My wife was a trained nurse waiting to be posted when we got married four years ago. If I listened to my own parents, I wouldn’t have married her the time I married her but because I was in a hurry to settle down, I went against my parent’s suggestion and married her. My Dad wanted her to be posted before we marry. I said, “No matter how long it takes, she’ll be posted so why don’t I marry her and wait for her posting?” My dad said, “Until she’s posted, she’s unemployed so if you think you can take care of her needs while she waits to be employed, why not?”
I went ahead and married her while she had nothing to her name. Just six months into our marriage, I got transferred to another town to work. It wasn’t easy for me. I protested. I fought against the transfer with all my might but it got to a point where I either resign or go on the transfer. I grudgingly accepted to move.
My wife wasn’t working so I had to send money home every week and whenever I got the chance to come home, I bought whatever she would need to be able to live comfortably. I’m not rich. My salary isn’t over the top but sometimes a man has to do what a man has to do to provide for his home. That’s exactly what I did.
Finally, her placement came but you know what happens in Ghana. You’ll get posted but your salary wouldn’t come until after you’ve worked for over six months. She was working but I had to pay her allowances before she could go to work. I did that without complaint. I knew right from the start that I was going to do all that until she starts taking her salary. Her salary never came until eight months later. When she got paid, I didn’t hear anything about it. I wasn’t even interested. I was only happy that she would be able to sustain herself without my direct input.
Still, I was sending her weekly allowances because a man takes care of the home whether or not he’s there to enjoy what his money is used for. I did that without complaint. Two years ago, a friend of mine sold his land to me—sorry to us. After paying for the land, I didn’t have much so I decided to take my time and save money before I begin building on the land. But pressure from the chiefs ensured that I had no option but to develop the land. I planned with my wife and decided how the two of us were going to raise money to develop the land. She said, “I told you I would be going to school. I’ll need money to be able to pay fees and other things involving my enrollment. I told her, “But this is urgent. We may lose the land.” She said, “My school is also urgent. If I get promoted, my salary will go up. That way, I would be able to support without any difficulty.”
I decided to do it on my own but I wasn’t in town so I couldn’t be there on the site to supervise the project. I left everything in the hands of my wife.
Everything was peaceful until one day the mason said to me, “When cement comes to the site, madam comes to pick some out of it and tell us to manage with the rest. It’s really affecting what we are doing.” I asked my wife and she said, “He’s a liar. It was only once that I realized they have overestimated the number of cement needed so I went for the excess. Even that one, I gave it back to them when they needed it.” Your wife’s word against the mason’s word, which one would you go for. For peace’s sake, I picked the side of my wife.
It got to a point I didn’t have money so I stopped the project. I was also at peace knowing that I’d been able to do something on the land. Meaning the chiefs couldn’t sell it easily to another person. Last year December, when I came home for the Xmas break, I overheard my wife arguing with someone on the phone. She said, “If they can’t pay then they should leave. There are so many people looking for accommodation.”
I overhead it but didn’t really put my mind to it. Another night I was in the bath when I overhead her arguing again with someone on the phone. She kept saying, “Richard, I give you two days, if you don’t send the money and I come there, you would regret ever taking my money.” The only Richard I knew she could talk to that way was her junior brother. That one too, I didn’t think much of it. Family issues ought to be handled without a husband’s interference.
February this year, I was picking bedsheets from the drawers when a brown envelope fell from the sheets. I picked it up. At first, I thought it was mine but when I didn’t see any name on it, I decided to check what was inside; Land title documents bearing the name of my wife and her mother. I checked the location of the land and when it was purchased and how much it was purchased. The land was purchased just after a year of our marriage. There were some receipts in the envelope too. It had the name of my wife. “So, my wife has a land and I don’t know anything about it?”
We don’t call ourselves investigators until there is nothing to do but investigate. It was easy to locate the land because it has an address. I thought I was going to see a bare land but when I got there, there was a building on the land. I stood there for a while. I went there to knock and a gentleman came out. After talking to him for a while, I asked if I could get the number of his landlord. He gave me a number. I tried calling the number and guess whose name popped up, my mother-in-law. I shook my head and thanked the guy.
When I got home I told her, “I was in your house today.” She asked, “My parent’s place?” I said “No, not your parent’s place. I mean the house you built that you’ve given out for rent.” She was quiet for a while. She said, “What are you talking about?” So, I started telling her the genesis of how I found out.” She said, “You’re making a mistake. If you look at me, do I have money to build a house? It’s for my mother.” I said, “If you look at your mother, does she have money to build a house?”
So, I showed her her own land title documents with the receipts attached. I said, “This is the document of the same house you’re saying belongs to your mother. Whose name is on it? Whose names are on these receipts? You take me for a fool, right?” She started fumbling. She said, “If you like call my mother and ask her. Everything is hers. She rather used my name on the document.”
Right there she called her mother. She was laughing as she was telling her mom the story; “Come and listen to what Abey is saying. He’s saying the house you built is for me.” Her mother didn’t know I was right there so she asked her, “How did he know that you have a house?” She turned to look at me. I said, “You see you can’t force the truth down the water?” Her mother said, “My son, I beg you, please don’t take what I said wrongly. I was only asking how you got to know there’s a house.” We went on and on and on but her mother was determined to make it look like it was for her and not her daughter.
Surprisingly, I wasn’t angry. I was shocked, yes but I wasn’t angry. Our own house had been left at the foundation level because of lack of money but my wife who didn’t have a penny to her name when we got married has a four-bedroom house she was renting. I told her mother, “You can come for your daughter because obviously, the two of us are not moving in the same direction. She sent delegates to come to the town I was working to come and beg. Each time they came around, they changed the story of the ownership of that house; “My daughter supported a little but the chunk of the money came from me.” Another time, “It’s a loan I took from my daughter to help me complete the building.” Another time, “I put her name on it because she contributed more than half of the money.”
When I told my dad about it he said, “It’s bad she didn’t tell you but legally whatever she has is also yours. Don’t divorce her. Talk about it and resolve it.” Maybe I was born not to listen to my father. I didn’t listen to him when he said I shouldn’t marry her. What shows I would listen to him this time?” I haven’t been home since the incident. I’m working hard. I’m saving my money. When the divorce is finally done, I’ll pick up the pieces of what’s left of my life and continue from there. When there’s life, there’s so much we can accomplish, with or without a woman by our side.