my eyes. We had many interests in common: martial arts, swimming, a deep faith and commitment to God, an intercessor’s heart and a strong attachment to family. Our middle class backgrounds had different intonations but there were many similarities in the values with which we were raised. Soon after we got married though, I discovered that my husband was very different from me in one remarkable way: he is a man and I am a woman! In spite of the fact that we notice similar things when we walk into a room, have many similar thoughts, our processing and reactions to those similar observation and thoughts are so strikingly different that we could be from different planets.
Talk about shock discoveries in marriage! For one thing, my husband is a man of rugged faith, who although he knows what it means to live well and has experienced affluence in his personal and family lives, he has a strange desire to seek out a Spartan existence. While I am myself no shrinking violet when it comes to facing challenges head on, I absolutely balk at deriving a sense of satisfaction in the dogged pursuit of new heights of self-denial the way that my dear husband does. “This man would live in a tent if I let him” I have often thought to myself, and while I am not averse to such a way of life if I absolutely had to, I most certainly would not go looking for it. Not so, my husband. He would make the children walk barefoot through the house to “learn how massai warriors walked”, tell the children that farts should be let out with abandon because wind is “better out than in” (did I mention our children are girls?), and encourage them to hunt down rodents and roaches once when we had an infestation (before he eventually called the exterminators!). On more than one occasion, he has opted for a mono-meal diet that featured the following food groups: ground rice and okra soup only (once a day), beans only (twice a day), rice and stew with fish only (once a day), an exclusive daily feast of corn on the cob and oranges (once a day), Oranges and bananas only (twice a day), cucumbers, coconuts and fried fish only (twice a day), grapefruits only (twice a day). It completely baffles me and I have given up trying to figure it out or being offended by it. Actually, I think I gave up when he selected a plain plastic plate in the kitchen and insisted on his meals being served only with that shocking choice of vessel (which even the househelps would not chose for their meals). Every entreaty to change his mind failed and I think so did my chutzpah. I decided to choose my battles and “just be gentle”.
So, back to my apparent loneliness on my wedding anniversary. Although he returned home mid-week from a trip and was home this morning, he decided to leave this afternoon because his presence was required at a Church that he has recently taken to pastoring outside our local community. This Church is a one hour flight away and every weekend with only one exception in the past few months, my husband has left home and made the one-hour flight to lead this congregation on Sunday. He invited me along to attend the Christmas service with him last year, leaving our five children alone at home on Christmas day. It broke my heart but they acted really brave and tried very hard not to let us feel bad about it.
On my part, I am trying to roll with the punches. More than once I have asked myself: “Many women are lamenting that their husbands are not at home because they have a mistress, a drinking problem or some other vice that they are dealing with. Your problem is that your husband is away serving God. Boo-hoo, what a miserable life you have”. So, I refuse to feel sorry for myself. I intend to get dressed, take myself out and celebrate my wedding anniversary alone. Afterall, my loneliness could be caused by having no one at all rather than by having someone who is away on a good cause. Right? Who am I kidding? I beg, where can I make a report that my husband has run away with a Church?
If you liked this post, you will enjoy: Things that Shocked me About Marriage
Last Updated on Sunday, 29 January 2017 13:11
Written by tBB