A broken engagement is better than a broken marriage. I’ve heard those words for as long as I can remember, and it never once crossed my mind that they would have anything to do with me; definitely not when I first set eyes on your handsome face, and not once in those first peaceful, comfortable 2 years of our relationship. You were crazy about me, and I was incredibly fond of you. I had your ear and your shoulder whenever the need arose. My arms were always yours. When you first asked me to marry you, I said yes because I thought, “why not?” I should have asked myself “why?” instead.
As soon as I started to view you in “husband light”, things changed. I started to have serious doubts about the long term viability of our relationship. We did not seem to be going in the same direction in life. You didn’t seem to understand my drive, nor did you see any reason why I should give my mother an allowance from my own salary. Eventually I had to admit to myself that I couldn’t be your wife and be true to myself. You didn’t share my passion and convictions, and you had none for me to share. You were just okay with living life one day at a time—no dreams, no projects, nothing beyond where we were. I desperately needed a leader to follow, to look up to. I tried to stir things up but I quickly realised I didn’t want to start what I couldn’t finish—a lifetime of pushing you. I knew in time it would become extremely difficult to esteem and respect you as your wife should.
After weeks of introspection and journaling, I decided to end the relationship, but you, and well meaning friends, parents and pastors, encouraged me to stay and “work things out.” And I did, because if anyone deserved a second chance, it was you sweetheart.
Three months later, we were planning our wedding, and I lost my peace again. I knew it wasn’t pre-wedding jitters because they were the same old doubts I had when I first accepted your ring. I told myself nobody was perfect, people change, you can’t have it all…but the closer we got to the set date, the more I was filled with dread, instead of excitement. I bought my gown, we ordered cards and with each completed task, peace of mind became more and more elusive. Soon enough, I was a walking bundle of nerves.
After weeks of agonizing, in the end it came down to one set of questions: “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband? Will you love him, comfort him, honour and obey him, and forsaking all others keep thee only unto him for as long as you both shall live?” I do…not. And so I called off the wedding. I refused to listen to you and postpone it; I just called it off for good.
You were a great partner and my emotional rock in stormy times. I will miss you very much. But forever is a very long time…you and I simply do not have what it takes to be husband and wife. The passion, spiritual connectedness, shared values, mutual respect and admiration that should mark every successful marriage aren’t there for us.
I cannot make you into a different man than you are. You are brilliant at what you do, patient, understanding and a quiet follower of God. I cannot turn you into a voracious reader, a world changer, or a repository of scripture. Neither can I make you the kind of man who cares about my family as his own.
Yet, my heart is so heavy that nothing can relieve me but the thought of how much worse it would have been had I gone ahead and married you. Every day, I remind myself that there is no shame in realizing that our love is not the kind to carry us through a marriage. I have vowed never to confuse “comfort” for genuine happiness again.
I’m so sorry I hurt you. I wanted so much to be the woman you wanted; I know you thought I was, but that wasn’t true. I will never regret the years we shared together, because you are the best friend I’ve ever had and our sweetest memories forever and always will be precious.
I’m still somewhat anxious about what’s out there; I worry about how I will live without you, and about ending up alone forever. But night turns to morning and I realise I need to hold on to faith. There is someone out there for me. Someone for whom I will be the right person, and who I will not have a hidden agenda to change. “I reach into the dark, feel what I cannot see, and still faith stands.”
About the Author
Joy Ehonwa is a writer, editor and online proofreader who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a copy-editing, ghostwriting and transcription business, and blogs at www.anafricandiva.wordpress.com and www.girlaware.wordpress.com