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The Marriage Vows

During the Christmas holiday, an idyllic marriage falls apart from the weight of unrealistic marriage expectations for all to see.

By Tamika Morrison OkelekePublished 3 years ago Updated 3 years ago 13 min read
The Marriage Vows
Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

The mood was calm, considering the emotional blizzard that was running rampant in the Armani household. The melodious Christmas music set the tone, with Mariah Carey bellowing out “All I Want For Christmas is youuuuuuu”, encapsulating the perfect mood to invoke Liza’s fantasies of happier times with her husband.

She was humming along while making a cup of coffee. It was her third cup, at 7:30 am. She could untighten one of her butt cheeks now that Bella had finished the Christmas décor. The house was beautifully decorated, thanks to her overpriced and overrated interior designer. The Bella Rossi was a famed decorator to the stars. Liza has insisted on her every year since their marriage because of course, she was a starah!

Hell, she might as well untighten both butt cheeks because the aroma from the kitchen was from Uma, the housekeeper’s hard work. At least she didn’t have to feed hungry mouths anymore now that Uma was around.

Uma knew what the kids liked and Joshua too. She was cooking up a fresh batch of baguettes; paired with the aroma of fried bacon, scrambled eggs with the perfect helping of cheese. Uma turned Liza’s “wife”, but really more of a “wife” to Joshua, was preparing Joshua’s lunch for work.

The only thing left for Liza was to go Christmas shopping for the family. Something she and Joshua did together the first two years of marriage. Last year, he flat out refused and simply gave her a spending limit.

“Please keep your spending more towards $2000 - $2500 this year,” he warned. I’m still paying down the ten thousand you racked up on ridiculously expensive shit from last year.”

Joshua entered the kitchen with furrowed brows headed straight towards Liza. Not that she noticed. He was about to confront her about his missing suits when Uma placed a plate of freshly made beignets in front of him and an au lait, which she only made for him. At once his mood lightened and he smized at Uma as if telepathically. Both standing at the stove, she flirted back and teased him as she pretended to graze his body with hers.

***

Liza accused Joshua of being a complicated man and disagreeable. Though Joshua described himself as a simple man that only asked for his favorite lunch fixed daily. He thought that’s the least his wife could do since he was the Breadwinner of the family, daily feasting on him.

Fresh tuna three days a week, with crispy lettuce, mozzarella cheese and extra mayo on a toasted sourdough bun. He didn’t even mind canned tuna on occasion. Joshua was thankful Uma had come into their lives. Their former house manager was too restrictive and didn’t take measures to fill in Liza’s obvious gaps, not that she was aware.

In her own world, Liza barely saw anyone or noticed anything except her cell phone and her coffee. If she paid more attention, she would see what was happening in front of her. Instead, she was obsessively waiting on a response to a text message.

Liza hurried back to her bathroom as her makeup artist arrived to do her makeup for the photoshoot that morning. She kissed her children absentmindedly and when she went towards Josh, he became standoffish. She wasn’t offended.

Her makeup room was the former guest bathroom and extended into the second guest bedroom on the lower level of the house. She’d insisted that Joshua convert the master bathroom with the two walk-in closets into her makeup suite. She didn’t sense the selfishness of her request – any of them.

Folks gave Liza and Josh too much credit, but The Armani’s did a great job of making it look good. They seemed to check all the boxes -- a beautiful home, nestled in an exclusive, gated community, check. Model-like, smart and smart-mouthed children, check. Passports, well-managed crypto portfolios and international bank accounts? Check. Retirement plans, VCs for their businesses, life and business insurance – check, check and check. What more could you ask for?

Consideration. Respect. Love. Compassion. Selflessness. These were nonexistent in their marriage. Yet, to the onlookers, they were #couplegoals.

***

Liza and Joshua had gotten so far away from their charming early days. In the beginning, Joshua was smitten by Liza’s elegance and beauty. Her business savvy was sexy and the way she worked a room full of titles and statuses made him horny.

