I have been doing a lot of dating lately. A LOT. Am telling ya. I should be ashamed, but am not. LOL. Am 29 years old, a secondary single (I am really trying to avoid using the D-word in this post HAHA). I am swimming in it, backflips and butterfly strokes…you name it. It’s so much fun when you’re dating without the pressure of having to corner some poor bloke to marry you asap hanging over your head. Sheesh. It’s like taking a bite of whatever chocolate type you desire without worrying about putting on weight. Btw, I don’t mean bite literally. K-ching. 😉 Continue reading Dating: For the Woman in her Late Twenties…and Above
Not so long ago, I had someone that used to be so close to me tell me these words:
Yeah, go ahead and do whatever you like because you’re so good at leaving people.
I would have loved to stick it back to her in a place where the sun don’t shine but guess what, she was so right. As it so happens, in the past six months or so, I’ve had about three to four people tell me the exact thing about myself. Naturally, this led me to some soul searching moments that left me feeling like ‘you know what, I am okay with the person I have become…yeah maybe I could do with some adjustments here and there but really, I kinda love this version of me.’ Continue reading I Deserve Better!
Some months back I made a decision to chronicle my journey of recovery after divorce but somewhere along the way I stopped recording. I stopped because I reached a point where I lost direction of where exactly I was headed and if at all I wanted to continue along that path I had chosen. For a while I had myself convinced that I had healed. I was no longer bitter at he that broke my heart mercilessly and with impunity. I was over him and I had truly forgiven him. I was not bitter at him. The only emotion I had for him was that of pity; pity that even after everything, from where I was standing, it looked like he was still in the same spot I had left him. Continue reading Chronicles of a Divorcee: Coping with Change
I am angry.
Before you call me crazy, let me explain why am angry.
I woke up very early this morning to prepare for a talk I have to give to a group of young women over the weekend when I stopped to take a break and went on Facebook to do a quick browse. A few minutes of me scrolling down my news feed had me looking at adorable pictures posted by a ‘friend’ showing her husband taking care of their infant. I bet you are now wondering what could have possibly upset me from looking at such adorable pictures. They are pictures of a wonderful father taking care of his child and the wife is obviously very proud of that! But here’s the thing, it is not necessarily the pictures that got me angry. Rather, it was the caption!
And please, don’t get me wrong here, even if this case might come off as me being the unrepentant feminist that I am, my anger is in no way a reflection of my personal views but rather, a reflection of what a real family picture should look like.
Oooh proud moment, hubby changing baby’s diaper. #raremoments, #Ihavethebesthubbyintheworld!
That was the caption that got me started.
Hold on now. You have the best whatiii??
I am not trying to be petty here but for me those hashtags meant more than just mere praise or words spoken carelessly by a wife or mother. For me, those words were a representation of what parenting is like in this world that we live in. Hers was not the first post of that nature that I have seen, it is one of the many many many I have come across and ignored on my Newsfeed and unfortunately, hers was the one that managed to finally tip me over.
I am angry about a number of things that seem to put women at a disadvantage in the family picture and I think I am entitled to vent if I wanna see any change take place. I just can’t hold it in any longer.
I am not for the idea of wives/women/mothers lauding their men for doing what they are supposed to do and making it seem like them doing it deserves some sort of medal. Who told you that a man changing his own child’s diaper makes him the husband of the year? I know that many will argue that it’s because not a lot of men do that and yes, you are very right! I totally agree with you and that’s exactly why I am writing this!
Why are there so few men that take on the responsibility of attending to their children’s physical or mental or emotional needs? Why? Who told men that it’s only the mother’s role to feed, clean and change the diapers? Who told you that it’s enough for the father to simply provide the money to buy the child’s clothes, food and provide shelter without taking an active role in raising that child? And women, who told you that you have the best husband in the world simply because he’s doing something that he is supposed to be doing? If he is doing all these things, what you have is a good husband and father to your children, he shouldn’t be the best of those categories because you should expect that the rest of the men out there by default should be doing the same.
And believe me, if he only changes your baby’s diapers/nappies once in a blue moon and you live in the same house, he is far from being the best of anything.
I am not against the idea of praising our partners when they do something great (and in this case I am referring to parenting) however, what I am against is the idea of both men and women assuming that taking care of their children is the sole responsibility of the mother. The danger with this kind of praise is that we make the men feel as if they are going an extra mile or doing something extra-ordinary when in actual sense they are doing something that they should be doing every day and not just when they feel like it! When a man changes his child’s diaper, he is not helping out his wife, NO. He is doing what a father is supposed to be doing! He is not doing anyone a favour.
A man physically taking care of his own child does not make him an exceptional man (although the current reality of the rarity of such men makes him so), it simply makes him a great father attending to his responsibilities which are and should be expected of him every single day.
A man might provide financially for his family but that shouldn’t exclude him from taking care of his own children whether the wife is busy with a day job or if she’s a house wife. No matter how much money you make as a man, taking care of your children is a responsibility of both parents and that includes changing of diapers as well!
What did a woman ever do to you to make you think that it is her sole responsibility to attend to the ‘dirt and the hard stuff’ of parenting while you only pick up the child when he or she is clean and parade them to the rest of the world making yourself seem like such a macho man for having highly functioning sperms? Is that all you really are in that child’s life, a sperm donor? The woman did not make that child alone and like I always tell my friends, chances are that the woman never even ‘came’ during the conception of that child whereas it’s a fact that the man did! So tell me again, who do you think should really be taking care of the poop and attending to all that crying and noise? This nonsense of shoving the kids to their mothers when they’ve soiled their pants or diapers needs to stop because that child is much yours as she is the mother’s.
For many years women have appreciated ‘men that help them out’ with physically taking care of their children and for years men have lived believing that it is none of their business what happens to their children when they poop, cry or whine over something…their job is to simply help out every now and then when the dear wife or mother is busy, sick or working out of town. But who told men that they are only helpers in this aspect of parenting? Isn’t it enough that the woman had to endure nine months of ridiculous cravings and hormonal changes and carrying around another human inside her body everywhere she went and now you want to leave her alone to handle the ‘mess’ that comes after delivery?
I understand that it’s an accepted fact that women are better caregivers but taking care of your children’s needs is the responsibility of both parents. Both mother and father are supposed…and are expected to participate a hundred percent in the physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and all round growth of their children. Whether the woman had stayed at home lazing around the whole day while the man worked his brains out at the office the whole day, when he gets home, he still has the responsibility to take care of his child because that’s his child and even if it kills him, he has to spend time and attend to his/her needs (whether it’s to change nappies or tell a bed time story).
