Wives get bored too

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Some few weeks ago I went to see the movie hidden figures under the misunderstanding that My friend had booked us to watch the movie Fences. She was just as surprised as I was when Hidden Figures started. By the end of the movie, we couldn’t grumble because Hidden Figures turned out to be a fantastic movie.

I finally got a chance to watch Fences enroute to Miami. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. It is a touching story which feels real and true. And the dialogue is sublime.

Mid-way through the movie I started to shift in my seat, wishing I was on land so I could urge every female friend I have to watch this movie and heed three explicit warnings:

1. Do not become complicit in your own mistreatment.
2. Do not lose your identity, destiny or purpose in a marriage.
3. And if you choose to do both, be acutely aware of the repercussions and own the consequences.

In the movie we see Rose ( Viola Davies) immerse herself in family life, loving her husband completely, taking on his family, his shortcomings, and dealing with it as some loving wives might. And although this was heart warming to watch in the beginning of the movie, these traits soon start to grate as the viewer realises that Rose through her complicity, was enabling some destructive behaviour; behaviour which would eventually tear her family life apart.

Rose’s husband wasn’t a stereotypical abusive husband or father. This would have been too lazy. What he was is probably closer to the reality of most destructive characters, they are rarely one dimensional. Troy was loving yet unkind, warm but bitter, responsible and irresponsible. He was traditional to a point of disregard. In his opinion his duty was to provide for his family. And as long as he did this successfully, everything else was inconsequential, including meeting the emotional needs of his children, and ultimately his wife.

Every relationship can learn something from this story. But I am specifically drawing attention to this beautiful piece of story telling because of the parallels I observe in a lot of Nigerian marriages. Often the Nigerian woman is advised to accept and tolerate the intolerable in marriage. We are encouraged accommodate bad behaviour under the falsehood that compromise is the foundation of a good marriage. The problem however, is that too often it is the woman who over- compromises, especially when the husband is a good provider like Troy. But this one sided compromising is at the expense of our future happiness, and more importantly our mental health.

Rose allowed her husband to get away with atrocious behaviour, this she admitted to towards the end of the movie. As the movie progressed,  it became clear that men like Troy can become so self absorbed, they fail to see that they are mistreating their wives. And women like Rose, lose themselves so completely and absurdly in the superficial appearance of a healthy home; cooking for everybody, constantly fixing a plate; toiling. The way Rose was quick to enter the kitchen for Troy and his family; son from another relationship, her hisband’s friend,  his brother, was both symbolic and a clever way of highlighting how women give.

Rose expected her husband to be loyal, loving, and attentive because she was. Unfortunately her passivity or compromises or submissiveness emboldened her husband’s bad behaviour, to their eventual detriment.

Women too get bored too: There was a scene where Troy was honestly trying to explain why he cheated, and I understood it completely. I even felt annoyed for understanding, but at 40 and after being married for over 12 years I know that marriage isn’t all roses and make up sex. Marriage is partly about those daily worries and palavers like mortgage, bills, in laws, child care difficulties. Marriage is about the grind. It is about misunderstandings, miscommunications, neglect, being taken for granted, hurt, and sometimes lies. And yes the feeling of wanting to escape is normal – having an affair can seem like escapism for some – for Troy – who wanted to feel alive, devoid of responsibilities, duty or obligation.

In the middle of his emotionally charged explanation Rose cut him dead. In fury and in hurt she reminded him that for 18 years she had stood by his side, casting her own dreams aside – supporting him, accepting his flaws, covering for his flaws, even at the detriment of her own children. And through snort and tears, the viewers realises that she knows, that she had given too much, and literary played herself out of the marriage. Because you can give too much in a marriage? Yes. You have no business or obligation to give away your destiny or purpose or dreams like she did . No one, not the man nor the children you bear will thank you in the end. And even if they do it probably wouldn’t be enough.

As married women we must be wary of the false notion that giving up on our own development, destiny, or life goals is tantamount to love. It is not. And a truly loving husband wouldn’t want or expect it.