After a week of dating, he began fantasizing about making her his trophy wife. With her by his side, he could have everything he wanted. Or so he thought. Now he regretted the day he laid eyes on her.

Joshua proposed two weeks after meeting Liza. He was desperate and was up for a promotion at work. Every partner at his firm was married. He felt the pressure and believed he needed a wife to fit in. He met Liza, he liked her so he put a ring on it. Unfortunately, she was the wrong lady at the right time.

He murmured to himself, “Never trust a nice ass and great hair.” The way Liza sashayed in stilettos and the glorious wigs she wore. Joshua was shocked the day it was revealed the hair wasn’t hers.

Joshua came home unannounced one day shortly after they’d wed when he caught Liza wig-less. She was unrecognizable - in a bad way and she had a cigarette in her mouth to top it off. Joshua was disgusted. He never kissed her again. It went downhill from there.

***

As Liza was primping downstairs, upstairs was in an uproar. Her son Desmond, Josh’s stepson, was helping his little sister get ready for daycare. The dog had pooped in the walkway near the staircase because Liza had overslept again. And Joshua was frantically trying to find the work suit that was waiting for him at the dry cleaners. Liza forgot about that too. Joshua stepped in the poop. He was livid.

Though she had tons on her plate for the day, Liza decided this was the day she’d inform Joshua of their revised Christmas plans. She was chatting away with her makeup artist when Joshua stood in the doorway.

Liza and Mia continued chatting. After standing for nearly five minutes, he interrupted, “Maybe if I called you BITCH you would actually hear me sometimes!”

When the women heard his voice, they looked at him, eyes bulging. Mia nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard him stress the word, BITCH.

Liza thought to herself, Wait, did he just call me out of my name? Is he YELLING?! WHAT THA ACTUAL FUCK IS HAPPENING HERE?!

Finding her voice, she shouted, “WHAT. DID. YOU. JUST. CALL. ME?!” Did you just FUCKING call me a BITCH!” She was humiliated.

Joshua startled by his own actions but ready for battle, responded, “Yeah. I did. Cause you are…”

Walking away he said it again, “A Bitch!”

Liza was shaking. He broke the number one rule, NEVER argue in public. But she was crushed by the way he said Bitch.

Trying to disguise her hurt she shrieked, “What a little MAN you, ARE! I hope you feel BRAVE!”

“Fuck you, Liza.” He left.

She yelled after him, “JOSHUA HAVE YOU LOST YOUR FUCKING MIND?!”

Liza ran after him but was too late. Joshua screeched out of their driveway and sped off as she reached the garage door.

***

It’s too bad, this couple couldn't stand each other. They thought they were hiding their disdain, but it was obvious. But if any day mattered that they hit all the marks, today was that day. Liza’s featured interview with SoCity Chic, a local lifestyle magazine was happening in a few hours.

She would be talking about her big collaboration with a nonprofit supporting low-income families for Christmas. It would be the perfect profile piece her publicist Edith suggested would put her on the “Who’s Who” radar.

Liza was aiming for the stars and had plans to hold the position of “Honorary Mayor”, though a role never existed. And with her help, Joshua’s stock would soar too. He’d have to give her credit.

“It's Us against the world!" was the phrase Joshua and Liza Armani had sworn to each other; especially when an audience was near. Snaps, IG posts, Facebook posts and Clubhouse appearances - they were the go-to relationship gurus.

But, it was all a farce and playing out for a public spectacle completely opposite of Liza’s strategy to put Joshua & Liza ARMANI on the right path.

***

With Christmas Day quickly approaching, they were ill-prepared. Both Liza and Joshua’s families were traveling to spend Christmas Day with them. Both were anxious about talking through the plans for it, but for different reasons.

Joshua had promised Uma he would find a way to give her the ultimate gift, spending time alone together on Christmas and telling Liza about their affair. He couldn’t pretend anymore. He was ready to risk it all, he just hadn’t told his parents.

He was spending more and more time sneaking off with Uma every chance he could. Liza was too busy chasing influence to notice or care.

