Should couples tell each other everything, I mean everything? Does telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth apply to couples, married or unmarried? Are there parts of your lives that should remain secrets to be kept forever? I’m going to be upfront about my view on this one matter. I do not think a woman or man should tell their partners everything. Some cats are better left in the bag. If you let them out, all hell can break loose. Some sleeping dogs must be encouraged by all means possible to continue to sleep because if you rouse them, everybody will get rabies. Of course, dozens of people reading this right now are already jumping to conclusions that Funke is anti-marriage, loose, ungodly, or something worse. Be calming down. Let us answer the following questions honestly, knowing that God is watching us on 3D.
Aunty, you have been married for five years without a child, would you choose this year the appropriate time to tell your husband you once aborted a 16-week pregnancy and you almost died?
Babe, ten years into your marriage, your husband’s friend who had been living in Australia visits and turns out to be the man you lost your virginity to, would you tell your husband the full story, half of it or no part of it at all?
Madam, it is your 20th wedding anniversary and you are now born-again, would you tell your husband you used to sleep with your boss?
Or if you were kidnapped and raped, you will tell your husband that part too? Really?
See, I am for couples sharing confidences, being straight with each other. It is one of the best insurances a couple can take against external invasion. If your man knows everything ‘that he needs to know’, those spindly-legged girls who think your husband should have married them instead of you would have no ammunition to bring to fight you. And if your man had a love-child or a former wife, he should tell you. However, let us not deceive one another, there are tales by moonlight you should shield your man from. There are things your man does not need to know. I can say it with my full chest that men are not as emotionally strong as women. They are the weaker sex when it comes to emotional burdens. They are not wired to listen to confessions. Trust me, that is why Reverend Fathers are not married. A man who has tilled many soil, loamy and sandy does not want to hear details of those who once tilled his forever soil. Spare him. Don’t kill him. Keep your secret tales and keep the peace.
Ngozi’s husband travelled abroad five months after their wedding. Luckily for her, she was pregnant by the time Charles left in search of greener pastures. The plan was for him to send for her early enough for her to have the baby abroad but fate had other plans. Charles did not return to Nigeria until six years later and Ngozi could not visit him. I bet you have heard worse stories of ‘love across the ocean’. Some don’t even have happy endings. And Ngozi and Charles’ would have ended well if she did not say what she shouldn’t have said. You see, in those dry years of loneliness and aloneness, Ngozi fell headlong into temptation and had a hot affair. Did you say ‘even woman bodi no be wood’? Well, you said it and Ngozi did it. She said she did not stop loving her husband but the loneliness final got to her after some time and the side guy helped her cope. He wasn’t looking for a wife and she wasn’t looking to dump her marriage. Anyway, she told Charles the secret and boy oh boy, did he flip? He went into a rage, even asked for a DNA test for his daughter. The pain, shame and embarrassment was not worth the attempt by Ngozi to restart her marriage ‘on a clean slate.’ The marriage barely survived the confession.
Please, was Ngozi right and smart to have told Charles about her affair while he was away? In five sentences, explain why the tale needed to be told, mentioning names of those who benefited from the confession.
Hanatu, mother of three was abducted along with her two colleagues while on an official trip. Her driver was shot and left for dead. He was in hospital for three months. Hanatu spent three harrowing weeks with her abductors. She was taken to the leader of the gang two days after they got to the camp. And for the three weeks, she was the exclusive woman of the boss, to do as he pleased. And he was pleased with her. Hanatu was raped by her kidnapper. For naïve reasons best known to her, she told her husband in details her traumatic experience. At first, Tope was supportive. He told everybody he was grateful that his wife was returned to him alive but behind closed doors, their marriage was no longer what it used to be. Tope can no longer bear to touch his wife. He has not been able to make love to his wife since she told him what the gunmen did to her that fateful night. Not that he didn’t try. He did. He just could not sustain an erection in his wife’s bed. All he could see was one evil man ‘vandalizing his workshop’, his evil fingers on his wife’s body. He has since been travelling constantly, seizing every opportunity to avoid his wife.
A man can tell and retell the story of his first encounter with gonorrhea, especially if he and his friends have downed enough shots of brandy. They can laugh rancorously about the many days they were caught or almost caught pants-down ‘doing’ another man’s wife. They have no qualms about pointing out girls who had three abortions for them. The society we live in would have looked the other way if it was Charles who married a woman abroad while Ngozi was left to ‘jones’ in Nigeria. Who cares if a woman has needs for companionship because her man is outside the country? Men have immunity. Women don’t and we must never forget that when we want to be ‘honest’.
Now, that does sound like I’m preaching dishonesty or teaching women how to tell lies. No, sir. My plea is do not destroy your carefully built home on a whim. The temptation is always there, especially when your partner has just done something thoughtful or romantic or when he’s fiddling with the right buttons and you are seeing double or nothing all, floating on a cloud of sensational ecstasy… You just may blurt out a delicate secret. Babe, bury it now. Deep final burial is what some secrets deserve.
If you tell him his childhood friend was your first love and the man who took your maidenhead, what good will that do your husband? I assure you that each time he sees you and his old friend together, the only thing that will be running around his brain is Okafor’s Law. Yeah, that is the law that states that once a man has had a woman, he can have her again at any time. It’s not a joke. Google it . Sure, I agree that it may also backfire if his friend tells him first because it would then look like Okafor’s Law is already in motion. That’s the way a man’s head works. Very territorial human beings.
Bottom line. There are secrets to be kept forever. Do not lift the lid off a can of bees, hoping to find honey. Bees also sting, sometimes to death.
Funke Egbemode can be reached at [email protected]