07 Oct Once Upon a Marriage
Once Upon A Marriage is a story about an arranged marriage that went wrong. It shows the effect of culture, religion and family influence and the dire effect it may have if not well checked.
Once Upon A Marriage
Story by Finayon
I had dinner with my friend John Mufasa by name.
I invited him to my house to have dinner, and he willingly said he would come. I knew he had been through a lot when in marriage. Out of his experience, he shared some of the things he went through with me.
Here is what my friend John said.
I lived my life as a church boy from the age of fifteen till my forties doing the best I could to serve God, but many things are still a mystery to me to date. I hail from a small country in sub-Saharan Africa, West Africa, precisely. Africa has so many traditions and where I come from is no exception. They have a myriad of customs that I know nothing about. These practices are strange and contradict some human rights. As I said, I lived the life of a church boy from age 15 till my forties, and up till that time, I never married. So, pressures began to mount on me from family members and some church members and church leaders.
I went through a lot of pressure from my family. It was much that I began to think about not listening to them anymore. I wanted to choose a wife and not be careful about it. However, I would be hindering myself and my progress if I did. Yet, I succumbed to family pressure, and the consequences were so so so dire. The persuasion continued till one day I said okay to their request.
“I will listen to you. You have won.” I said.
However, deep inside me, I knew I was unsure about this decision. I was not sure if I wanted to take this route.
I remember that one day, I visited one of my cousins in the neighbourhood, and my old uncle came in; I greeted him. Then he asked me about what heard about me. He said, “I heard that you do not like women.”
“Tell me why you do not want to get married”?
I told him that it was not that I did not like women. I was being careful in choosing a life partner.
Unknown to me, my family had had meetings about how to convince me to get married. My uncle talked to me at length. He said he was going to embark on a journey to another West African country, and when he returns, I should come and see him. I agreed.
After some weeks, he met me again at the same house, and he said, “I told you to come and see me.”
I responded, “Uncle, you said you were going on a journey. I have not seen you since the last time. Please, I’m sorry. I will come and see you.”
The following weekend, I visited my uncle at his home for the first time. My uncle wants the best for me, and the family wants the best for me, and I know this. They all wished me to marry a certain girl, but not at the expense of my happiness or peace. On different occasions, they put pressure on me about marriage. I told them that if I found a good girl among our people, I would marry. I was not going to force it on anyone or myself. If word gets out and people hear about it, they will blame me for allowing my family to impose marriage on me.
So the first time I visited my uncle after his return from his travels was a Sunday evening. I just got back from church, and I went to his house. He welcomed me and offered me a drink. He had called one of his daughters to buy the drink. I appreciated him but did not take the drink. He asked me if I knew his daughter by the name – Jane. I said, “yes. I see her in the neighbourhood.” He asked, what do I think about her?, and I said that she is a good girl. Immediately, my uncle sent and called Jane. When Jane arrived, my uncle took her by the hand, handed her to me, and said, “from today, Jane, this is your husband, and John, this is your wife.” Both I and Jane were surprised. I was surprised and embarrassed, and Jane was angry. You could see it on her face, but she could not say a word.
Then I appreciated my uncle and left. This story is quite long and upsetting, but I will try to make it short. After this incident of handing Jane to me, the drama began. My uncle would call me and ask that I come and see Jane. Whereas, Jane and I were not interested in the relationship. This went on for months. We were only playing along. I tried to be diplomatic, not wanting to offend my uncle and my family, then I came up with an excuse. I said Jane was not ready. My uncle tried to persuade Jane to agree to marry me. This also went on for some months. I was going through all these, but I did not tell anyone in the church and Christian fellowship where I belonged.
One day I was sleeping in my room when I heard a knock on the door at about 1 am. It was one of my uncle’s sons. He told me that I was being called to another uncle’s house. I followed him. When we got there, I saw Jane, her dad, and many others. The eldest among them said, “from tonight, Jane has come to her husband’s house. From tonight, you both are husband and wife”. Then he prayed for us.
Jane was crying; she did not want the marriage. I was in a dilemma. What is going on? The culture does not allow me to question this elderly uncle. He went on, and said, “after tonight, you can come later to pay the bride price.”
