Marriage is a beautiful thing. It has its ups and down but it is beautiful. If you marry the right person, you will be happy and better positioned in the society. However, if you marry the wrong person, your own don ‘Kpeme’. If you doubt me, check your Facebook feeds and see the amount of sad stories or better still, check secrets groups on Facebook like FIN and Sisterhood Africa and you will understand. Yet, it baffles me how most women or men carry on with their decision of who to marry. I must confess that I am appalled by the rate most people make decision to marry these days even to the detriment of future aspirations and dreams. Take for instance, this year when my mother died, I travelled to Nigeria for her funeral and when I landed in Lagos, I boarded a bus to Onitsha. Luckily for me, the bus kept to its departure time unlike most public luxurious buses in Nigeria. We were allocated numbers when we paid for ticket so I was next to this young guy who is in his twenties or so he said in the end.
One that fateful day, half way down to Onitsha, I was getting bored to death, so I started fiddling with my phone. I watched different comedy skits and listened to music and my battery quickly drained to 15% and since I know that I have little opportunity to charge it in the bus or even at Onitsha with Nigerian NEPA that is worst than Tiger battery, I decided to choose boredom to having a death battery. It wasn’t up to ten minutes and the guy besides me began to chat me up. Let assume his name is Chuks. Chuks began to ask me my basic profile like, ‘What is your name?’ ‘Where are you from?’. We exchanged pleasantries and in no time, he introduced me to a new film called, ‘Wedding Party’. I was completely lost when he told me the name. ‘Have you not seen this bam movie? Chuks asked looking quite surprised. ‘Wedding Party?’ I inquired looking quite stupid. The fact is that I have not shown interest in Nigerian Movies or Nollywood for donkey years. Nollywood movies no longer tickle my imagination. Somehow, over the years, their movie plot lack creativity. Most times, I will basically watch one quarter of the movie and I will tell the ones I am watching with how it will end. One of my friend asked me one day, ‘Have you seen this movie before?’ and I replied, ‘No.’
‘So how do you know it will end like that?’ She asked looking at me like I am the first daughter of a seer.
‘Nnem, it is obvious from the story line. Any literature student from SS1 can see that.’ Fact is that, most Nollywood movies are written based on stereotypes and culture of Igbo. It is established on the good is rewarded and the bad punished. A submissive traditonal and prayerful wife suceed in marriage and a modern wife meets her waterloo. If you have a litrary mind, you can walk off half way through the movie and still tell the rest of the story. It is like the endings of most folktale stories with tortoise featuring in them.
Anyway, back to my guy Chuks, ‘I have the full movie in my phone’. He bragged showing me his flashy Chinese – Made Android Phone. I accepted to watch the movie with my impression of Nollywood in mind. Of course, I was bored, my phone battery is super low, what will I lose watching a full movie on a stranger phone. So I placed the earplugs in their rightful places and before you say, ‘Jack Robinson’ I was laughing like a mad woman. In fact, Nollywood surprised me that day. The movie plot was mature, brilliant acting with humorous characters and exotic display of Nigerian culture and norms. After the movie, my guy Chuks began to talk to me about marriage. He told me he was blown off his feet by my personality but the problem was that he had made a choice on who to marry. In fact he told me he was on his way to meet her. This interest me so I asked further questions. After about ten minutes, the picture of the supposedly marriage became clear. My guy Chuks was going home to meet a younger girl in her late teens. She is an orphan, not educated and very humble. He stressed humble so much that it became apparent that this quality mattered to him or their match-makers. When I asked him his occupation, I found out that he was unemployed university graduate but currently working with steels to make Iron gates for rich men. ‘ So how are you going to provide for your family?’ I asked very curious. He told me that they can manage and that he has no problem because the lady is humble and not materialistic. He went on and on praising the qualities of this girl and heaping more expectations on how she will make the perfect submissive and supportive house wife. I was awed by the qualities of this lady so I asked how long they had known each other and was shocked to hear that they have never met before. In fact the lady has not seen him in person, talk more of accepting the marriage proposal but my guys have all these expectations already. These expectations were based on the match-maker’s recommendations. He had this picture painted: perfect woman who will fully depend on him for love and affections. A woman without materialistic tendencies and submissive.
Most of us will laugh at this story but the truth is that, many marriages began on similar foundations. The societal pressure on individuals to marry can lead to ‘kpa kpa kpa’ marriage. Most of us dive in without knowing the person. Our culture promotes match-making, see-ask-and-marry attitudes and short time dating- not that I have anything against these way of meeting partners because most marriages from this methods lasted and thrived better than those who met themselves and dated for years before getting married.
However, my concern is that we are living in a more diverse society with different challenges compared to our traditional society where the values were more defined, the method of match making was better connection between individuals or family of similar values and recommendations were more credible. Our society is different from what it was in the 1940s or 1950s or 1960s. Most people are falling prey to individuals with no value for life, respect for family values and desire for stability. Selfishness and deceitfulness is the order of the day. Most people walk into marriage with wrong intentions, unattainable expectations and hidden agenda. Others do without thinking it through and some purposefully walked into marriage built on the foundation of deceit all in the name of Love.
My dear, love is blind but marriage is an eye opener. This adage is a common adage that bottles its meaning but when you falter and actually love blindly, nne, that adage ceases to be just an adage but now your nightmare.
Beware, be warned. Don’t imprison yourself in the name of Love or marriage. Marry when it is right and with the right intentions.