Regina was at a counselling session with Sis. Emma, a 55year old widow and retired school principal. Sis. Emma had lost her husband to cancer at age 40 and never remarried. Having raised 3 children alone, she went back to school to obtain certification in counselling and psychotherapy. Though she had a private therapy practice in partnership with a wellness organisation, she also volunteered in church.
She was kind and wise and patient. It took almost 2 months but Regina was finally opening up to her.
“So, did you do your assignment? “, Sis. Emma asked.
“Yes”, Regina replied, handing her a print out.
“Great”, Emma accepted it and began to read through.
They were seated in sofa chairs in a small lounge which the church had given them for their sessions. Regina had had 2 weeks with Pastor Shedrack and his wife, another 2 with Pastor Ekpiken and now Sis. Emma would wrap it up. They discussed topics like God’s opinion on sex, Waiting for Mr. Right, Boundaries, Types of love,and so on.
The sessions were interactive and detailed. She was encouraged to voice all her concerns. Finally, she opened up about her recurrent nightmares. Everyone had the same question.
“Why haven’t you ever told us about this?”
To which she replied that a pastor had used it against her so, she clammed up. Sis. Emma had to trace the root of her insecurities to her childhood. Regina was raised to be independent and strong. She was the 1st of 5 girls and was like the son her father never had. After the relationship that led to a pregnancy and abortion, she internalised the hurt. Even worse was the issue of the pastor who developed cold feet after she told him of her abortion. She blamed herself for letting any man behind her wall and put them right back up.
With Magnus, Sis. Emma concluded that Regina let down her guard because he was married. Since he was technically out of bounds, she could befriend him without having to fall in love with him. Unfortunately, as it always happens, love came calling. Now, the thought of letting him go was unbearable. He had become her emotional crutch. She felt breathless if she didn’t speak with him for 24 hours. Her chest would tighten and she would feel her stomach getting queasy. It was that bad.
“I see you did a good job with the assignment I gave you”, Sis Emma raised her head and smiled.
“Thank you”, she replied.
“Let’s discuss it. Who is a husband?”
“Like I wrote, a husband is a man, entrusted with the legal and exclusive responsibility of caring for a woman for the rest of his life”, Regina answered.
“Good. I like that”, Sis. Emma smiled and rubbed her hands. “As daughters of the king, we do not marry anyhow. We are royalty. That means that our marriage comes with ramifications. Whoever we marry hits jackpot. Just like the husband of a princess, comes into wealth and authority ”
Pausing for breath, she adjusted in her chair and went on.
“We marry Single, spirit -filled and spirit -controlled men of proven character and integrity. This is kingdom marriage”
Regina was silent, head bowed.
“Spirit-filled does not mean praying in tongues while committing sin. It means living a life predicated on biblical convictions, whether popular or not”,Sis. Emma held Regina’s gaze. “Do you see my point?”
“Do you see why you cannot put your life on hold, waiting for a man to leave his wife and marry you? It is a sell-out” Sis. Emma stated.
“You are selling yourself short. What do you think this is? Hollywood? This is the kingdom of God, darling. We have standards and precepts”
“I am afraid. This is the 1st man with whom I have felt safe, who has not derided me or used my weaknesses against me. Will I find another like him?”, she asked.
Sis. Emma reached for both her hands and held them in hers.
“Can you trust me? I have been single for over 10 years. Believe me, it is not easy. Numerous men made advances, even married men. I chose to remain single. Let me tell you, there is no shame in being single”
“But, I don’t want to die an old maid!”, Regina protested.
“I said I chose to be single. You will find your own man but, you have to learn to be single first. Spending everyday craving a partner, is unhealthy. You are the daughter of the king. We do not pine!”
Regina sighed wearily.
“Work with me. Let’s celebrate this stage of your life before we prepare you for the next. I want you to release that man. Cut him loose! ” Sis. Emma advised.
The room was silent but heavy as her words hung in the air like a dark cloud, heavy with rain.
Magnus was at a meeting with Don, a client. They were at a coffee shop close to Don’s business premises. It was 10 am.
“In essence, what I’m asking is whether you’d come with me if I set up my own firm?”, Magnus asked.
He had just told him how he was let go. Don thought for a while, leaning forward over his cup of coffee and fiddling with the rim of the cup. Then he sighed.
“I always got the best of representations from you. You are a brilliant lawyer and I see no reason not to transfer my brief to you”, he stated.
“Really?”, Magnus squealed, pumping his fist in the air and then reaching across for an enthusiastic hand shake.
“I’m so grateful man. You won’t regret it”
“There is 1 issue though”, Don interjected.
“I want you to be sincere with me”
“Last time we met, you were in a relationship with a lady who I counselled you to leave” Magnus nodded, head hanging.
“Are you still with her? ”
“Because, I need to know that you are a man of integrity. If you cannot keep your word to your wife, why should I entrust my business which I built from scratch with my blood ,sweat and tears, to you?”,he held his gaze.
“I….We are….It’s complicated”, Magnus scratched his head.
“I offered to help, you never called me. How can I help you set yourself free from this woman?”, Don asked.
Magnus sighed deeply and bowed his head. He had battled for days with the new feeling of regret over his failing marriage. After his last talk with his wife, each of them had crept back into their shells. There was an uneasy truce. It was okay to exchange greetings but they did not discuss further. No one wanted to risk hurt. He wanted to end things with Regina but was afraid.
What if Ij went back to being an intolerable nag? He would have no Regina to fall back on. What if Chike came back into her life? It was obvious he had left her for a while as he no longer saw his messages in her phone. Could he bear the thought that someone else had been “intimate” with his wife? Would Regina survive without him? He had been there for her through her lowest moments, till she recently stopped experiencing the nightmares. Wasn’t that a sign that God approved their relationship? If he went back to his wife, now he was jobless, would she use it as an excuse to deride him? Would she think he ran back to her because no one would have him? All these and more, plagued his mind.
“Tell me about her”, Don encouraged.
Magnus launched into a tale of how he met Regina, how they fell in love, and how they got to the point that he decided to abandon his wife and sons, to marry her. Don listened in silence.
“I have so much to share but I will tell you about my wife”, Don began when he ended.
“She was my classmate in the university. We weathered so many storms together before we married. As soon as the cash rolled in, I began to notice her quirks that I used to overlook. She was too outspoken, I wanted her more demure, more homely, more submissive. No matter how she adjusted to meet my expectations, I kept raising the bar” He paused for breath and then continued.
TO BE CONTINUED.