Sorry to begin this post with that, but I am starting to strongly believe that many parents especially mothers have failed their daughters. If you go on any four Nigerian blogs daily, you will read a pathetic marriage story of either misery, strief, grief or violence. It now begs the question of what is wrong.
I believe there are several factors at play (the mathematician in me will list them)
1. Low sense of self worth for females from childhood into adulthood
2. Parents not being honest with their children
3. A lack of understanding of God’s love for us.
4. A warped definition of love.
Let me state my reasoning.
The need to be Mrs and the pressure to have a man in Nigeria is excessive. Now when this becomes a primary goal, women arent even asking if the men they are settling for or committing the rest of their lives to are remotely worth their time. Granted no one can give you happiness, but other people can cause you sorrow. Its ok to think of one’s self as important. Its not a crime. If you cant sell your own self the idea that you deserve the best (of course within reasonable parameters) then who else is to believe that?
Secondly why dont parents tell young women there is no trophy for suffering with a man? When I say this I dont mean dont date a poor man who hasnt made it, but please dont sacrifice yourself to do so. No one is going to hand you a trophy at the end of the day. Any self respecting poor man or man that is yet to make it will not offer you what he cant afford. Rather he would open up to you and express his current limitations and his pride will ensure he takes care of things in accordance with his pockets.
Thirdly if you don’t understand that God created you out of love, then please pick up your religious text if you are a believer. He didnt create you so you could have a miserable existence at all. He made you in his likeness, so while you aren’t perfect you were majestically made.
Lastly love oh love. Too much fairy tale disney and romantic happy ending movies. Love tends to differ from person to person and when you look at it, it means different things for different people. In this economically deprived environment for some people love is a man that lives in lekki and has tons of money to throw around, for some people love is sex, for some love is peace.
For my husband love is duty and accountability. He expresses himself through provision, through ensuring he involves me in decisions even when I have no interest in them. Lol. For me love is peace, dont get me wrong there will be the ocassional moments of one or two things gone wrong, but generally I don’t expect any unpleasant surprises.
Anyways with the entire epistle above I was leading onto a story. My story. I have had several stories that touched and I associated them with the factors listed above. I had 2 horrible relationships in the 3 years before meeting my husband. In 2010 I was engaged to be married, I called it off 6 weeks before the traditional engagement. I got a lot of backlash from many people. Some had bought their tickets to come to Nigeria from America. The one person who didnt give me grief was my wonderful father. Even my mother a foreigner was talking about me disgracing her. And I do regret my words to her that day, but it was the only way I could express myself.
Anyways the crux of the story was I had gone to secondary school with the guy, met him at one of those December events and we got talking in 2008. I was still working in Dubai then. After about 2 years of talking long distance we decided to take the marriage steps. I moved back May 2010, my birthday was June and I said all I wanted was ankara and thai food. My goodness this dude showed up at 7pm without a gift and after enough begging, took me to a chinese restaurant and now gave me a n100k check postdated for August I think. The beginning of the revelation. Enough back and forth arguing fighting etc. I also hadnt settled in properly and was still going back and forth between lagos, NY, Dubai. This dude told me I traveled too much, I always bought my own tickets oh. Anyways fast forward when I would want to go to see naija movies at the cinema he would say no one does that etc.
One day I said oh lets go clubbing with my brothers, he responded saying responsible women don’t go clubbing. I didnt argue. My brothers saw this idiot in the club. He now had vacation in october I told him to come by the house to drop of the invite his parents approved of. I got home at 6.30pm, he said I was lucky he waited for me. I said wait you are on leave, if you cant wait for me then when can you wait? I lost it. And i just went quiet and started asking myself questions. It then dawned on me that the guy was a user, within that week someone saw me at an event and told me to tell him to pay the money that he owed her husband and I should stop running around with Lv bag. I was like morogo (I am in trouble). Poor me that was working a minimum 60 hours a week writing budgets for the war, all my sacrifices to end up with a debtor of a riff raff. I didnt say much.
That was how I got home and had the conversation with my dad. My dad asked a few questions we prayed. I called dude to tell him but I was respecful enough to do it in person. Did it on a tuesday, left town on a Wednesday it was that long Sallah. Had confided the situation to my mentor- American lady about 15 years older than me. All she did was ask me for my passport details, I had a ticket to Dubai and the entire weekend at the sofitel jumeirah beach paid for by her. She just told me to leave town and go relax. On my arrival back this dude had pestered my mother so he knew my return flight details. He insisted on coming to the airport to try to get me. I kukuma let him carry my suitcase. My older brother was waiting for me at the airport. I hoped in the car and moved on.
Just to put it mildly this dude was a nightmare and a half. My dad offered me police detail, my brothers threatened him.
Maybe I wasnt faultless in the situation. Despite my own work ethic I didnt look for the same in a partener. And with people like my mom telling me not to disgrace her, I kept trying to adjust this dude. And I think he thought my father was financing me when in actuality there were weeks I worked 100 hours and would be at work till 2am when Houston office decided to communicate with Dubai. At that point many people condemned my decision. My father stood solidly behind me. And for him I am forever grateful. The dude got married in July this year and I could only hope he was more sincere with his wife, but somehow I doubt it.
I was gonna write on my next nightmare of a bf after that. But I am tired of stories that touch for today. Maybe another day.
Yesterday we did the wedding registry at mega plaza. I am ashamed to say because we combined two households there are maybe 15 items on our list and they are relatively expensive. We dont need the standard microwaves, dishes etc, but we need like a washing machine, one of our air conditioners just broke down etc. We also put a big fridge on, we figure instead of adding on a freezer just get a bigger fridge and freezer combo and move the one in the house now to the school or give it out. Maybe one of these our uncles or aunties will have pity on us and buy something.
My random act of kindness yesterday Tuesday was a long love bbm message to my husband. Lol. Please dont judge me
And I bought myself two books from mega plaza.
On another note I need to get back to seriously working out. So I have decided to run a 10km race the week before my traditional marriage. I know I just need to be out of town and away from the madness. And my last race was the Royal parks half marathon in london in october 2013, so I need to fulfill my one race minimum for the year. The entry for this years race is $30 fairly reasonable and the distance wont be too much on my knees – fell off a motorcycle in 2006 in Pattaya Thailand – story for another day. So starting today I am going to do 6 flights of staìrs 4 times to get my blood going. Been out of the gym since July.