Thursday, 26 March 2009

Why get married??

'We have been trying to get Tunde married for the past ten years!!'

My auntie screamed like only Nigerian mothers can, placing particular emphasis on the number of years. She said it so slowly as if for those few second her mouth was slapped by a time warp. I sat there concentrating on my very serious portion of pounded yam and efo stew, wondering which angle to surgically attack it first.

'Ah ah, why now? How old are you?'

'36, Ma'

Mr Tunde didn't seem moved by my mum’s direct approach. He seemed rather composed which made me realise that he clearly has had this conversation with the entire elderly population of whichever village he hailed from.

‘Hope everything know ok? I mean I hope everything is working'.

I couldn't believe it. How can mums be so direct?! You literally just met the dude and you are asking about his sexual health!! She pressed on with an avalanche of questions; are there no women in your church, why don’t you go to church, what do you want in a wife?Mr Tunde took us on a journey through his family history, he explained that all the marriages around him had never lived happily ever after. His father, uncles, brothers and friends all had disastrous marriages that had created a string of children and a harem of wives so why bother to get married?

‘Why get married?’

That’s quite a philosophical question to ponder upon, whilst devouring pounded yam. Naturally out came my spiritual high horse ready for me to ride off into the religious horizon but aside from the scriptural answers( ‘two are better than one’, ‘it is not good for man to be alone’ etc), what strong argument can be put forward that supports the notion of getting married?
Mr Tunde was quick to remind us that statistically more marriages end in the divorce court than they do celebrating their 25th year anniversary. I find myself asking of those that are still married, are they enjoying or enduring their marriages? I have heard people say ‘if I had another chance I would never marry him’ or ‘I am only with her for the sake of our children’. With examples like this before us, it’s a wonder why people go through the hassle of emptying their entire savings to get married, go through years trying to work together to rebuild the funds only to split it down the middle through the courts.

Perhaps people get married for the obvious - sex. What a delight it must be to have 24hour access to your own boudoir? That is assuming that you have a cooperative spouse who willingly yields to your every need without complaint and knows exactly what buttons to press and not to press. I mean for those us who are sticking to the guns of no sex before marriage; it seems logical to get married so that you can enjoy what God created guilt free. But surely don’t you run the risk of boredom, tossing sex to the side like a toy on Christmas day. Sex is so easily accessible these days (so I have heard), that it seems rather ludicrous to purchase a rather expensive dress with a 24 hour life span, simply to enjoy it. One could suggest that you might as well hop into the bed, take care of business and pray to God for forgiveness. Sex, in my opinion is no reason to get married.

What about the gold digger philosophy? Using any means necessary to convince a wealthy person of your undying love so that they will speed down to the altar. This usually happens in the case of the celebrities, that we pretend we are too holy to notice but are so up to date with the last time they brushed their teeth! These celebrities fall in love with their back up dancers and in a 99 day whirlwind romance complete with snapshots in dark sunglasses and bashful faces. They marry on the Caribbean shore with a priest turned Buddhist holding the ceremony. When the whirl in the wind fades away, the true action plan of the now unemployed dancer takes place. The divorce which lines the pockets of some overpaid lawyers is splashed across all our TV screens and newspapers for our very righteous disapproval. Closer to our reality, it may make sense to get married for financial advancement. Perhaps you want a bigger house and you only have a studio flat, getting married to man with a larger income could bring you dream closer. Though this could be short lived, as your quest to build your property portfolio ends you end up having to sell up and return to eating beans and toast. These days’ people are getting smarter; signing prenuptials to agree who is getting what should someone decide to go on a self discovery mission. Today there are a number of self made millionaires, people who come up with random ideas that generate millions so why bother get married to inherit half of a million. It seems more beneficial to me, to remain focused on your own dreams and generate money that you will never (figuratively speaking) have to share with anyone.

So money and sex can’t be effective reasons to get married, so what are?

Mr Tunde said that the only reason that he would even contemplate getting married now is because he is bored.

‘I can tell you what I am doing between Monday and Friday this week. I go to work, I meet a friend for a drink, I go to the gym, I come home. That’s my life’

‘Get a wife, she’ll bring excitement’ said my hubby, in between mouthfuls of jellof rice.

So wives are there to bring ‘excitement’ are they? Are we the replacement for the Playstation, Ipod, Xbox or whatever lastest electronic gadget?! The gadgets are there for your excitement; surely I am far more complex than a Playstation game especially at those special times in the month. I took a deep breath, collected my emotions and realised that this could be a valid point. Wives could be the latest form of entertainment, you wait wives will be wrapped up as gifts to the sons of mums desperate for grandchildren. That brings me nicely onto my next point - pressure. Pressure from parents and aunties is easy enough to ignore, just say ‘yes aunty, no aunty, two rice bags full aunty’. Sure marrying your aunties friends sisters daughter will ease their interrogation but, it’s only a short term fix. Once they see cracks in the picture perfect marriage, they will soon climb upon that band wagon saying that you were no good in the first place. Then there are those that get married just so that they can join the diamond brigade; as if your bling is a consolation prize when you are arguing over the direction of the toilet seat, the way the toothpaste should be squeezed or whose Mary Kay lipstick lips are pressed onto your shirt collar.

Some of you will be screaming at the laptop screen, asking why on earth I journeyed down the marital road. The truth is ever since our encounter with Mr Tunde I have searched for the answer. If we are excluding spiritual reasons, scriptures and phrases; then I got married because I have always wanted to. But it’s not just me! I think every little girl grows up with the dream of walking down the aisle in a brilliant white dress, throwing the bouquet into a sea of marriage hungry young ladies. We have been conditioned to believe that good girls, settle down with good men and set up homes in good areas. Please don’t get me wrong I am madly in love with my husband and if I had the pleasure of marrying him all over again I would, this was just a journey through the mind of a newlywed eating her pounded yam in south London.