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Jameelah hung up on Ridwan after pouring out her mind. She cried profusely afterwards with no one to console her. Her roommates weren’t around as they travelled for the weekend. It was really a long night for her. Tossing and turning became her companion inside the silent and lonely room. The only sound in the room was that of the ticking clock. After a while of rolling around the bed without being able to fall asleep, she got up, sat on the bed and began to weep again. She lamented as she wept.”Where do I go from here?” She cried. “I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go. I have nowhere to go!” She repeated amidst tears.It got to a point where her sight became blurred due to excessive weeping. She had to get up and wipe her face with water. Then she stopped crying for a while but staring at her big baby bump brought back her tears.”What will I do now? What will I do?” She soliloquised then a thought ran through her mind.Her mother’s elder sister lived in the east. It had been a long time since she saw her. In fact, the woman couldn’t make it to her wedding and her excuse was the long distance but she and her late mother were the closest amongst her mother’s siblings.Slowly, she dried her tears as the thought of calling the woman soothed her heavy heart a little bit. She lay down on the bed and waited impatiently for morning to come. Her eyes knew no sleep till morning and she had to get up immediately after the first adhan was chanted. She observed the Subh prayer and begged Allah for ease and guidance.After praying, she sat on the bed, completely uninterested in doing anything. Her phone was steadily in her hand as she fixed her gaze on it and checked the time intermittently.When it was 7:00 a.m on the dot, she assumed that her aunt must have woken up so she put a call through to her. The phone rang but the woman didn’t pick up. Jameelah dialled her number for the second time, it rang but there was no response. She shook her head with a determination not to give up. Then she dialled the number for the third time and after a few ringing, a faint voice was heard from the other end of the phone.”Who’s this, please?” Her aunt asked to her surprise and this opened her mouth to a loud cry. “Haaa! Mummy Enugu, you don’t have my number,” she cried.”Oh my God! Jameelah, is that you?” Her aunt was able to recognise her voice on time. “Yes, ma. It’s me. You’ve totally forgotten about me. You don’t ask about me. You don’t even have my number …””Oh, I’m sorry my darling. My former phone was stolen. I think that’s when I lost your number. Please don’t be angry with me. I’ve been sick for the past one year …” her voice became frailed. “Yeh! What happened to you?” Jameelah exclaimed.”Never mind. It’s old age sickness. I’ll be fine ….””If you’ve been sick for the past one year, that means you’ve been sick before my wedding. But you told me you couldn’t come to my wedding because of the distance …””I didn’t want you to worry about me, that was why I lied. Let’s put my issue aside, how are you? How is your husband? How are you coping with marriage?” Mummy Enugu asked but Jameelah burst into tears at the mention of marriage. “Why are you crying?” The woman was worried.”I have a lot to tell you but let me not bother you since you’re sick …” she said amidst tears. “Please bother me. Bother me, please. What do you mean you don’t want to bother me? Tell me everything that is bothering you. I promise to assist you however I can. Please tell me,” the woman’s voice was persuasive. So, Jameelah told her everything that had been happening to her and ended it with: “… I’m tired. I want to leave him!” She cried. “Hmmmmmmm!” The woman heaved a deep sigh. “My dear, you can’t leave your husband because he’s jobless ….””Ma’am, I didn’t say he’s jobless, I said he doesn’t want to work …””I heard you perfectly. I heard everything you said. How old is your marriage?””It’s not up to a year,” she replied dully.”Can you see? My dear, you can’t leave your marriage because of your husband’s joblessness. Your journey is still far. You haven’t even reached anywhere in your journey and you’re tired, ha! Weren’t you told that marriage is for better and worse? Marriage is not a bed of roses but you children these days only want to enjoy the rosiness of marriage. You don’t want to encounter any difficulties and that is why divorce rate is now very high. You think the only solution to marital challenges is divorce. There’s nothing one will not see within you children of this generation. If your husband snores – divorce. If your husband is poor – divorce. If your husband is stingy – divorce. If your husband is not caring – divorce. If your husband is not romantic – divorce. If your husband doesn’t help you with chores – divorce. If your husband is too attached to his mother or his family – divorce. If your husband just slaps you once – divorce. If your husband is cheating – divorce ….””Mummy Enugu,” Jameelah interrupted the woman. “I don’t get you, ma. Let’s even overlook the first seven points you made. But the last two, are you supporting a wife beater and a cheating husband?” Jameelah was amazed.”There’s nothing like a perfect husband!” Her sharp response shut Jameelah down. “That’s what I’m telling you. Are you perfect yourself? Let me tell you, I used to have a friend who used to support her husband by feeding him and she didn’t die. Spouses should support one another. I have another friend who used to spread the bed for her husband’s concubine. She didn’t die! Now she’s reaping the fruit of her patience on her children. I myself sold my properties to sponsor my husband through school. It didn’t mar my progress in life …””Haaaaaaaaaaa!!” Jameelah exclaimed amazingly. “Yes. I’m telling you nothing but the truth. You children of this generation lack patience and perseverance. That’s why your marriage don’t last. Look at what you’re telling me! You want to leave a marriage that is not up to one year with a heavy pregnancy because your husband is jobless or he refuses to work, really? I’m sure if he sees a good job, he’ll surely work. Do you know what the future holds for him? Please don’t do what you’d regret in the future. Things will still get better. You signed a forever contract but want to pull out after a few months, ha-ha! Who does that? Please don’t leave your husband and later become regretful. I’m assuring you that things will get better. We all also