From Chime and Clara: What I learned about the Nigerian attitude to marriage

Valentine Uche Chukwuma:

There are reports that the governor of Enugu State Sullivan Chime and his wife Clara are on the path of separation. I wish them well in whatever decision they make.

What caught my attention more than anything else was the mindset of a lot of Nigerians as was revealed during the debate among Nigerians on this issue.

Let me preface this post by revealing that I am not married, and I have never been married. While this revelation might instinctively direct the married ones among you to dismiss my perspective as that of an inexperienced observer laced with utopian ideologies, I crave your indulgence in asking that you grant me the privilege to make my submissions from an ideological and “would like to do” perspective as opposed to the more acceptable perspective of “experience.”

I love the women in my life. I have one sister who is very dear to me, and I have several female cousins who I love and cherish so much. I have several female friends who have developed very strong and special relationships with me. Suffice it to say that I care about my women and their interests.

This brings me to the subject of my post, which is the attitude of the average Nigerian man towards our women and the mistakes a lot of our women are making.

Let me start off by admitting that a lot of our women are just not worth the headache. They can be difficult to deal with, and in a lot of cases are the architects of their own problems. The idea of independence while commendable in women that espouse it and admirable by men that value a good woman, and something that should be encouraged in many growing women, is something that can be taken too far by some women and it scares the sensible men away from them, and can spell trouble for those who get married and have unappealing attitudes in the name of independence.

Having said that, some of our men are disasters. A large number of our men cheat on their women. It is standard practice among a huge number of our men. This is brutally candid, but it is the reality of our society. A lot of our men see fidelity as a privilege rather than a right their wives are entitled to. The sad thing is that we expect these women to exhibit the highest standards of fidelity. Many men would argue that some women deserve to be cheated on. The truth is that I agree to an extent that some women are impossible to deal with no matter how much you try. But that is the price of marriage. If it’s too much for you to handle, then walk away rather than start mistreating her. A lot of our women suffer in marriages because the men just unequivocally abuse them sometimes for reasons that don’t warrant the reaction.

As much as some of us would want to blame our women for their plight, it is we men that should take most of the blame. We are mostly irresponsible in the way we treat our women. In Nigeria, most of the time, the women are the victims and we need to change that. The way some of us treat women is not very fair.

When it comes to marriage, a lot of our women are treated like commodities that you buy at the store and if you don’t like it, you just return it or throw it away. We don’t treat them like roses that we have to nurture to keep alive and happy in order for them to remain beautiful, even when the thorns sting us occasionally. They are difficult but we should bear the burden of keeping the peace. That is why we are the men. They can be emotional and sentimental, but we have to be very tolerant and extremely forgiving. It’s what we have to do.

Some men see our women as their property, and the women just have to do whatever the men say. The unfortunate aspect of this is that society allows it. That is why a man can return a woman to her family if he no longer wants her, but a woman cannot return a man to his family if she no longer wants him. Why can we leave if we no longer want in, but they have to stay?

The most irritating part for me is this idea that women need men and that if you are married, you should stay in the marriage regardless of how he treats you. That is an area our women need education on. No woman should be beat up, maltreated, denied care and love and above all subjected to the humiliation of having her private marital problems become the subject of public conversations that end up bringing ridicule to her. Rather than go through that, damn the consequences of the Church and society and walk away. God will understand. It is easy for me to say this to women in the educated class with professional careers. But what about the housewife who is not a professional? I cut a lot of the women in these situations a lot of slack. Those of them who are of poor backgrounds or are not properly educated, end up being tormented in the name of marriage by some very useless men. Some of the educated ones who end up in bad marriages stay through it because of the stigma associated with losing a marriage.

Our society needs to evolve. The world has changed. Men need to start seeing women as partners with whom they are on a journey of life, rather than as subjects who are obligated to abide by their dictates.

It is no longer a world where your wife is only good for cooking your food, washing your clothes, taking care of your children, having sex with you, and saying “yes sir” to everything you demand. It is now a world where your wife in addition to her traditional chores, has an opinion on everything that involves your family. It is now a world where she can ask you questions that her mother dared not ask her father. It is now a world where you both make plans for your future together and the future of your children with both of you being equal partners in those decisions. They are no longer sidekicks, they are partners. At least that is the kind of marriage I want for my sister, cousins and future daughters.

My advice to women is very simple. Don’t try to prove your independence or toughness. You will destroy your marriage. Trust your man and respect him. Try to do the things that make him happy and try to subject yourself to his authority. It will not kill you, and you will be surprised how much power you will end up having when he is happy and feels like he is in control of his household. For men, it is about ego. If you massage his ego, you will get everything you want. If you try to show him that you have arrived and you are your own person, your marriage will end before you know it. God has made you women the most powerful creatures on earth. You don’t need to be looking for more power, or proving your power. It is inherent. Let the man keep deluding himself that he is in charge, while you run things. Being in charge as a woman is a lot simpler than you think.

Chauvinism and feminism are great for society, but they are not great for a happy marriage- VUC.

Woooow what a great piece from VUC!! My people what’s your take on this topic? Share your views here with us!


3 thoughts on “From Chime and Clara: What I learned about the Nigerian attitude to marriage

  1. Its a pity to read about this on the internet. Marriage is full of ups and downs but they shouldn’t have washed their dirty linens in public for any reason sake! May God intervene

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