Mary: The Story of a Warrrior Wife

I’m not a warrior, but I’m a warrior wife.

So I’ve spent time on the other side of your story. My story feels like it may have come from a Nigerian movie.
I have known my husband for 21 years, we grew up as friends and neighbors. Everything was fine until he decided to ask my father for my hand in marriage. Then my father made his life, and mine, a living hell. My father kept saying no, but not once did he give a clear reason why. I later pieced it together and realized it’s because he had SCD.
My husband had told me about his condition early in our dating, and I accepted it. I did not tell my family about it because to me, it was like having asthma, hypertension, or any other chronic disease. It didn’t matter to me. Somehow they found out about it, but never once have they talked about it.  It’s taboo to talk about SCD in my family, everybody knows my husband has it, but they never openly talk about it.
My dad casually announced during my graduation party that’s his “Intelligent daughter decided she wanted to get married instead of being a doctor and she had chosen to marry a sickler.” That is when lines were drawn. I despise the word ‘sickler’ because to me it is very demeaning!

Telling My Parents

Telling my parents how I felt was very difficult. I told them I felt disappointed that despite their education, they had decided there was nothing more to another person than their genetic makeup. They were sitting there high and mighty, as if they had any hand in making sure my siblings and I did not suffer from any genetic medical condition. Congratulations to you for working so hard to have awesome genes🙄. I told them I had made up my mind and if I were to regret the decision down the line, at least it was my choice.

My Wedding Day 

Fast forward to my wedding day, my dad ruined the entire day.  In fact, we never got married! Yes, I was that bride, standing at the altar in shock. After that came a warrant of arrest for my then boyfriend for ‘abducting me.’ And then my dad pointing a gun to his head. Because of this, I did not speak to my dad for 2 years.
We married in a private ceremony at the justice of the peace- with 2 of our friends present.
During the 2 years my father and I were not talking, I sought counseling from my pastor. I was busy with graduate school and needed peace of mind. I was very bitter and in a dark place. Through all this my husband asked me several times to leave him because it was not worth the drama with my family. Even his siblings had asked him to leave me, joking that it’s not his SCD that will kill him, it’s my crazy dad.


Anyway, years down the line, I guess my family realized that once I make up my mind, there’s no turning back. Most important, they reflected and realized that my husband’s only downfall is that he was born with a genetic illness. I got my siblings to apologize to my husband for all the drama. My parents never apologized and I know they will not, because they are stuck in their ways. At least they recognize him and embrace him as their son-in-law. And by the way, they are now pressuring us to have the wedding that they ruined.

Was the fight with my family worth it for me?

Absolutely! I have a husband who loves me fiercely. If he were to precede me in death, the way I will eulogize him is by his unwavering love for me, 9 years into our marriage. I’m also convinced he’s the best father in the world, in fact, he’s even a better parent to our son than I am. He’s still my best friend and my life partner. My mother-in-law adores me. She knows I love her son and I put up with a lot of drama to be with him.
Our marriage is not a bed of roses as we are not immune to the usual struggles that couples face. But all those other issues pale in comparison to the drama my family caused. Of course it’s tough being married to a warrior and taking care of him when he’s sick. Also, I love the outdoors and hiking which he cannot do. I like to go out and dance which we cannot do as often as I like. But there’s always a compromise – we both love traveling!

Brooke Pillifant

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