She was also exhausted by all the money lies she was telling and hiding from Joshua, her failing business ventures add the exhausting façade, she couldn’t put another task on her list. Tending to Joshua’s husbandly needs nor thinking about leeching family.

Besides, she’d finally landed a coveted meeting with The Governor. He invited Liza and her family to have Christmas dinner at his newly built mountain hideaway - the first Christmas for his family.

Liza accepted the invitation without telling Joshua. She planning to pretend to forget about hosting Christmas for their families. They hadn’t mentioned it again since Thanksgiving. Since Joshua hadn’t mentioned it to her, she figured he had forgotten too.

***

She was a wounded poodle when she met Josh, licking her wounds like fleas. It wouldn’t take much to convince her to be swept off her feet. She was Rapunzel epitomized and needed to be rescued. 9-1-1.

Liza was wooed by Joshua’s foolish determination to make her his wife. He wouldn’t take NO for an answer even if all the signs were blaring “HELL NAWL!”

She was in bad need of a “YES” pretending to play hard to get; but in truth, she was a wounded soul purring in desperate surrender.

If you could see her soul, you’d pity her too. Poor Liza. Desmond’s dad had done a few numbers tapping on her back. Spiritually, she was in critical condition by the time that relationship was over.

Liza wasn’t sound enough to date anyone, let alone be in a relationship but those bills were piling up, her credit cards were maxed out and her credit score needed an encore. She was depleted. In every shape and in every way – spiritually, mentally, emotionally and most importantly to her - financially.

So, when Joshua exposed his frantic desire for companionship, she clearly saw his offering of fool’s gold. She accepted the offer sight unseen.

***

Still reeling from Joshua's outburst and the abrupt way Joshua had stormed off made Liza nervous. He’d never lost his cool in front of company before. He was breaking all the rules. Did he not care that he was jeopardizing their perfectly coiffed brand?! Their partnerships, newsletter subscriptions and branded merchandise? She was livid.

Mia was awkwardly trying to pretend she saw no evil or heard any evil. She was sure to speak of said evil. She had to! Everyone thought Joshua and Liza were the perfect couple. This tea was piping hot!

Mia was contemplating whether to DM the Gotcha Blog now or later? Liza needed to be checked on, she was still in a stunned stupor. She sent a quick text to Michelle, the publisher to spill the tea and she checked on Liza, she did both.

Not one to wince her words, Mia was embarrassed for Liza. She decided to play it off. “Miss Liza that dress you’re wearing is so pretty.” Liza didn’t respond.

She blurted, “Oh! And I don’t think Mr. Armani meant what he said.” Still, Liza was quiet. Mia raised her voice, “Miss Liza! Are you OK?"

Seeming to come out of a trance, Liza replied “Huh? Oh, I’m fine. He’s about to find out what kind of Bitch I truly am” Liza scoffed, “The fucking gloves are off!”

Liza stormed into the hall nearing her office and yelled to her assistant, “EMILY! Rake it up! Call my personal shopper and have her order me a new wardrobe for my cabin trip. And tell her, to step the game up on this one. I’m looking for eligible suitors.”

If she couldn’t hurt Joshua in the heart, she would surely hurt his pockets. She didn’t stop at buying up a new wardrobe for the cabin trip. Liza pulled out her laptop and used her saved bookmarks on fashion, jewelry and home décor as ammunition against her husband’s pockets.

When finished, she’d racked up over 250 thousand in charges on less than 10 items. If Liza had a change of heart, she had 24 hours to cancel. She was beginning to feel remorseful.

The doorbell rang as Liza was contemplating the charges. She decided to revisit the remorse later and went to answer the door.

She neared her makeup suite and noticed Mia’s things. “Hey Mia!” She yelled as she passed the door. “Are you still here?”

“Uh, yes, ma’am, still here. Um, should I come back for payment?” Mia was trying not to be too forward but she needed her coins.

“Oh! I’m so sorry, I’ll take care of that right now.” Liza hesitated, “Mia, forget about what happened today, OK?” And she winked.

Mia, understanding the gesture, “Huh? Today? Today’s today? Aw man, I have no memory of today.”

