My Husband, The Pastor

Claire had lived with her husband for so many years and adored him. She begins to worry that the man that she has been married to, maybe a monster. Various stories begin to spread about the status of his religion and where he stands in his faith. Is he really a man of God or is that a front for frivolous activities with young girls?

Claire Adedotun had thought she knew her husband perfectly. For ten years, she studied his allergies, his moods, his best and worst football clubs, his favorite foreign meals, his best bible verses, and even the crazy way he liked to arrange his books in the office. She knew everything by heart. There was a popular saying, “No one was perfect’’. To her, Timothy was. She saw the perfection whenever he smiled or approached the pulpit or talked passionately about Christ and his kingdom to the congregation. She loved Timothy with all of her heart. Some couples perhaps needed reassurance about love. Claire and Timothy didn’t need to question the love they had for each other. It was so obvious to everyone and also to themselves that they adored each other.

She knew she had hit the jackpot when she got married to him.

He was handsome, charming, caring, funny, and god-fearing. The five things she had always wanted in a man. He was a youth pastor when she met him in 2008. At first, she didn’t like the idea of being linked to a pastor romantically. It came with too much control and instructions; her friends said it all the time. She realized he was much more than “the youth pastor.” He was a charmer, and she was a sucker for that. Over the years, she adjusted her lifestyle to fit his. She got rid of the smoking pens, the loud skimpy outfits, and the extravagant life she owned. She left it all behind and became Pastor Mrs. Adedotun. At first, it was tough. In the earlier years of marriage, she was criticized by the elders of her parish repeatedly. They thought her skirt was too tight, her blouse showed her cleavage, her makeup was heavy, and she did not bend down properly to greet the elders. She couldn’t do something without the elders whispering to themselves, saying, “Mmmhmm’’. ‘’Sometimes, it could be draining’’. She remembered telling her mother years ago. She wanted to give up. It was church meeting after church meeting, members calling at crazy night hours because of a spiritual attack in their sleep, organization of multiple church events, and people gossiping about her.

Years ago, she had a fight with the assistant pastor’s wife. She swore that she would never come back to the parish. She gave it another thought three days after, thinking, ‘’what would everyone say if I am not involved in the church like my husband is? She was to keep with the image people had of pastors’ wives in their heads. Even if sometimes, she loathed it. This was not the life she wanted, but with marriage, she was told that ‘adjustment is key.’ As a young adult, she wanted to run for a seat in politics. She thought about it after she got married. Her father told her’’. Your husband’s home is your place. Not the house of the senate or anything else. With the bad lifestyle politicians have, how can you support your husband in the church?’’. She forgot her dream and took care of her two children and loved Timothy and also the new life he had given her. She also gave him support. A lot of it, and he deserved it. He didn’t have any family apart from her. She wanted to be the one he could count on, any day, any time.

When some horrifying stories began to surface in the year 2018, she began to wonder if he was truly the man she married. 2018 was supposed to be their year of turnarounds. With the stories out, it was a bad way to start the year. January 21st, the story about her husband being involved with a teenager came up. Timothy was not one to address rumors; he considered the people who carried them to be “clout chasers, busy-bodies, jobless people.” She tried to talk about it; he had simply said, ‘’why would I engage with a child when I have the queen at home? It makes no sense’’.

That day, she believed him, had to stand by him. Besides, that was the duty of a wife. Besides, it sounded ridiculous. Timothy with a minor? Not possible. Weeks passed with more stories coming out and slowly destroying the trust she had in Timothy. Stories of her husband touching the breasts of a child, fondling minors, sleeping with women, all in the name of ‘deliverance.’ The controversial stories were coming out at a fast rate, and they were slowly killing her faith in her husband and also ruining her social life. She wasn’t invited out by her friends anymore. They didn’t call or text her as they did before. Some members had even stopped coming to church, giving flimsy excuses on why they missed the service. Everyone had turned their backs on them. The rumors moved swiftly to social media. Everyone had their choice of words to say to Timothy, and they weren’t pretty. One night, she couldn’t sleep. She made the mistake of going through social media and Twitter to be précised where everything seems to blow up. They had called her awful names, insulted her, and blamed her for a reason rape was still prevalent in the 21st century.

