Dear Ms. Belle,
I married early, and I was only 19 when I had my first child. Today I have three children. The two older ones are already working while the last one is in college. My husband has a good job and earDear Ms. Belle, I married early, and I was only 19 when I had my first child. Today I have three children. The two older ones are already working while the last one is in college. My husband has a good job and earns very well. My children are okay and have not given me major concerns. Although not really honor students, they passed their subjects. Also, my two girls did not entertain boyfriends until they were 18 and invited their friends to the house to meet us. The only thing that I am not so happy about is the fact that my husband is very controlling. Everything in the house is what he wants: the kind of house, the decoration and even the choice of maids. I’ve decided to follow whatever pleases him because he is really intense when angry. For instance, he didn’t talk to me for a month when I did something he did not like. At the start of the month, our children would line up to get their allowance and that includes me. He would allot a budget for me, itemize all items, and if I exceed in my expenses or the money is lacking, he gets upset with me. Or if I need a new dress he would ask me all sorts of questions to find out why I need to buy. Even with my trips to the beauty parlor he asks what was done. I just tolerated this since he provides for our family well and I never questioned his faithfulness to me. He doesn’t go around looking at other women. All these years I was okay being in the house while he monitors what I do. But these past months I have become bored. I already cook and bake very well. I fixed the garden and made sure the house is clean and nice. I read and watch TV. I’ve gotten tired just talking to the maids and not doing anything on my own. And then our class reunion happened since some classmates based overseas came for a vacation. I really enjoyed our meetings. My husband allowed me and my friends to go ballroom dancing at one time. I love it so much. Not only was I able to exercise, it’s something I loved doing since I was in college. But after my friends left, my husband will not let me go dancing anymore. The moment came when I had to lie and tell him that I was going to my mother’s house, but my friends will pick me up there. My daughters, seeing that I was really happy, encouraged me. All was well until a family friend told my husband that his wife dances very well. This is the big war I mentioned earlier. He did not talk to me for a month. After that, he would fetch me or let his cousin accompany me everywhere I go. Ms. Belle, I feel like running away. But what can I do? I have no job and since I married early I did not finish school.
You clearly need some “me” time. I understand your excitement regarding a new-found love for dancing and enjoying the camaraderie of friends. It certainly is a wonderful break from the routine of being an understanding wife and supportive mother. One thing is certain — he sees you as a child bride. You get an allowance like the children, he sees you as someone he needs to oversee, protect, and even the solution he implemented is one for a child who needs a nursemaid to watch over her lest she be errant again. It may be good to look back as to how you established your relationship. Since you allowed him to dominate every aspect of your marriage, you may have unconsciously communicated to him that you are not competent to assess your house décor, run the family’s finances, chart the course of your children’s future and many other functions that could have contributed to the overall well-being of your family. Instead, you allowed things to go his way. If you want some form of independence and decision-making, you may need to assume responsibility in your family life. Deciding to change a décor according to how you want it would be a good start. Whining about not finishing school can easily be remedied by going back to school. Nothing is ever too late.