Everything happened so fast. I saw it and tried to pull the breaks. I asked him, “Don’t you think we are moving too fast? I had dreams to go back to school and get my degree before marriage. And then you came along. Now, everything is moving too fast I can’t even have space to think about my dreams and plans.” He answered, “Is there something you can’t do after marriage? You can go back to school and get the certificate. You can go to the moon and back again if that’s what you want. The good thing is, you’re going to do all these with someone in the shadows supporting you instead of doing it alone.”
It sounded lovely and well thought through. I agreed to marry him though we had dated for only three months. I took him home to meet my parents and siblings. The vibe was established right on the spot. He was so eager to marry me that he told my dad that day; “I’m marrying her in two months because I can’t wait to settle down with her.” When I went to his home to meet his parents, they already knew me because he had spoken extensively about me to them. They welcomed me and called me an “in-law” right from that day.
I had bought university forms to go back to school but he told me to hold on until after marriage. I listened to him and pushed the dream behind me. We got married when our relationship was only seven months old. Just when I was about to pick my dreams up again, I found out that I was pregnant. It didn’t deter me. I bought forms again with the desire to start from where I left off. He said, “School can wait. We just got married. Don’t you think we need to have time for ourselves and think about our future? There’s a baby coming. Why put yourself under stress when you can relax and do it later?”
I listened to him. Love is like that. Marriage works when there’s a compromise. The whole marriage thing was new to me. It felt like it met me on the highway and became friends with me so I had to take my time and learn. I dedicated all my time to him and the pregnancy. I was happy being a family woman and whenever I thought of becoming a mother, a special pride took over my heart and I smiled for no reason. We had a girl—a girl who took his eyes and took everything else after me. She came and took my heart away so I even forgot about my dreams of going back to school.
Three years later, it dawned on me that I’m slowly forgetting about myself. My promotion depends heavily on my next certificate. The friends I started with had been promoted and enjoying huge benefits while I’m stuck on the ground looking up to them. I told him, “I’m buying forms for next year. I need to go back to school before it’s too late.” He said, “No you can’t go this year. I’m starting a master’s program this year. We both can’t be in school at the same time. Let me finish before you go.” I was angry. “You didn’t tell me about it. I tell you everything and you help me to decide. So why didn’t you find the need to discuss this with me first?”
He didn’t have an explanation. He combined a lot of words together to make them sound like explanations but in the end, he explained nothing. He already has a master’s degree. He was going for a second one because he wants to shift focus in his career. “When I do well in life, it’s you I’m bringing my success to so you have to support me,” He said. As if my success doesn’t come home with me. I listened to him and let him have his way. And then I got pregnant again. We delivered a baby boy. He’s currently two years old. My husband too had completed his degree program. There’s no impediment on my way to going back to school so I picked the forms and applied.
I’m currently in school. It’s just a two-year program but everything is stuck against me. My husband is doing everything to make me give up and stay home with the kids. At first, it was, “Who would take care of the kids when you’re in school?” I said, “You’ll take care of them. These are not babies. You’ll only have to watch them while I’m away.” He protested, “What if I have a place to go? Do I have to stay here and wait for you when there’s a business to be done?” I knew I couldn’t win so on weekends, I bring my mother home to take care of them while I’m in school.
He started having issues with the parental style of my mother. It’s either she pampers the kids too much or he has issues with the way my mom screams at the kids when they go wrong. I told him, “You don’t go anywhere on weekends. You seldomly step out. If you think my mom is a bad choice for the kids, why don’t you do it? It looks like you know how to do it better than my mom.” He wouldn’t do it. He wanted me to stay home and take care of the kids. I said, “No, that won’t happen. I need to get my degree and leave the bottom of the hierarchy. I’ve been there for far too long.”
When that didn’t work, he shifted his attention to pregnancy. we agreed to have three kids. We have two now and the last one is three. “Why is the next one keeping so long? The first born was three years old when the second one came so why is this time different?” He asked me. I answered, “I don’t know what is happening. You and I know that we are doing what we are supposed to do to have a third kid but the conception hadn’t happened. What else can I do?” He said, “I’m beginning to suspect you. Because of school, you’ve taken something just to prevent the pregnancy from happening.” I found it laughable but he was serious about it. He even wanted to take me to the hospital to check. I said, “Dear, I’m ready. Let’s go. Call the doctor and I will meet you both.”
That also didn’t work so now he wakes up in the morning and picks fights with me. Not only me but he fights with the kids too. He screams at them unnecessarily, especially the second one. He accused me of relegating him to the background; “Everything now is about school and the kids. I don’t feature in your scope of things. When you come home from work, your attention is on the kids. On weekends that we have to have time for each other, you’ll go to school and come late at night. Do you call this marriage? What happened to love for your spouse? What happened to commitment to marriage?”
I’ve never returned home after 6pm before since I started school. I mostly miss evening lectures because they usually go on until after 6pm. When he was in school, he never came home until after 8pm. I never complained. I didn’t intend to remind him of that just for peace to prevail. I told him, “It looks like my attention is on the kids because I’m the only one around here who cares about them. If I don’t bathe them, no one does. If I don’t feed them, no one does. If I don’t help with their homework, no one does. If I don’t put them to sleep, no one does. Tell me, which other way do you want it?”
He has reported me to my parents; “She doesn’t do anything in the marriage apart from school and the kids. Talk to her. She’s killing this relationship.” He said the same thing to our pastor. Our pastor said, “The bible said if one hand is worrying you, cut it off. If you think the school is becoming a problem, why don’t you put it on the side until later?” I knew that didn’t come from the pastor. It’s something my husband told him to say.” I answered him, “Currently, two hands are worrying our relationship. My kids and school. Should I cut the kids off too?” He answered, “When school is off the way, the kids won’t be a problem.”
I’ve even stopped going to church. That pastor annoys me now.
My problem now is the way my husband gets angry over little things. He shouts at me easily. Even in front of the kids, he does it. The girl would ask him, “Dad why are you shouting at mommy?” He’ll respond, “She’s behaving like a child so I have to shout at her.” Last time my girl told me, “Stop being a child so dad will stop shouting at you.” I’ve never cried in this marriage until that day. He has succeeded in making me the villain even in the minds of the little one. I’m not stopping the school. I will finish it. I won’t disregard the kids. He does nothing for them. If I don’t do it. they’ll rot. What other options are available to me? I want peace in this marriage. What should I do?