He complains I'm too thin and unattractive, started seeing someone I am 47 and have been in marriage for 24 years. God has blessed us with two kids who are doing well with their studies.
Last year, my wife requested that I allow her to join a women group in the neighbourhood which I did but little did I know that this would mark the beginning of the end for our marriage.
Women groups have become essentially strong social and economic force to reckon with in this country and perhaps across Africa. Ideally as an economic bloc, they may form what may be the largest share of consolidated funds in the Country estimated to be in trillions.
The social and economic aspects of these groups have brought enormous gains to the citizen but they also have their fair share of troubles. They are centres of socialism in society where women mingle and discuss issues that are pertinent to them with their fellow women.
On one hand they are centres of experience sharing, shoulder leaning and counselling centres while on the other but not for all they form pockets of deeply entrenched secrets and gossip channels. In some, women have sought and acquired solid and meaningful advice concerning men, family, money and careers while many have been mislead due to misinformed advice and stories shared therein.
For instance the habits you described are purely acquired from that group. You noticed a sudden and drastic change in her character immediately she joined the group far from what you knew of her for the 24 years you have been in marriage with her. However, character and behaviour is always influenced by ones socialisation but to the extent of a wife stubbornly insisting on using female condoms with her husband — there must be some deeply underlying issues to this.
I encourage you to calm down and engage her in a candid discussion to try and understand why the sudden change. If she becomes stubborn, become a little bit stubborn too but maintain a lower and more authoritative level of stubbornness to get her to calm down and open up to you. If anything, ask how she would feel if you came home one day and insisted to use condoms from then henceforth.
She may be having some misplaced or misguided fears but also be aware that there may be some solid underlying reason as to why she is doing this. Try and get her to open us and talk to you and you may actually get to understand why she is acting as she is. It may be from misguided talks within the groups but as I said, be open to new and probably strange revelations. Women groups or commonly known as chamaas have become more than groupings of women seeking financial empowerment.
Some have become social, emotional and even spiritual support groups. I suggest you intelligently seek to find out what the group is all about. Get acquainted with some of the husbands whose wives are part of the group and without sounding like an FBI agent, you can wisely get a hint of the influence of the group on the other families.
Then get to hold a candid discussion about the state of affairs in your relationship. Although you say she does not agree to any discussion, you still have some authority to get you and her talk. Never forget that in any relationship the parties wield some level of authority. After the number of years you have been together, I believe you know what can get your wife's attention to consider a discuss important.
In addition, you need to examine what makes your wife easily influenced. Could it be that she thinks lowly of herself? Could you have left a void in her life that is getting filled by wrong voices.
It is not an easy ride but you've got to be determined to do this, 24 years is valuable time. Hilda Boke Mahare has a background in Counselling Psychology and loves to share her knowledge in matters of love and marriage.