‘How Do You Marry Your Enemy?’

I was telling a friend and her hubby how I’ve felt and still feel triggered when I hear women thank their husbands for “allowing” them follow their dreams and meet their potentials.


They said I was naive. That if he doesn’t “allow” it, you can’t be/do it.


Am I reaching for expecting that spouses should have intelligent and rational conversations on how to enable each other move forward and do better?
My friend said, “forget your partner is being so supportive now, and hope he doesn’t change completely”. And know that this support he’s giving you now, you may no longer get it when you’re married, lower your expectations on that end”


I couldn’t sleep well that night. Like how do you marry your enemy? What in the manner of selfishness happens in marriages?


How do you meet a lady on her path, doing really well and loving her journey, promise to support and protect her. And then the next minute you’re the hindrance to her progress?

This reminds me of when I was the secretary of the reception committee of the largest gathering of pharmacy students and young pharmacists in Africa.

The almost 2 years preceding the event was all about it. I was living and breathing AfPS. I had this boyfriend then. The event held in Lagos.


A few days to the program, I was to travel to Lagos, when my then boyfriend – a night to my journey, while we were on the phone, told me I hadn’t “asked for his permission to travel”.

I mean… I was travelling from my parents’ home, they knew the project I was handling and I kept them abreast every step of the way – same as the boyfriend.

My DAD under whose roof I was residing never asked me to seek permission but knew that traveling was the next step to fulfil my promise to deliver on my mandate.

I had to ask bro “what do you mean ask for your permission?” In a very stern voice and he knew I wasn’t having it.

I told him, “what I would’ve expected from you was a ‘how do I support your travel?’ And not this” he went on and on. I told him we were done and he thought I was kidding.

He sent some money to support my fare but the deed was already done.

Meanwhile a friend of mine had warned me when she saw those signs.

She said “Ethel, don’t marry this guy. He won’t support you.” She told me like 3 months earlier but somehow I didn’t see.


I went for that event knowing in my heart I was single. When I got back, he had made some phone calls to people and everyone made him realise he had goofed.

After a lot of apologising, we got back together but I just knew in my heart I was never…
Marrying him.

In retrospect, I ask myself what I was doing there for another 3 months. Probably because it was long distance. The day he came to Calabar to see me was the day I told him I was done and I meant it. He couldn’t understand why. Me neither.


I couldn’t even let him do so much as hold my hand on that day of the visit.

What am I saying? The bar has been held so low that women can no longer distinguish between a supporive and an absent partner.

That he doesn’t actively hinder your progress is not SUPPORT!

Please let’s learn to do better. Would you like your daughters to be treated how you’re currently treating your spouse?

I’ve seen the movie THE INTERN multiple times but I cry everytime. That is what I fear most when it comes to marriage.

How women who pursue their dreams are held responsible for their husbands’ indiscretions is beyond me. How dare you?
I’m just tired of people!


If you can’t be with a driven woman, go get someone who fits your ego. Don’t break her heart by seeking validation out there.


A senior colleague came with his toddler to work for a few days when his wife traveled for a conference.

People at work kept saying trash… “how will she leave him with a kid?”
They kept fawning over him like he was a unicorn. I was disgusted. 🙄
I mean! It’s his kid too!!!! The little boy was so happy to spend time with his dad. You could tell his dad was a great dad.


Some people will come here with the “nurturing” nature narrative. Whatever happened to kids whose mothers died at childbirth?
Can we please stop playing ostrich and do better?


Follow Ethel on Twitter @ethelmba

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