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How much can you tell your spouse?(5)

By Yetunde Arebi

Hi, Who is your confidant? Is it a friend or your spouse? How much of your secrets can you share with your spouse?
Love, they say is about giving and sharing, which can only thrive where there is mutual trust, understanding and effective communication between the partners. So, who better can you share your secrets with other than the one you claim to love, cherish and share your body with? The one who is supposed to know you inside out.

However, this appears not to be the case with a lot of couples, young and old. In this narratives from some of our respondents, reasons, ranging from traditional to moral grounds were attributed as part of the barriers militating against sharing of secrets between partners. Beginning from this edition and as our special package for the holidays, you will be reading what these people had to say.

If you or someone you know of, have been through a similar experience, or you have an interesting story to share with us on this issue, please write and send your contributions/opinions to The human Angle, Vanguard, P.M.B. 1007, Apapa, Lagos. Or our e-mail address: we look forward to reading from you. Cheers!

Sunmbo, (64), retired Civil Servant, takes over the discussion with the argument that sexual exploits must be kept secret between couples:

A woman must not also discuss with her husband if she was rapped, this is a very sensitive issue that has broken so many homes. If it happens and the man was not around, there is no point in creating fresh wounds that are not likely to heal, so she must not tell her husband for the sake of being open with him. I can assure you that before she knows it, the man is walking out of her life.

A few years ago in my church, it happened to a young couple when armed men visited their home. The men had threatened to kill the husband if the woman did not succumb to their wish. The woman agreed, and after the whole thing, when her husband ought to be grateful to her for saving his life, he started threatening her with all sort of things.

The church intervened but to no avail. He said that his wife did not put up enough resistance before she agreed. And that was the end of the marriage.

There was another case of a woman who was rapped by some area boys on the way back from the office one night. In her state of confusion and panic, she got home weeping profusely and narrated how it happened to her husband and that was also the end of her marriage.

The man started suspecting her every move after that and before long, he was insinuating that there was a possibility that she knew the guys that did it to her. She was forced to park out at the end because nothing she did was ever right again.

Now; if the rape case happened as a young girl and the husband did not grow up in her neighborhood, or chances of his hearing about it are slim and she has managed to get over it, or in control of her trauma, then the wife has no business talking like a parrot.

If eventually he finds out one way or another, then the matter can be reviewed, but not before. Rape is not an easy matter at all, it’s very complicated because of the secrecy that surrounds sex in our society.

Several years ago, a young girl was raped by some village boys in my hometown. The girl and her parents had come home for one of the festive celebrations and she’d accompanied her cousins to a dance at the town hall. There, she was approached by one of the town boys and naturally she turned him down.

Perhaps intoxicated or under the influence of something, he got some other boys and managed to lure the poor girl outside, there she was raped. Her crime was that she was too proud, arrogant and abusive.

The girl’s parents wanted to make a big case of the matter and vowed to get the boys into jail, but the Oba and some elders of the town advised them to drop the matter and take care of their daughter, because dragging the issue can only cause more harm and embarrassment for the family and the girl. That was how the matter was dropped and the girl flown out of the country. That is the way society is and we have to live by it, its not easy to be a woman.

There is also another very difficult secret a woman cannot tell her husband, and that is when the woman brings an illegitimate child into the family. You know, it is believed that it is only a woman that knows the father of her child because the child belongs to anyone whom she gives it to. These things happen all the time, and the reasons vary from one situation to another.

Sometimes it is a case of a simple mixup, other times, it is deliberate. Unless a woman is prepared to leave the marriage, or the deed was done with the consent of her husband who is either infertile or has some other conditions, then, she is not likely to let him into her secret.

But as they say, if there is a bastard somewhere and the place is peaceful, it is because the child is not old enough to display it’s traits, when the time comes, he will surely prove himself a bastard for all to see.

Now, when that time comes and the child starts showing traits that the other children don’t have, it is the mother that will be seeing everything and will be counseling the child secretly about it’s behaviours. However, there are cases whereby the man too may discover along the line and things will change.

A similar case took place several years ago in a well known family in Lagos, where the woman brought in a bastard deceiving her husband. Unknown to her, her husband detected this along the line, but he kept quiet and raised the child along with the other children, even sponsored his education abroad just like his other children.

However, on his death, he left nothing for him in his will and specifically stated that the boy, the first child for the family, be given a mismatch pair of native buba and trousers because he was not his.

So, if  a woman knows that she has done such a thing, she can never tell her husband, nor anyone for that matter, or else she is prepared to pack out of her home, or something compelling her to do so happened.

Again, there are times women go below their class or status to have a fling or something. Now if a woman has perhaps gone out with such a person, she cannot even tell her friends not to talk of her husband. Right now, there is a similar case going on in my neighborhood.


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