Way before I even ever thought of getting into a relationship, I always hurt deeply from hearing harrowing tales of women who had been hurt and sometimes left for dead by their beloved. The pain in my heart would run for days or weeks.
The notion that all-men-cheat-so-women-should-learn-to-deal-with-it wasn’t for me. In fact at 13, praying for relationships was a priority; that all would be good, long-lasting and enjoyable.
I never ever understood why men cheat, and trying to make sense of the situation was the foremost reason I became a writer; to explore the possibility of finding a harmonious resolution to this crisis. Unfortunately, the possibility I felt deep down seemed like a fantasy that only angels could accomplish.
Why? Because even the most decent of men always turned out to have a little fishy something going on. It doesn’t matter whether he’s a pastor, politician or musician.
I once met a pastor who had a way of greeting, his hand travelling lingeringly from your shoulder down to the wrist. It felt dirty and laden with innuendos, especially if the victim was wearing something sleeveless. Sometimes, he gave what was supposed to be a casual hip-to-hip hug but then unexpectedly squeeze the waist a little too tight.
Sometimes, there would be about three of us (girls) after church or choir practice and I would be looking for similar signs of discomfort about his behaviour so that I could find someone to identify with. There were none. While I casually and uncomfortably unstrapped his hand from my waist, the other girls simply giggled. It was annoying! But I loved the church to bits.
The pastor’s habits did not end there - there was talk in the church that some girls were entertaining him in ungodly ways.
Hurting women and the things they do
Thinking that any man is susceptible to infidelity has completely changed the way women relate with men today. For fear of getting hurt or after getting hurt, some decide to become single mothers or some choose relationships where they are not responsible to any man.
Some are separated, some are divorced, others are secretly or openly cheating, others are stashing away money with or without their spouses’ knowledge for that rainy day when they discover that he is cheating. Others are outdoing porn stars just so they can possibly keep their men, others are using witchcraft. Whatever it takes to avoid this kind of scenario.
Others are angry wives. Angry at life and God that such a situation has to be hurled at them without having anything they can do about it. In bitterness, they sit immobile, because whatever they do, their fate is pre-determined. They do not cook or take the time to look after their husbands. Why should they?
Some drive their probably innocent men crazy with speculation, frenzied phone checking and the need to know where they are at all times. Whether it is a hotel abroad, they will call and crosscheck and probably send some $10 (about Shs25,000) to the hotel workers to report back to them just in case they see any woman walking into their man’s rooms.
Some are paying for 24-hour surveillance on their men. It is chaotic because there is simply no time to relax and enjoy the relationship. Others, albeit having heard nothing for the last 15 years are on tenterhooks because something may happen sometime. Others, after experiencing it or learning from other women, have accepted that cheating is inescapable. So, they look for a rich for marriage because even a poor one will cheat, so “It’s best to cry in a Benz”.
I am (or, I was) among the small group of women who enjoy it while it lasts but in the event of a proven something, there is no staying. It would be over!
Well, that was until I went to Pastor Tom Mugerwa’s church recently. I must say I previously despised Mutundwe Christian Fellowship because of two friends, who always swore that their marriages would have been history today if it were not for this church. (Now, I hate to sound like those phony witchdoctor radio adverts) My hatred was mostly from seeing one of these friends stay with an adulterous man on the basis that, according to that church, it was the right thing to do. Why?
Because, the Bible frees us from a marriage if there is marital unfaithfulness.
However, my whole perception and understanding changed sometime back when I decided to attend the ‘married women only’ meet. I must say I somewhat finally made sense of infidelity and how it can be dealt with. The questions I had accumulated over the years were answered.
So why is there so much infidelity?
The answers are not meant to justify men’s actions but to help you understand that the forces of this ‘cheating’ tendency far outweigh your man’s ability to withstand. We are talking men here, because they are the most likely culprits, (or victims, if you like).
