In light of recent happenings – you know what I am talking about – this thing called marriage… I can only speak from my own point of view which often straddles Nigerian and American cultural value systems – yes they are often in conflict.
My first thought is that marriage is not by force..oddly enough I learnt this from my very Nigerian father. When young couples come to him for counsel or refuse to heed simple advice or one party is unyielding, he tells you point blank marriage is not by force, leave if you are unhappy. It should never leave you having suicidal thoughts – walk away divorce is an option.
Secondly – folks have this all encompassing view of marriage. It will never make you “more complete”, neither will it make you happier. Newsflash you love someone fair and square – marriage will not turn them into cinderella or prince charming. If anything marriage should give you a friend in the true sense of it. Now this said friend/ intended roomate has to be reasonable and so do you for this arrangement to work out – meaning you have no business marrying anyone you believe will harm you intentionally. Nobody is God so you must leave room for error – your partner will offend you- if you know deep down the person is a reasonable and responsible human being then by all means please be married. Someone who only acts based on their own desires all the time simply has no business being married.
I haven’t been married long but there are a few things I have picked up along the way. My husband is a reasonable person, so am I – when it comes to fighting we don’t really fight, we may ignore issues temporarily but are of the underlying fact that if we both fight no one wins – he can lawyer arguments and I am straight to the point. ..it’s an absolute waste of productive time – I would rather be sleeping or watching yoruba nollywood than to argue. Next rule is no yelling – If you cannot communicate your thoughts verbally go and write a message mull over it and send.
Have an idea of who you are marrying and your expectations. Some people believe in splitting responsibilities (bills included), some don’t. Understanding this can save you a lot of headaches in marriage. Getting a general idea of your partner’s belief system goes a long way. Are you married to a man with a sense of entitlement? Or an alapa ike (plastic hand) woman? Or a woman that wants to be involved in all family decisions? Or a man that likes to blame all others for his shortcomings especially when someone else has to pick up his slack?
What are you pledging your life to? Courtship is not fancy resturants and an opportunity to chop someone else’s money. It is a time investment to determine what will be a good fit for your future. Can this person be a good partner to you? And likewise? I knew I was going to marry my husband because I knew I would willingly curb some of my excesses (not even material things now), he likes to stay home (no roaming around Lagos type) – etc. We both communicated very regularly our ideas on how to run our family and still do when certain issues arise. I was keen on a partnership and not a lordship.
If someone was doing something such as runs or odu before marriage why do folks all of a sudden assume there will be a change? You have encouraged that behaviour by agreeing to stand with the same person before God and so you have condoned it. Do not get offended when it displays itself in the marriage.
Tolerance is often mis-used in Nigerian marriages. We are encouraged to tolerate infidelity, laziness and a few other ills. I say tolerate at the risk of your sanity. While some people have agreements or marriages that they can tolerate infidelity – it is not for everyone. Know the kind of sh*t you can take. For example, I can tolerate my husband’s wanna be interior decorator alter ego, he can tolerate some of my habits with wanting buka food. I have a choice in the behaviors that I willingly accept, those thatI grudgingly accept and those that i will not accept. Get a general idea of what bad habits your spouse may likely display – if you cannot handle a man who is a cheerful giver- kindly do not marry the community penis and waste your time and God’s time by fasting and praying for him to change.
The case that went public yesterday while I will use the word alleged – this couple will never be alright whether they choose to stay together or finally separate. It’s not a curse but when you have hit below a certain low, even God becomes offended. He gave us the gift of reason and somehow Nigerians seem to think that he will leave more pressing issues to come and attend to our shenanigans. God is love, but please let’s stop abusing his love…many times it won’t be alright, but life must go on.
To the social media prostitutes – I mean folks who seek attention and approval on a daily or evenly hourly basis…if it is not tied into your livelihood, abeg relax before it destroys you. Nobody needs the intimate details of whether or not you are happy or sad. Because this I must be liked or popular nonsense is driving people into over sharing – the point at which you overshare and cannot retract that which you have put out. Talk to your partner face to face – communicate your issues, don’t bring it to the rest of us- we can’t do anything for you. The less people involved, the easier an issue is to resolve. If that fails and you still desire help, please see a counsellor – a proper therapist. Note I didn’t say a pastor.
Marriage is not by force and it is certainly not worth your life. Too many people would do better alone than with certain types of spouses. A true partnership elevates both parties, it doesnt destroy either or both parties. Nigerians- marriage is not for everyone- i see folks searching for spouses left right and center, we are still unable to get it right about what marriage is and isn’t. Let’s find self love before we go looking for love or partnerships with other human beings.
. A big or small wedding does not imply a good marriage- neither does dancing to Jodeci for your wife make your marriage. Let’s focus less on creating spectacular weddings and focus on building for ourselves spectacular lives especially before introducing children to the mix. You can undo a marriage, but remember you cannot undo the other parent of your child.
Thats my 55 kobo. Enjoy the weekend.