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I was born and raised in Bungoma County, in what I would describe as a modest upbringing. I am the second born among nine children. My father is a retired Biochemist and my mother is a retired Auditor.
I grew up protected. I was daddy’s little girl. I was always too green when it came to certain things. I worked hard and was taught many things in the countryside, but no one taught me how to survive in the city.
Then I enrolled at the United States International University (USIU) in Nairobi. I desired to fall in love one day and get married so I looked forward to getting into a relationship that would culminate into marriage. However, the unexpected happened.
I dated two men who both died in the course of each of our relationship, one after the other. I suffered deep grief. I was labeled and stereotyped. I was accused of things I knew nothing about. I grieved for long and I grieved hard. I was bruised, broken and confused.
The first one was called Sam. We met when I was 20 years old and decided to start a relationship. He was a gentleman in every way, one that every woman would desire. One day, he fell sick and collapsed in my house. I later learnt he’d had a stroke. It hit him very hard such that he slipped into a coma and died within a month. I was 23 when he passed on.
My next courtship was brief. It hardly lasted a year, and I was 26 years old then. It also ended without notice. He was a young and enterprising man, full of promise and ambition. However, there were some deals he had that didn’t quite go well such that he decided to take his own life. It was devastating. At some point in my life, I thought marriage was not meant for me and decided that I had had enough heartbreaks for one lifetime.
During this time, I was working, pursuing my studies at the university and also supporting my parents and siblings. It took me long to finish my schooling because the responsibilities I had were overwhelming. There was practically too much school fee balance left after deducting from my salary. I couldn’t afford to take a full course load.
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There was a time when I actually took three years of academic recess just to reorganise my finances.
Then there was this man I met at a friend’s wedding. He was a church minister at the time and he led people into worship. That’s what he did every day of his life. We remained friends and our friendship grew over the years. He was there for me whenever I needed emotional support and I was there for him, mostly on the financial aspect.
Thinking that I had finally met the right man who would help me forget the pain I had gone through, we decided to settle down and that marked the beginning of another nightmare.
Everyone was against the union. I avoided anyone who would discourage me from being together with him. No amount of convincing would make me change my mind. The wedding date had already been set and there was no looking back.
On the eve of the wedding, I had my final exams. I was at that time pursuing my Masters at the University of Nairobi. I was not able to make it for the final marriage counselling session due to all the wedding preparations at hand as well as preparing for my exams. This formed the subject of our first big fight with my fiancé.
When I got home from campus, I found him seething with anger. He scolded me for having missed the final counselling session. He took my phone and smashed it against the wall. I felt ashamed and dishonoured by the man I was to marry the very next day.
I cried uncontrollably. Before I could sneeze, he banged the door and drove off in my car. The right thing to do then was to call off the wedding, but I didn’t because I couldn’t bear the shame and scorn it would bring to my parents.
I felt weak and discouraged. I asked one of the ladies who had a car to drive me to where my parents were spending the night. I needed some reassurance but they didn’t receive me warmly. They scolded me for not spending my last evening with them.
That’s when I asked my friend to take me to sleep and prayed that I would feel better in the morning. I was tired, drained, broken, confused, name it all, and I just wanted to die. I had nothing to look forward to in a marriage that already had a promise of violence.
The next day, I woke up and it was my wedding day! Everyone was happy, ladies milling around in matching clothes and others singing outside. I just wanted to run away from it all but somehow I couldn’t. I quietly dressed up and had all the make-up done to ensure that I looked my best. I was the bride of the day!
The convoy set off for the wedding venue. The ceremony and reception went on and evening came when we went back to our home to start our new life as a married couple.
That night, I went to bed in my gown. I did not want him to touch my skin. I had not forgotten about our fight the night before and despite the fact that we were now married, there was no way I was getting intimate with him. The miserly honeymoon period ended and there was more drama in store.
The man had no commitment to the marriage. He kept male friends, some who got so close to the marriage as to harm it. One particular one came to live with us and he introduced him as his ‘cousin’. He acted like my co-wife.
He cooked, before I could cook. At times he would refuse to eat whatever I cooked, and asked his ‘cousin’ to fix something he liked better. He washed the clothes they shared between them. Sometimes they shared undergarments too. There were nights when he preferred to sleep in the guest bedroom with his ‘cousin’ whom he would want to talk with privately all night long. There were many such nights.
