The first few years of marriage are regarded as the teething period as many couples often experience different problems while trying to settle in. But what happens when the problem threatens the foundation of the marriage as in the case of Shadia. Below, she recounts how she had to fight off a woman she called “mummy” to keep her marriage. Over what, you might want to ask. The answers are buried in her narrative below. Happy reading!
“I have been hearing the saying, “there is no old woman in Ghana, every woman is called sisi”. I never really understood it until I got married. It all began when I arrived Lagos from Abeokuta to live with my husband. We had met two years before then during a festival. I accepted his proposal and moved in with him after the formal introductions of both families. Trouble however began shortly after. One of the co-tenants in our house happened to be an Egba woman too. Due to her age and disposition towards us, it was only natural that we took to her. My husband had encouraged me to warm up to her, describing her as nice and trust worthy. Thus, I respected her so much and shared a lot with her as I would my mother, as her second child and I are age mates. My husband had told me so many sad stories about her and why she lived alone with two of her children, which further endeared me to her. Her first two children, girls, were already married, while her only boy lived with one of them. Her husband and father of the children lived in Abeokuta with his new wife, whom she said was married for him by his family because they do not like her.
According to some of the stories, her husband’s people were convinced that she had some supernatural powers with which she had used to hold her husband down and were determined to break her hold on him. Since she could not cope with the problem and competition with the second woman, she gave up and moved to Lagos. She said her husband sometimes pays her visits, though I never saw him throughout the period we lived together. Rumours had it that the man was no longer interested in her because of what she did for a living. Mummy as I called her, is a hairdresser but runs a pepper soup joint where alcoholic drinks are sold and most of her customers are men and women of easy virtue. Her husband we heard is a strict Muslim who insisted that no matter how good she claimed business was her claims that sales ,he could not associate himself with such. This we learnt was the real reason for their separation and not the other woman.
My husband was one of her customers. Initially, I had assumed that he was just fond of her and assisted her whenever he could because of their tribal connection. But with time, I also joined in the speculations. I was already pregnant when I was faced with the first shocker. One of my neighbours informed me that my husband was mummy’s lover. That they had been dating long before I arrived Lagos and that they were both only leading me on. She said it was an open secret and everyone was very surprised when my husband announced that he was getting married and would be living with his wife in the same house. It made sense to them when I turned out to be a young, obedient girl that both of them could manipulate. Everyone had just been watching with bated breaths to see how long the whole charade would last. I did not believe what she told me but asked my husband anyway. Hearing him deny it was all I needed, but a seed of distrust had already been sowed in my heart. From then on, I decided to keep an eye on them too.
I did not catch them personally, but my neighbours led the expedition that led to their being caught. I was informed one afternoon that my husband and mummy had been spotted at a hotel about two bus stops away from his workshop. They said they would take me there if I did not believe. On getting there, the women (two of them) told me they would not go inside but hang around and wait for me. I saw mummy and my husband but they were in the company of two other couples, talking in the hotel bar. They had several drinks and pieces of suya and chicken on the table in front of them. They were quite surprised to see me and asked what I was doing there. What I saw was already enough to make me angry and I did not need any more explanation. I just started abusing the two of them calling mummy a big fool who was trying to snatch my husband, a man just old enough to be her real son. There was a lot of shouting but mummy surprisingly remained very quiet all through. The hotel management was forced to send us out when my husband began beating me up because he considered my actions an insult to him and his sister (that’s what he called her). He kept asking what had come over me, warning that whoever was encouraging my actions only wanted to ruin my matrimonial home. Mummy refused to say anything all through, but clap her hands and heaved deep sighs intermittently. I felt like going for her but somehow I couldn’t do it. Maybe my courage failed me. Later that day, the fight continued between my husband and I. I refused to allow the matter rest as I announced to whoever cared to listen what my husband was doing with his so called sister. On his return from work the next day, he told me that my parents wanted to see me and I had to leave the day after.
I was forced by my parents to stay for a few days so that I could rest due to my condition. The few days turned into three weeks as according to them it was to ensure that I did not engage in anymore trouble because of the baby. The break would also abate my anger at the woman. And though I enjoyed the forced holiday, my mind was always with my husband and what he was probably doing with mummy. But by the time I returned, things had taken a new dimension. I was informed that my husband and the woman had come clean with their affair, refusing to be intimidated. They sometimes bathed together or assisted each other to put water in the bathroom. Mummy and my husband were said to have abused everyone thoroughly, claiming they were responsible for all that transpired. Of all the gist I got, the most infuriating was that mummy had told somebody that she was going to teach me a lesson that I will never forget because of my rudeness, adding that she had no intension to snatch my husband. She said that by the time she would finish with me, I would never go and cause trouble for any woman I hear is dating my husband, but rather wait for him at home. Ironically, my parents had also given me the same advise, but I was convinced it was not possible. Not when the woman is no stranger to me.
On the night I arrived home, my husband was summoned by mummy to her room, around 11.30pm and he did not return until 2.00am. He told me he was doing something for her and I must never ask him such a question again as he could go to her any time it pleases her. The next night it happened again and I refused to stay quiet. I went to mummy’s door and started banging and shouting that he should come out. I started calling for help from the neighbours to ask her what she was doing with my husband at that time in her room. They were initially reluctant to come out but when they did, their intervention did not change anything. It was after they retired to their rooms that my husband came out, calmly trying to walk past me to our apartment. I started beating him and held him by his trousers but he refused to respond, gently pushing me aside. He said he would not touch me because of my condition. By the next morning, almost all the women were waiting with one advise or another as they were now convinced that my husband had been put under a spell by mummy. She was either using his star to refinance her business or using his blood to rejuvenate old age. I was advised that it was not a battle I could win by fighting and shouting, I would need serious spiritual intervention.
One of the women introduced me to her prophet whom she described as next to God but after two visits something very strange happened in my apartment. I returned from the market one afternoon to discover that someone had gained access, went to my side of the wardrobe, threw all my clothes on the floor and sprinkled it with what turned out to be acid. Nothing was spared. One of the prophets revealed it was mummy’s handiwork but my husband refused to believe me, insisting she was being framed by my mentors. Since I did not know what else to do, I decided to go back to Abeokuta to report to our parents about the new twists. Unfortunately, I could not return to Lagos again until I’d delivered the baby. I fell ill and was advised to remain with my parents as they could not guarantee my safety back in Lagos. Everyone, including his parents were convinced he had been bewitched by mummy and needed help. His parents promised that he would be the one to come and get me himself once he returns to his senses, as they would do everything possible to get their son out of mummy’s hold. I was promised something similar by my parents. As expected, news of their romantic activities filtered to us in Abeokuta on a regular basis. They had become so open that they always spent the night in her place and he was even going to her shop to assist her. Then suddenly, it all stopped. The landlord kicked her out.
I wouldn’t know which of the various things we did that worked in the end but the fact is my parents did not just pray and fold their arms waiting for miracle, they went out to seek help and his parents did too. They vowed that mummy would not ruin their son’s life. We later learnt that my husband was not her first victim as she’d held a few married men down before him. My question was why would my husband fall for mummy when he knew who she really was but he couldn’t tell. As for her, she reportedly told people that she just wanted to teach me a lesson for disrespecting her. I am grateful to God for restoring my marriage”.
Do have a wonderful weekend!!