Sometimes, love is not enough

What you need to know:

Nikita said she was sorry and asked for a second chance to redeem herself

A few years ago, our kin brought us a bride from across the border. Nikita is a smashing beauty. She has that petite build that gives women an eternal youthful look, eyes you could get lost in, a radiant smile and when she talks, you want to keep listening to her enchanting voice and accent. I remember her as a bride when all of us were still trying to impress her with our scanty Kiswahili. I, having always been intrigued by statements often written on transit goods trailers, I asked her to interpret them for me and it is to her credit that I know that vichwa viwili ni bora kuliko kimoja means that two heads are better one.

Nikita is the perfect in-law; always amiable and active at family gatherings making sure that everyone is comfortable. She is the epitome of helpfulness and dedication; the two most valuable traits in an in-law. When any of her in-laws want anything done, they know the person to tell is Nikita and she will do it with all her might.

Life coaches always tell us to make ourselves indispensable to our partners and employers in order to secure our positions. Nikita has taken this advice and run with it, so I always assumed that all was well with her marriage until I got a call one night and her beautiful voice sounded pitiful. After exchanging greetings, she asked if we could meet somewhere. Being the homebody that I am, I had nowhere else in mind I could think of meeting her but my home. But when I asked her to come home, she declined saying she preferred to meet by the road where she was right then. As I walked the short distance from my home to the main road, it occurred to me that I might be walking into a hostage situation, but I said a quick prayer and walked on. I was relieved to spot her standing alone but also heartbroken at how lonely and vulnerable she looked.

Nikita did not need prompting from me, as soon as I reached her, she said she had come to ask me to escort her to her home because her husband had locked her out and threatened to kill her if she tried to get in. Taken aback by all this, I asked her what she had done to deserve such violence. She said her husband had gone through her phone at 3am and read some messages he had found fault with.

The messages were from their marriage counsellor, she explained but because her husband was drunk at that time, he could not listen to reason. Having realised that the couple was struggling, the counsellor took it upon herself to give Nikita some tips and advice to save her marriage. These are the messages that so irked her husband that he threw all her belongings out of the house and banished her from the only home she has in this country.

After consultation with mutual friends, they suggested I first call this man who we shall call Pontius Pilate, because he had a legendary short temper. I was therefore, not surprised when he told me that he would not be held accountable for his actions if he saw Nikita. From the venom in his voice, I knew we could not accomplish much at that time, so I convinced Nikita to spend the night at my home.

Eight o’clock found us at Pilate’s house where a meeting was convened to discuss the situation and his accusations started flowing fast and furious. He accused Nikita of insolence because she stopped running to open the gate when he comes back from his drinking spree in the wee hours of the morning every day.

Not only that but she also responds unenthusiastically about his amorous advances when he comes home. He accused her of not being a nurturing and doting mother to his five children from five different women. At this point, I felt obliged to intervene but he would not let me. He accused Nikita of not calling him even though he had forbidden her from doing so. He felt that a loving wife should know when things are said in the heat of anger. However, Nikita’s greatest crime was that she has not yet given him children and seemed comfortable about it. He took her failure to conceive as a rejection of him and his seed. As a result, she had made him a laughing stock among his friends and family and he could not take it any longer; it was time for her to go.

Trying to sound reasonable, he gave her credit for being tidy and a good cook, which he gave a score mark of two out 10, which was still not enough for her to stay. I kept stealing glances at Nikita throughout all this ridiculous rant but Nikita had assumed a penitent’s position before their priest. When she was given a chance to talk, the first words out of her mouth were that she still loved him and was willing to do anything he asked. Even to this selfless show of love, Pilate remained obtuse until Nikita went on her knees to beg for a chance to redeem herself. But Pilate was still unmoved, which eventually led me to also kneel and beg on her behalf. The sight of two women on their knees seemed to placate him and he allowed her back but on a one year probation. If she did not satisfy him, she would go of her own volition.

At this point we got off our knees and Nikita went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast.  As I joined her, I realised that my hands were shaking and I was sweating profusely from trying to contain so much anger. So many things were running through my incensed mind. How could two adults be so delusional as to think that this was love? Why would people with such a skewed perception of right and wrong even want to bring a child into this mess they called a marriage.

As I left the home of horrors, Pilates response to Nikita that love was not enough kept ringing in my head. There is no amount of love in the world that makes abuse okay and it is not possible to have enough love for two people to save a dysfunctional relationship. Sooner or later, something always gives and for Nikita and everyone else trapped in an abusive relationship, I hope it is sooner. There is a whole world waiting for you out there; all you have to do is have enough faith and take your first step.


You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.