Marriage My Refuge

My marriage

Maria Abanga

I Know many would wonder at the awkwardness of such a title! Should Marriage be considered as a Refuge in any right thinking mind? Surely, I was out of my mind right?

Well, I think I am not the only one who at some point in her life preferred to be married at all cost than to stay single, and maybe with a child, and maybe still leaving at her mother’s, and maybe with no source of income, and maybe with her mind drifting towards hyper restlessness.

I was one of those someones and I share my story with you.

I had had a son in 2003 and that one is another story. Now, in Africa and Cameroon in particular, having a child out of wedlock is simply put, an abomination.

Next, I still lived at my mum’s, had no source of income although I had had a law degree and even a post graduate diploma. For a woman and probably for a man of my generation, still living at home when you are 25 and not having any source of income is frustrating. To crown it all, I didn’t get along with my mother of course among st other reasons because of that b…… I had given birth to and now burdened her with.

So, how else was I to leave without any income unless I asked someone to marry me or cornered someone to propose to me sooner than later?

As it happened, while travelling to another city for some petty business I was doing,  a guy who was to become my X, feigned interest in the products and took down my mobile number. 

He told me like many had done before him that he admired my courage and figure and whatever. I told him I wasn’t interested in playing around anymore, that I had a son and that I thought I should be settling down at my age.

My X told me he was also not looking to play around, he had a 3 months old son and had intended to marry his girlfriend, but his mother (his father towed along) wouldn’t hear about it, and the girl and her mum were alleged to be witches and he was sick of it all.

I was like okay, we both need to settle down, we each come from far, so why don’t we get married?

Terrible reasons to get married I now admit. But that was how it happened that I got Married because I was looking for a Refuge from ‘home’ and my broke state.

We got to start trying to know each other well after our marriage, which took place on the 18th of March 2005 in my village, and my father who was the Lord Mayor by then, celebrated it. Lord, what honour with dishonour I was bringing to my dad you alone could give him the grace thereafter and now.

I just wanted the whole marriage to take place so badly that I rejected all signals of incompatibility of personality and otherwise. Mr. X loved keeping late hours, he was disorganized, kept a lot of things to himself, could very well have been groomed at some point by my own father.

my marriageMy parents’ reservation revolved about his level of education, his apparent instability and my still dependent status; my mother remarked that I went to his mother’s too often before we got married, making it look like I was urging things, which in all honesty I was. Nobody ever inquired about the ‘love’ factor.

By my 26th birthday, I was pregnant and so by the time we got married I was 2.5 months pregnant. Hmm, even if I wanted to back out, what option did I really have? T

His mother also didn’t really like me after all. I didn’t want to go to the farm, I didn’t want to stay with her until her sisters and she officially accompany me to my husband’s, and I didn’t want to learn from her how to cook what she knew her son loved most.

Worst of all I was pressing for a small wedding after my family had ‘hijacked’ the administrative ceremony to our village where her all family couldn’t come.

We survived for six years, and by the time I was leaving, I had lost 2 children, had 2 others, had been physically, mentally and emotionally abused, had dirtied, hurt and almost killed myself, and at some point weighed 115 kgs.

I had done it all, and I always remembered how, when I wept bitterly at the loss of my daughter ‘Ange-Claire’ and asked my mother what I had not yet seen at my 30 years of existence, she said I had not yet seen anything. There was still much more I was going to see and go through, she said.

I could not blame any other person but myself and I was from the second year of that marriage, looking for yet some other refuge; this time around, a way out of there.

A gentle aunt of mine affirmed that marriage was supposed to be a 50-50% investment by both parties, but I dread calculating how much each of us actually put into the marriage. I can only speak on my behalf, and I think I put in something revolving around 30%.

It was crazy I never thought of the cute, loving, sincere friend stuff when marriage ‘hovered’; but even if I had, to what good would it have been, as if I were also still that cute and worthy and all.

All this said, you can easily imagine the woman I was when I got married and how further despicable of myself I felt when I left. To make matters worst, I left my sons behind (3) in total. It was and still is hard. I will be writing on this in subsequent posts

I know marriage is supposed to be out of love, but I hoped the love was going to grow as we did.

Yes, love is and should always be the foundation of any relationship.

Yet, if that love should fade out because it is not nurtured or diverted to other avenues or partners, then even the ‘refuge’ we think we can make out of marriages, become emotional jungles and jails.

Well, I am much better today than I was when I left in 2011, and I able to share my hurtful past and learn from others too. I have discovered several networks and bloggers since coming to Belgium and I know, that the current relationship I am trying to build, is not considered a Refuge!

Marie Abanga


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