Thursday, August 6, 2015

Why I Won't Marry a Typical Nigerian

Choices: A dog or a child for security?
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
All too often, the guardians of tradition prescribe marriage as the next logical course of action to anyone who has a degree and/or a job. For them, marriage is that one giant leap everyone must take for mankind, as it is the ever so crucial cornerstone for baby making. Nothing more.

When it comes to marriage, Nigerians, for the most part, are monomaniacs. They rarely believe in being married for the sake of it, but think that marriage should be a means to an end—the end being children. Love, companionship, compatibility, reasons commonly attributed to marriage, have no meaning and don’t take root until a child is born. This is why bearing children, especially sons, is a major and important determinant of marital health and longevity—an all too familiar reality for the barren.

The common perception here is that marriage can’t be consummated without children.

A typical Nigerian man operates under the assumption that children are the marriage’s ultimate achievement. For this wild obsession, he is willing to cast the cloak of his religion aside and commit adultery. Case in point, if his wife is barren, more often than not, he and his family would seek another woman to bear his kids. Sometimes, this decision is made with her consent, other times it isn’t. But consent or not, no sane woman willingly allows her husband sleep with another woman. The only reason she brooks this aberration is to save her marriage.

But at what cost?

To be sure, if tables were turned, an impotent man would never, I repeat, never ask his wife to sleep with another man, and then adopt his kids. Rather than accept this travesty, he’d suggest adoption or demand a divorce—which usually comes with trumped up lies and allegations against his wife. The issue of his impotence never arises.

But should children really be the raison d’étre of a marriage? According to the religious, yes. Yes, because children are necessary to fulfill God’s desire for man to multiply and populate the earth, which is why churches and their congregation scream at God to bless barren women with the fruit of the womb.

While I understand their pleas, I find such entreaties superfluous and ironic since there is a huge population of orphans in need of a loving home and family. What’s more, as Nigeria’s population burgeons and exceeds available resources, shouldn’t adoption be the moral, pragmatic, humane and sensible choice to safeguarding our planet for future generations?

Perhaps God or Mother Nature, seeing the world for what it is, should impose a moratorium on childbirth.

Incidentally, there is an intrinsically dubious desire behind every reason for wanting kids. The motive ranges from the narcissistic need to indulge, admire and extol a mini version of ourselves to the security of having someone take care of us when we become infirm with age. No human, in other words, is altruistic enough to bear children for the sole pleasure of smothering them with love—that’s what dogs are for—and not expect something in return.

Accepting marriage as a sacred institution is difficult when its true legitimacy and purpose hinges on child-bearing. Every party to a marital contract deserves to know what they’re signing up for, so none is blindsided or disappointed in the inevitability of failing to meet their end of the bargain. For to pretend to love and cherish through life’s vicissitudes, when what is truly sought is to multiply and populate the earth, is to deceive and defraud another.