endured with our husbands and now we’re reaping it. Don’t leave your husband, please!” Her aunt persuaded her. Jameelah couldn’t utter a word as she wasn’t expecting such submission from her aunt.”Ehn ehn,” her aunt broke the silence that ensued after her almighty advice. “I’d been looking for your number and wanting to call you before without knowing you’d call me this morning ……..” ***Author’s commentary: Sadly, the advice of Jameelah’s aunt would be the advice of a lot of older women except a few enlightened ones. Some of these older women endured all forms of abuse in their marriages so it usually sounds strange to them when a woman of this generation as they call us is refusing to condone abuse. And subsequently, suing for divorce. While divorce is not the solution to every marital problem, there are some men who can’t change and this will cause their wives to continue enduring their shortcomings with pain upon tears. Like I said earlier, a lot of older women endured all forms of abuse in their marriages ranging from physical, financial, emotional, psychological abuse and what have you. And some of them were the breadwinners of the house who enabled their husbands’ irresponsibilities so it is just normal that it will sound awkward to them if women of today are refusing to accept all they accepted. I was once in a gathering of some older women. A grandmother was narrating her experience, she said she lays the bed for her husband’s concubine and she fetches bath water for her husband’s concubine. I opened my mouth and I couldn’t close it. And unfortunately, she still sees no big deal in what she did. She said she did so, so that her children could be successful. Sadly, these women would always advise their daughters and other younger women to continue to endure in their marriages.They completely leave the shortcomings of the husband, believing that the success of the marriage lies with only the wife. They tell the wife to be patient and prayerful instead of addressing her grievances. They believe the husband is the small Lord who should be respected, obeyed, adored and honoured despite his bad behaviour.They believe a woman should see herself as a garbage capable of accepting all forms of trash and this is the only way her marriage can be successful and the only way she can enjoy her husband. The wife ends up seeing unhappiness as part of marriage and sadly, she passes the mindset down to her daughters and every woman around her.Had it been the shortcomings of abusive and irresponsible men had been duly addressed instead of telling women to just soak them in and endure, then things would have gotten better.Apart from the fact that some of the older women endured weirdly, they were also enablers.They enabled and condoned lots of bad behaviour from their husbands.It is in the olden days you’ll see a man that does not work and his wife would feed him with respect. It’s not as if he lost his job, o. He is just a lazy man. A leech. A freeloader. His wife would leave home as early as 5.00 a.m, leaving his food hot in the warmer. He would wake up and without brushing his teeth, devour the food and afterwards, enter into his dashiki and off he goes to his friend’s house where he would play varieties of games under the tree while munching on palm wine till noon.His wife would come back and prepare lunch for not only him but his friends as well. He would not come home, the lunch would be taken to him under the tree where he’s busy having fun with his friends. They would munch on the food and praise his wife for being a good cook, a good wife and a fantastic woman. The man would return in the evening to the aroma of dinner. Monkey dey work, baboon dey chop. The woman would not disrespect him despite the fact that she feeds him. She would even serve him on her knees. A woman of this generation will never feed you and respect you, except your not having a job is not borne out of laziness on your part. You have to choose between being responsible and respected and being irresponsible and disrespected. You can’t be irresponsible and expect a woman to respect you, you’re not OXYMORON.Some of the older women experienced silent pains which the husband could not see. To him, he married a good woman. If a man now treats his daughter the same way and his daughter decides to leave the marriage, he would tell his daughter to be like her mother who endured shit just so her husband could be happy. Some of the older women are enablers. They feed their men, pay the children’s school fees, pay house rent and keep pretending to be okay. You can’t be okay when you’ve distorted nature. Naturally, the husband is the provider. A woman who assumes the role of a provider either by choice or by force can’t be okay. May Allah assist women who find themselves in this kind of situation. The abuse endured by some of the older women really affected their sense of reasoning. Their type is the one who’d advise the wife of a cheating husband to put cond*om in his bag. They would advise the wife of an irresponsible husband to face her children and continue to stay because of her children.I am not calling for a protest. What I’m calling for is careful selection of spouses. Make sure you pick your spouses like beans to avoid eating stones. Even though destiny has been written, it doesn’t stop you from doing your diligence before marriage. Prayers, investigation and thorough discussion will go a long way. Above all, a woman should know her right in a marriage ; her right within the confines of Islam. She should also know the man’s rights that she needs to fulfil. Marriage of inconveniences abound. The success of a marriage doesn’t lie with the woman alone. For a marriage to be successful, both the husband and wife have to join hands and make it work. The husband should not enjoy at the detriment of the wife. The wife should not endure while the husband enjoys. The wife should not enjoy while the husband endures. There should be a striking balance so that both can enjoy the marriage together. And that is when the mercy and compassion that Allah said He put between spouses will take effect.May Allah assist us! Shine your eyes. Don’t end up like Jameelah. To be continued.Like, Comment and make use of the share button on this page but do not share this story on WhatsApp groups, telegram groups or any other closed platforms ❌ Thanks as you comply. LATEEFAH ADEWUNMI JUMAH – LAJFINGERS



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