When we find our prince charming and eventually get married, we all dream of living happily ever after.
Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.They say marriage is not a bed of roses. All marriages have their ups and downs and only those who are reallycommited to the union survive the difficult times. Those who have been together through thick and thin and managed to survive the storms say it takes effort to make the relationship blissful and long lasting.
Some people shared their stories.
Marriage has not been that rosy for Julius* who resides in Mbezi beach. He says things were good in the early years of their marriage but changed after his wife got a promotion. She is a manager with some financial institution.
“She has since changed. Monica* now seems to be busier than ever, attending endless meetings on weekends and seems to have forgotten her wifely duties. She spends less time with the family generally,” laments Julius.
The 42-year-old father of two who runs an engineering firm in the city has been married for 10 years. He says his marriage which once made people green with envy is now in turmoil.
Julius met Monica when they were both studying in Tabora Region. Then, his wife was an ordinary level secondary school student while he was pursuing advanced secondary school studies in the same region.
“We loved each other so dearly and had good plans for our future. After secondary education, my better half went to pursue an advanced diploma in finance at the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) in Dar es Salaam. I pursued a degreen in engineering and opened an engineering business after graduation. We later got married and have two children,” he says.
Julius says he fulfills his responsibility both as a father and husband and expects his wife to fulfill hers. Unfortunately, she has delegated hers to their house help.
Trouble in paradise
All the things he would wish done by his wife are done by their house help. Things like washing and ironing his clothes, cooking for him and taking care of his other needs. He says before the promotion, his wife used to do all these despite how busy she would be with office work.
“We don’t plan things together anymore. We no longer do all the things that we used to do together,” says Julius, adding that his wife has changed a great deal. She is no longer the good wife that he married. She informs him about official trips just a day before she travels and even bought her first car without his knowledge.
Matters have been getting worse by the day according to the heart broken husband. From lack of communication to loss of affection, Julius says his wife even denies him his conjugal rights. The two sleep in separate rooms.
Julius has spoken to his wife about his concerns but she does not seem to care. He has gone a step further and involved his wife’s sister but she could not offer any assistance saying he should solve his problems with his wife.
To bring back the intimacy Julius has done all he could think of like taking her out for dinner to know what the problem is but all in vain.
Wilson Prosper, a psychologist from Family Hope Foundation Tanzania, an organisation dealing with marriage counselling, says a number of factors leads to loss of intimacy in marriages.
He says intimacy gets cemented when couples do things together and support each other. He notes that communication is the best thing for couples to do. Prosper says good communication between couples really makes life in marriage enjoyable. Getting in touch at least twice during the day keeps couples closer. He says fulfilling one’s responsibilities in marriage also spices things up.
“Failure to communicate or keep in touch as you used to do before marriage leads to problems and break ups are more likely that way.”
The psychologist says travelling without informing your partner raises eye brows and that it can simply mean one is seeing someone else.
According to the psychologist, if couples don’t communicate, then sex becomes a problem too. He says apart from reproduction, sex brings couples closer and cements the relationship. It also helps reduce stress.
Aisha Saleh’s marriage has too gone south. Her husband of 13 years has changed to a totally different person. A transit truck driver, Aisha’s husband spends months away from home.
“Before we got married he never used stay far from me for too long except when he was on safari. When he was in Dar he never came home late and he always loved my cooking,” she notes.
They used to go out during weekends or enjoy lunch together out of home, go to disco, but all these have stopped. He now comes home in the dead of night without giving explanation.
The two no longer make love and when she raises her concerns, they end up fighting and that creates more ditance between them.
“I’m sure I still look beautiful and I play my part as a wife but this has not stopped him from changing. He spends more time at the bar ignoring the fact that I also need him by my side,” says the mother of one.
She says their marriage got colder after she found out her husband had sired a child out of wedlock.
“When I confronted him, he wanted to know what was wrong with me if he was providing for everything in the family,” she says.
Aisha says she is tired of the unhappy marriage and is now in the process of filing for divorce.
Faustina Mathias, who has been married for 25 has a word of advice to couples going through hard times. Patience and forgivenes. She says without these, no marriage can survive the trials.
Like the psychologist, she says couples should ensure they do what is expected of them and always be there for each other for better for worse. She says couples should understand that communication is key to a better life and that they should always discuss their concerns and expectations and reach an agreement when things seem to be getting out of hand.
*Not their real names.