No doubt about it, Marriage is an incredible institution. When two people come to live together for the first time and start a family, it’s a beautiful thing. That’s why, despite the bad rep it gets, most people will still encourage you to marry. In fact, they want you to marry so much, that they’ll say all sorts in their bid to convince you. They’ll claim that marriage is good for your health, marriage makes you a better person, marriage improves your livelihood, etc etc.
These things are all true…. but what they don’t tell you though is that marriage is also a very awkward, and at times, painful institution. It comes with occupational hazards. No one wants to tell you about this part, so let me be the first to let you know.
You two will injure each other.
You will not mean to, but you definitely will. Especially if you’re both clumsy like my Naijawife and I.
How you ask? Let me share just a few embarassing examples with you.
Incident Report #1
Shortly after we were married, I wanted to treat Naijawife to breakfast in bed. I’m not the best cook in the world, but breakfast is my strong point. So I fried some eggs, toasted some bread, dropped on all the marmalade she likes and carried the tray over to her.
I’d boiled some water for her tea and, after dropping off the tray, I turned back to get the flask. Once I reached her side of the bed again, I loosened the top of the flask as she raised her teacup up to receive the water.
I don’t know what exactly happened after that, but suddenly, instead of smiling at me and singing my praises, Naijawife began screaming in pain and the flask, now empty, lay near her arm. Her screams continued as she ran past me to the bathroom and started flushing cold water over her arm.
Some time later, she came back to the bedroom but I hadn’t moved from my position. Later, she would tell me she thought I was in shock (despite the fact that she was the one who got burned).
But it wasn’t shock that froze me. It was shame. Shame that I was barely into the marriage and had almost sent my wife into the emergency room. I couldn’t even ask her if she was O.K. because I was afraid to hear the answer. I started picturing what I would tell her parents if I had to call from the hospital room. What if they accused me of abusing her? What if the doctors wrote that it was an incident of domestic violence? What if her skin peeled off completely?
I could already see the headlines in my head. “Man Burns Wife Because She Asked Him To Make Breakfast. Father Swears to Burn Him In Revenge!“
In my panic, I didn’t even notice when she tapped me on the back.
“You alright?” She asked.
“Am I alright? Are YOU alright? I almost burned you to death!” I replied.
“Oh pish. It’ll be fine in a few days.” She casually reached over for some toast and started munching away like nothing was wrong. Finally, I sat next to her and covered my head with my hands.
“Darling it’s alright! Accidents happen! Just don’t pour hot water on any of our future children.” She was joking. Obviously, she was trying to cheer me up, but I could not be consoled.
Incident Report #2
This time around, we’d been traveling on business and hadn’t seen each other for a while. Maybe we should have rested first but, eager to reconnect, we headed straight into what men and women do best. Seated on the settee, I suddenly had the bright idea to move her to the dining table. I must have overestimated my own strength after such a long trip…but whatever my body’s excuse was, we didn’t quite make it to the table.
I haven’t completely figured it out till today. But from what I gather (or what she tells me), I lost my grip and dropped her right before setting her down. As she slid down, her head hit the desk and the impact bounced her back unto me. I caught her again but the dead weight made me drop as well and we both landed on the floor.
She burst into laughter as I moaned in pain on the ground. I suppose it was a funny situation, but she kept laughing…and laughing…and laughing.
Finally, I noticed her laughter was going on for a bit too long. Not realizing then that she’d been badly injured, I looked over at her and asked where she was hurt.
“My head o!” and she burst into more laughter.
Was she getting hysterical? Did she have a concussion? Reaching for her, I tried to pull her up. She swayed from side to side.
“Can you walk?” I asked
“Shooooorwrw!” she said.
Great. Now she was slurring.
“I’m worried…should we go to the hospital?” I told her.
“Ahhhm nahkeid! They caaaant….caaan’t look me!” She answered.
Yes. Definitely slurring.
“Darling, You don’t sound so well…” I protested, but she reached for my knee.
“Ahhh you hurt? Yo kneee is — is tearing.” and she started laughing again.
“Babe why are you laughing???!”
“Iz shhoooo funnny!” She answered. Then she lurched over to the freezer, pulled out some ice and came back to put it on my knee. At that point I thought maybe she really was alright. After all, she’d been able to walk to the freezer and complete a deliberate action right?
Then she went to have a shower, and at the sound of the water I think I convinced myself she was alright. After all, showers are her thing….so she must be O.K.
By the time she came to bed, I’d fully convinced myself that she was back to normal. She entered the bed, closed her eyes and lay very still. I inched closer to her.
“Naijawife, you’re ok right?”
“Naijawife…” I repeated.
“Hmm? Fine” she answered.
I’d googled concussion on my phone. She wasn’t throwing up or anything…so eventually I started thinking we had unfinished business, and inched closer to her. Letting my hands do the questioning, I slid them underneath the covers.
Before I could move any further, her hands seized mine under the cover. She turned to me, eyes wide open, and said:
“Babe. I’m alright. But I’m not that alright.”
So there you have it. Injury upon Injury. The occupational hazards of two people living together in marriage. Now before we were married, we received all sorts of counseling, prayers and advice. But I don’t remember getting any forewarning by our beloved elders and counselors about this stuff. Even on our wedding day, all day long throughout the ceremonies, these were the sort of prayers they made.
“Naijahusband, your eyes shall never turn to meet another woman.“, “Naijawife, you shall always have the desire of your husband.” On and on it went. Prayers that we would prosper. Prayers that we would love each other. Prayers that we would carry each other into our old age, etc. etc. Those prayers were all well and good. But if you ask me, what they should have prayed was:
“Naijahusband, may you never accidentally pour hot boiling water on your wife!”
“May your grip always be strong so that you can carry your wife to a table securely!”
Most of all, I wish they’d have prayed that I would always be my wife’s Superman and never cause her to feel any pain. But after a set of bruises, near concussions and sprained knees, I keep thinking its just part and parcel of the whole journey that we two clumsy people will have to deal with as we grow together. Maybe we’ll fall into a perfect, synchronized unison and eventually put our awkward, completely mortifying, wincing-in-pain moments behind us. Until then, I’ll just pray that we’ll continue to love and laugh (non-concussion-induced laughter of course)…and always keep the bandages near.
What sort of embarrassing incidents have you had in your marriage?