More powerfully Rose highlights a point I wish every man would take away from this movie. That it is not the preserve of men to crave escapism; to want out from time to time. Most women feel this urge too, that desire to run, to cast aside the burden of responsibility, to hide even. And as Rose put it, to seek comfort, desire and escapism in the bed of someone different. But. And there is a powerful But. What stops a lot of women, and some men from cheating, at that real point of frailty, is a combination of discipline, maturity, self respect and will power – holding on to the commitment they made while keeping an eye on the bigger picture – a healthy relationship. This discipline may not be applicable where abuse is present, emotional or physical abuse or indeed neglect may drive women to seek solace with another.

Sadly, most patriarchal societies pretend that women simply don’t feel the desires Rose highlighted.  I guess the very idea that women too feel this urge is itself an affront to the premise of patriarchy.

love

Titilolami

60 thoughts on “Wives get bored too

  1. Awesome write up. I saw the movie on the plane as well – flying from turkey to Lagos. I usually don’t do inflight entertainment. Its usually a time to catch up on some reading or some work on my Mac. I had wanted to see the film since I knew about it. When Viola won the Oscar. I made a point I would see it. I just saw another passenger watching and I found it. Hmm.. you made a number of salient points regarding the movie that I agree with. My parents’ generation lived their lives pretty much like the plot of the movie. I feel the present generation is going to the other extreme. My take on it is that we would hopefully find a middle ground in this matter. No woman or man should forgo their dreams but there are times when compromises have to me made, within reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you and also for taking the time to comment, unfortunately I see this pattern in my generation too but I also agree sometimes some compromise and sacrifice is absolutely necessary

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  2. Though I haven’t seen the movie, I can totally reason with your write up. The crucial point is not losing ones self in the name of marriage and motherhood as no one will truly thank you for it. The worst thing is to wake up and question who one is. Marriage and motherhood is all about compromise. It is about give and take and it is also about choosing our battles carefully. It is about not letting go of ones beliefs whatever the cost and it is about setting the right examples for our offsprings to take forward – hopefully these will be ‘right examples’. lol. May the almijt God help us all.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You couldn’t have put it together any better. This is a very wonderful write up. The mistake any woman will do is to lost herself in the process of loving her husband, she will have to keep looking up to him for gratification and most of the time she will be disappointed.

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  4. It’s like you are describing my life. My husband is a good provider but that is the end of his interest or commitment to the family. I pray I don’t kill him or myself one day…

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    • Hi, have you tried other stuff? Family time together, alone time, speding time talking on the phone, expressing loveto one anotheretc.

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    • Wow…am sure its hard but Please don’t kill either of you my dear.if you can’t pray him into being a better person a day counselling fails…maybe leaving the relationship is better

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  5. Story of my life but not totally lost. Now I know better and can start afresh. Just when i needed to see this write up and something to motivate me. Ohh thanks!!! 🙂

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  6. I couldn’t agree more. This mentality is one that seems to be passed on… and even as we consider ourselves more exposed and enlightened, I still see this trait amongst my peers. Sad reality. It is true that we must sacrifice for our families time and time again…. but, it is also true that we must not give ourselves entirely where we become empty with nothing more to give.

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  7. Titi, great write up. Just about 2 weeks back, I gave my husband a piece of my mind on this same issue. I had to openly tell him that does he think it is only the man that feels pressured or has d need to seek pleasures outside. I was really pissed. Imagine despite giving everything to make d marriage work, husband’s still behave immaturedly and irresponsibly. I guess we mothers also have to sow seeds of making our sons d kind of husband’s we want for d good of their future. Some of today’s husbands have poor home training in been good husbands from what they saw their parents do and want to replay it of given d chance. I am happy reading this knowing I am not alone.

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    • You have made good points about training and showing out sons by example. This is crucially important. And it is right that you addressed the issue and feelings with your husband. Some wouldn’t even do that, can’t do that. I think we must never ever let them believe some common lies that are to our own disadvantage.

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  8. Hmmmm. Glad to read feminists thoughts being expressed through your review. Am glad this generation is seeing things differently and even if you don’t want the label feminist, I dare say you are.

