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A TRUE LOVE STORY: I MET A MAN by M.B Carlisle | GBAMLOG.COM

What is love? I met a man in a store. I worked in the store. He didn’t. He was a customer. I didn’t know his name. He sent a dozen roses with a card asking me on a date. I inquired of co-workers to find out who the mystery man was. Oh, he was so old my parents would never allow me to date him. I was seventeen, weeks away from eighteen. He was twenty-four.

To this day I don’t know how he did it. He talked my parents into allowing us to go on a short, three-hour date to a local restaurant. We went on a Saturday night.

The next Friday night we went to a movie at a theatre next door to the store where I worked. My parents owned the store. We were asked to leave the movie because we were talking to each other non-stop.
That crazy man asked me to marry him the very next day and the day after that I said “yes”! The crazy man showed up at my high school to give me a dozen roses and my engagement ring.

Three weeks later we married on Thanksgiving Day. We chose the date because I would be on school break. I moved into his garage apartment. It was so tiny. Too tiny! It was the size of a single car garage!

Two weeks after we married, my husband’s employer filed for bankruptcy and he lost his job. We scraped by. He took odd jobs and worked towards obtaining his Master plumber’s license.

By early March, I was pregnant. By September, we were parents to a very preemie little boy. The following week, my husband started his own plumbing business. We were so very broke.

I found a decent job as a bookkeeper and we moved to a rent-to-own-house.

Eighteen months later our daughter was born, and I had a hysterectomy. I was twenty. Two months after her birth, my husband broke his upper left arm in half. Two surgeries later and with a mountain of medical bills, we had to forsake our home and we moved to an abandoned, bank-owned, partially constructed home on three acres. It was barely livable. The idea was we would fix up the house a little at a time. It was a low point.

I found a better job and my husband healed and we put money into getting the house fixed up. Heirs to the thirty acres surrounding our house approached us to see if we wanted to purchase the land. We did.

I walked on the campus of a community college and began what would be an eight-year journey of night classes to obtain my accounting degree. I worked, attended classes, studied, parented, and barely slept and learned to let go of keeping a perfectly clean house. Sleep was more important.

College was interrupted for a bout with ovarian cancer. I was fortunate. It was caught early enough.

Sixteen years into our marriage, I was a college graduate and CPA and our children were in their teens! Now we had two kids to get through college. Staying on a strict budget, and with the help of academic scholarships, they earned their degrees.

On a balmy March day, in the year 2010, my husband and I peeped in to see our daughter and son-in-law. Labor had been induced. Our daughter had received an epidural and was relaxed and in early labor. We waited with the other grandparents in the waiting area. It was just the four of us waiting when we heard codes/alarms blaring and all the hospital staff on the floor running and I do mean running! We parents, soon-to-be grandparents, tried to run after the hospital bed being pushed as fast as it could go down the hallway of the hospital. Our son-in-law turned for just a second. The baby’s heartbeat had stopped, he said….

At that moment, I looked in the eyes of the man I had then been married to for twenty-nine years. In an instant, every moment of joy and sorrow, of sickness and health, of richer or poorer, passed between us.

I look back on that day and know this. Love starts small with a feeling of emotion and attraction. Love grows through the sharing of the ebb and flow of life. To give up on it too soon, is to give up on the treasure of looking into the eyes of a man or a woman whose shared your life with you. There is no replacement for the love that builds with time.

It was exactly 11:12 am when the hospital bed was hurried down the hallway. We four grandparents prayed. We would learn the umbilical cord was wrapped around our grandson and had caused his heart to stop.

In an eternity lasting minutes, we waited, then our son-in-law sent a text of our daughter holding our grandson. Our grandson was born at 11:22 am. Our anniversary is 11/22. That’s a good number.

Not every marriage is sustainable. We have had our share of fights and twice were on the brink of divorce. I am glad we didn’t give up.

Today, the first grandson will soon be nine and his younger brother is five.

We’ve been blessed to have moved from poverty to financial stability and to have survived and thrived after medical scares and to have each other.

I married a man I met at a store. We live in a farm house in the middle of thirty-three acres.

