As the Nigerian economy stands on a cliff hanger with hunger boldly written on the faces of over 70 per cent of the population, not a few pundits have retreated to the drawing board, to assess its colossal effects on marriage, world’s oldest institution. Others, however, say prostitution is the oldest trade, but apparently not an institution.
The average Nigerian’s per capital income, under the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, these days, appears grossly insufficient to feed a mongrel dog for three days, much less an Alsatian, thus spiking pressure, anger, hunger, dissonance, hate and above all, violent tendencies, between husband and wife. Nonetheless, an excursion into the dynamics of marital living, as it applies to the Nigerian society, is necessary, at least for escapism of sorts.
As life is not a bed of roses, so is marriage. Not a few marriages have hit the rocks while others endure jerkily with the partners papering over the cracks, so as to keep afloat in the social setting; or, to sustain certain economic or political values. Yet, some marriages have blossomed in the naturalness of some animating impact. This is talking of the mutually good volition of the two partners contracting the lifetime deal.
We thus summarise this endearing dimension to mean love. But shall we not love or scamper for the fruit of love to sustain the health of the society? Family researchers and marriage counsellors alike are agreed that broken marriages account mostly for the debasement of otherwise promising children to the inglorious column of urchins, of gradating felons and ever irascible, modern Goths. It is their belief that a child under the combined tutelage of the father and mother grows up to become a responsible citizen, one who is the pride of both parents.
But granted that marriage should remain to sustain useful protégés needed to build a comely Nigerian society, have we also given much thought to factors required to keep the home in its rightful grandeur? A home ravaged by hunger wherein the parents are out of job resulting from economic recession is not likely to produce a child of the society’s desire.
Wrenched by hunger, the male child, even as a teenager, mingles with peers who assure he can be linked up with those who can bail him out of the painfully familiar raid of hunger. To that extent, he would either resort to stealing or to outright robbery or fraud of the genre called 419.
As for the female child, beginning from adolescence, she is easily made to realise by her equally hungry mates that she has an abiding industry in her soft underbelly, which has a precursor in the seductive flaunting of the upper torso, flapping her budding breasts rather voluptuously, to attract men. Assuredly, lack of money or outright poverty is a gale of ill-wind that can upturn a marriage or dirtily shake it to its foundations.
A certain friend met at a pub somewhere in Ajuwon, an Ogun State community on the Lagos border, had recalled how his wife and mother of his four children, at a time he was sacked, gave vent to extra-marital affairs, dating a policeman operating at a highly rewarding check-point.
His tragedy was signposted in that, his wife called him and said, “Look Mr. Man, you can’t feed yourself, me and our four children; a mission which this God-sent policeman has been fulfilling.So, allow olopa (the policeman) to enjoy his life.”But I can assure you that I won’t have a child for him.”
While the jobless, Ajuwon-based fellow was expected by his associates to call it quits with his faithfully unfaithful wife, our friend endured the humiliation. He patently swallowed his pride, claiming that “it is for the sake of my children; after all, they (policeman and wife) have not been performing the acts in my presence.”
Today, that jobless man has got a job and has stoically resolved to allow his wife retain her matrimonial seat. Curiously, however, the lover-boy policeman is somewhere in a native medical home, struck by a strange illness for which his family has spent fortunes. While chastity in marriage, therefore, is a virtue needed to promote love, sustain a family and groom up offspring to become responsible citizens, responsible government policies are also required, to make marriages work and sustainable.
•Fasua is a Lagos-based journalist