Between couples, married couples, are there sins that can undo the ‘I do’ or do them apart long before death arrives? Can you forgive your husband anything or everything? Are there things your wife will do and you’ll spit in the air and collect it with your face?
Meaning: you are ready to go for broke and break everything. Are there things a wife should not do for love no matter how sane they may sound in a moment of passion and sacrifice? Sacrifice, what are the limits of sacrifice in a marriage?
If your husband gives you ‘gonorrhea, will you forgive him.
If he ‘mistakenly’ sleeps with your friend or sister, will you end the marriage or kick the intruders to the curb and take your husband back?
If your wife sleeps with your landlord to stop him from kicking the family into the street when you were down on your luck, will you ‘accept her sacrifice’ or see her as a tramp who slept with an old dirty goat and send her back to her parents?
Right now, I can’t really remember all the unforgivable sins in the world. It’s just six in the morning and my brain is still booting, after all. But I have just finished watching a movie that real got me thinking. See, each time I get an opportunity to counsel an about-to-marry couple, I always ask the question: Is there anything he/she will do that you cannot forgive? And I always get that frightened, shocked look that tells me I just asked a question they had no answer to, a bump on the road on this journey they were embarking on that they had not considered. Young love these days worry more about how romantic the proposal is, the photo-shoots and other shiny stuff. They hardly ever give serious thoughts to the marriage itself, which starts right after all the dazzling fireworks and dancing competition at the wedding reception.
But bumps,hard times are part of the journey called marriage. The rose-tinted glasses must come off at one point or many points in every marriage when the storms or confusing moments show up. That is when the couple get to know the strength of their bond, the depth of their vows and the length they’ll go to to stay together.
Take the case of Toyin and Gabe whose marriage ran to uncommon turbulence after about 12 years ran into turbulence .
The bills had been piling up for a while, and steadily too. The electricity, gas, rent, school fees, had all been unpaid for months. The only possession the family had that was fully paid for was the family car. Gabe was out of a job because of a downsizing wind that blew through the banking sector. They lived on their savings for a while but Toyin had been a full time housewife for a long time, perhaps for too long, really. She was a trained masseuse who had become rusty. That Monday morning, to worsen an already bad financial state of things, the children had to stay home because the fees for two previous school terms were outstanding. Third term usually is when school owners pull the rug from under parents who are owing, especially as the children approach promotion examination.
The children were unable to go to school.
There was no food at home.
The landlord had started bringing in prospective renters and buyers to inspect the house.
The food cabinets were empty.
They were owing every ‘omo ibo’ selling food stuff in the neighbourhood And Bolu, the four-year-old baby of the family was running temperature.
You what they say, when it rains, it pours. Toyin knew it was time to get up and do something, anything. Her husband was incapacitated,financially. Gabe’s mood had become a permanent pendulum swinging between anger and prolonged deep, silent sadness. Toyin knew depression wasn’t far away and she was not going to watch her son die of malaria, was she?
As a trained masseuse, she went job-hunting. And she got one, the very first day of the hunt. She could not believe her luck. It was a well-equipped spa, demure but sophisticated. It had no massive signage and until you left the reception area, you would not feel the massive investment behind the small exterior. Toyin could not believe she got in that easy. There was no strenuous interview. No rigorous questions about references from her previous employers and all those stuff people who have not worked for years are subjected to when they return to the grind.
Nervous but excited, Toyin resumed a week later. And that was when she found out that her real job description was beyond the contract letter she was issued. The first thing she noticed was the five-star clientele; bankers, politicians, top police officers, people whose names she had only read in newspapers and whose faces she’d seen only on television. They all came for the ‘happy endings.’ Yeah, the spa treatment that ended with pleasurable sex, uninhibited sex. Did you gasp? Toyin wept.
Toyin was married. She had never been unfaithful to her vows but her family was at the verge of losing their accommodation and faced with a ‘return-to-the village’ option. Her children had been sent home from school. She found herself between the devil and the deep blue sea. She decided to grab a life jacket and swim. It was a tough call and she told herself she would stop as soon as the overhanging bills were paid. She consoled herself that what Gabe didn’t see or know would not hurt him. The money was too good. The gifts from her clients were irresistible. Her first client was a member of the judiciary and he tipped her in dollars. Toyin sent her conscience on sabbatical and eased into the quick easy flow of cash. For two years, she deployed all manners of lies to cover her tracks. She bottled up her shame and paid the bills until the quicksand of karma consumed her. Happy endings do not always end happily, trust me.
One tragic Saturday, one of the masseuse gave one of the clients a happy ending that was too happy and the client joined his ancestors, right there on a VIP massage table. The place was raided and all the worms crawled out of the can. Toyin got caught in the melee, of course, and her marriage now hangs in the balance. Gabe could not believe his wife was nothing more than a ‘glorified prostitute’, an ‘olosho’ masquerading as a masseuse. He was angry, livid. He wept. He moved out of the house. Then he moved back and told Toyin to leave. The children were distraught. Everything indeed fell apart.
Did anybody remember the circumstances that led to Toyin looking for a job, in the first place? Did Gabe remember the days strangers walked through their home with the landlord showing their bedrooms and wardrobes to them as prospective tenants? Did Toyin’s husband realize how his children got to stay in school in spite of his joblessness?
Maybe Toyin should not have taken the job?
Maybe she should not have allowed herself to be sucked in by the easy cash.
Maybe she should have convinced her husband to let them move back to the village, or at least out of the city.
Maybe she should have bought herbal concoction instead of taking Bolu to the hospital.
Maybe Toyin should have pressured her husband to do ‘whatever his mates were doing’ to take care of their families instead of taking on the burden of the family breadwinner.
Plenty of ‘ifs’ and ‘maybes’.
Who would have thought that that normal job-hunting day would end, in tears, premium tears? But there she was, with the short end of the stick , a bewildered family and a furious , confused husband.
Let me state clearly here that Toyin is guilty of an offense. Adultery is adultery, irrespective of the reason or reasons behind the sin. She had a choice and she must own up to her failure to uphold her marital vows, with her full chest.
The issue here is forgiveness in marriage
Does she deserve forgiveness, a second chance, another chance?
If you were in Toyin’s husband’s shoes, would you forgive her or tell her to pack both her light and heavy bags and return to her father’s house?
What sins will you consider unforgivable between a husband and wife?
What can’t you forgive your spouse?
Should there even be unforgivable sins in marriage?