REALITY CLASSIC TALE: LOVE? OR SLAVERY? By Hilary Chikuvira | GBAMLOG.COM


“If you are not going to be a girlfriend and wife, who is submissive, who follows the lead of a husband, then we got to deal with this now, because no wife of mine will rule my house, give me orders or go to a separate church from mine!”, said Tendai fuming, his voice was shaking from anger, l could see he was totally charged up and no longer caring to select his choice of words.
I was also fed up myself, and l retorted angrily, “fine, if you want me to be that kind of a wife and fiancée, then to hell with it, what are we even doing now? Let’s not waste each other’s time anymore. Have a great life”. I slammed his car door nice and hard as l climbed out and walked away into the dark.
So how did things get so messy?
Tendai and I had fallen in love with each other a year ago, he was all l ever wanted in a guy, ‘at first’ and l was his dream girlfriend too. Both of us at the age of 28 just thought this definitely was it. The search for true love was over.
With time there emerged those nitty-gritty human imperfections. Tendai is traditional, old school and reserved on the other hand l am less cultural and a newly emerging activist for feminism and gender equality. He is the type that prefers to not touch alcohol, deems it unclean for his soul, he prefers the traditional kind of music, and he loves spending his days chilled, watching movies or visiting family and friends. It made me look like l was the wild one, so eager to try anything and everything, ready to live, never content with sleeping before 11 pm on a weekend, and definitely never one to repeat the same activities over and over again.
So as expected in such cases, we started getting into each other’s nerves. He began to think l was too independent, l had no respect for tradition and that l could just not make a good wife for him, but this was never said out aloud. I began to find him quite boring, and just not fun to hang with. But none of us could audibly say it out. We had just come a long way to quit because of what we thought to be a few indifferences.
In my culture, men pay lobola to show respect to the bride’s family and say thank you for raising your daughter well. The culture sort of sells women under the guise of culture. Lobola can be 15 cows including other cultural things that a guy must pay up, not to mention that after the lobola the guy must sponsor the white wedding ceremony as well. The bride’s family demands the amount of lobola they want, and the amount can even add up to 15000 us dollars, which is a 2-year saving for a typical middle-class guy who has decided to forgo buying a house, a car, and a decent living style. Lately, families have become overly greedy and are demanding alarming lobola prices. The fathers of the bride use the lobola to buy things like a fancy car or spend the money getting drunk. And in turn the bride has to leave her family, her religion, her lifestyle, her surname and almost everything else important is foregone by the lady as she follows her husband. It becomes the duty of the wife to clean, cook, take care of the husband and kids, as well as to get formerly employed somewhere and contribute to the new family income. If lobola was truly a cultural way of appreciating a partner l do not see why both partners cannot give lobola to the spouse’s family, or why a guy cannot give out what he has, but instead must toil for years to get to afford a wife.
And as you can imagine, l being a feminist, who realizes there is something seriously wrong with this culture from as early as 11 was totally ready to rebel. And certainly not prepared to be sold off, so l tried reasoning with the love of my life.
We were sitting in Tendai’s car, he was preparing to drive me home, after we had spent the day in the park, doing what we usually do, ‘Chilling’ in the relaxed way he likes. And poor I got bored; there was nothing new to say, no interesting conversation about the latest movie, or the hit song on the market. Just family talk about how we would chill like this, during the weekends once we were married.
Sol blurted out, “Tendi, love brought us together, l love you dearly, but there are a few things we should change love. For starts l would love to keep going to my church, l like it there, and l would love for you to take care of your siblings, but the family culture of a newly wedded couple living under the same roof with family relatives just takes the vibe off honeymoon phase, we can always share, but l prefer staying with you only and my kids, unless we really have to take in someone in need. Can we do that?
Tendai’s eyes grew big, as if they were gonna pop out of their sockets, all he could mutter was “whaaaaat?” Since l had kept this buried for so long in my heart, l thought, ah why not just let it all out, after all, he is my boyfriend, he is bound to see things more from my perspective if l explain well.
“Yes Tendai, l think women’s positions in the house are a bit unfair too, for instance a man gets to come back from work, sits at home, and watches tv whilst the lady who has also come back from a long day at work, breaks her back to cook, wash and do dishes as well as take care of the kids. It sounds more like slavery rather than marriage. I hope when we are married we can share tasks according to everyone’s capabilities, it would make married life easier for me love”.
Tendai looked at me long and hard, with clear bewilderment in his eyes. “Love a woman should be a woman, know your place, and know that it will always be behind me, your boyfriend and future husband, l will be the head of the family, l will make the final decisions, you will be my wife, what is the purpose of a wife? Is it not taking care of the husband? Talk to your mother, talk to your church elders, talk to anyone and they will tell you the same! The husband leads, the wife follows. Equal rights are there, but just not on this!” He ended, fuming with fury.
I guess in his mind he was thinking, oh this gal, what nonsense is this, women are women, and they should remain women. That was the moment when l finally opened up my eyes to the truth l had refused to see all the time; nothing was going to change in this relationship. Not me and certainly not Tendai. It was my purpose to actively campaign for women’s rights. So l took my leave from the car that had become stuffy and tension-filled from the heated argument.
This is the issue that has brought about the end of our so-called love to where we are right now, bitterness, regrets, anger, and anger.
We both think we are right; we both want the other to see how they are the ones who are wrong. And above all, no one wants to compromise.
I take a taxi, and head home, with deep sorrow inside of me, hoping someday, the society will see life in the eyes of a woman because for now, life is just far from being fair where men and women are concerned. I don’t blame Tendai though; he was born in this world, where culture and tradition plays a major role in people’s lives, even if the culture clearly weakens another party and gives the other all the power. It’s the way it is, and everyone has a choice, to do away with the bad culture, or keep it alive and running for the next generation to copy.
But l know my stand on point.