‘You are the most confused brilliant person I have ever met!’ Pastor Wako stated as he looked into my soul. It was easily the second best compliment of my life.
If you are a Wonder Woman (or a Wonder Man) and you read that and wondered what the best compliment of my life was, I will have you know that this was when I was at Club Sikiliza and a man approached straight me and said: You have lips I would love to kiss.
But let us not lose focus here. I was involved in some Divorce Proceedings and had invited the good Pastor to the meeting where the couple needed to salvage what was left of their marriage.
I had mentioned to the couple that to my mind, marriage is unnatural. The thought of someone leaving his family and going to live with a total stranger from another family and sharing with such stranger basic amenities and recreational facilities like a bed would creep even the most non-feeling of humans.
‘Marriage is a long-time conspiracy between religion and the state to simply maintain social order, enforce responsibility and sort out long winded inheritance issues,’ I stated as the wide eyed Pastor Wako looked on.
‘Go on’, the Pastor stated as he sipped his Jesus Juice turning his rather holier-than-thou attention from the estranged hornier-than-thou couple to me.
‘Religion rams it down our throats us that for a man and woman to start living together, they have to seek blessings from Deity. This is so much that some people think those who live together are in a doomed relationship. A sinful relationship’.
The Pastor laughed.
‘The state, with its obsession with documentation and title dishes out a piece of paper as some sort of ‘legalization’ of nuptials. If you ask me, there has been a form of ‘marriage’ between the religious canons and the state’s laws on relationships which is probably the most scandalous marriages of them all!’
‘Our Kid, you are a typical Divorce Lawyer’, the Pastor stated.
Some people think that Divorce Lawyers are the scum of the scum, but obviously, such people forget that there would be no Divorce Lawyers if there was no marriage.
Most people live Soap Opera-ish lives and there is no greater testimony to this than when a client walks in and after you have disarmed them (am not talking guns here!) they start dishing it out on their marital woes.
One of the things I always ask for when a client asks me to commence dissolution of marriage proceedings is the wedding DVD.
And this particular case had been no different. When the lady client Mary called my office sobbing on the phone line, my usual protective secretary who screens all calls crumbled at the sobs on the other side.
‘I will see you’, I told Mary and gave her a three o’clock appointment.
When she walked into my office, her pregnancy was visible.
‘ODM!’ I found myself muffling when my visual acuity reported to my brain that she was indeed with child. Don’t get me wrong. I haven’t paid any membership to a political party, it is just my usual way of using three initials to say ‘Oh dear me!’
‘Hi. I heard you are one of the best Divorce Lawyers in town’, she said as I ushered her to the seat.
‘It would be more of a compliment to me if I was considered the worst!’ I said and instantly liked her short laugh. If a woman can control the way she laughs, she can stop talking when you don’t want her to yap.
She got straight to the point.
‘I would like to end our marriage.’
Another good sign. She didn’t say ‘my marriage’ as most clients often did.
‘What is your husband’s name?’ I asked.
‘Joseph’ she replied.
Please don’t tell me the two of you had planned on calling the unborn one Jesus, I silently thought as it hit me that I hadn’t seen too many Mary-Joseph relationships.
‘How long have you known each other?’ I prodded.
‘We have been married three years but we have known each other for five,’ she said.
She went on to tell me about their early days and poignantly told me about the ‘romance of my life’ as she called it. She agreed to send me the wedding DVD.
‘What has happened that had necessitated your seeking the option of dissolution of marriage?’ I asked.
I avoid using the ‘divorce’ word because it really connotes negative feelings in people. Like most unpleasant human events, I think a euphemism would do. If you don’t think so, well, you are free to call it the ‘death’ of a marriage.
‘Joseph is … he has been … adulterous,’ she said.
She proceeded to give me the low down on her husband’s affair.
‘I would like to talk to your husband,’ I said.
As it turned out she had no objection and he had no objection. In fact, he had been shocked to discover that she was at my office initiating the process of divorce.
I also viewed the wedding DVD which she sent to me the following day. It was in this recording that that is where I saw Pastor Wako who was the celebrant of the wedding.
Mary was right. Joseph could be the ‘romance of my life’ for any lady. It was a truly Cinderella wedding that had me observing them both as they took their vows. Which was truly a memorable scene.