I was raised in a home where the only ‘father-daughter’ moments I experienced involved a rod and sobbing. I have no memories of my father putting bandages on my wounds or soothing me from crying. My mother did all of these things. However, I do have memories of my father taking us kids all out for shopping and as far as I was concerned, that was all a father was supposed to do for his children. It was only later when I grew a little older that I realized I had had absolutely no relationship with my father and I cannot even begin to tell you how this affected how I related with men later on in life.
I want to fight for a world where men do not feel like they can get away from their responsibilities simply because of their gender. Not taking care of your children does not in any way make you more of a man than your sperm count ever will. I want to fight for a world where women do not make allowances for their men’s bad behaviour or short-comings but to make them accountable and fight to see change. As much as men expect you to be a good wife and mother to the children, expect and demand the same from them. If you keep quiet simply because you fear losing him to a much complacent and ‘domesticated’ woman, then I am sad to inform you that you married a fool. There is a huge difference between submissiveness and foolishness.
I strongly believe that the only way the above can be achieved is if things were put in perspective right from the onset, before the marriage and more so before the children come into the picture. Even way better is if parents inculcated this inot their children from childhood.
On that very first date, my fellow women, do not simply dress up and put on a persona that will ‘help you win the audition for the role of wife’ and end it there. I am not saying don’t look good when going on dates, am simply saying have the right reasons for looking good! If you are going there to audition to be his wife, be prepared to make him audition for the role of husband in your life as well! Why should you be the only one earning his love, he too should earn your love and trust!
I am so tired of seeing women constantly auditioning to fit into the lives of their potential suitors and neglecting who they really are. They put aside their principles, personalities, and ambitions simply because they want the ring and what we get in the end is a society filled with dull and complacent women married to half-baked and sometimes raw…very very raw men. The man has a thousand expectations from you and yet you have zero expectations from him as a husband or father because for you the fact that you are married is good enough.
How many times have you heard the world or the church preach about the ‘the wife material kind of woman’ and how many times have you heard them preach about the ‘husband material type of man?’ The world keeps teaching women to aspire to marriage and they tease men about losing their freedom once they tie the knot. At the end of the day we have married men still acting like single men and married women religiously holding on to their marriage bands expecting no change from their underperforming and promiscuous husbands.
Today I have a challenge for both men and women;
Men, please step up and earn the good women that you so desperately desire. You can’t have the best of both worlds; whores/side-chicks and good wives. I will be honest with you, one woman is a lot of work, on her own she can bring you to either greatness or great ruin. Now imagine having to physically or emotionally handle two or more of them at the same time? And here’s a quick thought; if you think that a side-chick is good for you, and you are aware that you and your wife are one, then it’s safe to conclude that a side-dude is good for her as well right? Because let’s face it, women too think it’s fun to sleep with all the men they find attractive! My point here is that Sin is not gender based; Adultery does not appear blue when a man commits it and red when a woman does. It’s all the same colour. And dear men, be to your children the kind of father you desire for yourself and be to your wives the kind of husband’s you would want if the genders where reversed.
To my fellow women, please, I beg of you, stop settling for the pathetic and men of low quality that keep appearing with rings in front of you. ‘Shipikishaling’ does not make you a Proverbs 31 woman, don’t lie to yourself. You have the power to prevent a shipikisha kind of marriage even before you go on that first date. Unless you have a thing for foolish men, please, you have the right to expect the best from your partner and you have the right to remind them when they seem to have forgotten (or teach them when they don’t know) that you also deserve breakfast in bed, a massage when you are tired, and a day to just watch tv or hang out with the girls without feeling guilty about it. And most importantly, remind him that you did not make those children alone, they are both your responsibility regardless of what job either of you has.
Together, let’s build better families.
I know that for a while, many of you my readers have wondered why I became so inconsistent in my blogging when I had started out so well. I have received a lot of mail from you guys, both good and bad but for me no matter the content; it was a blessing that a lot of you missed my work enough to lament about it.
I should however, state that I found it very encouraging and comforting when some of you wrote messages simply to ask; “Nisha, are you alright?” or “Nisha, is everything okay?” Rather than vent for the delays in updating the stories, you took time to ask about my well-being. I deeply appreciate your love and care. Thank you very much.
I bet many of you are wondering why am writing this.
For me, the year 2016 has been both good and bad. About 89% of it has actually been very very BAD but I choose to take this bit from it all: It was a dame GOOD year overall because I got to re-dedicate my life to Christ! So today, I decided to pen this article to my loyal fans because they’ve been so patient with me during the worst time of my life. I felt I had to explain myself a little bit as to why for a while I had lost my motivation to write:
I got divorced.
I know in reality that I don’t owe anyone an explanation but I woke up today and thought, “oh hell, this year is ending and I plan on leaving every possible dirt and hurt behind as I enter the new year!”
So when 2017 comes, I do not expect anyone to address me as Mrs So-So or Bana So-So. My name is Anisha Namutowe and I am happily divorced. I say happily because all through the drama, I had the strongest arms holding on to me and giving me the strength to carry on. I had never before experienced God as I did during this period. Of course this is not to say that I never cried or that I’ve stopped crying. Believe me, I have days when I wake up in the middle of the night crying over something that doesn’t make sense at all. But all in all, I am a very happy and contented woman.
Even though I cannot divulge the issues that led to my divorce, here’s what I can say; marriage is a very beautiful thing and I enjoyed most of my life as a married woman. Yes I was betrayed by someone I trusted the most but rather than focus my attention on blaming someone, I asked myself; what could I have done better on my part to avoid such an ending? Don’t get me wrong (especially my sisters who I know are reading this very part with goggled eyes fighting the temptation to cuss because they think am taking on the blame for the failure of my marriage)…no, am not taking the blame.
This is merely a reflective moment for me.
My point here is that in order for a marriage to work, all three parts involved in the covenant (God, husband and wife) must all play their parts effectively. Granted, someone pushed the trigger that brought about the divorce, but I still couldn’t help asking myself; what could I have done differently on my part to avoid this somewhat tragic ending? And this is why I am sharing my story today.
