When I was young, my dream was to find a job as soon as I completed university, fall in love with the man of my dreams, marry at twenty-five and start giving birth at twenty-six. I wanted to grow with my kids. I wanted to be that mom who looked like a sister to her kids.
Dreams usually don’t happen or they happen in bits and pieces and scatter on the floor. I found a job early but finding love became very hard. The men I met along the way had their own dreams they were pursuing and those dreams didn’t align with mine. Eric wanted to gain everything in this world before he thinks about marriage. We dated for a year. The signals weren’t clear and he didn’t seem focused enough so we broke up.
I met Johnson when I was twenty-six. He ticked the boxes and looked like a man who would settle down if he found the right woman. I was determined to be that woman. I went to the moon and back for him. He said, “Jump!” And I asked how high. One evening, I asked about our direction as a couple. He said, “What do you mean? Are we doing something wrong?”
I explained, “No we are not doing anything wrong but whatever we are doing should have a future. I’m asking about the kind of future we have as two people in love. Are we getting married? If yes, then when?”
I don’t think I said anything wrong here but the fact that I mentioned marriage, he said I was putting pressure on him. How does a question become pressure when you’ve asked it only once? One day he told me, “If you plan to marry soon, then find another man. Yes, I will marry but I’m taking my time. I’m looking up to God and see what he’ll bring my way. I won’t let anyone pressure me into marriage.”
From here, every mistake I committed was linked to the fact that it was the marriage I was looking for. When I sneeze, “It’s too loud. Is it because you want marriage? Don’t put pressure on me ooo.” When I’m quiet, it’s because I’m thinking about marriage. I got tired and decided to leave.
I was in his life but he didn’t see me as the one God brought his way. It was clear he wanted to leave or didn’t have the intention to marry me. Some men are like that. They love you enough as a girlfriend but can’t think of you as a wife. No matter how long you stay with them when the right time comes, they’ll marry who they think is marriage material.
I went off the dating radar for over a year. The target was to assess myself very well and make the right choices in my next attempt. I talked to men. I asked questions. Those who proposed to me in that period, I asked them their goals and dreams. Two people caught my eye. I couldn’t say yes to both of them so I said yes to the one who consistently pursued me even when I’d said no to him.
He’s a good Christian and his name is Christian. Our first date was in his church and our second date was in mine. He came to my elder brother’s child’s christening so I introduced him to the family. He hadn’t proposed to me then so I introduced him as a friend. My mom liked him. My dad called him a good person because of his calm demeanour. We were friends for several months before he finally proposed. I didn’t stress him. He was the one I was waiting for so I said yes and jumped into the relation-ship.
Two years later, on my thirtieth birthday, I asked about marriage. He told me, “Next year by this time, we would be married. God has already paved the way.”
I was excited. I told my mom about it because she started asking questions. When my dad asked about grandchildren, I told him, “Next year when I get married, the next thing would be bringing babies home to you.”
A year came to pass silently without a sign of marriage. I didn’t want to sound desperate so I didn’t ask any questions. Our relationship is currently four years old but no sign of marriage. Christian is a good man. He hardly puts a foot wrong. He talks about God with passion and his job with commitment in his eyes. When he talks about us, you see love in his eyes. It makes me wonder why he’s taking so long or developing cold feet when it comes to marriage.
Because I didn’t want to talk about it and sound desperate, I decided to withdraw all the wifey roles I was playing in his life. I used to go to his house on weekends to cook for him. If I’m not able to go to his house, I would prepare the meals in my house and send them to him, sometimes with my own money. I’ve stopped. I did his laundry sometimes when I spent the weekend in his house. I’ve stopped. I cleaned after him. I put his room in order anytime I was there. I’ve stopped. I’ve stopped spending nights there and when he called that he missed me and wanted to see me, I gave him excuses.
It’s a change that was supposed to draw his attention to something. That I’m not going to give wifey vibes when indeed I’m just a girlfriend. Girlfriend energy should be given to girlfriend position but once we are married, I will bring wifey energy to the table.
It took him long to realize it but when he finally did he said, “You want to be married but see what you are doing. You’ve changed for the worse. Who will marry a woman who refuses to help?”
“You already know what I can do,” I told him. “Because I’ve done it before. For four years, I’ve been nothing but a wife who has a girlfriend title. I don’t want to push things or force you to do what you don’t want to do. When you’re ready to marry me, I will be here for you. Once we are married, you’ll see. All that will change and you’ll be proud to call me your wife.”
The relationship now has become a game we play. He’s trying to act like I-don’t-care and I’m here doing my best to show him I can match his energy but deep down I’m worried. What if this game succeeds in breaking us apart? What if it’s not a game for him but I’m seeing it as a game? I think about it and I get scared.
It’s been four years together. Do I have to let all that go because I stopped doing what I used to do? I’ve had conversations with trusted friends about the issue. They all seem to suggest that I don’t have to audition for marriage and that if a man knows your worth, you don’t have to prove it for four years.
It makes sense to me and I want to keep going with this but how do I ensure that I don’t become the loser in the end?
Those things I used to do for him make me who I am. I did them for him because I loved doing them for myself. I was not using it as a trump card to get him to marry me, no. I live in a house where there’s food all the time so I love to cook. I can’t survive in a messy environment so I did that for him. In the end, I did them for myself because I loved to do them. Is he seeing those things I did as my way of forcing him to marry me?
I wish he would open up and have this conversation with me so I can ask the necessary questions but currently, it looks like he’s keeping everything to his chest while looking at the card I will play next. We are at a poker table. No one wants to give clues. I’m frustrated and want an end to this game. Where should I go from here?