How Do You Marry a Man You Don’t Love?

How Do You Marry a Man You Dont Love
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We first met when a friend of mine invited me to her church. After the service that day I remember my friend introduced me to a couple of her male friends. I didn’t even get their names. A day or two later, my friend called to tell me one of her friends she introduced me to asked for my contact so she had given it to him. A day or two later, he called. “Hi, my name is Nii and I’m the second guy Konadu introduced you to the other after service.”

I didn’t remember his name or his face but I played along just so he wouldn’t hurt. He said he took my number from my friend because he wanted to be friends with me. I said ok and our road to friendship begun.

I knew he loved me the very first day I went out with him. He was all over me and introduced me to whoever cared to listened. I was impressed by his honesty and straightforwardness but truthfully, there was nothing in my heart for him. After some weeks he proposed. He even told my friend to add her voice to convince me to say yes. I gave him the cliché; “Give me some time to think about it. I’m still a girl. I’ve gone back to my ex four times. I’m still trying to find my feet in life. Just give me some time.”

Nii was a man in a hurry. As if his life depended on my saying yes to his proposal. Every morning and night, he called to ask, “Mary, how far? have you decided on my proposal?” The answer was always, “I like you but give me some more days and I’ll definitely tell you what’s in my heart.”

My friend, Konadu never stopped bugging me; “Nii is a good chap. Give him a chance. He would be a good boyfriend.” So one night when he called I told him; “Yes, you’ve won.” Come and see this boy…The screams and the jubilation over the phone, it was as though he’d won some lottery.

He never came to my house without a gift in hand. There was nothing he didn’t have answers to. There were no tears of mine he wouldn’t kiss away. No time. I say, no time would you call him to come that he wouldn’t come. I asked him, “Your ex and yourself, who left who?” He said, “She left me.” I said in my head, “Obviously.”

Not that I was used to the abuse my ex took me through but I couldn’t wrap my head around a relationship so good that we couldn’t even have a disagreement. I was always waiting for that time. You know that time a man stops picking your calls and starts giving you excuses? Yeah, that time he would see your missed calls and still wouldn’t call back because he’d been busy all day? Yep, I started looking towards that point and that never happened.

We did a year together. We did another year and all through a couple of years, he never missed a call from me. Neither a day went by without me seeing his call. A guy so good deserves all the love he could get but there was no love in my heart for him. I hadn’t found anybody and I wasn’t thinking about anybody. He was just not the guy for me.

On my 29th birthday, he sat in front of me at a restaurant I’d chosen for us to be. He looked into my eyes and said all the good things and gave me his plans for us; “We are going to get married next year if God permits. We would have a beautiful wedding and on our honeymoon, I would put on my best show and get you pregnant. Nine months later, our first child would arrive, a girl hopefully. We’ll call her any name you will choose for her. We would have a home somewhere peaceful and grow our kids.”

It was lovely looking at him say all that. I should have been happy but that was the moment I wanted to tell him, “Nii, I’m sorry. I’d fallen out of love and I don’t see myself in your future.” Truly I wanted to tell him that but I knew it would break him. I knew he would ask me why and I wouldn’t have answers so I let it go.

When we were going home, he said; “You don’t look happy.” I said, “I couldn’t be happier.”

I told Konadu that I wanted to leave the relationship. She screamed, “Why! Is he treating you badly?” I said, “Not at all. It’s my heart. My heart is not in it.” She asked, “Mary, is there anything you’re not telling me? How could you want to leave if everything is fine?” I told her, “Yeah, that’s the irony. Nii is so much into me but there’s nothing in here for him.” She asked, “Since when did you realize that?” I answered, “Since that day I said yes to his proposal.” Then she said, “Tell him how you feel then.”

I wish it was that easy.

I tried to give him signs that I wasn’t interested in him. I wanted him to get it and walk away but no matter what I did, he kept showing me love beyond measure. One day Konadu said something that changed my perspective about the whole thing. She said, “You don’t have to necessarily love a man before you could live with him. If he loves you as Nii does, stay with him. Love grows slowly for some people. Yours for him will someday grow.”

So I kept it going however empty I felt when I was with me.

A year later, as he promised, we got married. During our honeymoon, he indeed put on his best show but I didn’t get pregnant. A year and a half after our wedding, we had our first child. A boy. Two years later, we had a girl. Another girl followed a year after. And then there was another girl and then a boy. Five of them. We had done seven years of marriage and I still looked at Nii like I used to look at him when we were young and dating. Still no love for him. Empty.

Maybe it’s me who doesn’t know what love is but I can swear I do. What I felt when I was with Fred had never happened again. There were sparks when we kissed. When he made love to me I moaned. He could simply look into my eyes and I would feel owned. That boy was everything that was wrong for me but he was everything I wanted in a man.

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Konadu said the love will come someday if I stick around. Here we are. over ten years together and five kids after still no love. Everything I’ve done for him was out of duty. If I lose him today, I swear I won’t miss a thing. Well, I will miss the times when I was younger and would love to go back to be who I was before him.

I was with him this Valentine’s day at a restaurant. I wore a new pink dress he had bought for me a day before Valentine’s. He bought me a gold watch and a necklace. He took me to that restaurant, to impress a mother of five. He sat there eating his food like the world is right. I stared at him thinking, “If one day you get to know I never loved you, would you regret everything? Would you regret ever calling me your wife and making me the mother of your children?” I was so lost in thought when he asked me, “What are you thinking?”

I smiled and said, “Nothing. I’m only happy for how far we’ve come.” Lies!

—Mary, Ghana

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