By Vera Chidi-Maha
IDEALLY marriages are for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all other women or men. When I attend weddings and the reverend father or pastor as the case maybe gets to this part, tears have a way of streaming down my face for reasons I don’t even know. I don’t know if they are tears of joy, or pity because I know that if not for God’s grace, many break this vow even sooner than they know it.
But even at that, I still love weddings. Weddings bring people from diverse backgrounds and they suddenly become one big family. It is a unique thing, and I do encourage guys to “put a ring on it” (song by Beyonce Knowles), if you do find the one after your heart.
For the purpose of today’s piece, I will want to dwell on what happens after a wedding.
Of course, we know that there will be bills and more bills to be picked during and long after the wedding bells had stopped ringing.
The cat I am letting out of the bag today is about my colleague’s dear uncle.
Kate’s uncle, Remi (not real name), is a serving customs officer. He got married to his girlfriend of many years, Aunty Shade, who incidentally is also a serving customs official, although hers was at a more senior level than her husband’s. As a result of her status, she was given a tastefully furnished four-bedroom bungalow at Bode Thomas in the heart of Surulere, Lagos.
Uncle Remi, according to Kate, was in no way intimidated by his wife’s financial superiority. In fact, all he did was to try and complement her effort. They were quite happy living in the husband’s apartment of many years still in the outskirts of Surulere until the Nigerian Customs allocated a house to Aunty Shade.
Of course, the elevation at her place of work brought them happiness. It then came to the time when the key of her new home was officially handed over to her.
She thereafter took the keys straight to her husband and she said: “Honey, we are moving to our new home”. It was at that point that Uncle Remi became worried. Call it male chauvinism. Call it ego, if you like or even pride, but Uncle Remi was and always has been a typical African man and he never considered it a good thing to move into his wife’s apartment.
To him, the thought was simply ridiculous, in fact almost laughable, and he told his wife so without mincing words. Aunty Shade’s reaction was even worse after hearing her beloved husband. She took a very deep breath and burst into tears. But for the privacy of Uncle Remi’s office, she would cause a big scare that would have led to an office gossip for weeks.
When they got home, Uncle Remi tried to let her see things from his own perspective. He let her know that he was the man in this union and that it would make him feel dependent, if he was to vacate his home.
Aunty Shade would have none of it. She reasoned that the official accommodation was free and that the rent paid for their home could be used for other things. She saw no need for them as a couple to continue to pay rent when the government had made life better for them.
Trust women, when her husband continued to resist, she ran to family members to convince her husband to move in with her. After much pressure from family members, Uncle Remi finally swallowed his pride and moved into his wife’s new home.
A few years after moving in, things were very rosy. The wife was very sweet and became even more loving than she was when they first got married. Her true colour was shown when suddenly she started deciding when he came back from work, who visited and who should call before visiting.
The list of her atrocities was endless and when Uncle Remi could no longer tolerate her excesses, they resorted to verbal fights and then it degenerated to physical fights and then the worst happened.
Yes, she kicked him out of the house. She kicked her dear husband of eight years out of her official quarters by 2am.
Although I am a woman and we do mess up sometimes, but I can’t even begin to think of kicking my maid out of the house by 8pm. It is not only wrong, but I feel it is criminal. I am not generalising. We do have good women out there who will do more than accommodate their husbands and yet no one will even know about it.
I know of women who buy cars for their men. They appear happy and love each other genuinely, regardless of who is picking whose bills.
I have read of men who tell anybody that cares to listen that their wives help them. It might not necessarily be financially. The support from the wives could even be moral like Obama’s wife, Michelle, did during her husband’s political campaign. She was always seen by his side, always smiling, her hand always in his. Whether we like it or not, her support and love contributed immensely to his being in the White House today.
So, what part are you playing in your man’s life?
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