On some nights they would dress up, apply make-up and go for night long outings. I would be left all alone in the house listening to gospel music and wonder what was going on. On some days, my ex-husband would lock himself up in the bathroom telling me he was demon possessed and that he was fighting his demons. He always slept with his genitals, and his phone secured in between his thighs. As these weird behaviours continued so did my suspicion continue to heighten.
One day, as I was looking for something in my car, under the driver’s seat I found a soiled vest. It was his vest but since they shared clothes with his ‘cousin’ I wasn’t so sure who had used it. It was full of barely dry semen. I put it in a bag and took it to the house. When I confronted him about having a sexual relationship with this so-called cousin, he denied it. That is when I demanded the man should leave our house.
He left, but I was made to feel very guilty about it. Two weeks later, my ex-husband also decided to move out of our house and move in with his ‘cousin’. He said he needed time off the marriage to think about whether he really wanted it in the first place. He said he may have made a mistake to marry me, yet it was not my fault and wished I would not get hurt. He moved out.
Not many of my friends and family noticed that something was amiss. I stopped trusting people and almost became paranoid. I found solace in music - particularly Gospel music by Kenyan artistes Kambua and Angela Chibalonza, which soothed me to sleep. I listened to them all day and all night. For the next three months or so, I never heard from him. I however heard of his powerful worship ministrations at the church where he was a worship minister.
I was horrified. I believed that the altar of God is not a place to smear dirt upon. However, the church was never really aware of his life after ministration hence his status quo prevailed.
One day, we met in town as I was going about my errands. He apologised and wanted us to make up. I made the mistake of believing him. I just did not want to be the one who led us to divorce. He moved back into our house but nothing much changed. In fact, he became worse. He would throw strange parties in my absence, had multiple personalities and kept his different lives worlds apart.
He still went to those bizzare night outs in make-up and still hid his phone and genitals securely between his thighs every night. We lived like brother and sister. He made his ‘cousin’ believe that I was cool with everything they did.
One time, they had a fight between them and he switched off his phone. When his ‘cousin’ called him on my phone and asked me to pass an apology to him and ask him to call him when he was less upset, I was speechless. I passed on the message and continued to exist.
He never took financial responsibility for our welfare. I paid for everything, except rent. He spent his money as he pleased and I never questioned him.
One day, auctioneers visited us demanding to sell all our household items to recover unpaid rent. I promised to sort them out because I knew I had some cash in a bank account but the ATM card was missing. Upon confronting him, he said he had it but wasn’t going to give it back to me. I lost my cool and he got violent. He hit me with everything and anything he could lay his hands on. He almost killed me.
That incident was an eye opener. I’d had enough. I was hurting. The reality had hit me that this man had married me for my social status and his need for marriage as a cover up for his other lifestyle. He had been in love with my lifestyle, and not me. In addition, despite him being a church minister, he had a fishy side that he needed to keep under wraps due to societal stigmatisation and marriage would act as the perfect cover up.
I decided to walk out of the marriage for good. I applied for divorce and it did not matter to me how long it would take as long as I was free from him.
My case had several grounds for divorce including desertion, denial of conjugal rights, infidelity, negligence and violence.
By the time of my divorce, I had become strong willed. I knew how to grieve and also to pursue and get healing. I believed that despite my past, I deserved a better future. Despite the fact that people scorned me and told me to accept my fate because no one would go for a divorcee, I refused to give in.
Today, I am happily married to one gentleman called Bosire. We were finally able to formalise our union in February 2013. He knew my story and still chose me. We took things slowly since I was still healing from my past. We have been together for seven years now and are blessed with two children.
He has helped me forget all that I had lost. He gave me a new name and a new purpose. I am far much more blessed than I could ever imagine.
My husband is not ashamed of my past. He believes I was wounded to heal others. He even claims that being with me has healed him too. He has encouraged me to share my story as a way of encouraging others who have struggled through relationships.
I am devoted to changing the course and improving the quality of relationships through coaching and have a blog where I write issues on relationships, parenting and life. It is important for people to know themselves before they come to the table of marriage.
Marriage will not correct something that is not right with you. You must work upon your own self to the point where you feel presentable to another human as a spouse. Mine is a story of lost and found hope, the pain and consequences of deception.
Marriage is a commitment between two consenting adults of sound mind. However, a marriage ends the moment that commitment is broken without hope for repair.
I believe the only way to reduce the number of divorce cases today is for anyone with intent to get married someday to adequately prepare themselves for that chapter. It should be the reserve of only those who have invested their time in acquisition of the necessary skills to navigate through it.