By Francis Ewherido
Like many other readers, I was curious about the story with the headline: “woman in Australia crashes her own funeral, surprising husband who paid to have her killed” on Yahoo News. The story, which originally appeared in Chicago Tribune, was about an African couple based in Australia. According to the story, the husband, Balenga Kalala, hired hit men to kill his wife, Noela Rukundo. The assasins mercifully spared her life, but told the husband the assignment had been carried out. Five days later, Kalala organized Rokundo’s funeral. It was while mourners were leaving that Rokundo came out from where she has been observing her supposed funeral and confronted her husband.
As I was reading the story, only one question was on my mind: why? Why would a husband hire killers to snuff the life out of his wife? According to the story, Kalala wanted Rokundo dead because he thought she was going to leave him for another man.
Did you hear that? He assumed. Assumption has done irreparable damage to many marriages and relationships. When I started this column on November 17, 2013, “Assumptions” was the fifth article I did. I find no better way to react to Kalala’s foolishness, so please find below an amended version of the original article.
Aristotle, the all-conquering and legendary Greek philosopher, repeatedly committed school boy errors, that is, mistakes you do not expect from somebody of his intellectual calibre. “Aristotle maintained that women have fewer teeth than men; although he was twice married, it never occurred to him to verify this statement by examining his wives’ mouths.” (Bertrand Russell).
Besides his two wives, married to him at different times, Aristotle also had a daughter, Pithias, named after his first wife, whom he could have used to get the number of women’s teeth. Aristotle made this simple but grave mistake because he assumed when facts were readily available. Unfortunately, Aristotle’s blunder still plagues us till date.
My poor knowledge of the sciences notwithstanding, I know about hypothesis. In lay man’s language, hypothesis means assuming when facts are not available. What this means is that the only time you are supposed to assume or guess is when you do not have facts and you cannot get the facts.
The scourge of assumption is one of the problems tearing marriages and relationships apart today. A woman feels that her husband is no longer giving her the usual attention. There can only be one reason: he is having an affair. She decides to get even and foolishly starts an affair.
A man runs into his wife in a restaurant having lunch with a male colleague or client. She seems to be enjoying his company. Pronto, he jumps to the conclusion that she is having an affair. When she comes back from work, she is welcomed with a stone face or disapproving frown and then he launches a psychological warfare: he will neither talk to her nor eat her food, he will move to the guest room and the madness and foolishness can continue for weeks just to drive the wife to hysteria. When he manages to come back to his senses, he realises it had all been “sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Macbeth). He has just made a complete fool of himself.
As in the sciences, there should be no room for assumptions in marriages, except where facts are not available which is seldom. If you have issues or doubts, create the appropriate time and talk them over. Couples who communicate frequently and empathically are more likely to resolve their differences because there is a great understanding. The beauty of communication is that you know where each person stands even if opinions differ.
A spouse is like a book that has a beginning but no ending (until death). You just continue reading. Couples should make it a duty to continue to understand their spouses. It starts during courtship and continues during marriage because changes happen as time goes on due to age, new experiences and external factors.
My friend for the past 26 years came visiting one Sunday. We had not seen for a long while. Immediately my wife came out to greet her, she got agitated and blurted out: “Florence you are putting on weight; Francis doesn’t like fat women o!” Then I calmed her: “That is the former Francis. This Francis loves this woman.” She assumed because she still had the idealistic Francis of the 90s in mind. This Francis is realistic and practical.
Sometimes assumptions result from talebearers’ information. If you choose to run your life and family with information from talebearers, at least do yourself some good by verifying vital information before you cry wolf where none exists.
In the run up to their 25th wedding anniversary, a woman dragged her husband before their pastor. The wife complained that the husband does not love her anymore. The man was bemused: “But I take care of all your needs and the children’s, I do give you all you request for, and fulfill my duties as a husband; what else do you want?” the man blurted out. “So what is the problem, madam,” the pastor asked? “Pastor, the last time he told me ‘I love you’ was during our wedding 25 years ago.” “Is that true, chief,” the pastor asked. “Yes, pastor, but I have not said or done anything to the contrary since then, so the ‘I love you’ I said 25 years ago is still subsisting,” the chief rationalised. You can see that one sure way to take assumptions out of our marriages is by constantly reassuring our spouses in words and deeds.
It is Valentine season, and love is in the air. Besides the gifts you will give your spouse or fiancé/fiancée on this St. Valentine, rid your marriage and relationships of assumption. It creates avoidable tension, bitterness and acrimony. You can also make a complete fool of yourself or go to jail like Kalala. I wish you all a Happy St. Valentine’s Day.