When my husband…Who’s now ex-husband made his feelings for me known….and later even proposed marriage, it never occurred to me that I had to consult someone or have a deep conversation with someone very important about the decision I was about to make that would affect the rest of my life. That someone is God. You see, I was raised in a Christian home and as I grew older, the default religious setting in me was that of Christianity. I never really had any personal relationship with God and for a while I actually believed my mum’s faith was enough to get me through the gates to eternal life. For me, Christianity was never my own, it was simply something my parents imposed on me and because somewhere in the Bible there’s a book that talks about honouring thy parents, I had to keep going to church for fear of experiencing those things written in the Bible Book of Revelations. For some reason, that book always spooked me as a kid.
But of course everything I had learnt under my mum’s constant care withered the moment I left home for varsity. I started noticing the beauty around me…the men mostly and my heart started beating in ways it had never done before. For someone who did not take the Christian values instilled in her personally, it was very easy to edit those beliefs if it meant easing my troubled conscience. Suddenly, it was okay to kiss passionately and fool around physically because I was in-love. Eventually, having sex with people I never even loved but was attracted to didn’t seem like such a bad idea. It was around this time that I met the man who was to become my husband.
Earlier, I did mention that there was someone I never consulted when the proposal came. That someone is God. You see, the issue with some of us women is that we get over-excited over the idea of marriage that we forget about the basics. That very marriage we are celebrating when the proposal comes was instituted by God! So isn’t it natural that we should have a conversation with the Father above about who we are to spend the rest of our lives with. For me it really didn’t matter whether this marriage to this particular man was God’s will for my life or not. All that mattered was that I was engaged!!!!
How foolish of me.
In retrospect, that was my very first mistake: Not seeking God’s guidance.
The second mistake naturally was that because God was never at the center of my life or that of my marriage, I (or we) lived ‘our’ lives freestyle, never guided by the principled that bound us together in the first place and only once in a while would we mention the name of God…you know, like an unmarried woman would hail praises to the Lord when she falls pregnant and delivers a bouncing baby boy or a beautiful girl because the world will now focus more on the blessing than the sin or… because now the poor man who knocked her up will be forced to marry her. Or like when you take a beautiful selfie and you caption it ‘feelin blessed’ when what you were really thinking was ‘dame I look too hot!’ That kind of praise.
Buy a car, hail ‘am so blessed!’
Buy a house, scream ‘God’s great!’
Get a promotion; shout ‘I serve a living God.’
Like that’s the only time the word God comes out of your mouth and the rest of the time it’s #chikubabe season.
Granted, those things ‘could’ be blessings but clearly, there’s more to life than only praising God when we gain material possessions or when we wish to deceive others.
Naturally, the inevitable happened.
Of course this is not to say that those who are not Christians (or those that are Christians but still living in sin) do not have good marriages. I know some couples that ‘appear’ to have great lasting marriages and yet they have no active working relationship with God. The last time they read the Bible was at Sunday School and the last time they stepped into church was on their wedding day. Until I discovered certain things about my partner, I too was extremely very happily married! Extremely happy I tell you! Every once in a while, one will discover that little comfort they can get from the darkness. The bliss of ignorance or the bliss of not knowing any better. Unfortunately, day will come and the light will shine right through because it was never God’s design for man to be in eternal darkness.
For a while through my marriage, I put my husband in a position that was meant for God. There was nothing on the face of this earth that my husband would not give to me…as long as I asked. A man with the most giving heart, humble, loving and attentive. He adored me and I lacked nothing. What more could I possibly need? Who was God when I had a man to give me all that I desired? He was a baptized Christian quite alright but just like me his faith in God was very moody and selective. I remember looking at him once and thinking;
He might not be such a Godly man but he is kind and caring, better than most men I know claim to know God and go to church every Sunday. They are busy abusing their wives and sleeping around but here’s my man…just look at this package of manliness.
Ooooh…*hides face in palms*
I was indeed the epitome of foolishness.
If I had died a few months ago, the words engraved on my stone would probably have been:
Herein lies a very foolish woman
There’s been a lot going on lately in our country concerning women killing their husbands and somehow, I found myself sympathizing with them. A part of me understood why a woman would feel like taking the life of the man she had promised before God to love and cherish forever. This foolishness of some of us women thinking that our source of happiness and loyalty is first from and to our husbands. For everything we want and desire, it’s to our husbands we run. Somewhere along the way, we forget that there’s a grand provider; our heavenly Father Jehovah. Doesn’t the Bible caution us to seek first the Kingdom of God and everything else shall be added onto us?
Of course seeking God’s Kingdom first doesn’t mean going for midnight prayers every day of the week and coming home at 8 in the morning, spending all your time at church whilst neglecting your spouse and children. If truly you say you are of Christ, then how can you keep from reading his Word and praying daily in order that you may be guided all through your life?
The only reason why someone would resort to murder is if they feel they no longer have any reason to live…when they feel the only person they are accountable to does not deserve their accountability. In a fit of rage you think your whole world has come to an end, he has betrayed you, he deserves to die for hurting you like this. He was the reason for your breathing…the very air you breathe. How can he do this to you?
Bang. Bang. Bang.
There goes Ba shi Joe, down to the ground.
Woman, what have you done?
He was not the source of your life, someone else is. You definitely can live without him. How can you not know that there’s a Man out there whose love is unchanging? He laid his life down for you just so you could have eternal life. How can you forsake such a Man just because a mere mortal has let you down?
Here’s something I want my fellow women to remember as we enter 2017: God first, man/husband second. If you love God first, he will take care of everything else for you; your husband, your children, your relatives, your job…everything! Your husband is not the reason you’re breathing, yes he makes life fun and interesting to live but he’s not the source of your happiness. God is. If you think I’m lying, read the Bible. I could quote a whole bunch of scriptures for you but there are just too many!
Your love for God will move you to become the sort of wife you ought to be to your husband. And it is only a man that fears God that will know how he ought to treat his wife and family. The reason why most marriages are failing in Zambia and the world over is because people have chosen to listen to the world more and have forsaken the teachings of God. Because the world tells you that a man’s promiscuity cannot break a home, so you go and sleep with any moving (and sometimes crawling) womb-bearing figure. But is that what the Bible teaches?
Unfortunately, the society we live in has turned sin into law and the Law of God into sin. Those upholding their faith in Christ are considered weirdos, strange people with nothing better to do. Don’t they have anything better to do, they keep asking.
This wicked society we live in has given birth to a generation of men who think that providing financially for their wives and families is their only sole responsibility. They lie and cheat with impunity and brag about how well-taken care of their families are.