She’s a woman and won’t believe that her husband raped that little girl, Zainab?’’. ‘’Hmmm, don’t speak about the woman, oh. You never know whether it’s just lies. ‘’What does a little 10-year-old have to lie about?’’. ‘’She is not a woman. She is a monstrosity of evil, along with her husband’’. Eventually, the couple closed the church for a while till things died down. She had stayed in with her children, watching church services online because she was ashamed to attend another church, but Timothy didn’t care. He went for service in other churches. He still drove on the streets, singing gospel songs at the top of his voice. He maintained his tradition of putting up bible verses on his WhatsApp status every morning. He kept his head high. But Claire knew this wasn’t the moment for him to have such confidence. He had been on the low-key and had hopes that the stories die down. She stared at him each time he came back from work, wondering if he was out with a woman, but a voice always said, “trust your husband; he is a pastor. Pastors will never do that.”

She thought about how God makes people go through difficult things just to test them. Perhaps it was a test of their marriage. She had prayed for the lord for revelation, for the truth. Two months after the church had closed, she was invited to her cousin’s wedding, along with her husband and children. At the party, her husband put up a big smile, greeting everyone, even those who were forced to acknowledge him. Since the stories came out, she saw him differently. She couldn’t even make love to him without thinking about those children. She hated that she felt that way. She noticed something unusual. Laide was present at the party with her boyfriend, despite her years of being away from family and events. Claire also noticed the uncomfortable look on her sister’s face anytime Timothy spoke to her or her boyfriend. There was disgust plastered on her face throughout the party. Call her crazy, but she had this awful feeling in her. Claire was beginning to fear what her husband had done to her sister. It couldn’t be about the stories she had heard. It was much more.

Laide was classified as the black sheep of the family. She got pregnant at the age of 20 and had an abortion which infuriated her parents the more. She left the family house at age 22 and started living with her boyfriend, Wale. When she got pregnant, their relationship became strained. Laide, who once used to count on Claire, did not want to speak to her anymore and didn’t visit the children anymore with gifts. Years passed, and Claire got tired of trying to fix the relationship and let it be. But this time, Claire needed to confront her about her exit from the family. She wanted to know the reason. She had an awful feeling that it was concerning Timothy. The next morning after dropping the kids at school, she drove all the way to FESTAC to see her, to get the truth. Hopefully.

Claire stood at the door to the house; her palms were sweaty. She was a nervous wreck. She had rehearsed her words in the car so that she wouldn’t offend the volcano called her sister. She knew her sister would be mean but was prepared for her hostile behavior. Laide had invited her in, offered her water, and had not said a thing to her. ‘’Laide, I need to speak to you’’. Claire prepared herself for the worst. ‘’About what?’’. Laide was quick to answer. It almost freaked Claire out. ‘’About the relationship between you and Timothy’’. Claire braced herself’’. I saw that you were uncomfortable with him yesterday. So, what’s going on? Kilode?’’. She asked. The truth was that she wouldn’t have asked if the rumors of Timothy hadn’t come out. She had to be sure that everything was okay. Laide narrowed her eyes’’. What do you mean?’’. Why are you so afraid of him?’’. Claire wanted to know. ‘’Why now? Because stories are coming up about him being a rapist? Now, you seek answers?’’. Laide asked her. ‘’I just want to know’’. Claire insisted’’ Will you tell me or not?’’.

‘’Please’’. Claire looked at her, hoping she would see that she was a woman desperate for the truth. ‘’Why should I tell you?’’. Laide crossed her arms, feeling the urge, to tell the truth now. For years, she had kept it in, hoping it would cease from her memory someday. It was uncomfortable. ‘’Will anyone believe that a pastor had raped a girl of 20 years? All in the name of her parents insisting she gets deliverance because she was seen around men too much? Because of demons, this pastor had his way with the 20-year-old. Down in the church basement, he raped her, and she got pregnant’’. Laide could feel herself tearing up’’. The man walks away free, and the girl aborts the baby and is now sterile. So, what else?’’. She tried to appear strong, but on the inside, she felt her heart breaking bit by bit. She despised this topic. She hated it each time a rape story came out because it reminded her of her scars. Claire didn’t need to ask any follow-up questions. It was pretty clear. Laide looked away from her sister, already sobbing’’. I mean, who would believe the girl? Not her father, for sure.

