By Bunmi Sofola
“FOR almost 15 years, I was married to a woman who made the best part of our married life a nightmare,” confessed Jimi, a fairly-successful businessman now in his 40s. “I knew she had a bit of a temper when I met her.
She was pretty, had a good job and a lot of admirers, but she chose me instead and I was flattered. When she got pregnant barely nine months after we got together, I didn’t even hesitate to offer her marriage.
“When she had our first child, a girl, her nasty side surfaced. She became really nasty whenever she was crossed. Thinking she was suffering from the dreaded post-natal depression; I urged her to see a doctor—I even went to see him behind her back to urge him to give her something to calm her down.
“But the changes in her weren’t really discernable. Sometimes, she could be the best mum in the world, but those moments were few and far between. Most of the time, she behaved like a snarling monster. She suffered from terrible mood swings, and when she lost her temper, all hell broke lose. Often, she lashed out whenever she had her tantrum. As the years went by, we had two more children and I’d always bore the brunt of her rage, shielding the children as much as possible from her madness. When our first daughter was 12,I got her the new mobile I promised her to replace the old one I gave her. Two days after, I came home to find the poor girl crying her eyes out. She said her mum had punched her in the face after accusing her of deliberately ignoring her phone calls.
“She wasn’t used to the new phone yet, and had put it on silent by mistake. But her mum didn’t believe her. ‘You’re lying,’ she’d screamed, throwing her a right hook, I was livid that she’d gone beyond her usual smack to this violent show of shame. I knew if I challenged her, she would fly at me, so I took the children to my room. She shrieked, I was taking sides and making her look like the bad one. She lashed out at me and nearly beat me in front of the kids. I simply left with the children to stay with my sister until she cooled down. My sister was livid. How long could I stand being constantly bullied by my wife? She’d stopped coming to the house—so have some of our relatives who didn’t have the patience to gauge my wife’s mood.
“After spending the weekend with my sister and playing with their cousins, my children didn’t want to go back home. Half of me didn’t want to go back either, but the other half had felt terrible for her. Despite everything, I loved her and so did the children.
Whatever happened, I didn’t want my family falling apart. My wife never talked about that incident again. We’d all just carried on as if nothing had happened—swept all our problems under the carpet. Came the end of the year, two years ago, my worries were intense—who could help my wife with her violent temper? Her relatives had given up on her, and the few friends she still had steered clear of her if they could help it. On New Year’s eve, I’d told everybody over dinner that I would be in a friend’s house for a get-together. His wife was away and we decided to watch some sports channels on the telly. It wasn’t until around 7a.m. that I got back home.
“My darling wife was in the kitchen. As soon as I walked in. I knew I was in trouble. Her face was a mask of fury. ‘Where have you been?’ She snarled. I reminded her I told the whole family where I would be spending the night. She yelled I was lying, grabbed a glass from the sink and hurled it at me. I didn’t duck fast enough and the glass landed on my face—the pain was unbearable. That was it. All the pent-up resentment over the years erupted. I grabbed her by the throat, shook her like a rag-doll, then beat her until she was crying for mercy. The children couldn’t believe I could lay a finger on her. They virtually pulled me away from her. She was in such a bad state that I took her to the hospital myself.
“It was then I realised I’d come to the end of a marriage that couldn’t ever be described as happy. All the love I had for her just disappeared. She even had the guts to lodge a complaint with the police that I was violent towards her. I went to the station with the children. They recounted some of the horrors they’d gone through in her hand. The gash on my face spoke volumes, and I was asked to make a statement and leave after being cautioned to keep the peace. But, you could see, the police men and women on duty felt really sorry for me. My wife made me look like a spineless wimp.
“I went to her uncle and told him I was no longer interested in the marriage. Her parents were long dead and the poor uncle had had an earful of her violence. He said she couldn’t stay with him, so I found a suitable apartment and took her things there. How could love come to this? I’d loved this woman, tried to believe she would change, but the more I give the more she rubbed dust in my face.
As awful as it sounds, with her out of the house, we all started to realise what a strain she’s put us under. The house was so much calmer without her. Admittedly things were hard at first, but my younger sister came to stay with us, and after a wile life settled down. But, my wife still can’t believe she could be shoved out of the door just like that. She’s been to the house a couple of times to cause trouble, even attacked my sister, but I showed her I would match her violence if she dared play that joker again.”