Dear men, it is because you are busy bathing your families in gold and diamond soup that they end up killing you with the very weapons your money bought. A woman that is well-fed spiritually and emotionally will not even consider murder as an option to solving her problems. I am yet to hear of a husband who was killed by his wife because she caught him reading the Bible….at least here in Zambia (not sure about other countries).
Let me not forget the real reason I’m writing this piece to you.
A lot of Christians shudder at the mention of the word Divorce. And indeed I’ve had a number of them question my decision to divorce my husband when I claim to be a born-again Christian. I have had scriptures shoved in my face willy-nilly, scriptures that talk about how God hates divorce. To this day I can recite those scriptures even in my sleep! Away from my Christian community is society at large. Society simply refuses to accept that a woman can divorce her husband. Only a wicked woman dares to leave her husband no matter what he does! You are supposed to shipikisha.
“How many women out there are dying to get married and here you are throwing yours away?” They asked me.
“Do you want another woman to come and reap where she did not sow?” They asked over and over again.
“Didn’t your Bana Chimbusa teach you anything?” The women spat their venom into my ears. “Do you think all these women you see married are happy? Their husbands have cheated on them plenty and fathered children with other women and they’ve stayed. So what’s so special about you? Your issue isn’t even a big deal!” They said.
From some Christians I heard:
“God hates divorce.”
“God hates divorce.”
“God hates divorce.”
It really didn’t matter to any of these people what had really happened in my marriage. They were quick to give advice but not quick to inquire about the developments that led us to that point. you can’t offer a solution (no matter how Godly you sound) to a problem you have no idea about.
“So he didn’t impregnate anyone or fall in-love with another woman so what’s your problem?” That’s the question they kept asking me.
I discovered during this period how well society had graded and categorized sin.
I will reiterate this: I cannot divulge the actual reasons for my divorce but I can confidently say that I had biblical grounds to go through with it, not because I was hard-hearted as many have candidly pointed out to me already, but because of reasons best known to the three ‘people’ whose opinions matter the most in this case; God, husband and wife.
My decision to keep silent on certain things and to explain to some relatives the full story has led to them labelling me an uncultured woman. I have been cursed, cussed and screamed at in person and on phone by people who do not even know half the story. Whether in marriage or in divorce my loyalty remains to the man I love, even if it means being misunderstood.
The idea that my friends would get to discover that my marriage had failed was very daunting. It is actually one of the reasons I considered staying in my marriage when leaving would have been the right thing to do.
What will they say? This is so embarrassing? They will know I didn’t have such a perfect marriage OMG. They will laugh at me. They will gossip about me. I will forever be known as having failed in marriage.
I had these and many other fears. If there’s anything I’ve come to learn, it is that sometimes it is the very people we call our friends that will celebrate when we fail in life. And this I proved through my experience. But today I want to talk to someone else that might have gone through what I went through…or someone going through it right now. I want to tell that woman that no matter what your fears are, God will see you right through it. He did for me and He still does take care of me. And he will continue doing so in future.
I was very scared at first. After living a certain lifestyle that my husband enabled, I wondered how I was going to take care of myself if I left his side. Under his care I never lacked much materially. He was a great provider. But there I was, an educated and talented woman worrying about how I would survive without my husband…that’s how dependant on him I had become. Also, the idea of another woman replacing me made me go crazy! That’s the worst really. The idea of him and I no longer together just made my blood freeze.
But one day, it was during one of the classes I was taking from The Alpha Course at church when I heard someone say:
God loves you. God wants what’s best for you. He is the grand provider and he will provide you with all your needs.
I had just started my new journey as a Christian and I was still operating on a very shaken up faith but when I heard those words, something in me moved. It was like my eyes were suddenly opened. All this while, I had been looking up to the wrong person for my provisions.
In just a few seconds, my belief system was shuttered and a new one was birthed in me. It was a simple statement, one I had probably heard many times before but for some reason, in that moment, it meant everything and it changed everything.
Suddenly, all my fears were gone.
From that moment on, I stopped caring about what people might say about me. I made a decision from that point on to seek God in ways I had never done before and to this day, I still shock myself by the things I’ve realized I can do through God’s guidance.
I think the test of faith for me came in the realization that I had to acknowledge for the first time that everything I had, the air I breathed and just my life in general was made possible by God and not by my husband. I also had to realize and trust that even if I walked away, Jehovah God was going to continue taking care of me because I am His child. He was never going to abandon me especially in my hour of desperation.
But for a while I had fears; how could God forgive me when I had been such a terrible person? I had for a very long time turned my back on Him and lived my life however I saw fit. There was even a time when i questioned his existence! Would he even answer my prayers?
My heart was not pure. It was filled with shame, disgust, bitterness, resentment and all other such negative things. It’s like i had created a shrine in my head and heart for the Devil to dwell and he went right in and made himself right at home. I harboured terrible vengeful thoughts towards my husband when I was hurting, wanting to hurt him as much as he hurt me. I hated the way he breathed, the way he chewed or swallowed and a thousand times I killed him in my head. I imagined poisoning his drinking water or lacing his meal with arsenic poison. That’s how angry and bitter I was. What made me even angrier was the fact that he appeared to have absolutely no idea just how much hurt he had caused me. That made me kill him over and over again…in my head of course.
Through the Alpha Course at church, I soon learnt that in order for me (emphasis: on me) to experience God on an intimate level, I had to learn to forgive myself. I had to understand what exactly Jesus’ death meant to me and what I had gained from his death. It was a whole new lesson on forgiveness, something I had embraced as a concept for years but now I got to actually experience it. Let’s just say, it’s true what they say; theory is much easier than practice!
But everything slowly started to change. The more I prayed and the more I read the Bible, a certain kind of peace entered my soul. Sometimes it was so strange that my best friend would ask me if I was normal! I was going through a divorce and yet I could laugh and joke about with those around me easily. I could not explain it to her, for how could I when I could hardly understand it myself!? Of course there were days (and nights) when I cried but I pulled through alright through most of it. I was a woman who never imagined I could live this life without my husband. He was the love of my life.
But here I am. Alive and praising the Lord.
Of course this is not to say my life is perfect now. Far from it! But it is liveable and manageable…and it is certainly most peaceful.
