Editor’s note : Ugo Chime is a public health practitioner and policy maker. Aside from this she also enjoys writing in her spare time. In spite of being a self-confessed feminist (or maybe because of it) she is married (surprised eh?) to a Nigerian man (aren’t all feminists supposed to be bitter single women, or divorcees, …or widows?)
Anyway here’s her creative non-fiction piece on learning about forgiveness.
She talks about the way women are raised to believe that they are the ‘softer’ sex and had to learn to ‘forgive’ over and again, especially when you’re married because men are ‘hard and heartless’ and there’s nothing you or anybody can do about it because they are … ‘men’.
Read Ugo’s piece, she might be able to teach you a thing or two about forgiveness.
Forgiveness or Gini?
One of the ways women are prepared for married life is the coaching on forgiveness.
You know, you would have a load of shit thrown at you by ‘dear husband’ and his ‘adorable family’. But a good woman keeps her home. You know … at all cost.
So, you need to forgive, forgive, forgive, and you could never start early enough in learning this needful skill. Whether you are fighting with your siblings, your classmates, your parents, hell… even strangers, your skill at letting go of anger, forgiving and forgetting… even if the offenders isn’t in the least remorseful… is expected [because you’re a ‘soft woman’].
Be sure someone will offer up a “ah ah, are you not a woman again? How can you be so hard-hearted?” if you go against ‘nature’ and let that your ‘soft, ever-forgiving heart’ linger on the hurt just one second longer than it was built for.
I suppose many a-woman has profited from this training. They have gone ahead to have wonderful marriages, with husbands who proclaim – ever so effusively- how their wives are the very embodiment of the woman in Proverbs 31.
I’m just not that woman, unfortunately. I don’t see the Association of Well Behaved Married Women ever having me.
I have, however, learnt forgiveness … from my husband. The man knows a thing or two about letting things go.
[My marriage] is not a perfect union. Last year, in fact, I considered leaving. Marriage felt restrictive, a tight noose around my neck and I desperately wanted to be rid of it. Then came to a decision that I couldn’t envisage a life without my man in it, hence I sat put. As with everything, I opened up to him about wanting out. He did not hold it against me – just like other countless failings of mine. I’m not going to list them – well they are not pretty at all. But he remains committed to me. He takes everything in his stride.
I believe there is nothing I could do that he would not forgive. I mean, even if I cheated… I know for a certainty that he would forgive it. It is going to hurt him, but he isn’t going to throw me out of the house (you know how they do it in Nollywood, right), or file for divorce or hold it over my head for the rest of our years together.
This is completely different from what I had been made to expect in marriage.
I am getting better at forgiving, at letting go. Well, because I have to share my pet peeves with hubby, and I know he’s going to say I should not bear things in mind so much. And I am going to get annoyed with him for telling me how to conduct my affairs. I’m probably not to going to him for a while. Then I remember how easily I can get forgiven, so perhaps I should not be so hard on others. And with some luck, my son is going to grow up to be like this father, then some woman would have a little bit an easier time in marriage as a result.
much as you might not like the Christian reference, we are taught to forgive each other, not just women. In fact it is one of the virtues of love, it forgives and that is exactly what you have written about because when true love makes one forgive, it gradually draws the offender in to see how peaceful it is……and he or she learns to do same. I have a similar experience, a husband who daily teaches me to forgive…some of my old friends called me vengeful! Great piece, and may I add a prayer, that someone will read it and learn to forgive!
Dear Uche, at 9jafeminista do not have anything against spirituality or any form of religion.This is why this is a forum for Nigerian women to express their opinions in a system designed to shut them down. And we do agree with you that forgiveness should not be something taught to only women. And thank you so much.