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A rant about Marriage in Northern Nigeria

by Ms Fatie SSeptember 9, 2014

I need to have a really reallllllllyyyyyyy long rant about something.

Marriage! In the North.

Yeah, I need to flog a dead horse.

For the longest time now I have watched the marriages of friends, cousins, sisters, brothers, basically a lot of people, crash after a surprisingly short time. By short I mean 3 months, 6 months, a year. This trend got me thinking, wondering what could possibly be the reason. And why it’s mostly concentrated in the North.

A lot of people, and by people I mean my Hausa people, just get married for the heck of it. Like me saying ‘hmmm I’m hungry. I should have lunch at Tulip’ (by the way, I liken everything to food and I think food is the solution to everything. But I digress). Imagine the scenario: You are a 20 something year old son and you notice that quite a number of your friends and your parent’s friends’ kids are getting married. This rather alarms you. So you pick a girl, or your mother picks a girl for you- either way it really doesn’t matter.  You do not stop to think about what is important like what am I looking for in a marriage or am I really ready to get married? No, you are more concerned about how hot your bride to be is, where she went to school etc. God forbid you think about more important stuff like how she was raised, her morals and her views about marriage and parenting.

Whatever sha, both sets of parents are ecstatic as this will cement their personal/business relationship. They get to organising a one-in-a-zillion wedding and invite the cream-of-the-crop (and also their friends with unmarried kids so they can gloat).  They go shopping in Dubai, London and New York for the Lefe* on the grooms side and furniture on the bride’s side. Everything has to be the latest of course; they can’t have the town gossiping about them, heaven forbid!  The groom’s father gives the beautiful couple a house and ‘his and hers’ cars. On the day of the wedding Fatiha**, the groom’s family even pays the bride price/dowry. It could be in gold coins, cash or even a car. We are not too particular.  After the very grand wedding with entertainment by Wikzid, decor by The Wedding Guru, make-up by Mamza Beauty and food by Chopsticks, and the reception held at Thisday Dome the couple drive off in the groom’s fathers’ Bentley to live happily ever after.

You would think.

Wrong!!!

Barely a few weeks or months, depending on how good they are at pretending, into wedded bliss, they discover that one or the other has a drug/alcohol problem (like they didn’t know to begin with) or that the guy has 5 girlfriends outside or he can’t afford the LV bags his amazing bride is accustomed to carrying……. choose your pick of myriad problems. The parents are involved and there’s name-calling and mud-slinging from both sides. The bride’s family comes with a U-Haul to pack all the furniture they bought and take their girl home.

The Sad End.

Now I’m not saying that is how all the marriages are, but I’m speaking about the many I’ve seen happen with a few variations. What I’m concerned about is: What is responsible for this sorry state of affairs?  I wish I had the answers. What I do know is most of us just get married with no form of counselling or classes. The whole process is infact effortless. The man in most cases did not have to work hard for anything, not the girl or the ‘Lefe’ or even where they are going to live. It is handed to him on a platter. The girl is no better. She didn’t have a stellar example to begin with. She grew up with servants and helps at her beck and call and hasn’t the faintest idea how to run a home.

We need to wake up to the realization that marriage is way beyond Instagram likes!

But what do I know? I’m just a single, fat, bitter woman living vicariously through others.

 

*For non Hausa speakers, Lefe is our version of ‘Trousseau’. Its suitcases of stuff gifted to the bride made up of laces, ankaras, shoes, bags, nightwear, underwear etc. The more suitcases the better, it all depends on your pocket and who you want to impress. The family of the groom takes the things to the bride’s house before the wedding in an elaborate ceremony.

The bride’s family will in turn furnish the house where they are going to live. By furnish I mean buy the bed, sofa, curtains, beddings, electronics etc. Whatever goes into making the house a home, they buy. They also send foodstuffs along with their daughter. (So you might want to think about marrying a northerner. We come fully stocked)

** The Fatiha is the official marriage ceremony.

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Ms Fatie S
Bibliophile, foodie & a closet romantic whose dowry just might be crates of tea, cartons of caprisonne & packs of chocomilo.
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