Marriage means brokenness for me, but also that God is able to abide all grace.
We have been married since 2011. This will be our 10th anniversary. Our wedding was in one of the 5 star hotels* here in Nairobi. We were set for bliss. And bliss continued, at least, as long as we did not have a Domestic manager (DM), as house-helps are nowadays known. The name has drastically revolved. I wonder what they will call them next. We started with maid, went to house-help, now they are managers. They manage the house. The cat, pet, TV, children and may even manage your spouse if you are not careful…as is my case.
We employed the first DM when our first child was born. I remember being apprehensive. I needed help yes, but the idea of having a third party in the house was never my plan. I wished our schedules would allow a day bug. (that’s another name for a day DM, btw). But we were too busy with classes, work and the never ending house chores. You know, house work is like hunger. You never satisfy it. It keeps coming, you keep feeding it. So is housework. You clean up your kitchen after cooking. 30 mins later, just after dinner stacks of dishes and plates will be staring at you, daring you to ignore them, as if reminding you of the cockroaches their uncleanliness would invite. You undertake a house general cleaning, you even invite more day bugs and idle relatives. Within 2 days, the house acts as if it has never experienced the touch of a mopper, especially with a toddler around.
I suspected something was amiss when my husband suddenly changed his temperament. The once jumpy husband was now an introvert. He said little and mostly preferred his company. He was also overly strict especially with the new DM. I inquired if there was something wrong, he declined. But as they say; you never hide anything from a woman; we find a way of identifying it.
After a while, he owned up and faced the matter; he had slept with our former DM, who we had dismissed about a month ago over non-performance. I remember staring at him for about 2 hours and hearing nothing of what he was saying. My mind went back to our wedding day. To the vows we had made to each other. To the lifetime commitment of faithfulness, and the frequent promises and affirmations that I completed him. So if indeed I completed him, what was the girl doing to him? What exactly happened? How many times? On our marital bed or on the extra bed? Who was I in his life?
After the two hours or so, I heard him apologizing, telling me it was a one off affair and that he was very remorseful, how he had contemplated suicide (at that moment I wished he did), and that he used protection. Protection. Think about it. So he had been planning it? He had even bought whatever materials protection entailed and dressed himself ready for the day? What happened to the relationship we had? What was my contribution in it?
I spent the next few days as a zombie. Each day came and went. I cannot recall what I did at work in those days, who I talked to, what I must have told my child, I only remember being alive, contemplating moving out, and continually going to God, asking for the meaning of living a consecrated life if it was to get here. I prayed a lot. And I remember feeling very close to God. It is like He was present in the walls, in the emptiness I was in.
I meditated on the word; And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses, Mark 11:25. I wanted to forgive my husband. I knew that grace was availed for that. But I knew that things would never be the same. Would I trust him again? How about the help we had then? What premise would I hold on to that it couldn’t happen again? Who was I allowed to share this pain with? Was there a trusted counsellor I could talk to? A sibling maybe?
To cut it short, I decided to keep it between the Lord, my husband and I. My marriage was and has always been my priority. It is non-negotiable. I contemplated that if the Bible asks us to forgive seventy times seven, it is because it is possible to, without the help of anyone else. While my hurt to date is indescribable, and I wanted to be validated, I also heavily felt the need to fight for my marriage. In the meantime, my husband kept on apologizing, asking for another chance. He never wanted validation, nor looked for alibis, he desired forgiveness. In retrospect, I think being close to God helped open my inner eyes to see his remorse and recommitment to our marriage.
After 3 months I went to him and became vulnerable. I told him all my hurt and fears. That I could not trust him again. That I would never believe his love words of affirmation… that I would not bear our lovemaking again. He held me, and said he understood all that, and would wait no matter how long it took. And he lived his word. For the year that followed, my husband took it upon himself to prove his point, and never forced me into anything, even when I acted as weird as I could.
Eventually, with a lot of prayer and fasting, God started restoring us. It is like we started dating again. By the time we were celebrating our sixth anniversary, we were back to our bliss. In the seventh year, our second son was born. His name resonates with the grace and peace that God has accorded me in this. Of course relatives and friends pressed us to get a second child, if only they knew!
Looking back, I am glad I forgave my husband. I still struggle with leaving him home with the DMs. I still at times loath him, and I occasionally weep about it. Yet I know I forgave him. Trusting him again has been a process, but God has walked with me.
So why did I agree to write? Because I know my story will minister to one who may be going through a similar hurt, and may be thinking that the only way out is exit. He is able to help a broken heart, and mend it. He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds, (Psalm 147:3). Praise the Lord.
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