Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Another One Bites The Dust

I attended a wedding quite by accident last November. I met, on the way to Lagos, a couple who were going for their sister’s wedding and had received an invite to which my initial inclination was to decline (I mean, the fella and his wife had my phone number in London so why was I being invited on the plane) and to which, for the sake of not wanting to appear churlish, I accepted.

And attended. The ceremony was well organised and it was an enjoyable experience. The bride seemed to enjoy herself and stepped around the hall in the dance of the happy. The groom seemed slightly bemused but happy all the same. I wish them happy married life until they reach 100 years of age…however, the wedding got me thinking about mine, and whether women especially concentrate more on the ceremony than keeping the marriage ‘alive’.

It seems to me that I stand guilty too of not thinking deeply about marital life before embarking on one. I thought it would be sex on demand (what man does not want that?), sweetness and fun, without any education (self-attained or otherwise) on how marriages work. My traditional introduction ceremony took place with a week’s notice when I decided to move to London since my ex-wife informed me that her parents would not let her join me without any formal recognition, and we returned to Nigeria for the engagement/marriage when she was pregnant, because her parents – church deacons – would not be happy about her giving birth outside of wedlock. Never mind that it is the deaconess who I now find imports jazz from Nigeria for my ex.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying I was dragged eyes wide shut to the alter – I certainly loved my ex and I gladly agreed because I knew it would make her happy.

My ex danced like she was going to drop in the church, a ceremony that lasted from 10 until almost 4 pm, even though we still had prayers at her house and a two hour journey back to Lagos. My father commented the following day that she was so happy because she had snagged me and my brother said something similar a few days later. I responded to both of them that she had said she was determined to enjoy her wedding day, which was true. It occurs to me now that she was not as determined to enjoy her marriage.

Marriage now fills me with trepidation because I realise that so many people will walk into mistakes. Unfortunately, about 40% of UK marriages are now breaking up and a large proportion of the remaining 60% are tumultuous. Darkelcee recently wrote an article about her fiancĂ© liking original pounded and I was alarmed at the first comment which suggested the commentator’s husband had to put up with poundo, or nothing (I’m sure the comment was a joke). Relationships are hard work, marriages much harder and I think a lot of our parents fail in educating us properly about them, especially when we have many deaconesses who, rather than train their children, believe in the power of jazz to help keep their children’s spouses under control.

I will end on an upbeat tone. Many marriages will be happy ever after and I can see some examples on blogville: Oluwadee who critically examines every step she takes; Sherri, fiercely independent but with a heart of gold; Omosewa, whom someone once said to me will kill her husband with love (and who, by the way, has 'univited' me to her blog) and a few others.