2nd December, 2023
By Funke Egbemode
It is not every marriage that is founded on love, and not every married person who married for love. Don’t tell me you don’t know a few people who took their vows based on what they could see, rather than what they felt. They stood, all dressed up in front of their Pastor, Bishop or Reverend Father and repeated the right lines rightly after the clergy, in front of men, not because they were ecstatically deliriously in love but because they had chosen who they chose at that particular point in time for a set of particular reasons. It was a choice devoid of red roses, blue violets or purple prose. It had nothing to do with butterflies in the girl’s tummy or uncontrollable waves of desire running down her spine. Our pretty lady had just decided that the guy was the man she wanted to live the rest of her life with. Usually, in cases like this, only the head is consulted, the heart is left outside to flutter, prance and dance wishful wistful dance.
A man sees a girl and within minutes, days sometimes, decides that this is the woman he wants to marry, goes right ahead to propose and marry her, even when his heart is protesting and her romantic friends are asking plenty of questions. Oh, don’t even bother thinking that this is about such mushy stuff as ‘love at first sight’ or ‘the Lord said’ or ‘my prophet or imam told me she is the one’. No. this is about none of the above. This is about people who choose marriage partners the same way they choose their cars. You know how you decide that a particular car is what you are settling for? You know it is a project, one that you have painfully, sacrificially saved towards. You probably had to approach your bank for a facility to augment your savings. So you are not swayed by the fancy interior or special wheels or rims. You really do not care whether it is snow-white or ox-blood red. You are more concerned about the real stuff. So you ask the real questions:
“Are the spare parts readily available?”
“Does it have mechanics that can fix it anywhere and everywhere?”
“Does it have second-hand value and above all, is it fuel-efficient?”
Only Yahoo boys buy cars whose names they can’t pronounce correctly. Only get-rich-quick-or-die-trying boys buy cars they can neither afford to fuel nor fix. Smart guys and girls buy vehicles they understand, can understand and the rides that will do the job, not fancy props that end up driving their owners up the wall. My point here is that a clear-headed approach to buying an everyday car is how some women choose their husbands, rose-tinted glasses be damned. Maybe because marriage is an everyday business, I think.
I had this male colleague who loves women with big natural boobs. Each time he see a woman with major ‘Manchester’ front–loads, his eyes threaten to pop out of their sockets. Indeed, he becomes incoherent. Yeah, it is that bad. Meanwhile, his wife of 16 years barely escaped being totally flat-chested! Thank God for push-up and padded-bras. Kola’s wife is beautiful but boob-less. So why did Kola marry a woman without boobs when he loves them stacked? Kola’s explanation was an eye opener.
“I did not marry my wife for the size of her breasts. In fact, when I made up my mind it was time to find a wife, I had my head screwed in place. I had had my fill of wild oat-sowing, the pretty shapely girls. I went looking for a wife, a wife, not just anybody. I was looking for a friend, a partner, an encourager. I became an orphan in my 20s and wanted a woman who will be my support system. Those qualities were top of my shopping list and my wife is all of that and more. As for the love, it came later, long after the wedding. Today, I have no regrets. She worships me and I will go to war for her. She is my spiritual backbone, devoted mother and without her, my business will not be where it is today. She’s not just the mother of my children, she is my mother too. As for the big breasted girls outside, when I finish playing with their breasts I go back home to my solid, dependable wife who is the real deal.”
You see, for Kola, it wasn’t about the things he can see, hold and grab like pointed orange-round breasts and solid backsides, it was about those other things that are not visible to the naked eyes but are designed for the long haul.
Amira was 30 and an office cleaner when she decided that the 51-year-old widower in her office would be a perfect husband. And no she wasn’t in love. She came from an insecurity-ravaged village in the North to seek greener pastures in Abuja. She had worked as a maid, sales girl, before landing the job that ‘gave’ her a husband. In this widower, Amira saw a man she could look up to. She saw a lonely man who she would pamper. She saw a kind generous man with well-brought-up children. The widower saw a respectful, hardworking decent girl. Love would come later. It did but they got married first.
Don’t get it twisted, I love love but love is not enough to sustain any marriage. Ask any couple who has been married for 20 years or more. Even those who have been married for three years have serious tales to tell. When you get into the deep end of the marriage pool, what offers you a life jacket is not love. In fact, love can’t swim. Love is feeble bodied, delicate. Love itself needs support and protection. That is why those who go into marriage with only love as a covering soon find themselves naked. You need the full armour, a complete armoury to do the whole nine yards.
That a woman chose or is chosen not just for the roses are red and her shapely shape does not mean real deep love won’t develop as the marriage grows, after all the marriages that take off on ‘plenty love’ have been known to lose the love when the vicissitudes of life show up.
Love is beautiful and the heart wants what and who it wants, not necessarily who and what is safe. We also all know that love clouds judgment and that is probably why there is a biblical saying that love covers multitude of sins. It’s an emotion that makes everything look and feel beautiful even when we are told marriage is not a bed of roses. Perhaps this is why the conventional Pentecostal churches are cautiously realistic in approving who marries who and when but let’s not dwell on church and courtship today because I can write a whole book on it.
My conclusion: marriage is like a rich pot of egusi soup. It has many ingredients, all very important. That it is called egusi soup does not mean that if all you throw in the pot is just egusi, you will enjoy it. Egusi alone does not make egusi soup delicious. When you go shopping, try to buy a little of every ingredient you need because no matter how plenty the egusi is in that pot, it will not be tasty without the other ingredients. Love is good but it is not enough in marriage.