Last year, I was home and having my regular conversation with my old lady about marriage and all. You know, it’s that time in a Ghanaian young man’s life when the pressure is immense to get married. Yes, pressure to marry and get your mom a grandson or granddaughter is great on men as well. So quite a huge part of my discussion with my old lady is dedicated to talk about marriage or prayer for a “good” wife. I have always had great and open conversation with my old lady and first love on almost every thing. And as it happens, we came to the topic of marriage and finding the right one. She did the regular talk about finding the humble and modest girl and all. And I of course wielded my logic-focused argumentative stance on anything she threw at me about finding a humble girl et al. So our conversation ended in a stalemate as it often does with no one admitting defeat 😂.
One point that came up again and again, especially in my subsequent conversation with uncles, and brothers, was this fear of divorce as a major criteria for selecting a woman. There is a sister on Facebook here who is very popular and who has had a public divorce and who is not afraid to talk about her experience. I very much admire her courage detailing her experiences in her marriage and encouraging young women to be brave and leave abusive marriages. I don’t name names because I rather like her a lot but I also am a friend to her husband’s family. I’m not even friends with her on Facebook even though I read a lot of her posts and from time to time share some of them. Call me delicate if you like. Anyway, all I am saying is that I think she’s very brave and very strong and a great example to young women.
Now, my uncles (in the broadest sense you can imagine, not just blood uncles) to whom it has fallen on to “advise” me on marriage, and selecting the right girl started off (by way of discouraging me marrying what they called “Zongo girls” or girls from “well to do” families) by naming this young lady I just talked about above as an example of the woman I should avoid 😂. I nearly chuckled when they referenced her I swear. But I smiled quietly to myself and they droned on about how such women are not humble and didn’t get the right upbringing and can’t weather the storms and challenges of marriage blablabla. All the reasons they were giving for what makes for a good wife all sounded stale and not applicable to me. So I went into zen mode nodding along as they did their thing. And thanked them copiously for their advice after they finished.
Now, let me tell you what I think. I think challenges in marriage do not include women enduring abuse, physical or psychological. Now, the details the lady I referenced above daily tells us regarding how her husband treated her and why she finally sought divorce, are not things I’ll ever do to my wife. Things like you should stop working, having friends, comparison to other girls unfavorably, etc, are not my way of being a husband. So using her as an example to me just doesn’t work. She wants to be treated with kindness and respect and I don’t see those as breaking points for me at all. If a husband can’t be kind or respectful to his own wife, the prudent thing for her to do is to seek divorce. Simple and short.
Second, I love my old lady. She is divorced. And she’s divorced because she wanted to protect us. Without her courage and that of her colleagues, I would not be sitting here struggling to get a PhD. Her immense courage, given the time and community she lived in, which led to her divorce paved the way for me to be here. So how can divorce be wielded as a weapon against a woman in my eyes? It’s obviously not going to be successful. It is dead on arrival. These uncles seem to forget about my mom being divorced. I haven’t. Divorce can in many cases be the best gift you can give yourself and your child. That’s a gift my mom gave me and I’ll never forget that.
Third, I do not fear divorce. If I ever marry, and it got to a point where I treated my wife so badly that she wanted a divorce, I’ll know that I’ve failed. A caveat though: it’s not just women who demand divorce. Men do it too based on a myriad of reasons just like women. If my wife whom I treat well still ends up wanting a divorce, it’s her right whatever her reasons are. Perhaps she found someone she loved more and that is OK too. But using silly excuses (like lack of humility or ability to sacrifice) in a girl as potential reasons for a likely divorce doesn’t convince me because it is utterly unconvincing.
I am a poor man so lack of money in the household is unlikely to be a reason for my wife divorcing me. I never lie to girls I’m dating so any girl ending up with me will already be there for the long haul, money or not. I don’t believe in fakeness during courtship. So chances of my wife leaving me because I am poor is likely to be negligible. She’ll know I’m poor before marrying me. I don’t get the humility argument especially the examples people like my uncles use when explaining humility. I want my wife to have gumption. I want her to have spirit. I want her to be someone I can rub minds with, not a mute follow along. If I ever marry such a woman, she’ll also have to be ready for my type: someone who’s not going to just do things because of some silly nonsense but through logic and reason. Humility doesn’t come into this at all. We both should be able to take and receive constructive criticism and advice from one another as a couple. If one of us can’t do that, it’s not humility they’re lacking, it is sense and reason and I don’t think I’ll marry an unreasonable wife.
I want to end by way of reiteration: using divorce potential of a girl doesn’t scare me at all, especially when flimsy excuses are given to back up this kind of advice. In my case, advise me not to marry an unreasonable person and I’ll take you seriously because I know friends who married girls/boys who were damnably unreasonable and illogical and demanded their foolishness rule their homes. That I can’t abide. If and when that happens, I’ll be the one seeking divorce, not her.