Liza teased her, “That’s why you’re my very best friend!”

Mia was texting Michelle, the local gossip blogger with the news as she replied, “I’ll send a link to my CashApp.”

Liza yelled from the front of the house, “I’ll get the payment to you ASAP...with a lil’ extra on top. Okay?” she winked.

Mia was surprised. Liza never tipped. It was one of her hidden grievances. When the payment came through, Liza had tipped Mia $500 with a note, “For all the times I should have tipped you. XoXoXo.”

Mia felt regret but it was too late.

***

The Editor-in-Chief of SoCity Chic magazine was at the front door.

“Who’s there?” Liza asked.

“It’s Jessica Soundtooth, here a bit early for your interview? She said weakly feeling intrusive for the early arrival.

At that moment, Liza’s cellphone buzzed from receiving a new text message. It was from Governor’s Secretary.

The doorbell rang again, this time, impatiently. Liza read the text message. With a picture attached, it read:

This just came from WNOT News as their top story.

CANCELLED: Business Heir Joshua Armani Leaves Socialite wife Elizabeth “Liza” Marie Armani after 4 years.

Her knees buckled. She was distraught. Trying to stay strong and clinging to the small dignity she had left, she took a deep breath and opened the door as the doorbell rang yet again.

Losing her cool, she hollered, “I’M COMING DAMNIT!”

Her face flushed hot; her makeup runny from crying she looked like someone who’d gone mad. There stood Jessica, unimpressed and an unknown well-dressed man equally indifferent.

He stepped forward with a document, “Elizabeth Armani, you’re being served.” Continuing his greeting, “Mr. Armani has officially filed for divorce.” Liza was becoming dizzy.

Please sign here,” he insisted pushing the papers in front of her.

Amused by the turn of events, Jessica said aloud, “Wow, didn’t see that coming.”

Liza tried to slam the door but was suddenly overcome with anguish and fainted.

***

It was nearly a week that Liza was put in a medically induced coma. She was told it was to protect her from herself.

Truth is, Liza was admitted to the psych unit because she nearly killed the editor-in-chief of the magazine and the courier who served the divorce papers. After she fainted, her publicist arrived and called Joshua and 9-1-1.

When he arrived, Liza gained consciousness and tried to kill Joshua. She stabbed him a few times in the back as he was trying to run away from her. Though he had serious injuries, he dropped the charges. But he moved forward with expediting the divorce.

Thankfully, Liza’s family stood by her side, even family members she hadn’t spoken with in years rallied together to be there for her. They celebrated Christmas with Liza by her hospital bedside.

***

Liza and Joshua's marriage sadly didn’t make it to Christmas, in fact, nothing that Liza had been busying herself with did.

On New Year’s Eve, Joshua and Uma eloped.

A scathing story was posted on the Gotcha blog about Liza and Joshua’s fake relationship goals.

SoCity Chic Magazine took credit for exposing Liza as a fraud and The Governor put Liza’s name on his blacklist, her business dried up quickly.

It took a few months, but Liza was slowly recovering. Her ego was bruised, but she wasn't as broken as she had anticipated. In fact, she was relieved and thankful - full of gratitude even.

The road ahead wouldn't be easy but at least she wasn’t worried about money and keeping up with The Kardashians anymore. #TrueStory

Joshua put her and the kids in a new construction home and paid the mortgage for a year. Liza chose that instead of spousal support, so he gave her a lump sum of $20,000. A nice parting gift.

On the outside looking in, you might be tempted to pity Liza and feel bad for Joshua. You might judge them and think they brought these events onto themselves. That perspective makes sense.

But despite it all, they were given another chance at life. Thankfully, no one died. And another opportunity at love again if they so choose – for better or worse.

family

About the Creator

Tamika Morrison Okeleke

Writer, PR Evolution Coach and Founder, Wordsmith, Soul-healer. I use words to inspire, connect, & make a difference. Follow me @1stLadyofPR.

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    Tamika Morrison OkelekeWritten by Tamika Morrison Okeleke

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