Sometimes, we take decisions that are far-reaching and could have detrimental effects on our lives as well as the lives of those whom we say we love. Many people, who have experienced emotional wounds and are in pain, have had those wounds inflicted by their “loved ones”. Much harm has been done all in the name of love.
My wife, Nike, lost her mother when she was ten years old. Nike was the youngest child and the only daughter of her parents. My father-in-law who was in his early thirties when his wife died never remarried; he poured all his energy and love into his children. He treated all his children equally but everybody knew Nike was the apple of his eyes.
I met Nike when we were both in university in England. I really liked Nike and thankfully, the feeling was mutual so we started dating. Nike introduced me to her father some months later when he came to London on a business trip. He was around for a few days and I knew that he was really studying me the few times I went with Nike to see him in his hotel room. The day he was leaving London, I drove him to the airport and as he was about to enter into the departure lounge, he called me aside and told me to make sure that I treated Nike right; I said that I would. Nike and I dated for three years before getting married.
We returned to Nigeria two years after our marriage. I got a good job with a bank while Nike went into interior decoration. If there was one thing that I was proud of, it was my marriage. Nike was everything I wanted in a wife and more. It was never my intention to hurt or disappoint her but I ended up doing just that by having an affair with a former secondary school classmate, Lola. Lola and I had met again when she came to the bank in which I was working, for a business transaction. After this, anytime she came to the bank, she would stop by my desk to say hello. One day, she called to invite me to a small barbeque party she was hosting to mark her thirty-third birthday. I accepted to go with Nike but she wasn’t able to make it that evening due to a previous engagement so I ended up going to Lola’s party alone.
That evening marked the beginning of my affair with Lola. I knew that what I was doing was wrong but I did not know how to stop seeing Lola. I had absolutely no excuse for my affairs as Nike was still a very good wife to me but I felt that I could not control my desire for Lola. I had been seeing Lola for about five months when Nike found out about the affair from one of her friends. When she confronted me about the affairs, I first tried to deny it but she had done “her research” very well before coming to me so after a while, I knew I could no longer deny it.
At this point, I decided that rather than apologise to my wife that I would also get angry so that I could turn the tables on her. I knew that I had really hurt her and that her outburst was more from her pain than from anger but the guilt I felt made me defensive. The argument escalated and at one point in the hot exchange of words, I don’t know who was more shocked at my action, Nike or I, and then she slapped me back and a fight ensued.
That night, we slept in separate rooms; I could hear my wife sobbing in the guestroom throughout the night. The next morning, realising that I had handled things very badly I tried to do what I should have done the previous night, apologise, but Nike was not interested. I got to work late and kept calling Nike on her cell phone but she never picked any of my calls. By the time I got back home that evening, I met a note from Nike saying that she needed time to think things over. I panicked that night; the affair with Lola was a just a fling, if I had known that it would cost me my wife, I would never have gotten into it.
When I did not hear from Nike after two days and none of our friends knew where she was, I had no choice but to go and see her father. When I told him what had happened, he was enraged with anger and walked me out of his house after using some very strong words on me. He told me that he would find his daughter and warned me to stay away from her and his family in future.
I kept on calling on our friends to find out if any of them had news of Nike’s whereabouts and finally, one of them told me that Nike was with her but had told her not to let me know. That evening I drove straight to the lady’s house from work in order to see Nike. She was not willing to see me and was angry with her friend for letting me know where she was. It took one month of serious pleading before Nike agreed to come back home with me and it did not help issues that Nike’s dad also got to know about her whereabouts and was pressuring her to return to their family house with him. As far as he was concerned, I had shown that I was no longer interested in the marriage when I raised my hands to strike Nike.
I am very grateful to God that Nike finally returned home after a month. Due to her insistence, we went for counselling in church and we are working on becoming better Christians and better spouses to each other. The issue now is Nike’s father. I knew right from the start that Nike was the apple of his eye and though Nike and I are back together, her father still has not forgiven me. He has refused to see me and this makes Nike and I very unhappy.
Segun loved his wife very much yet he took an action which he knew would break her heart if she ever found out. His excuse? He could not control his emotions and never thought that Nike would find out. Yet, when she did eventually find out, he found himself quite able to control his desire for Lola.
Beyond hurting his wife, he also impaired the trust and regard that his father-in-law had for him. When he broke Nike’s heart, he also broke her father’s heart and though Nike is recovering through the help of God, her father’s heart is still broken and his trust in Segun has not been restored. Some might wonder why Nike’s father should take it personal; the reason is quite simple: he loves his daughter.
Love is not about emotions; love is a choice. It is a choice to commit to someone, stand by the person, protect the person and fight for the person. When you choose to love a person, it means that you have accepted the person with his or her faults and that you have decided that you will do good to the people for as long as you shall live.
There is a very important aspect of love that we sometimes overlook, and that is the love that forgives. The Bible says in 1st Corinthians 13:5 that love does not keep a record of wrongs done against it. If Nike’s father truly loves her, he has to forgive her husband especially as they are both doing what they can to ensure that infidelity never crops up in their marriage again. The truth is that as long as he holds Segun in forgiveness, his daughter will remain unhappy. He has to forgive Segun because he loves Nike.
The power to forgive, show mercy, have compassion, and be kind to a person who has hurt you comes from God. Even where it seems that the person does not deserve love, please give it; that is the same thing Christ did when he died for us on the cross. Showing love will be difficult if you have not had an encounter with God because God is love and that is why you need Christ in your life. He will help you to love again.
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