    What complicates issues are the feelings and the societal expectations. Indeed a lot of women are already bored and I don’t think it’s discipline holding them back as much as societal expectations. When it becomes the norm, we may see rising cases of women admitting to stepping out the way men admit it because it’s acceptable.

    True that the movie (yet to watch it though) as you reviewed it paints the pic of our parents and there are new departures by couples also because more women are earning more than their spouses but there are still some going through what Viola went through. At this point I can say the economic muscle plays the biggest role in determining how a man behaves.

    Really, things are just complicated and this comment space ain’t enough to rationalise it.

    Welldone my fellow feminist!👌

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    • Oh I am most certainly a feminist! Although to be fair some ‘denomination’of feminism wouldn’t accept me because I am prone to dressing ” inappropriately ” that aside, I am a self titled feminist through and through. I’d like to think more of my writing reflects this, . And yes, I completely agree with your summation and indeed the complexity of the issues – your assessment is spot on.

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  9. Story of my life. I am a Journalist well trained, talented and creative. But No I took a back burner for the family life. Hubby is responsible to a fault. Looks after the kids and I, but can I say am not bored! Damn Right I am so bored. Oh Jesus I am BORED. It’s taken out most discipline not to of course look the other way. I was two steps away from that Hole I just had to walk away. Men forget we have emotions, that need to be Fed too. My husband rarely talks to me about my career or my life. It’s about him ad what he wants to achieve for the family. At times I feel so useless! And am here roasting away. Maybe the writer of the movie had an inclination of my life and wrote about it cause this describes me in and out.

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    • But it’s not too late, it’s never too late to pick up where you left off with your writing, even if it’s just like me blogging. It can be like mine small, for the love of it, i think you might really find doing something outside of family life extremely helpful, it’s what keeps me sane.

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  10. Nicely written…really glad it’s not preachy but practical and real.
    Seen the Viola movie and quite agree that it’s prevalent in a lot of Nigerian marriages and permissible as a whole in modern times.
    Way too many people are embarrassed by other people’s behaviours and shamed by the pressures of society to admit their struggles to ask for help or counsel..

    Interestingly like you mentioned the counsel available a times is “grin and bear it”
    But a lot more people are realising and finding strength in their truth… and realising what they allow, will continue… Living unfufilled in the shadow of another under the guise of living, is now no longer acceptable…

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  11. Amazing nuggets you fleshed out in this article. I agree 100% with your statements. I am confident you resonated with women and men alike. Well done and keep waving that “flag”

    P.s Very well written Lola…

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    • I got to the end of your comment and thought who that person is referred to me as ” Lola” in a familiar way! Then I looked at the name! My old friend! 😝 👌🏾 Hey girl! Thank you for your comment!I really appreciate it!

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  12. I watched the movie weeks ago and don’t really agree with your descriptions. It would seem that you make valid points but with the wrong story. I don’t think that Viola enabled Troy in the movie, if anything you could argue she was the sole reason he didn’t descend into the mire of his criminal past. Theirs showed the dynamics of dysfunctional family relationships and Viola did the best she could with the hand she was dealt. Should she have left him when she learnt of his infidelity? Perhaps. But you could argue it was too late for all of them – they were too old and too dependent to move in new directions.

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    • I think it’s fine to disagree with my interpretation of the story, I am seeing it through my own lens afterall. You say she didn’t enable him, but she was the sole reason for him staying on track – can’t you see the contradiction in your assertion? It’s not the role of a wife to keep her husband from criminal activities or on the straight and narrow, that’s his responsibility as a mature human; the energy she dispensed on that single activity was completely too much. You also said they were too old to leave each other, I don’t agree either. It’s never too late. Sometimes being alone is better for ones mental health. But truly I appreciate your differing opinion. Did you find it at least insightful when she said she also had thoughts of having sex with another man?

