The Functional Heart

The Functional Heart

“Because of what we, especially our mother, went through with our father, I decided not to marry from my tribe,” Raliah said. “To me, men from my tribe do not know how to treat women right,” she continued. “They are depraved and inconsiderate. But when I opted out of their circle, it was like hopping from frying pan to fire! The tribe I opted for turned out to be worst! I realised not too late (though) that the devil you know is always better than the angel out there. So I retraced my steps back to marrying someone from my tribe; he had asked for my hand in marriage long before I met my first husband.”

They are mean

Raliah is a friend from college and she had series of dreadful experiences with her father, who treated her mother badly. “The cruellest way to make a child miserable is to make the mother feel low in the dumps,” she said with a tone suggesting she still hurts. “Men’s misplaced touch with our feminity is so inaccessible, that they hardly notice how sensitive a child is to the need of her /his mother. In my father’s case, he hardly notices us his children, talk more of feeling the pains we felt when he tormented our mother.”

It was clear he never loved the woman and extended to his hatred to Raliah and her siblings. They were the second-class citizens in their polygamous home. Right now, she is in her second marriage, though not as rosy as she expected but is way better than the first.

I was talking to Remy not too long ago, and she told me of one of our mates from way back (another sweet friend) who jumped ship and married a Frenchman, trying to run away from the African type of romance. “You won’t believe the pain she is going through with this man whom she has had three children with,” she said in incredulity. “What do we do with these species of necessary evil?” She asked in awe as if tired of the issue.

The qualities

The heart is that part of the body that had been programmed to survive only where it finds love; thrives only where it finds affection, warmth and kindness. Where the heart had been continuously tortured abused or taken for granted. The heart naturally warms up to anyone that has shown it all the qualities that gives it joy, beauty and tenderness. Or where it could naturally express itself without any sort of inhibition. We were all confronted with this issue recently by a woman whose heart had been battered for over four decades now by her husband but still weighing the options of either staying or not.


“I really want to leave,” Mrs. X said to me wearily, “I do not want to live the rest of my life like this. Life is too good to be allowed to crumble like a pack of cards. Because when it crumbles, it means starting all over again. “It took you four decades to realise that?” I asked her teasing her so she can relax. “Haba, aunty, everyone knows that you could do better, but you were bent on staying put. Your excuse, your children,” I reminded her.

“Well, now I have my children and they give me joy beyond bounds. Alhamdulillah! The sacrifices I made putting up with this man had paid up for all the pains, and it’s so worth it and rewarding that I would be a fool not to be grateful to the Almighty,” she said glitters of smile.


“One can never have it all,” she continued consolingly, “but the sacrifices are depicted in my life right now as all my children are doing well. I only have one who is yet to marry and still in school, but doing extremely well in his studies. Alhamdulillah. What would I grumble to Allah for? As for this man he could live the rest of his life a disgruntled old lonely man. All his wives have left him except me. One is dead; may God bless her soul. She was so nice and we had a very good relationship. Who knows if it was his troubles that killed her? I won’t wait for him to give me that kind of heartache. I have had enough!

“At my age now, what I need is a deserved peace of mind and not man’s troubles. It would be crazy of me to go on a wild goose chase; to keep waiting for that which I wouldn’t get from him. Or keep thinking that age would change him,” she added.

Broken glasses

The functional heart is that heart which is conditioned and rehydrated with companionship, friendship and embedded with marital values; that is what is needed from each member of a union. Whoever lacks the intrinsic virtue of a functional heart cannot and would not be able to sustain any union, talk more of marriage. At a stage in life, no one wants to continue walking on broken glasses. The abuses, disrespect and all the pains that goes with a terrible marriage has got to stop at some point in time and it is only the ‘victim’ that has to make that choice… What is your choice? Keep searching…


There’s always a limit to what any human can take; when to say it is enough. But the choice buoys to the one who is the victim. He or she only decides when to put a stop to the abuse.

Author: Khadijah Abdullahi-Iya

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