With Jide Animashaun and Ada Dike
I have been thinking a lot lately about the importance of relationships and the choices we are forced to make by our significant other all in the name of love. I wonder if or why a single relationship in our life, the one we have, or will have, with our significant other is supposed to be bigger, better, than the one we have with friends and why it should get to a point where our spouse will even want to determine who we remain friends with or who becomes a new friend to us. I have an eccentric varied group of friends and, for the really close ones, I call them my family. I love them too much and I would do anything for them no questions asked, but recently this same group of friends who have become a part of me as family are getting threatened with the idea of whether I should move on and grow up and generally let them go by my spouse who is more of a calm person and so comfortable in her comfort zone that she doesn’t want or need anyone to help her rock her boat. This has made me stop and start thinking if really my spouse has the right to determine who my friends are.
Friends will always remain a vital part of life. Their advice and support will guide you through good times and bad, and you can count on them for their shared joy during moments of triumph and their empathy during moments of pain. However, friends are the people who have the greatest capability of destroying a relationship. Friends have a close bond, and sometimes it’s hard for them to let married friends spend most of their time with their spouses. The challenge comes when friendship interferes with marriage and a choice has to be made. When two individuals decide to get married, a change occurs in their lives and hopefully for the better. But if people are not willing to place their partner/family above others, it can lead to devastating consequences, regardless of how wonderful the union began and unless the married person is able to explain the new facts of life to his or her friends, there will always be tension where he or she will feel forced to choose between loved ones. If the married person can’t stand up to the friends, his or her marriage will suffer. One of the most difficult decisions in a man’s life is to be asked to choose between a friend and his spouse. This has been a concern in every relationship that has ever existed. While we loveour spouse with all our heart, there can be no replacement to a best friend in our lives. We hate to be asked to make that choice and a lot of women will always try to put us on that spot thinking we do not have a real choice but to pick them since that is the only way they can be sure that we care about them. Though friends come in different shades and hues of character, it must be assumed that men have different reasons for having friends and almost all friends we have are supposed to fill niches that are important to us as human beings. It will therefore be an anathema to expect that we can just drop them along the way without them not fulfilling the expectations we have of them. The experience of leaving friends without good reasons will always be painful for us and the emotional and psychological pains we will go through may be difficult to handle for us.
My take on this topic is that in as much as we should respect what our spouse says, we are actually the one in the friendship and we know why we have remained friends with that person or why we want to make friends with someone new. This is not saying that as men we shouldn’t try and allay the fears our spouse may have concerning the friends we keep. At times, spouses have a discerning spirit and may just be able to know when we have friends who are basically users and we may need to discard. It is therefore also important that though they do not have the right go determine who our friends are, we also must listen to them because most times two sane heads are always better than one.
“Show me your friend and I will tell who you are,” is a popular saying some people use in reminding others to desist from following friends that may corrupt their good manners. We all know that two closest set of people who frequently visit a couple are their family members and friends, so it is pertinent for a couple to choose their close friends wisely. This is because some friends can be a threat to one’s marriage. For instance, a newly married lady who is still trying to adjust in her new home may be wrongly influenced by her jealous friend who is still single or another one who has marital challenges. That is why most couples become their partners’ best friends shortly after marriage.
Most men don’t like having someone whose influence may be questionable as their spouses’ friends. Also, why most women scrutinise their husbands’ friends is because they may be suspicious that some of them may be middlemen between their husbands and their mistresses, especially, the ones they knew how they gave their husbands support to date other ladies before they finally got married.
Though it is not right for a woman to determine who become or remain her husband’s friends, but she needs a discerning spirit to caution her husband to guard against calamities that may jeopardise her peaceful marriage.
For instance, I read a book titled, ‘Blind Trust’, in which a medical doctor based abroad set up a company in Nigeria and invited his childhood friend to manage it before he returned to Nigeria.
He met a lady at Abuja airport and they later got married. But, his bosom friend became jealous of them and hired a lady he employed as his personal assistant (PA) to wreck havoc in his friend’s home.
One fateful day, he sent the so called PA to poison his friend’s food. The man’s wife was not only accused of committing the dastard act but was thrown out of her matrimonial home. The man’s friend was happy that he had achieved his plan of destabilising his friend’s marriage without knowing that nothing is hidden under the sun.
One day, the cat was let out of the bag when a refuse collector visited the medical doctor and told him how he came some time ago and saw their doors open, but only
met his friend’s PA (who incidentally was there at that time). She started to panic and tried to deny that she wasn’t the one. The medical doctor invited the police that arrested her. After thorough interrogation, she confessed to them that the medical doctor’s friend sent her to poison him. The medical doctor wept sorely for accusing his wife wrongly. He followed the case meticulously and ensured that his friend and his PA were tried in the law court and jailed.
With the help of his church pastor and some other people who pleaded on his behalf, his wife forgave him and returned home with their two children – boy and girl. In this kind of scenario if the medical doctor’s wife had warned him to stop associating with his friend and he listened to her, they wouldn’t have gone through that horrendous ordeal.
A couple of months ago, a member of our women’s meeting died due to complications during caesarean operation. She had a friend who parted ways with her many years ago, but resurfaced few weeks before her delivery date. The late
woman’s husband told us that his late wife invited that her friend and took her to the new apartment they rented.
As they were going from one room to another, he noticed that the woman’s countenance showed envy and he pointed it to his late who waved it off in disbelief. While the man was at work, the woman convinced his wife (who had her three children through caesarean operations) that she would deliver like a Hebrew at a hospital she would take her to.
On the delivery date, the man did all he could to stop his late wife from going to the new hospital but with the help of her friend, they convinced him that she would be alright. He drove her to the hospital, after prolonged labour, they owner of the hospital opted for caesarean operation. After the operation, they brought out a lifeless baby boy with deep cut on his arm. The woman’s husband waited for hours and decided to check what is delaying them from dressing and bringing his wife from thetheatre. He saw a bucket full of blood on the floor. When he looked closely, he noticed that his wife’s abdomen was wide open. She died!
Meanwhile, the woman’s friend who took her to the hospital disappeared without any trace till today. The man wept sore and blamed his late wife for not listening to him the day she was taking her friend round their new apartment. I hereby implore women not to dictate who become or remain their husbands’ friends, but they should not hesitate to tell their husbands what they don’t like about their friends they feel may cause them pain or bring misunderstanding to their marriages. Could help