The African Man And His Marriage
The African Marriage
The attitude any individual expresses or exhibits in any form of relationship he or she finds himself or herself is based on the individual’s perception of life, experience and exposure. Some may say experience is the best teacher; but please note that if an individual’s experience is faulty what he would derive as the lessons of life would invariably be faulty. Just as we have diverse beliefs, attitudes, lifestyle and manners, so do we have various kinds of relationships, especially with the opposite sex.
Some men believe that ladies (women) are devilish and others oppose such notion. Some women believe men are not reliable and should never be trusted and some women say, not so with all of them. All these are results of our cultural beliefs, experiences, exposures and individual’s philosophy.
For instance, there is this belief that is common in the African society and that is the superiority of the male over the female. This belief makes the woman somewhat inferior in the society and thereby limits her boundary of operation to only the home.
My point of discussion will be within the marriage; that is, a typical African marriage and how an African man shows love.
It is very normal to see a man beat up his wife. This most and generally perhaps is the direct influence of his father who once beat his wife. Since this boy was brought up by such a ‘bully’ of a father, it is no wonder if the son grows up to do likewise. After all, the saying is true: “like father like son”.
On the other hand, there are women too who consider an ideal marriage to be that which involves slapping, jabbing and nagging. Yes it happens, perhaps, due to experience she went through as a young girl during her formative years. When a teenage girl sees her father beat up her mother and after the whole quarrel, the woman goes back to apologize to the man with swollen face and broken bones. This girl may begin to view her parents’ marriage as an ideal one
I once read a true life story, although almost unbelievable of a young lady, dating a man after two years she decided to quit the affair with much pleading and persuasion from the man, the lady remained unmoved. All she wanted was to opt out. This guy agreed but insisted on knowing what went wrong or where he went wrong. ‘For two years that we spent together, you have never gotten angry with me’, she said. With a sincere voice she continued, ‘you have never for once yelled at me. I know you are pretending and not showing me your real nature. She said that her father used to do those things to her mother and still would so he loved her. To her that is what an ideal marriage should look like.
The truth of the matter is this: we are the product of our environment. But what I have found out is that our traditions and cultures have imbibed some hazardous norms into us much so that if we are not careful, they will be both detrimental to us and will stand as a stumbling block to building long lasting and wonderful relationships.
To start with, a lot of men believe they are superior to women. They believe they have better chances or have more privileges than them, and thereby tend to be domineering, dictating and rash. This is the attitude of a typical African man who believes a woman should not utter a word when he is talking. The African man believes strongly that a woman is just to remain in the kitchen and cook or do the household chores. This man believes a woman is to bear and rear children. He is not ready to throw off the idea that a woman should not earn more than the man. If any precious damsel falls into this man’s hand, he will run her down. Think of this, if a man is threatened by his spouse’s success, achievement and wealth, then that lady will be at the disadvantaged end. There is nothing wrong when your wife earns more than you, provided she is God-fearing. She will still accord you the respect due you with love and reverence, recognizing that her success is her husband’s.
Understanding Culture in African Marriage
Our culture has allowed many women to point accusing fingers at God through the insults and abuse their ‘husbands’ throw at them when they do not have male children. Some women have been divided and relegated by their husbands and family members because of this same issue of male child. Only the illiterate or the ignorant accuse his wife for having only female children. It will shock you to know how many wonderful marriages have been torn apart because there are no male children and many men have turned out to be adulterers all because they are looking for a male child. It is so amazing that these men fail to come to terms with the scientific fact that the man is the sole determiner of the sex of a child.
As a result of this same culture, many men have been made to see house chores for men as a taboo. They can’t help their wives in cooking, sweeping or even changing baby’s diapers. They hold tight to the beliefs of their fore-fathers, not their heavenly father. Their forefathers believe that those chores listed above are to be done only by the wife and they are not to be involved at all.
But the heavenly father didn’t create it that way. The heavenly father expects love to be the foundation of every marriage. And this is the perfect recipe for any marriage that will last. Why? Because whomever you love, you would want to do anything for and with.
It is the love you have for your spouse that will let you fetch her some water whilst she cooks or sweep the floor and wash the dishes whilst she gets the kids ready for school. Love will make you treat the woman like the queen she really is. Sir! Don’t be fooled by tradition! It pays to love.
A man who is in the business of beating up his wife or maltreating her as a sign of leadership, is not in his right mind. Don’t you know that it is only wrestlers that beat up their opponents to show superiority? Yes, there can be provocation; but you can do something like take a walk, say nothing or smile, own up, gist away all to allow peace and harmony to reign and then correct her wrong actions later. Have you forgotten God made you the head? And if anything goes wrong, it is your fault and you too will adversely be affected.
Some men can’t be great lovers because they are too rigid, full of self, arrogant, egocentric and control peaks. They often demand heavy-duty respect from their “intended”. The lady is so subjugated that she cannot even chat freely, play or talk with her spouse. All these show the marriage life of the African man.
African culture doesn’t give room for love to grow, it kills love instead. None of the above characteristics can help love to thrive and blossom in a marriage, the end have been shattered homes and often extra-marital affairs and divorce.
True love can be best expressed and experienced if, we love like God and not like the African man. Love must be expressed because it is a command. We must do things right and treat our wives like the way we would want others to treat us. Discard every wrong belief that your culture, environment or tradition have nurtured in you and make the decision to do things right. Do unto others what you want them to do to you. That is love. Live loving because God is love and He loves you.