My husband looked deeply into my eyes as he raised his glass, and we toasted our first wedding anniversary. Suddenly there was a knock on the door, and before either of us could reach the hall to open it, it burst open and in came my worst nightmare dressed in a flowing lace boubou-my mother-in-law, followed by a few house servants dragging big suitcases.
“Oh my son!” she declared, removing my carefully laid out cushions and sprawling herself on the settee. She then started to explain a long winded story as to why her husband, my father in law, was to be blamed for some “terrible thing” and why she had to remove herself for the hundredth time from her marital home and come to occupy her son’s home.
She declared that she is here to “oversee the running of the house” all the while staring at me as if daring me to protest. I kept my cool, but inwardly I was shaking with rage and distress. “Why can’t she leave us alone to get on with our marriage?” I asked later that evening in our bedroom. My husband looked at me with tired eyes. “Darling, she is my mother, I can’t turn her out onto the street. It will only be a few weeks” he said soothingly, cradling my head onto his shoulder.
I tossed and turned all night, mentally preparing myself for the onslaught of critiques that I knew would come my way. The next morning, I rose and went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, where I met her critically casting her eye over my pots and pans, and stocked food. “Where is the palm soup?” she demanded in her tribal tongue, hands on her hips. “Don’t you know that is my son’s favourite food?” “It got finished the other day” I muttered in English, determined not to rise to rise to the bait.
“Eii madam, too posh to learn your husband’s language? And too posh to enter the kitchen and cook for him, why haven’t you made a fresh one?” I bit my tongue hard to keep from retorting. “He didn’t marry you for you to be just a pretty decoration in the house, though you are getting fat, so you can’t even fulfil that purpose”. With that, she turned on her heel and walked out. I clenched my fist and started praying silently.
A few weeks turned into a few months, and things went from bad to worse. She started openly criticising the food, the living room, her bedroom, in fact anything to do with the household and directly related to me. Her constant nagging and critiques began to tell on my husband and I, and our relationship. One day, when she made a long speech denouncing women of my tribe as witches, I rounded on him in our bedroom.
“You must throw her out!” I ranted hysterically. “This is my marital home, our home, how can you stand by while she belittles me like this?” My husband looked at me and silently went out of the room and to the guestroom. I held my breath as she started screaming and insulting.
I held my breath as the taxi pulled up to the house. I held my breath as she departed, banging her suitcases into every piece of furniture and slamming the door. My husband came into the bedroom and we embraced each other and let out huge sighs of relief. Our marriage had survived one massive test.
But as bad as it was for me, I empathised with my husband. For how can a man choose between the woman who gave him life and the woman who he joined with in matrimony? Who should he side with, his mother or his wife?
GC Life 101 is feature on GhanaCelebrities.Com. This looks at various life realities in short story forms as we try to entertain, educate and inform our readers on a variety of life experiences. Articles for GC Life 101 will be filed under Blog.