Every now and then I think back to that very first time when I learnt the truth about my marriage; from my bed I fell straight to the floor, gasping for air and reaching out for someone to breathe life into me. I thought I was going to die. In all my twenty-eight years on earth, that was the lowest point in my life, literally. I have heard lovers say ‘you took my breath away.’ On that day, my husband literally took my breath away…and it wasn’t in a romantic sense.
I can laugh about it now…but I think I actually died for a little bit that day. So I guess it’s not that funny…or is it?? Oh well….
I think back to that day and I look at myself now. I am not ashamed of who I’ve become or who I was. What the devil meant for bad, somehow God took that and turned it into something GOOD!
So yes, dear friends, family, and my loyal readers, I am a Divorced Woman.
I will repeat: I am divorced.
It still hurts yes and sometimes it hurts even more when I realize how lonely it keeps getting but somehow am not bitter any more, I can smile more and I laugh easily. I have learnt the true meaning of forgiveness and happiness and I can proudly encourage my baby sister who watched in a front row seat as my marriage crumbled to pieces…now I can look her in the face and tell her; Marriage’s not a bad thing!
I know that you’ve wondered (my readers) why I haven’t been finishing up on my stories but you have no idea (until today) the battle I was fighting emotionally. Most of the time I was writing those chapters, I had to force myself because Google kept telling me I was running out of space in my drive cause the complaints just wouldn’t stop coming! LOL.
On a serious note, I am very sorry that my two stories Kondwani’s Debt of Love and An Untimely Love took so long to be finished. I was struggling mentally and emotionally to concentrate on delivering the stories as well as I would have loved them to come out. Still, there were moments during this period when it felt so great to disappear through my characters and forget about all that was happening in my life. And sometimes, I would start writing and somewhere in the middle lose my concentration and give up. It’s been a struggle…one that I am already winning because today I sat down and wrote down this whole long thing!
If there’s anything I want someone to learn from all this, it is that God loves us more than anyone here on earth ever will. For my fellow women I want to say, in all matters relating to the heart, please always seek God’s guidance first before seeking approval from anyone else (here I am assuming that you put all other matters relating to your life before God…but am being deliberately specific on the matter of love). Let us not get swept up by the idea of marriage just because we hear a proposal or see an engagement ring.
Let us forsake this habit we have of ignoring certain traits we see in our potential suitors believing we can change them once we get married. The purpose of courtship indeed is marriage but the intention is that during this period you assess your partnership and your partner to see if indeed you would want to spend the rest of your life with them. Whereas you can compromise on certain things like bad sleeping habits (snoring) or bad breath, you cannot compromise on your principles or character. Human beings on their own have no power to change anyone, only God can change man so do not think for a moment that you have that power over your fiancé who has already cheated on you twice before he’s married you. I know that women too cheat, but my focus today is on the women so forgive me if am coming off too biased.
Don’t just hope to get a husband, pray for a God-fearing, good husband. Just because someone proposes marriage to you doesn’t mean you have to marry them. it is okay to say No even when the ring is right under your nose if you feel deep down your heart you might be making a mistake. There’s also nothing wrong with asking him to wait while you consider his proposal. Always pray for God’s guidance in everything you do, especially in decisions that will bring great change in your life.
For the single woman with no potential suitors in sight, don’t focus on envy too much. Not everything is as it seems on social media. Do not marry just because everyone around you is getting married. I know it’s easier said than done but it is doable. Social media only gives snapshots of people’s lives, it doesn’t tell you their full story. What you are seeing every day are well edited and well-thought out scenes from their lives. Didn’t you know that married folks aren’t supposed to air out their dirty laundry in public? Isn’t that why you only see the good and never the bad on their profiles? So why would you think that couple you are envying has a perfect life just from seeing their Facebook updates?
You will get married and want to re-enact the things you saw on Facebook and when things don’t work out the way you thought they would, you start thinking marriage isn’t all that.
The idea that marriage is a woman’s ultimate achievement is what makes most women desperate to settle down even with mates they clearly know aren’t husband material. Yes being alone can get lonely, it actually is lonely let me not sugar-coat that. However, rather than focusing on the loneliness, how about focusing your energy enjoying your own company by doing things that are uplifting to your spirit (like serving at church, reading the Bible daily, praying, and investing in yourself could be education wise, take up a hobby, hang out with friends, etc). The idea is that you are not supposed to wait for someone else (am talking about a human being here) to come and make your life fulfilling. This is why women end up being too dependent on men and when they are let down, they kill them thinking; my life has come to an end, the source of my happiness is gone.
If you cannot enjoy your own company or love your life enough to want to make it more fulfilling for yourself, why would you want to give that half-baked life to someone else’s son to live with for the rest of his life? I think that’s unfair. In marriage, you do not bring 50% of yourself and expect the other 50% to come from your spouse in order to make a 100. You each bring a 100% to make a complete whole because you are both bringing the whole lot of you and not just half of you.
I think I’ve written enough for today. So far this is my longest article ever!
Maybe I should mention at this point that KDOL and AUL will be back in full force by next week Friday so that we can start new stories in 2017. What do you think?
My name is Anisha Namutowe.
Or you can just call me Nisha.
Thank you for reading and happy holidays!!!
When morning came, I was still awake. I had not slept a wink that night.
I showered, put on some fresh clothes and walked to the restaurant to have my breakfast while I waited for Thandiwe to report for work.
There were a lot of things I was curious about; what had she been up to for the past two years? How did she end up in Ndola? Was she seeing anyone? Who was that Alex guy to her? How was her son doing? And there was another question I dared not say out loud to myself but it was constantly there at the back of my mind;
What did she think of me?
I was not even sure why I cared so much about what she thought about me but the question just kept tagging at me.
I was too embarrassed to entertain that thought consciously but out of everything else, it occupied the most part of my brain. However, even as I kept thinking about another woman like that, I was fully aware of what my thoughts said about the kind of person I had become.
I was busy wondering about how Thandie felt about me when the very act of thinking about her made me a man I knew for a fact she would not be proud of. I could not understand why I was obsessing over her. It didn’t make sense and yet there I was thinking and thinking about a woman I was never going to have.
“Has Thandiwe reported for work already?” I asked the receptionist at the front office. It was a man this time. I hoped the female from last night had gone to take an advanced hospitality course.
“Thandiwe?” The twenty-something year old quizzed me.
“Yes, your boss, the general manager.” I provided.
The point had finally landed home. “Oh, you mean Ms Mwale?” He said.
