“Love is blind,” they say, but it wasn’t until Melissa found herself married to a tall, dark, and attractive man that she truly understood the meaning of this cliché. One fateful morning, following a chilly winter night, Melissa lay snuggled up close to her husband, Lizo, who is also the father to their 3 children, when they began discussing the emotional instability in their relationship.

“Good morning, my love,” cheerfully greeted Lizo, known to be the bubbly morning person in their relationship.

“Morning,” Melissa abruptly replied, feeling irked by her husband’s seemingly unwavering happiness. So much remained unspoken about the state of their relationship and its uncertain future.

“Hawu, we just woke up. What could I have possibly done?” Lizo asked, sensing Melissa’s irritation.

Melissa’s irritation escalated when Lizo asked if it was “that time of the month.” It felt as though her feelings were being disregarded and dismissed because of her gender and her monthly cycles.

“Here we go again,” responded Melissa, her annoyance transforming her face into a stern expression, accompanied by an eye roll. The tension in the room became palpable.

“You never talk to me like that again,” demanded Lizo, reflecting his traditional views on how wives should behave – submissive and accepting of everything their husbands said.

“I think it’s high time we discuss that too,” Melissa replied, her voice trembling as she attempted to sound confident. She believed this issue was at the core of their relationship troubles since she used to accept Lizo’s actions and words without question. But her bitterness had started to brew.

“You don’t get to talk to me like that, do you understand?” Lizo retorted, shocked and with an aggressive tone. The room grew colder for Lizo; it felt as though the blankets had been pulled away, exposing him to the raw reality. He never expected his “submissive” wife to challenge him in such a way.

“I’m sorry,” Melissa immediately said, her anger giving way to guilt momentarily.
“How long will you continue lying to me about your job?” she questioned. “How long will I keep seeing my name buried in debt because you opened a business without my knowledge, under my name?”

“And what about those threatening letters that arrive weekly?” she continued, tears of anger streaming down Melissa’s cheeks. The thought of her children’s future with a deceitful, manipulative, and defensive father intensified her pain, causing her tears to flow profusely.

“I have nothing to do with those warning letters that come to our house,” Lizo insisted, his heart racing. “Maybe someone used my name for all the illegal activities,” he added, though even he seemed unconvinced by his own words.

As Melissa noticed his reaction, she realised that her suspicions were true. The quiet investigation she had been conducting for months was bearing fruit, revealing the truth.

“So, you’re still going to continue your old ways of lying, even when our lives are in danger?” Melissa pondered, realising that a leopard never changes its spots.

She walked out of the room, slamming the door behind her. It was clear to her that she needed a plan to remove herself from this situation. She realised that she had been so blinded by submission and allowed fear to rule over her that she had never spoken for herself in the marriage, but had been slowly fuelled by resentment upon discovering about her husband’s criminal enterprises. She became enraged as she remembered how she had been advised to stay married. No one had ever informed them that fraud has the same effect as infidelity in a marriage.