Getting Married By Deceit

We (one of my groups of youths and I) took advantage of the last Muslim public holiday to organize a youth forum. Our topic was “Cohabitation and Courtship.” I have dwelt extensively on both issues in this column, so I will not bother you with the presentation.

But after the talk, there were torrents of questions. The participants really poured out their hearts about various aspects of courtship and matrimony.

I want to share one of their concerns: deceit during courtship. Even though geographical location, tribe and tongue may differ, the problems and challenges young adults face are uniform and universal—to a large extent.

Full time house wife: A participant expressed her worries about men who force their wives to be full time housewives after marriage. She cited the case of her elder sister who had a well-paying job in a bank with bright prospects.

It was in the course of the job she met her husband. All through courtship, the husband never said he would stop her from working after marriage.

But after marriage, the husband told her to stop work and become a fulltime housewife. Why? The husband said just as he found her attractive enough and married her, other men will also find her attractive and want to have her.

I responded that there are many issues here, but the main issue is the man’s underlying insecurity. The man probably needs reassurances to be cured of his insecurity. Two, I have said it in this column before; you do not unilaterally shift the goal post after the match has started.

This issue should have been brought up and sorted out during courtship. If the wife was caught in adultery in the course of her work, it would have been a different matter, but to act rashly based on insecurity that has nothing to do with her is unfair. What the husband has done is 419: getting married by deceit.

The lady also said her sister is now home fulltime and broke and the husband does not seem to care. I am the first to concede that family comes first and spouses should create time for their families. Strong family units create stronger and better societies. The minimum is that the woman changes to a less demanding job or that with a flexible schedule.

She can also go into business; that will make her time flexible enough to take care of the home front. But sitting at home all day, armed with a remote control, changing from Nollywood to Ghollywood, Bollywood to Hollywood channels is not a healthy
way to live —physically and mentally.

Sometimes, what some of these men are doing is patching one spot while another is leaking ( ana pachi, ona e’liki, as my former roommate in the university used to say). You keep your wife at home to shield her from men in the office, what about those men in your compound and neighbourhood who are looking for unhappy, idle and lonely housewives to prey on?

Also, some of the men who make their wives fulltime housewives do not earn enough to meet the needs of the entire household. They should simply swallow their foolish pride and allow the woman to work so that more money would flow into the family economy.

Some of these guys also forget that these women come from families who need their assistance. It is possible the parents sacrificed everything, including the education of the younger siblings, to send her to school so that after graduation, she would support the rest of the family.

This is Africa and the extended family is real. If you cannot cater for her extended family, allow her to work and do the little she can for them.

Personally, I do not believe in this fulltime housewife arrangement. Every mind, like the body, needs exercise, or it becomes shapeless.

If you are stupendously rich and her extra income is not needed, allow her work and donate her salary to charity or let her do volunteer work to keep busy, apart from taking care of the family.

Full disclosure: Another participant narrated how a guy completely fooled a girl during courtship. He is of a poor parentage, so he decided to “adopt” the opulent family of his friend. He took the girl to his friend’s family and introduced them to her as his family.

P“He planned it very well” and was able to perpetuate the charade throughout the courtship.

Our narrator said that during the marriage ceremony, his real parents were introduced and sat beside them (bride and groom). The girl was confused and wanted clarification from him, but he pretended to be too excited to talk.

He said after the wedding, the girl was escorted to a thatched family house instead of the mansion she has been going to. He said when the girl found out the truth, she was disappointed, but stuck with the guy because she loved him.

I told them what the guy did is wrong and, whether in the law court or church, that marriage would not have stood if the lady raised objections. You cannot misrepresent a critical element like your family.

Beyond that, young people need to come to terms with their backgrounds. If you have issues with your antecedents, do something to elevate your fortunes; living a lie is not a responsible way to live. Many of the movers, shakers and shapers of the world are from poor parentage.

But they rose beyond their families’ lowly confines to bestride the economic, political, literary, entertainment and religious spheres. You too can. After all, we are in an era of change. Be real.

Both accounts and some other experiences shared by participants bother on trust. Trust is a very essential ingredient in the success of every human relationship. In marriage, trust is elevated because marriage is a personal and intimate relationship. Any young adult who desires a happy and long-lasting marriage must engender trust. (Vanguard)

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