Love, adultery and marital quarrels

By Casmir Igbokwe

 Published: Sunday, 11 Nov 2007

 There was something fishy about Ms Uju Akonwu’s recent message. It reads: “We at LEAP Africa want to congratulate you on your wedding. How come you didn’t invite us? I only saw it in the news. All the same, we are happy for you and pray that you have a blissful marriage. Our regards to your lovely wife.”

 This is not April. So this Programme Coordinator of a respected non-governmental organisation like LEAP Africa could not have played April fool on me. I got married seven years ago. And I drew Akonwu’s attention to this fact. She apologised, saying she saw the news on Channels television and that was what got her a bit confused. Having not gone close to Channels TV station in recent times, I concluded that Akonwu, perhaps, wanted to give me another wife. Or there was a conspiracy somewhere to make me steal love.

I quickly drew my wife’s attention to the issue. I laboured to convince her that the congratulatory message was just a figment of someone’s imagination. I achieved my purpose. But the matter set me thinking. Why, for instance, can’t couples see everyday as their wedding day? Why can’t partners rediscover and re-explore themselves? Why do some marriages collapse a few years after consummation? Why do some partners either poison or shoot one another on flimsy excuses? And why do some married couples, even old and experienced ones, cheat on one another?

Last month, for instance, an 80-year-old man was jailed for two years in South Wales, UK, for what the BBC called love theft. The man, David Cryer, stole £365, 000 from his partner to service his new love, Maureen Edwards. He reportedly took the girlfriend out for weekends and holidays and gave her a car and a £167, 000 cottage. In spite of all this largesse, the woman refused to have sex with him. She even told him, at a point, to stop visiting her, describing him as a fat old git. Painfully, Edwards is a nurse hired to look after Cryer’s wife who had suffered a series of strokes.

In far away United States, it was also a nurse that allegedly seduced and deceived our own Ikemba Iweala. Queen Nwoye (28) ended her affair with Iweala (husband of Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) in 2003. But in February 2006, she decided to make money from Iweala (59) through blackmail. Together with her boyfriend called Adriane Osuagwu, Nwoye reportedly extorted a total of $185, 000 from Iweala. This was to keep the affair secret. It was a dejected Iweala that later informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation about the incident. The FBI took the matter to court and recently, the court found Nwoye guilty and convicted her accordingly.

In February, a former Liberian senior minister, Willis Knuckles, was alleged to have had sex with two women. A local newspaper in Monrovia even printed pictures of the scandal. The ex-minister, who is married with children, was later forced to resign.

Married women are wont to condemn men who indulge in this type of act. If some of them have the powers, they will call for the stoning of those men to death. But in this game of secret love affair, some women are as guilty as men. There are desperate housewives who never feel satisfied with their husbands. Every night, they nag, shout and, sometimes, call their partners lazy. Not that the husband is not hardworking. Not that he refuses to give her enough money or attention. He is lazy because in bed, he may not be an optimum performer.

 Consequently, some of them go in search of young men who will satisfy them sexually. Should there be any DNA test on newborn babies today, many men may discover that some of the children they regard as their own may not really be theirs. There are many illegitimate children who roam the streets, constituting themselves into a nuisance to the society.

 In extreme cases, some couples even eliminate their partners so as to have full freedom to do whatever they want. Early this month, a court in Scotland admonished a woman, Jill Martin, who fed her estranged husband, Donald Martin, a curry laced with dog excrement. The couple had been married for 21 years.

Back home, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Yekini Jimoh, recently shot his wife, Folashade. The man was furious after he allegedly caught the wife at a popular hotel in Ilorin, Kwara State. He apparently suspected her of having an illicit affair with another man. It is unfortunate that some of these soured relationships involve old couples who should be models to younger ones.

There is need for married couples to re-ignite the love in their relationships. They should communicate frequently. They should exercise patience and restraint in their dealings with one another. They should have the willingness to forgive and forget perceived offences. It is not enough to mouth “for better for worse, till death do us part.” We need to walk the talk. We should try to remember more of the positive things about our lives than the negatives. We should also imbibe the blind love that defined the relationship between Mr Reinaldo Waveqche (24) and Ms Adelfa Volpes (82). The couple, in spite of their age difference, got married in September. But the Argentine woman fell sick soon after they returned from their honeymoon in Brazil. The woman died of heart problems last month. This devastated her husband.

 For those who feel that their wives are approaching menopause, there is a lesson to learn from the Australian coal miners. Managers at the mining firm, Xstrata, in Sydney were reported recently to have said that giving their predominantly male workers lessons on menopause and foreplay gave them a healthy sex life and made them happier.

Yesterday, a relation of mine, Chukwudi Okoli, wedded in Lagos. As I watched their dance steps, I remembered my own wedding day with nostalgia. I don’t intend to marry again. But I desperately wish to make everyday my wedding day. You can wish me more blissful marital life if you wish. But more importantly, learn to explore your partner just like the first day you met each other. Our society needs more of this than the infidelity, love theft and love killings we experience today.

Note

My story last Sunday entitled “Cleaning the peculiar mess in the legislature” insinuated that a strong Ibadan politician in the 50s, Chief Adegoke Adelabu, described “peculiar mess” as “penkelemesi”. This attracted emotional comments from some people who felt that the article diminished Adelabu’s intellect. I wish to state that there was no deliberate intention to demean Adelabu.

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