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  13. I am about to get into this life of putting my life on hold because I want a family of my own , just got marriage and I have my first child right immediately, I want to go for two more and then , back to my career, already it freak my mind out being at the top of my career to being a kinda stay at home mum and wife ( I still try to make small money from home though ) but I am tried and I only just started, kinda depending on a men and always have to present your case before you make a choice just got me the wrong way . I am 35 this year ( my career kept me this long from settling down ) and I really want a family ( kids) , and you know bio clock etc it’s goes , on and on … I wish … A two way think motherhood and wife duties are for both male and female sole responsibility (e.g men can give birth too ) lol

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  14. Beautiful write up. I agree with all the points you raise. I also saw Troy as spoilt, brat-like on occasion. Hindsight is always 20-20 vision. I be at he outset Viola thought giving her all would be enough…..Sometimes, your all is too much.

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  15. Beautiful piece! Although haven’t watched the film, I can relate with all you have written. Communication is key after identifying the problem in marriage. I have done what viola did in some cases but have realised it is important also living a fulfilled life even when you have husband and children. I remember an issue in my marriage. This was my quest on getting a driving license. Been a UK resident, you have to find instructor, practise and then Book a test where an examiner will test your competency for a drive of 40minutes. Believe me a lot of people still fail many times. Where am I getting too? My hubby never paid for my lesson, never bothered to ask how my lessons were after some horrific driving lesson experience. I on the contrast,paid for his lesson, looked for an instructor, when he failed, I rebooked the test. He never thought having my driving license was important. Although he is caring, loving husband in the aspects I felt let down. On failing test on second attempt last week I finally poured my heart out. Crying, angry, frustrated. Whether he got the message or not??i have decided some aspect of my life would not be on hold especially if it will add to my future and my person. Will he ever buy a car? Don’t know but what I know is that I will and my children will enjoy the benefit of the decision I made for myself and possibly he would realise that I don’t give up on things that matter to me.

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  16. Ughhh..im so bored on my marriage and it’s not even up to 2 years like my hubby is d most boring and insensitive person iv ever come across..no form of romance,No form of appreciation. He feels certain things are my duties as a wife but when it comes to money he is so stingy, he never gives me a done but even wants to collect mine. Like I cannot depend on him for anything. I feel like iv lost myself completely.all he cares about is himself and his family members who are equally insensitive people too.i feel like a stranger in a place that is supposed to be my own home. For these reaseons, i have decoded to relocate quietly cuz i dont see any hope in the marriage. We will still be married but from a distance. Hopefully we can both find ourselves again.

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    • Hi Ty,
      I’m sorry you are facing such unhappiness in your home. I do however have some questions that bug my mind whenever I see comments like this. And please do not read this like I am attacking you as I do not wish to do so. I need to understand because I’m unmarried but have been in a rship for 5 years and I do not want to make the same mistakes.
      My questions go as such: Did you not see these traits in him before you agreed to marry him? if you did, why then did you agree to marry him?
      How long were you together before you got married?
      If he wasn’t this way, do you have any what made him change?

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  17. I truly enjoyed reading this- I will definitely read more of what you write.
    I watched the film with my husband & I remember feeling a lot of anger- towards Troy but also towards Rose😳 (I didn’t expect that). Expectations that are not voiced & therefore not consented to by the other party, are relationship destroyers. She expected more than he was giving but never really said & he thought the envelope he handed to her every week was all she needed! She consented to her treatment- how sad. Both men & women need to wake up to the realities of marriage- it is hard work for both husband & wife & while both parties may not be wanting out, both can have reasons to stray!

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  18. Oh wow! I am still to watch this movie. I have watched Hidden Figures and have been ranting on and on about how and why women and young girls in our generation and the next should never give up on their dreams, their passion, their drive… in the professional sense. And yet! This analysis of Fences leads me to feel compelled to answer the question that usually creeps in from my mentees or colleagues. The question being… can a woman truly have it all? Can a woman follow her passion or dream and still have a stable, happy family life? Some, sadly most, women feel that it is near to impossible to have both. One has to suffer. I then wonder why this is? Need your input on this please.