She really was still Ms Mwale. Hallelujah!
“Good morning Mr Harry,” a voice greeted me from behind. I didn’t need to turn to know who it was.
I smiled and turned around.
“Is there anything you would like me to help you with?” Thandiwe was back in her professional mode and even if her smile reached her eyes, it was not the same smile that had greeted me at one point in Lusaka.
“Can we talk in private?” I asked her.
“Is it something related to your stay here sir?” She asked.
There was only one kind of answer that was correct for the kind of situation I was in. “Yes ma’am,” I lied.
Of course she didn’t buy it. She baptised me in a long cold stare before smiling again. “Let’s talk in my office then,” she motioned towards a door on the other side of the building.
“What do you want?” She had taken off her hospitality cloak the second we were behind closed doors in her articulately designed office.
She had indeed made something of herself. I couldn’t help feeling proud of her as I looked around. Was this the same woman that had asked for 500 bucks from me if I slept with her? She had really come a long way.
“So how did you end up here?” I was getting myself acquainted with her office while she stood closer to the door with her hands crossed over her chest and looking at me like a huge bug she desperately needed to get rid of.
“What happened to you?” Was the question she asked me. To this day I still remember the look on her face when she asked that question.
What happened to you?
She was disgusted with me and somehow that made me feel even more disgusted with myself.
Thandiwe then walked passed me and went to sit behind her desk. “If you have nothing to say to me then I suggest you leave so I can get to work.”
I found myself walking towards her desk and sitting down in front of her. I was embarrassed but somehow I still couldn’t get myself to leave.
“What are you doing?” She had stopped trying to busy herself on the computer and she was looking at me in wonder.
“I don’t know,” I said, shaking my head and trying to figure out whatever was going on in my head. “I really don’t know.” I repeated. “Right now I am supposed to be at a workshop but here I am…I also wish I knew why this is happening.”
“That ring on your finger tells me you are married but that woman I met in your room didn’t look like your wife. Would you like to talk about that first?” She asked sarcastically. “When did it become so easy for that gentle and wonderful man that showed me the light at the worst time in my time? How did you become this person?”
It was that look again.
Right there, right then, it occurred to me why I had so desperately wanted to meet her. It was her voice and that look in her eyes.
When Thandiwe spoke, I listened to every word she said. With just those few words she had spoken, I had found the answer to one of the biggest questions I had had;
Why her? Why Thandiwe?
Because she made me want to be a good person.
Because she reminded me of the man I used to be and she made me want to be that man again.
You see, despite all the efforts our mentors had put in to help us restore the honour our marriage had lost, what they never taught me was how to forgive and forget. I had convinced myself that I had forgiven Thabo but not once had I forgotten.
They had taught me how to forgive but they couldn’t teach me how to forget. It was something I had to teach myself to do.
I felt cheated in my life and in my marriage. I blamed God for how things had turned out and I felt that if God was not going to reward me for the good things I had done…for being the best husband I could be to my wife, I felt I had to reward myself.
I did not start cheating on Thabo because I wanted to revenge. I did all that because I wanted to be in control again. Ever since my wife’s confession, I felt as if I had lost control of everything…like there was an external force somewhere pulling strings and leading me into a direction I did not wish to go.
I wanted to get back the control I had had before everything crumbled to pieces… the control I had lost when my wife felt it was okay to be with another man since I was not there, the control I had lost when the son I thought was mine turned out to be another mans, the control I had lost over my heart when I could not get myself to hate or disown a child I knew not to be my own…that kind of control…the kind that made me a man, a husband, and a father.
I knew that I could never gain back that control but somehow, knowing that I could do whatever I wanted to out there without Thabo knowing about me gave me some form of satisfaction I cannot even begin to explain.
Most importantly, cheating made me feel justified…like it was the reward I had earned for myself for sticking to a marriage that should have been broken. I felt like I had a passport…that I could sin as much as I wanted and not get punished for it.
Not once did I feel guilty for my actions because I felt it was not my fault. However, that morning in Thandiwe’s office, I realised why before her I had felt shame and why before my wife I felt no guilt;
Because Thabo was the woman who had given me the passport to sin and Thandiwe was the woman who would remind me of the man I used to be.
All along I had convinced myself that my wife was not aware of the numerous affairs I was having but the truth was, she knew. I knew she knew but I kept telling myself she didn’t.
“Please take care of yourself…and your health,” had become Thabo’s favourite goodbye phrase every time she said goodbye to me whenever I left home. Those were simple caring words from a wife to her husband but for me they were laden with so much more and yet I chose not to look deeper into them….
And yet…every time I met another woman, I remembered to wear protection no matter how much I got carried away in a situation…at the back of my head I cared…because I had heard Thabo’s words.
“Please take care of yourself…and your health,” she would always say with tears welling up in her eyes. Those tears were not sad goodbye tears because her husband was to be gone for a few days. Those tears were tears of regret for the man she had created and they were tears of mourning for the man she once had.
I realized all these things just because Thande had looked at me in a certain way. She just had to stand there and give me that look that sent chills down my spine and I was awakened from my moral slumber.
As I sat there starring at her, I wondered what she would do if she knew she had so much effect on me…if she knew that even without uttering a single word, she had spoken to me in ways that no man had managed to reach out to me simply…
…because she was Thandie.
Like the fool I had become, I started crying right there in her office.
At first I think it was because of the embarrassment, the shame I felt when I saw her look at me so cuttingly. But then the memories of everything bad I had done came flashing before my eyes.
I saw the many different women I had given my soul to…most of them I would have not given the time of day had I still been the kind of man Thandie expected me to be.
I saw all those moments at home I had chosen to pretend not to notice…when my wife would silently cry in the bathroom every time we finished making love.
I saw Thabo coming back into bed to join me with red swollen eyes yet smiling at me, planting a kiss on my forehead before saying goodbye sweetly. I could see the pain hidden there and yet I chose to ignore it.
I saw Chikondi walk on tip-toes around me, scared he might do something that might upset me and maybe force me to send him away to that place he always feared I would send him to.
I saw my little girls, the twins…I heard them telling me they hated me out of nowhere…like they had some divine power to know of everything I had done against their mother…I heard them say loudly in their sweet little innocent voices, “you are a bad man daddy!”
All these things I had seen and heard happen in my home but I could not get myself to listen. I heard it all, saw it all but I never stopped to listen.
But that was until Thandie stood there and looked at me like that.