Oh my God’’. Claire uttered, mortified. She didn’t know why she was so scared to get up and hug her sister. It was like the truth paralyzed her. ‘’Whatever people are saying now, believe their stories’’. Laide told her, then exhaled, wiping her tears. Claire couldn’t stand the sadness in her eyes. Laide muttered’’. I really hope you choose the right thing for the sake of your children’’. That was all she needed to move. She needed to protect her children. Going back home, Claire knew what to do. She drove, crying, and for once in ten years, she regretted her decision to marry Timothy. She had a lot of emotions in her. She was sad and upset but mostly mad that Timothy hurt her younger sister. She couldn’t thank God enough for her children’s young age right now. She wouldn’t have to explain the reasons for leaving till they were older and could understand the gravity of their father’s mistakes. She packed their clothes in a bag, ready to leave. To her parent’s house or maybe to a hotel, she just needed to breathe and think.

She didn’t care if the world would not understand. Her kids didn’t deserve this man as a father. This was not the life partner she chose. People were right; He was a monstrosity of evil. She hated the way he pretended to condemn rapists. He said, “All rapists should burn in hell.” He was a rapist. A child molester. ‘’What’s wrong?’’. She heard his voice and her heart thumped harder. Fear slowly crept in. She turned to him and uttered shakily’’. We are leaving. ‘’To where?’’. He asked, confused’’. What happened love?’’. Love?’’. She whispered. He didn’t even know the meaning. She exhaled and felt tears rushing out’’. Timothy, my sister, was just 20. You didn’t have to take advantage of her like that! I don’t know what you’re talking about’’. He said, avoiding eye contact.

That was a sign. ‘’She got pregnant!”’. Claire got angry, the fear slipping away and anger settling in her’’. She had an abortion that risked her life! And you stayed married to me, made love to me knowing what you did to my sister!”. She wanted to kill him right now, but she thought of her children. What would she tell them? Did mummy kill daddy?

You did that to many women!’’. She yelled,’’. Pressed their breasts, touched them inappropriately in the name of delivering them! Zainab is a child! And you fingered her because of the demons?!’’.

Reduce your voice’’. He stepped forward to her. ‘’Why?’’. She only yelled louder’’. Everyone knows you’re a rapist! A child molester!’’. You are a demon!’’. She yelled,’’. I’m leaving with my children, don’t try to stop me!”. ‘’I don’t know what’s wrong with me’’. He sat on the bed as she packed her load faster. She was scared that he might try to convince her to stay. She had to maintain this anger, this wrath‘’. Maybe you need deliverance’’. She muttered. ‘’And you speak about God?’’. She couldn’t get over it. How was he able to fool her, her father, and the rest of the world with his so-called righteousness? She began to cry because she thought of the kids he had abused’’. You’re supposed to be a pastor! Someone that helps people that heals people! You are to represent God! You don’t even fear God!”. And you talk about his kingdom like you are fit to enter with how dark your soul is’’. She spat out spitefully.

And I thought you were perfect, oh sweet Jesus’’. She hated how naive she was then. ‘’So what do you want?’’. He asked’’. Are you going to leave me?’’. She thought about it. How would she face the world? What would people think? What would she think of herself after? ‘’Please, don’t leave me’’. He pleaded, crying. He knew he was wrong, but he was desperate to change’’. Please don’t. I can’t go through this on my own. She stared at him and asked,’’. If you were me, what would you do?’’. He thought about it. This was an unforgivable act. The only way he could get out of it was through suicide. “But it’s a sin!’’. His mind screamed. Then he remembered committing sin was not new to him. He had ignored the cries of little kids and women and took advantage of them. Claire was right. She was right for deciding to take the kids. She was right for wanting to leave. He looked away from her, defeated because he knew the right answer. Was she right to leave?

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