I was 26 when I got married to the love of my life. I remember my wedding day clearly as if it was last week. We first had a court wedding with about 20 people in the house. I don’t think we spent up to N20,000 on the whole in all. Our Church wedding took place 12 years later; it was also a time to renew our vows in full glare of a much larger audience.
Let me digress here a bit… I was raised by a single mum, so as you may have guessed my life was not a sheltered one. From a young age I knew what it was like to be in charge of the home while mum went out to work. I was the Cinderella in the house- not the Cinderella that went to the ball in all her finery, but the one who did the household chores. I cooked, washed, ran errands and also chased my little brother, Fred, round the house, to make him take a bath. I got in trouble if he didn’t take a bath, and the boy just didn’t like water unless he was playing with it. I also helped my mum with her business. It was a hard knock life for a young girl but mum saw it as “home training”. And in a way those experiences contributed to shaping my life. I often boast at Genevieve that in the event that all my staff resigned en masse, I would single-handedly get the magazine out on the street. Now that I look back at my childhood, I believe I was shaped by what I learned.
I remember this particular day when after spending a good part of my weekend going to the market and slaughtering a duck, an aunt came to dinner and after all the compliments on my culinary skills said offhandedly, the man who marries you will be very lucky. But all I kept thinking was “I am not doing this all over again when I get married”.
Did I moan about these tasks? Yes, I moaned but mum then tied my night out on the town to my tasks. If I wanted to hit the town partying, which I did a lot, I had to ensure there was enough food in the house first.
I guess it was therefore understandable that I grew up with an intense dislike of the kitchen. I can cook but I’d rather not and I hoped when I got married it wouldn’t be to an overbearing and demanding husband who expected me to go as far as Epe fish market to buy fresh fish or Ore (Ondo State) to buy huge snails and then pound his yam by myself because he can’t stand domestics… Ah Ah! So, you can imagine my joy when I married the most understanding man ever. A man who does not make unnecessary demands of his wife, a man who makes no fuss over anything and understands that a working woman occasionally needs a break from the kitchen. (Ok, my time out of the kitchen is more than occasional)I couldn’t have been more blessed with a good man… it’s not everyday you meet a man who totally and unconditionally accepts you for who are without making you feel apologetic about your shortcomings.
Marriage is different things to different people and unfortunately our young ones have redefined what marriage is, with less emphasis on love and more on the things money can buy including love (but I then there are still many women out there who believe in unconditional love like the one Davido referenced in his hit number AYE: she no wan designer, she no wan Ferrari, she belongs to me and I belong to her o.
Marriage, like life, is what you make of it. There’s no manual on how to be happily married because different people have different expectations and preconceived ideas about marriage. In some quarters, marriage has become one big theatre of the absurd… some venture into it with a mindset that they can always cheat or take the next exit out at the first sign of any inconvenience.
The truth is, any marriage built on a wrong foundation is likely to come crashing. A sustainable marriage has to be built on true love, mutual respect, truth, patience, commitment and staying loyal to the wedding vows. Merry Xmas all and see you in 2015.