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    • I think it depends on the definition of “all”. It’s hard. I currently have a full time job with a lot of responsibilities in the legal field, I’m married with two young children and I also run the charity Path to Possibilities. I enjoy writing hence this blog and I go to the gym 5 days a week. It is hard sometimes I feel like I’m going to drown, but you see I also have a hands on husband who pulls his weight with the kids, chores at home, finances, and gives me the space to be myself. With the right support we can have and do many things but I’m also aware that we all don’t have that luxury. Also some things may have to be on the back burner – e.g we may have to stagger things like start a business when children go to secondary school; I for one decided to get to a certain level career wise before having children, then stayed there until they were a bit older before moving to my next level. I don’t believe it’s career or family but yes it is difficult. Thanks fir your comment, I enjoyed reading it and replying to it.

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      • Thank you for that insight. It totally resonates with my perception. I too, am a lawyer, trainer, writer, mother, wife, sister, aunt, charity worker, mentor, student and teacher who loves the outdoors and keeping fit. I usually find that one day is never enough to fulfill my many roles and responsibilities and have been exposed to overwhelm at times. I have now learnt to not try and be all things all the time and I am in a better place. I love that I have support most of the time yet still if I do not take things less seriously I go back to feeling the pressure of trying to always be on top of my game. I would like to teach my daughters and future generations to be less obsessed with control and enjoy the gift of living. I would love to connect more with you in another platform… to share notes, inspire and encourage other women.

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  19. Hi Titi, I definitely think you and I could get lost talking about this for hours. I had a sense of the imbalance of compromise that can exist in relationships in favour of men of cos. But I fully understood after getting married. After pushing back on totally unacceptable behaviour early on in the marriage….our relationship has struggled to get back on track as I am genuinely questioning if I want to stay married or at the very least not complicate my life any further by having kids. Marriage has already given society shackles over me, really wondering if I want to reinforce those shackles by having kids and it’s no longer what “wife” must be or do, it becomes the harassment of what “mum” must. I know mum’s swear by their kids, but is the hassle really worth it in this naija type marriage sense? Hubby and I are in a better place but I am too scared of discovering a new unpleasant side of him from him being a dad as I discovered when he became a husband. I feel like cutting my losses, enjoying the marriage for what it’s worth now and just moving on. This way I can live for me, pursue any career or business ambitions I so desire. I love and adore my many nieces and nephews so I think I can survive. Your perspective would be interesting to know.#HardDecision

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  20. Oh Han!!!! You tugged at my heartstrings with your comment! That’s just the way it is for so many of us women. We give, we support, we nurture and we suppress our dreams. I like that even after expressing your frustration at his disinterest in your own issues, you’re still not waiting for him to support you, but have determined to go right ahead and achieve your goals. Way to go, girl!

    Thank you, Titilolami for this post. A wake up call for women of our generation.
    Thank you,

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    • Thanks titilolami that I have inspired another writing. First time I came across your blog and really loved it. I wish more discussions like these are stripped to their core and the truth said. Ugo thank you because we should remember that outside our families, the world is waiting to hear from us, there are preachers amongst us, women who will lead in government, women who will advocate for other women in domestic violence, children who are deprived of a loving home, youth that are lost in our generations. So it’s not enough to marry have husband and children. Let our life count and be part of influence in the society. We might not all have the pulpit to preach it big money but let after we have passed on, may it not be said that you left behind “A husband and some children”. As someone has commented earlier even in our generation it’s happening and worse our grandparents who never fulfilled their dreams outside their immediate family. Remember no matter little steps we are part of the big picture in the mind of Christ. Have a Blessed weekend all.

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  21. Awesome write up. I see this self destructive loyalty everyday. I call it foolishness. This is a new era and marriage should be enjoyed and not endured..
    Much love. Phina

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  22. I watched the movie alone because my husband thought Denzel talked too much (ha ha). I left the sitting room, really feeling mad. Your piece describes it all. All the emotions I was feeling. You are a great writer. I enjoyed reading this piece.

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  23. I cried when I read this article. It’s so succinctly written. It speaks for me. I have decided no more!