Pastor Wako was posing the question: Wilt thou Joseph, take this woman, in the Holy Estate of Matrimony…’
Joseph interrupted him.
‘This woman?’ Joseph thundered.
The Pastor was thrown off the senses and as he later told, this for the first time in his rendition of vows that he had ever been interrupted.
‘She is my love. She is my life. She is… a combination of both. She is the love of my life. She is more than a woman to me. She is more than a woman.’
Mary looked on lovingly. Hmmm. As I watched that DVD, I actually thanked small mercies that Joseph didn’t say those words during this era of Caster Semenya. I wouldn’t trust any woman whose names begins with the word ‘semen’ or indeed whose name if you re-arranged it gives you ‘A secret man? Yes!’
The Pastor had re-posed the vows: Wilt thou Joseph, take this love of your life, in the Holy Estate of Matrimony, to be thy wedded wife? To continue loving her, to comfort her, to honour her and to keep her, in sickness and health and forsaking aaaaaaaaaall others, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?’
Joseph said the words ‘I will’ about six times and was only stopped by the Pastor who had told him that they were not going to be there the whole day.
Sometimes I think I have the best job on earth, being a voyeur of marriage life.
When I spoke to Joseph, he didn’t want to end the marriage. He admitted to me that he had cheated on Mary and appeared remorseful about it. Most men I spoke to went ahead to justify why they cheated but he didn’t. He didn’t pull that ‘monogamy is monotony’ line nor the ‘I believe in monogamy with adultery’ line but he told me it was hard to stay faithful.
‘Dude... you said SIX times during your wedding that you will be faithful!’ I reminded him.
‘You attended our wedding?’
‘No’, I told him. ‘I watched video evidence of the wedding’.
This ceremony called ‘the wedding’. Truest celebration of optimism that I have ever seen. A sickening intention to endorse our dreams. Throw in the commercialization that has set in and you need a puke break. I only watch Nonny Gathoni on Sunday at 6pm for potential clients. Like Mary and Joseph.
Joseph agreed to have a joint session with Mary and when I spoke to my client, she was inclined to have them discuss this issue as long as they came out clearly and said what they wanted to say. The Pastor was more than willing to accommodate them and we had a meeting just the four of us where I decided to say a few words about marriage too.
Difficult questions were posed. Did he sleep with that third party? How many times? Did he use protection? Questions that most people never pose because in the context of relationships, people never want to find out. Questions that in the courtship period people never want to find out.
The Pastor was with me on that one. Before marriage, he has asked his wife what would happen if she ever found him in a compromising situation. Would that be the end of the relationship? She had said it wouldn’t but he had nevertheless never strayed despite the temptations. For a man who proposed by telling her ‘Nataka niwe Wako’ when he was already named Wako, it must have been tough asking those questions before getting into that estate.
Joseph stated he was willing to work on his marriage. He wanted Mary to continue being more than a woman to him. He wanted her to be a mother to their child, a lover, a professional career woman. He wanted his marriage to remain undissolved.
‘Well I say marriage is unnatural,’ I continued my ranting, ‘It is just a lottery. It is civilized gambling and betting. But there are no other options, perhaps. Marriage is a desirable evil.”
Mary and Joseph laughed. His hands were on her tummy stroking it gently. It was as if he was doing it just for kicks.
‘So in your view, is faithfulness important in this desirable evil of marriage?’ the Pastor asked.
‘Faithfulness is just one of the components of marriage. That is why adultery is just one of the four grounds that one can use in dissolution of marriage. The most important thing is respect.’
‘Respect?’ Pastor asked.
‘Yes. Respect. Some form of adultery is obviously disrespectful… like the guy who brought his girlfriend home and told his wife to sleep on the sofa of the one roomed house.’
‘What?’ Mary said.
‘Yes he did. The wife poured hot water on them whilst they were in bed. Now that was disrespectful. Joseph said he used protection with the third party. That was not disrespectful cheating. But you need to be more than a man to survive a marriage.’
Joseph was very apologetic and Mary said she was willing to work on their marriage.
We ended the meet with a prayer from the Pastor. The Pastor gave me a card and has invited me to speak to couples at his church. I told him I would consider it but I think the clincher came when the next day I received a text from Mary.
‘You were right. You are the worst Divorce Lawyer in town’