Just one look and it all came pouring out.
I finally remembered who that man was.
The man Thandie had smiled at and asked, “What woman in her right mind can break the heart of such a kind hearted man?”
How far back would I have to walk to reach to that point in my life when a woman would take one look at me and see something in me that she had not seen in other men?
“Why are you crying?” Thandiwe asked me.
I couldn’t talk; I just kept bawling my eyes out.
This must have been the fourth time I was showing my weakness in front of this woman.
While my head was buried in my hands, I heard her stand up and walk to the door and then I heard a click. I think she had gone to lock the door. Next I heard her walk towards me and she put her arm around my shoulder.
It was like a switch had gone off and I lost control.
It was not my proudest moment. In fact, there was no pride to speak of in the first place. I was shattered. I was ashamed and I was desperate.
“I am so sorry…I am sorry….” I kept repeating while I cried in her lap. The poor woman, I had my arms around her legs and I buried my face in her skirt, sobbing like the greatest fool she would ever come across.
Instead of kicking me off, I felt her soft hand gently stroke the top of my head and she did not say a single word. She just stood there and let me cry like a baby with my arms wrapped around her while I drowned in my tears.
“Are you feeling better now?” Thandie asked me minutes later after that embarrassing moment. She had handed me a bottle of water and she watched me empty the contents from behind her desk where she was now seated.
Despite everything, I saw no judgement whatsoever from her. But I did see pity in her eyes. She had finally given me her full attention and she was most willing to hear my story. I told her about everything I had done and what had become of my life and my family from the time we had parted ways and she listened without interruption.
“So what are planning on doing now?” She asked me once I was done telling.
“I am not even sure where to start,” I told her. “But I have to correct the wrongs I’ve done against my wife and against my children.”
She was smiling. It made me feel good because it gave me hope I could still be a man she could be proud of.
“I thought I had forgiven my wife for everything, I thought we had moved on…. I thought I had done her a favour when I chose reconciliation over divorce but I had the wrong mind set all along. I should have given our marriage a second chance and given my all to make it work but I deceived myself into thinking that I could use her transgressions as some sort of pass to violate our marriage vows.
Ultimately, I ended up becoming the sort of man deserving of the things she had done to me because I felt justified in my sins while she had taken responsibility for hers.
“So now it is your turn to seek her forgiveness,” Thandiwe stated.
I nodded. “Yes, if she will accept me.” I said. “I don’t know if she has already given up on me or if she has simply been feeling like I am making her pay for her mistakes. Now that I think about it, I don’t think she has forgiven herself either…otherwise, why would she let me do all this to her?”
“You are right,” Thandie said. “The good thing is, marriage isn’t just about two people, it’s about God too and because of him we get second chances…even third chances. I don’t think that you are a bad man Mr Harry…I just think that you are a man who had some unfortunate things happen to you and you responded in ways you thought were right. But now that you know, it makes everything a little easier to correct.”
“I have only now realized that I never told you my full name,” I laughed…and she laughed with me.
“I know your full name already, Mr Phiri,” she said. “You did use your full name to book into the lodge after all,” she added in response to my puzzled expression.
“Ah!” I exclaimed and laughed. “Then why did you keep calling me Mr Harry?”
“Because Mr Harry is the man I know. I didn’t recognize the Mr Phiri that was booked here. I won’t even ask where you found that rare T-bone steak woman.”
I chuckled. “Please don’t,” I said. “Speaking of which, how did you end up here?” I asked.
“After that episode with you at church, I went in search of another one and I ended up finding one where my son and I felt at home. I love involving myself in a lot of church activities so I ended up being a part of this one programme where I got to learn a lot of things. Through that programme I discovered that I love cooking…and that I was very good at it. One time we had an interdenominational kind of trip and we ended up here in Ndola. During that trip I met someone who was very impressed with my cooking skills and he offered me a job as a cook at his lodge which he had inherited from his mother. After working for close to a year and half, here I am….”
“I’m just gonna go out on a limb here and say that the owner of this lodge is that Alex guy?” I said and she smiled, confirming my suspicions. “Are you two dating?” I asked her.
Thandiwe was blushing. “No, of course not. We are just friends.”
“But he likes you isn’t it?”
She didn’t answer.
“I am right!” I said. “Why don’t you like him? He seemed like the kind of man any woman would kill to have.”
“I never said I don’t like him,” she admitted. “He’s only been in this country for four years and I have known him for two. After everything I’ve been through, I have learnt that if something appears too good to be true, then it probably is. I always used to wonder why my ex-husband picked me out of all women. I was not the type of woman a man like that would marry. I was uneducated and the only thing going for me was my face. Whenever he had friends visiting or whenever there was a function somewhere, he preferred me with my mouth shut while he rattled on with his ‘intelligent’ buddies.” She quoted the word with her fingers in the air.
“I was never good enough for him and he took pleasure in reminding me about how lucky I was to be married to a doctor. During the time we dated, he showed no sign of being such a conceited person but it all came pouring out once we were married. And now here’s this young and good looking guy who can have any woman in the world…why would he want to marry someone who’s been divorced and is a single mother? Does that make sense to you?”
I could understand why she was feeling like that but she really had no idea just how wonderful and attractive she was as a woman…and how not being aware of that fact made her even more attractive. Any man would be lucky to have her.
“Your ex-husband was a fool Thandie,” I told her. “It’s just unfortunate that you’ve been exposed to only bad men in your life…your husband, that doctor, and me, but I can assure you that there are a lot of good men out there. Imagine what would have happened if I thought all women were bad just because one woman gave in to a moment of weakness and broke my heart?
“But I met you and you were different…. I have never regretted meeting you. Don’t paint all men with the same cloth just because you’ve had a few bad experiences. Do you intend to live the rest of your life alone, scared that someone might break your heart again?”
She didn’t answer, but I could see she was thinking about what I had said to her.
“Do you think that if we told someone our story…that we were together in a lodge, you half naked…me on the bed yet nothing happened and they would believe us?” I asked her.
“They wouldn’t because it sounds too good to be true…yet it is true! I don’t know who this Alex guy is or where he comes from but I think it’s unfair for you to make him pay for another man’s mistakes when he’s shown you nothing but good intentions. Nothing in life is definite…even in marriage. I am the perfect example. I know for a fact that my wife and I love each other but look at what we’ve been through. Sometimes it’s just about the choices we make when we are faced with certain challenges but that don’t make us bad people.”