Haven’t you ever asked yourself why every person who is caught red-handed will deny what they are doing or claim that it is not what you think? See, if someone truly did not care about you, then there will be no use denying, crying, begging, buying flowers, name it. Feigned or not, this response would be unnecessary for someone who has decided that they no longer care about how you feel. If you are married, you might say they are trying to defend their status in society, or that it is for the children’s sake, but even unmarried men who have not sired a child will do it.
And well, according to Pastor Mugerwa, the answer lies in almost all our ancestral lineages that are heavily pregnant with all manner of infidelity, polygamy, fornication and promiscuity spirits. Some of these evil spirits have happily lived in our blood lines for generations that no amount of civilisation, education or Christianity will drive them out.
Some of these people appreciate monogamy, but their flesh is too weak to implement it. And since men are the major determinant carriers of the continuity of a bloodline, they are the most affected.
What does a woman have to do?
There are many women out there with visions clouded or lost because their men cheated on them. You know those things they tell us; look nice [hot], cook for him, keep the house clean etc.
Understand that his infidelity has nothing to do with him or your shortcomings. It is likely that your partner is a victim of a greater evil power leading him on, so start sympathising with him. This may lead to forgiveness.
“But forgiveness is not a human virtue. It takes the grace of God and is way beyond human ability. But God, who makes the lame walk will give you the grace to forgive,” says Pastor Mugerwa.
Start treating your husband right and by this, Pastor Mugerwa means respect - talk to him nicely, cook his meals, and anything else a good wife does. And don’t you stamp your feet here, especially if he is still seeing these mistresses. You have abused, quarrelled (even visited a witchdoctor), given ultimatums, withheld sex, mistreated him and it all hasn’t worked. So if you’re desperate enough, isn’t it about time you changed tactics.
Lastly, keep treating him right. There is no promise that this will end tomorrow or next month. It can take years, but it will end.
Pastor Mugerwa’s tips on how to handle infidelity
Do not withhold sex. It is one sure way of inviting adultery and HIV into your home. Make it count and give it your best whether the man is a stingy, or a quarrelsome alcoholic. And this is not the time for conversations about your fears, rent or school fees.
Avoid negativity. This includes self-hatred, regret, bitterness and anger about what is happening. It is not the time to think about cheating to get even, or about that other man you turned down who would probably be treating you better.
Sow in good actions. This means staying away from all manner of mistreatment and malice against your step-children and in-laws. Love them and love will come back to you.
Create happiness in your home. Even if he comes back at 5am with supper to cook, do not be drawn into a quarrel because you have probably done this before and it has not helped. Appreciate the fact that he has at least brought home some food. The home should be kept clean and neat.
Do not put him down. He might be poor, stingy, or simply problematic in every way, just let him be.
Respect him. If he is not interested in a subject you are discussing, let him be.
Do not steal from him. It doesn’t matter that you see millions in his pockets while he leaves nothing at home. Stealing is stealing!
Do not poke him over his job. One of those thieves, murderers and blatant corrupt people we see could be your husband and you are probably ashamed and angry at what he does for a living. He has a conscience too but most of the time, men’s innate need to provide for their families at whatever cost far outweighs their concern over the nation or other people.
what if your man cheated?
By Beatrice Nakibuuka
Scovia Tugumisiriza, businesswoman. “I would ask that we go for an HIV test but I would not tell him the reason. Thereafter, I would not talk about it until he feels guilty. Even when he raises the topic, I would just ignore him”.
Immaculate Itinoti, Hardware manager. “I have passed through this before. I just keep quiet, but withhold sex for a month. Silence will make him feel guilty. If you react, he may beat you and cause more problems.”
Rachael Alinda, supermarket Asst. manager. “I would deny him sex and not cook for a week. I feel this is the best punishment for him. I would also start hanging out with other men so he can feel the pain.”
Moureen Nagawa, cashier. “I would wait for him to come home, pretend I know nothing, then ask him what he would do if he found me cheating. His response would determine my action.”