A lot of married couples are hurt. They are walking up and down with emotional and psychological pains inflicted on them by their spouses. Some of these couples are now a shadow of themselves because of the pain they have had to deal with in their marriages over the years. 

It is sad to see sad married couples who started out as friends and lovers. It is sad to hear some couples talk to each other with disgust. One man told me that he can’t stand his wife and that his girlfriend is prettier than his fat wife. He’s talking about a woman who had four children in ten years. Too bad!

Many of these couples now live like flatmates. They no longer talk to one another. They don’t share happy or sad news with their spouses. Their spouses are not the first person they go to if something is bothering them. Their close friends know more about their lives and choices more than their spouses.

These married couples are now doing things individually without cares. They are no longer united by the vows they took to have and to hold, to love and cherish each other till death parts them. A lot of water has gone under the bridge for many couples. Things have fallen apart in their marriages and the centre can no longer hold. The way these couples pretend in public, you would think their marriages are heaven on earth.

It’s heartbreaking to see people who couldn’t stay without each other in the past living like cat and mouse because they have been hurt by their spouses who refuse to acknowledge the pain they have caused them. Some couples secretly wish their spouses would just drop dead so that they will be free from the pain and torment.

One woman told me that she wishes her husband death any time he goes out. They have been married for 12 years and Tue man verbally and physically abuses her. He would beat her in the presence of their children, strip her naked before neighbors and starve her and their children for days whenever she talks back at him. She showed me the scars on her body to prove that she wasn’t lying. It was heartbreaking to see how damaged she was.

I told her she needed to end the marriage instead of praying for another person’s death. She told me she won’t divorce her abusive and cheating husband because she doesn’t want the stigma of being called a divorcee. She would rather be called a widow and pitied rather than be a villain. I left her alone. Sighs!

When I read some messages from Nigerian women about having to deal with men who don’t see anything wrong with hurting them, I cringe. Whenever I get any of those messages from women asking me what to do so that their hurt would go away, I say a silent prayer for them. I pray they make it out of their abusive marriages alive and sane. I pray they make the right decision for themselves and their children.

I tell them I feel their pain. I tell them it can be painful living with someone hurting you, blaming you for their actions and telling you that you can’t do anything to them because it’s a man’s world. Some of these women don’t even have jobs or businesses and are completely dependent on their abusive husbands financially. These men use that opportunity to misbehave because they know that these women have nowhere to go or finances to start their lives afresh.

I keep saying it that our society messed up men’s upbringing. Some men were not raised at all. The only thing they know is wake up, eat food, go and play football with friends, come back home to eat and sleep. Some of them don’t even know how to clean their rooms and wash their own clothes. They expect women to do all these thongs for them. And when they meet a woman is not ready to mother them, they claim she’s not a wife material.

This society gives men the backing to do terrible things and get away with it. This society excuses men’s bad behavior and crucifies women for the same bad behavior. This society didn’t teach men how to treat women with love and respect. These men believe they are above mistakes. They think women should worship them.

The only thing some of these men were taught was to make money. Men are told that when they make money, they can get the best women to marry. They are told to get married when they get to a certain age. These men are not taught how to talk to their wives. These men are not taught how to respect their wives.

They believe the lie that a man needs respect more than a woman. This phrase has made many men proud and obstinate. They tell women all the time to respect them because they are men. They don’t know that respect is reciprocal. You don’t keep disrespecting someone and expect them to respect you. That’s nor right.

Men and women deserve respect, even children deserve respect. Women are human beings that should be respected. They have blood running in their veins. Women don’t like being talked down upon. They hate being lied to and disrespected. They don’t like being taken for granted or taken for fools. Women don’t deserve to be hurt by the men who promised to love and cherish them for life.

Does this mean that men don’t get hurt by the I wives? No. A lot of men are dealing with violent and abusive wives and can’t say it. This is because this society erroneously teaches them to be strong by bottling things up. Men are expected not to show emotions like women. Men are told to stop behaving like women whenever they say something is bothering them. They are advised to ‘Man up’.

If a man comes out to say his wife is beating him or abusing him, other men will laugh at him. They will call him a weakling and claim he’s the woman of the house because he can’t control his wife. They will advise him to be the man and teach his wife a lesson she will never forget. They won’t listen to him or advise him to seek help for his problem. And because these men are avoiding the shame of being laughed at by their friends, they continue to endure abuse until one day they are stabbed to death by their wives.

Dear men and women, if you have been hurt by your spouse, talk to them about it. Let them know that you are not happy with the way things are going in your marriage. Explain to them that the things are now are not the way you want them to be and listen to their contribution to the discussion too. There can’t be a peaceful marriage with baggage from past hurts. Things won’t work.

If after talking to your spouse and things don’t change, you can take the decision to end the marriage instead of living like enemies and praying for one another to die. That’s sick. Marriage is not a do or die affair. If it’s not working, please take a long walk before you kill your spouse or before your spouse kills you. Peace.


Re: The pain of dealing with a critical spouse

Halim, thanks for the balanced article. I agree with you that we should not allow anyone rub us of our self-esteem, that is very imperative. 

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Criticisms, when done constructively can be beneficial for the critical and appreciative mind.

But some ladies, I have met, including my sisters, wife, some other ladies, especially the religious type, sometimes when you genuinely criticize them, they will bring an element of spiritualism into the matter.

They will tell you  that they have programmed like that just to avoid facing the real issue. In a situation like that, I deliberately lose my cool and become nasty. But be assured that I don’t engage in destructive criticisms.

It is not my style to put people down not to talk of my spouse. It is just that I know that I have strong creative humour that rattles. Keep up the good work and stay safe.

-Barr. Onyeokoro

Dear Kate, criticisms could help if they don’t come as condemnation. Another thing is that neighbours and third party should not be allowed to hear it. If one calls his wife a flirt, listeners will call her a prostitute and he starts suing them for defamation. Let’s guard our tongue.

-Cletus Frenchman, Enugu

Kate,you are a guru in love affairs so, to say. Marriage is for two understanding good heads not for game players. Lampooning a spouse for whatever reason  to me is childish and barbaric.

A spouse must not be to irritated to the point of fuming indecent words to lord it over the other. They must sacrilegiously keep the tenets of marital self worth,self respect and self-dignity.

With a critical spouse,there’s bound to be turmoil in such a relationship. A critical spouse will make a relationship toe the path of misunderstanding and fights.

-Ejemasa Lucky Einstein

Most of the thing couples suffer in marriage is due to neglect of warning signals during dating or courtship.

Some people saw the red flags but wished them away or passed them with a wave of hand thinking things will take of themselves later in the marriage.

Infact, some people go into marriage battle ready as if it’s a war zone, others have the erroneous belief that they can change their spouses.

Some other people allowed their emotions control them instead of engaging logical reasoning when it comes to getting married. Thanks for offering thoughtful solutions to critical spouses issue.

.-Pst. Stephen, Abuja

You are always sentimental in your write ups and that is why I don’t take you seriously. You always paint men bad and make women look like victims. Women like you are very dangerous. It is your type that will stab her husband to death over something irrelevant. You are not fit to be a columnist. You instigate women against men with your writings. Stop breaking people’s marriages with your wicked heart you agent of darkness. Marriage is ordained by God and your likes won’t make the institution go away.

-Obinna, Aba

Kate, I agree with you that living with a critical spouse is bad but it is not only women who suffer this. If you ask the men around you, they will tell you that women criticize men more in marriages. It’s a two way thing. You should learn to balance these things because a lot of people are influenced by great writers like you. I admire you. I’m one of your fans but I will yell you the truth. Keep writing.

-Akin Ogunyomi, Lagos