Thandiwe was smiling at me in that old usual way that I liked.
“You sound like a very wise man Mr Harry…can’t believe that you are the same man who was crying here just a while ago.”
I winced in embarrassment. “I knew that would come back to haunt me, dammit!” I said.
Thandiwe laughed. “I don’t think that’s something you should be embarrassed about. On second thought…maybe you should, now that I am looking at my skirt.”
I gasped, imagining the damage in my head.
She was still laughing. “Don’t worry about it. In this line of work, it’s only wiser to have plan B and C…and sometimes D.”
“No wonder you got promoted so fast. You’ve always been a smart ass…the kind of natural intelligence you can’t pick up from a book. I am very proud of you Thandie.”
“Thanks,” she said. “Although I think Alex’s feelings had a lot to do with it. And I am proud of you too for recognizing your mistakes instead of blaming them on someone else. It takes a lot of guts to do that.”
“So will you give that Alex guy a chance?”
“We’ll see…I need to think about it some more.”
Her smile was telling me she had already made up her mind.
I was not such a terrible man after all. My conversation with Thandiwe, though unconventional, gave me hope that not all was lost. Even though the mistakes I had made had driven me away from the man I used to be…through Thandie, I had been given a second chance to do things right.
She had been right that first night we met when she said that God does not sleep.
He indeed doesn’t.
Thandie had been brought into my life for a purpose.
* * *
A few days later, Thabo came to pick me up at the airport and when I set my eyes on her, it was as if it was for the first time. I ran to her like a mad man and scooped her up into my arms and kissed her with all my heart.
I guess we must have looked like newlyweds to the people watching us because there were all smiles around…and probably some glares too but I didn’t care much at that time. Thabo was surprised by my behaviour and she kept asking me if everything was okay the whole way she drove us home.
The moment we were in the privacy of our bedroom walls, I put my laptop bag down, got on my knees before her and did something I should have done a long time ago;
I begged for her forgiveness.
All along I had thought that our journey to reconciliation had started two years ago…but that mid-morning after my trip from Ndola, that was when both Thabo and I decided to really make things work.
Unlike before, we promised each other to forgive and forget. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but because this time we would be doing it together, we had faith that we would succeed.
Nine months later I was going through my emails at work when I saw one from Thandiwe. We had not spoken or seen each other since that morning at the lodge and I had had no idea she had my email address.
“Dear Mr Harry,” her letter read;
You must be surprised to receive an email from me. Your address was in your contact details when you checked in at the lodge and I apologize for using that information for personal purposes.
I hope you and your family are doing well now.
I have some great news that I really wanted to share with you because you played a big part in helping me come to this decision: Alex and I will be getting married next month.
I followed your advice and gave Alex a chance. He really is a great guy. We travelled together last month to see where he grew up. I discovered that his parents divorced when he was little and his mother sent him to London to live with her sister. He was an only child between his mother and father but he has four step siblings, two from his mother’s remarriage, and two from his father’s remarriage.
His two cousins from London are very nice and they treat Alex like a big brother. Melissa, that’s his oldest cousin, she is thirty-two years old and has three kids. She wants my son to go visiting since we had left him home this time around.
His father died five years ago and left him the lodge were we both work. The two of them were never close but before he died, he regretted not having been in his life and the lodge was some sort of way to make up for not having been there.
His mother lives in Lusaka with her new family, I met them a couple of months ago and they were kind of nice. They are not very close to Alex and his relationship with his mother is very strained so they just get along out of politeness. I don’t think they will be very much involved in our lives either. At first I was nervous that they might not like me since I am divorced and with a son but they didn’t seem to mind at all…either that or they just don’t care. Hahaha
Oh, by the way, my ex-husband heard that I was getting married and he came looking for me at my workplace. Fortunately, Alex put him in his place and he went away a very pissed off man. I must admit it felt so good watching him beg me for a second chance. It turns out, his wife was seeing another man and apparently he is the father of that same child that made him leave me for her. She left him last year to be with him. He was so mad because she left him for a nobody, his words, not mine.
Although I felt some form of vindication seeing him looking so pathetic, there was a part of me that felt sorry for him.
We set November 9th as the date for the wedding and both Alex and I would be happy to have you and your wife there…especially me, it would mean a lot to me. I know its short notice…but I still hope you can make it.
I hope to see you soon and do take care of yourself.
I was very happy for Thandie. She finally found her own happiness and that good for nothing ex-husband of hers finally realised he had lost a good thing.
I would have been like that man too but I was fortunate enough to be rescued at the right now. I had seen the opportunity and I had gone running after it even if at that point I did not understand why I was so desperate.
Since then, although my life has not been perfect, it’s been filled with so much happiness.
I learnt a lot of things since that morning my wife had woken me up from my sleep and told me that she had something she needed to get off her chest.
I learnt that it is easy to notice the sins of others and judge them accordingly yet for our own sins, we tend to find justifications;
I lashed out because you upset me, I stole because I was desperate, I lied because I didn’t want to hurt you…or I cheated because you made me to.
At some point in each of our lives, we’ve made these and many other excuses for our actions.
However, the thing about life is, for every act we do, every decision we make, we do so whilst consciously being aware of the likely consequences to follow…and even when we consciously know that we are doing something bad, we prepare our defence and we manufacture whatever excuses we can to lessen our guilt.
Although my wife had defiled the sanctity of our home when she lay in bed with another man, I was the one that had betrayed her on a much grander scale because I had deceived her into believing that I had forgiven her. Instead, I used every opportunity I got to hurt her…thinking I was justified in my actions simply because she had done something wrong to me first.
Unlike her who had recognized her mistakes and taken responsibility for them, I had been a coward, hiding behind her while I slowly worked to permanently destroy our marriage.
It was I that made the decision to cheat, not my wife. She had given me the opportunity to walk away and I didn’t. The moment I had chosen to stay, everything that had happened before was to be erased so we could start afresh. Instead, I let myself get swept up in delusions that threatened to tear my family apart.
No one had held a gun to my head and forced me to do all those things I did. And for that, I paid the price…I stepped foot on an already cracked foundation and deliberately rubbed my foot in there and made it crumble to the ground.
In order to restore what had been and built what could be, Thabo and I had to start from the very beginning, together.
She had given me a second chance, not because she felt guilty for what she had done in the past….
But because she loved me.
I had sought her forgiveness…not because I thought I deserved it…
But because I loved her.