Like every girl raised in a Christian family, Carol* knew that engaging in sex before marriage was out of the question. The rule was; go to school, get an education then get a job or a husband, whichever came first. So, at the age of 19, Carol eloped and got married to a man eight years her senior. Her reason: She was scared of having sex before getting marriage.

Nine months later, her marriage was no more. She was divorced. She now directed her energy to education, graduated from college and started working as a travel consultant. This is where she met a handsome young man, four years older than her who swept her off her feet.

At exactly 26, she got married again and this time she knew it was her happily ever after.

“I was determined to make this marriage work and did everything I could to ensure that I was a good wife and mother. One of the things my husband would share as testimony was the fact that we had never argued or fought for 16 years of our marriage.

“I purposed to be the Proverbs 31 woman. Extremely submissive and did everything my husband told me. I believed that if you had a different opinion from your husband, you were not supposed to air your thoughts for the sake of peace. I would even give him all my salary when I was working. He controlled all the affairs of the house,” Carol says.

Since both of them used to travel a lot and spent very little time with their three children, they decided that Carol would stop going to work and home-school the children. Although to someone looking from the outside, her decision to quit her job and be a stay-at-home mother for eight years may have further curtailed her voice in their marriage, Carol has no regrets.

After about two years, they felt their children were ready to be integrated into the normal schooling system, and Carol found herself with more time on her hands, she took up writing, and her husband encouraged her. That is how her production company was born.

“I love music, so my productions always had singing, dancing and acting, the triple treat.

Then in 2011 she crossed over to film production.

“I did a film that starred Nigerian super star Rita Dominic and it turned out to be the best decision I ever made career wise.

“In fact, you could say I am the one who opened the way for Nigerian and Kenyan actors to start working together. The film was voted Top 10 Influential Films in 2011, it won two Africa Movie Academy Awards and got eight nominations in the Kalasha Awards in 2012. I was also voted Top 9 Most Influential Christian Women in 2012,” she says.

Life was great in 2012, or so she thought. She was excited, her star was shining and she was all over the media, getting interviewed on print and electronic media and she was travelling all over Africa to screen her movie. Despite the film’s many successes, just as the movie’s title, her life got shattered that same year. “Everything I held dear crumbled. After the movie premiered in Nairobi, my husband took over the movie saying he was taking over from there. He fired everyone and everything went quiet,” she says.

“My success was like my rebirth and awakening, I became independent, I was successful after being a sheltered stay-at-home mother for eight years. I was now a career woman, working till late and not asking for permission. I never realised that my success was changing the dynamics of my marriage.”

While she was busy working and ensuring the film was a success, rumours about infidelity started spreading. “People started telling my husband all sorts of things about me and I was also being told things about my husband. As a matter of fact, I can say that our friends broke our marriage by spreading half-truths to suit their intentions,” Carol says, adding that the rumours led to the end of their marriage. Four years later, they got divorced.

“Divorce was hard on me and for three years, I went underground, not even attending church. I went into depression. I had no friends, and it’s like when you are a divorced, you have leprosy or something.”

“My phone stopped ringing and people forgot I existed. I would cry a lot, I hated myself and I would lock myself in my room since whenever I went out, I used to imagine everyone was looking at me and talking about me,” Carol says. As if depression wasn’t enough, Carol got engaged with con men. “I started to look for ways to make money and landed on fake deals and got into debt. I almost lost my mind. I lost hope and just wanted to die.”

Last year, Carol was invited by her friend back to church and her life took a different turn.

“I started attending church with my children and re-invented myself and Legacy One Productions was birthed. I am currently working on a new film and on a version Help! I’m Married! which I did in 2007,” she says. “Also, I started a vlog on YouTube called Carol’s World where I share my experiences.”

Does she still believe in happily ever after? “Yes. My marriage did not work but my life is not over. I still believe I will find love and even get married. I have started living again, exercising, looking good and just taking care of myself. “I need to look good. You never know when you will meet Mr Right,” she says.

Confessions;Marriage;Shuttered vows