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November 14, 2018

Do not be deceived, there’s no immunity from marital hardships

Distressed couple
Distressed couple

News of a popular TV couple going through turbulent times in their marriage barely six months after their much publicised wedding is not only shocking but sad. Even sadder is the fact that bloggers with cheap online publications have found ripe fodder for gossip for thirsty Kenyan readers who relish watching the downfall of others. Yes, we sigh and feign a sense of grief at seeing such a beautiful couple on the brink of a breakup, but silently we question why the two individuals thought they were any special.

Yes, they believed they were exceptional – at least the wedding was – what with top of the range cars with designer plates carrying only their names. They were indeed extraordinary, each one of them a journalist of note working for a top TV station. They were better than most…young, trendy and good-looking. Separately, this TV duo made worthwhile newsmakers for the gossip blogs and Friday newspaper pullouts – together they made for splash headlines. They were referred to as ‘the power couple’ – did the power overwhelm them?

Don’t get me wrong, I do not particularly delight in the pain and grief of others, unless of course I feel they deserve it. But is it a wonder that those who seem so perfect on the outside are usually the most broken on the inside? I happen to know a husband and wife who, for years, appeared so ideal that many younger people having trouble in marriages sought their advice. This couple was unique, with lovely children and a picture of perfect life. They were the envy of many and they knew as much and felt even better about it. They freely offered their opinion on other people’s relationships, quite often taking the high road. They told off husbands and rebuked wives in their failing unions. Everyone listened and valued their views.

It was not until the ‘perfect’ husband was discovered to have bedded five of his wife’s chama friends that we opened our eyes. It was shocking, but what followed was even more scandalous. The scorned wife, who was hitherto error-free, in retaliation engaged in a love affair with some young stud and fell pregnant despite her husband having had a vasectomy five years prior. Don’t ask me what happened to the pregnancy. In a matter of weeks, the perfect couple was a shell of its former self. The pain and embarrassment was too much they had to change their residence. To their credit, they managed to avoid divorce. But they no longer offered advice on marriage; they had discovered that they were not that special. They were just as weak and clueless as the next unit of flawed individuals hoping to stick together until death.

Yes, none of us is special or perfect or better at marriage than the rest of humanity. My 90-year-old grandfather told me as much. In all his experience – more than 65 years in marriage – he still goes through moments of hardship with his missus. My grandmother is a particularly tough nut to crack, so I believe the old man when he tells me there’s no such thing as a perfect union. Yet young couples who are misled into thinking that they are a ‘match made in heaven’ get into matrimony expecting perfection – they are the ones who bolt at the first sign of trouble.

Only a couple that believes its unity is immune from the strife that afflicts marriages in this day and age can make their affairs public. I’ve said this before in this same forum – if you share publicly your good fortune and smiles, kindly note that we expect you to, just as openly, do the same for your misery and distress. For as sure as the sun rises and sets, marriages will encounter tough times; only fools would think theirs is too special to be real.

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