Jane had other admirers. The people want to kidnap her. They believed that Jane should be with another suitor. The gangsters came in to celebrate with us as a newly wedded couple. For safety, I had to escape with Jane by boat organised by some well-wishers.
After all those dramas, Jane and I escaped to a very secret place and spent the night there. We stayed there for some time, and strange things began to happen. First, Jane refused me to touch her. She complained of being tired. This happened for a couple of days. I thought she would warm up to me soon, but that never happened. Days became weeks. Therefore I called her father and complained that she would not let me touch her. I told my family that I did not want to marry her and that we should send her back to her family. My family said no. It is an abomination to return a wife you have been given willingly. That night both families had a meeting. Jane and I were there. The elders warned her that if she refused to let me make love to her, I should tell them, then they would know what to do.
Things seemed okay afterward, but later, Jane began making some confessions. She said she belonged to a secret society and had to go to their marine meeting to take permission before she could make love to me. Jane also confessed to many other things, including physical and spiritual attempts to end my life. She began to adjust after some months. We started to get along. Jane said she spared my life after realising that I was a good person and that I treated her well. She said from the first day her father gave her to me in their house that she did not even need to go to their meeting before getting information. She could see all she needed in her palms. The leader of her marine world had told her that her father would give her to a man named John Mufasa.
When the name – John Mufasa was mentioned, it appeared on the screen. Everyone exclaimed and asked if she wanted to kill them. Some were afraid that Jane would not be able to accomplish the mission. She said could. She planned to pretend to love the man and then kill him. She failed despite making several attempts. Many things happened, but God showed me mercy.
Yes, after some months, Jane became pregnant. She joins me in praying in the night. Jane confessed that when I am not at home during the day, her friends in the marine kingdom would come to her spiritually and disturb her. After some months, I had to take Jane to another part of the city to stay with my cousin. In this place, they will take care of her with prayers.
So, from time to time, I send money to her, and I also go to see her. Many months passed, yet this marine agent kept disturbing her. She had a husband in their world and was not allowed to bear a child with any human. She was heavy and getting ready to give birth. We were expecting our first child. I was going to become a father, and the child was a boy. I was also sad because of all that had been happening. I blame no one else but myself. I was not decisive and firm.
So, breaking that marriage covenant with her marine husband had consequences. When Jane was to give birth, she spent eight days in labour with a lot of prayers and prayers and prayers and prayers, and eventually, she gave birth, and it was stillborn. All the pains, struggles, and prayers seemed to have yielded nothing. We lost the baby. We cried hot, painful tears.
After Jane was discharged from the hospital, Jane spent her time crying, shouting, and sometimes disturbing neighbours. Her troubles are both from the loss of her baby and her affiliations with the marine world. My cousin’s wife got tired of taking care of her. She could not take it anymore. Their Pastor advised that it would be better to send Jane to her parents as keeping her may result in a more dire situation.
Once again, we took the trip to Jane’s maternal home. I brought her home to her family. When I come close to her, she screams, falls, and rolls on the floor. This happened again and again, and it put me in a condition that I had never imagined. I was always confused.
On returning to her family, they were not happy. The parents asked why I brought my wife home to them. I told them she was not well and the situation had been with her even before they gave her to me. “Why would you marry your daughter out knowing the challenges she was facing? Let her stay with you until she gets better. I would come for her then.” So, the family called a meeting with my family. The two families gathered. However, before my family and Jane’s family met, my own family met with me. They told me – “John, we are going to attack you in their meeting as if we do not know all the things that happened. We would pretend as if we do not know. This would reduce their anger against you because those people are mean with all types of dark powers. They may go against you if we don’t do this. I accepted, then we went to the meeting. The break-off meeting deliberated and said all kinds of things against me. I said, “when she is better, It would be okay, and I would take her back.” Eventually, they left the meeting, and I returned to my house.
After this, there have been many nightmares and nightmares and nightmares of them pursuing me. In dreams, they attack me, threatening my life. The Pastor who previously told me to send her to her parents advised that as soon as I get to my residence, I should relocate to a new neighborhood at the earliest chance possible. If not, they would kill me. Immediately after I got back, I made a plan to relocate. I left without telling anybody where I was going. I thank God that I’m alive today. This experience was a big mistake, an error on my part. I hope somebody will take one or two lessons from it.
Thank you very much, my friends. My name is John Mufasa.
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