    I don’t even mind the lack of financial support. I’ve been carrying the family for the past 7 years but the unkindness gets to me. It’s not like I expect some special treatment because I do that but the basic human kindness that he’d offer a stranger on the street, I don’t get it at home. Yet I bowl over to ensure his business gets my support when needed, his parents are well catered for, his sibling that lives with us (who tried to cause havoc with the parents and our marriage 2 years back) lacks nothing. But it’s a big deal for our kids to go spend time with my siblings or parents. I have to give weeks notice and all sorts of crappy rules.

    He disrespects me in front of his parents. Still did today when they and some visitors came to visit. But still, I stay. I have a career, run a full time program and still run the house. Yet, I stay.

    Like Han said, he hassle to interest in my life. When I infirm of an event in my friends life, he pretends not to know the person if I bring it up again. Pretends not to know anything about my life. Yet, I still stay. And I wonder why!

    I’m sorry. I should be commenting on your article but I derailed. Keep writing. I stumbled upon this but would look for your other articles.

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    • I have to say I read this with tears in my eyes because it’s not right, it seems unfair and it’s too much for you to bear without help. I don’t know where you are based but could you at least seek counselling together? Or alone? Someone you can talk to in confidence. I really want to hug you, wish you the best but most of all please find the strength to believe that your life is yours, and you deserve to be happy. That’s your birthright.

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  24. Hi all. Brilliant piece! Absolutely loved it. Really enjoyed reading both the articles and comments. Coincidentally I was somewhere yesterday and the instructor mentioned the movie Fences. I am now doubly curious to watch it. I hope what I’m about to say helps someone out there. A few weeks back I found myself bored especially after scrolling through Facebook and seeing happy couples, smiling into the camera, splurged all over the page. I began to feel envious as all the things I didn’t have crowded into my mind. Like many women, I was harbouring resentment against my husband for the many things he wasn’t doing and couldn’t do because he was clueless that they mattered to me. In the midst of that however, I had what I can only call an epiphany…but it saved me from drowning at the time. I realized that the fullness of the measure of life has been shared equally to everyone and I could either keep on being miserable as I stared at other people’s lives on Facebook, coveting what I felt they had, and be continually blinded to my own opportunities or I could begin to allow the life on my inside to rise up and fill every crack and crevice and transform my mundane into the momentous. Because life generally can be grinding, whether married or single. We are individuals and we owe it to ourselves to enjoy life in whatever capacities we are. We weren’t born conjoined…and even conjoined twins have separate identities. We can’t depend on others to do that for us. My husband hasn’t changed, and he probably won’t. I will speak when I must but I think I will allow him have his own epiphanies. It’s easier for me to understand that life is interwoven with strands of excitement and boredom, laughter and tears, noise and silence and that whatever season it may be, l should go with the flow and generally be content with what I’ve been given. It may not be all, but it is more than enough.

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  25. Saw the movie, Nice write up ma’am and a wake up call for us women who have forgotten ourselves.
    Thots
    WOMEN remember who you are (MOANA)
    You are strong, you are smart, you are talented, you are nurturers, you are a planner, you are a manager, you are a goal getter, you are powerful beyond what you think, seek counselling/ mentoring, plan your dreams ,set time limit, explore all the feasible ones, prioritize all your duties and responsiblity, start living your dream ……..when you are on track and you enjoy what you do as titilola is ,the approval of the whole world is enough to keep you going less one chauvinist(man, husband, or any principality)
    #toobusytoworry. #eyesonthefinishline
    #liveyourdream. #Notime!
    #positiveenergy

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  26. Great write up. Have always held on to this!We can both fulfill destiny and be happily married. I don’t have to abandon my dreams because am a wife and mother! Beyond marriage is PURPOSE..The ultimate accomplishment is fulfilling purpose….Balancing family and achieving your personal goals is the key. God help us all.

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  27. I really appreciate this write up , now am going to watch the movie.
    I was rose in my marriage, we ended up parting ways though I have custody of my kids which am glad… Give too much!!! you loose yourself and the marriage.

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