The purpose of this essay is to correct the wrong impression many people have about Nigerian marriages. It used to be that folks blamed women for troubles Nigerian couples often experience as they negotiate the contractual agreement known as the marriage vow. I have written many essays that heap insult and rudeness on top of the heads of womenfolk. It is sad! We conjecture that three facts often emerge in every marital palaver: his side of the problem, her side, and what the real issue is. Does this make sense and how does this play out in real life?
This author went to a Nigerian party and overheard this Nigerian man (we shall name Henry) tell his male Nigerian friends that they hadn't been seeing him at social gatherings because of the problems his wife was creating at home. He said that the problems in his marriage exacerbated of increased after his wife had arrived and invited a few friends then a marriage coach/mediator to help resolve some marital problems that were leading to inevitable divorce . Henry had been married for a little over five years to a woman we shall name Norah. Henry brought Norah from Nigeria after the later had attended a Nigerian university from which she was awarded a medical degree.
This is Nora's first marriage. Nobody can tell how many times Henry has been marriage in America as he has been attempting to obtain the Green Card before Nora's arrival. Henry is so secretive. He is full of tricks for which many Nigerian men are noted for. One thing is sure. You cannot trust anything Henry says. Can you believe a word that trickles out from Henry's lying lips? Henry's lies flood time and space as honey seeps out of a bee's anus.
While his wife Nora was preparing to sit for and pass the American Medical Association's tests prescribed for overseas persons seeking to practice the profession, the husband was taking and failing the Truth Test which successful couples are required to pass in order to demonstrate marital readiness .
Nora has since taken and passed the first two parts of examinations needed to start residence at a hospital. She has applied for admission and been accepted into the one-year MPH (Master of Public Health) degree in order to enter healthcare management. Henry watches Nora's progress while being suffocated with maddening jealousy, exasperation, and frustration. How could the girl he brought here do all these stupendous tasks? It is astounding, astonishing, awesome, breathtaking, odiegwu (Igbo for it is wonderful).
Nora is ambitious and seems intent on making her marriage to Henry as blissful as possible. Unfortunately, Henry is a sorry-ass man. He is anathema to be exact. A sorry-ass man is shiftless, indolent/lazy, a rueful thinker. An anathema refers to ecclesiastical condemnation of something as being worthless, evil or accursed. A condemnation is ecclesiastical if it is deserved, warranted, desired, expected, looked for by someone, or considered necessary.
While Nora is trying to swim upstream to better opportunities, Henry is being a tadpole, wriggling a useless tail in muddy water. Nora is off to graduate school and a hospital each day. Henry says he has some kind of name or explain. You can tell a liar if you see him or her twenty miles far off in the darkest night when the moon goes to hibernate in its starry home. The moon's home is glittery, shinny, bright, brilliant, sparkling, as when the moon hobnobs or hangs out with its twinkling buddies.
Suffice it to say that Henry is a fastidious pretender, impostor, fraud, hypocrite, phony, or what the Igbos of Nigeria call onye okwu asi (a person of false words). Nora invited this writer who is professor, counselor, marriage coach with a 40-year experience in a marriage, to help resolve the Henry-Nora impasse. Each time I came to the house, Nora listened attentively. Henry had excuses to be absent. He had to presumably check on a job or see about a car problem. Lies!
Nothing is more destructive of human and marital relations than a man for whom falsehood is a trademark, bedfellow, or a travelling sex partner. To such a man, telling lies is second nature. Subjecting a wife daily to a husband's marital lies is akin to restricting a Nigerian man or woman to a daily diet of tuwo (Hausa guinea corn foo-foo) ; utara agbu (pounded cassava foo foo) of Igbos; or as amala dipped in oily soup of the Yorubas.
As is expected, Henry and his wife Nora became estranged when Henry's lying became excessive and communication was no longer passing though honest channels. Communication with a keen understanding was not coming forth any more from Henry. Misunderstanding and suspicion crept in not surreptitiously(secretly or furtively) as petty thieves in the middle of the night but impudently (daringly or boldly) as armed robbers in the middle of the day. Come and see trouble!
For one thing, Henry was hardly educated, and he was so notoriously unprepared to handle marriage. He suffered low self-esteem from insecurities caused by joblessness because he had no steady, visible means of supporting a wife and two children that came in rapid succession immediately even before the wedding . He finds his wife's medical training and upbeat attitude both daunting and disarming. Nora was positive, cheerful, optimistic, buoyant, happy, cheery, and bubbly. Henry was a pessimistic, negative, and fearful "motherfucker" (abbreviated mf) who was visibly intimidated by his own shadows.
You are intimidated before a vibrant pussy when your dick is as lifeless as that of a castrated Ethiopian eunuch kept in the house to watch over a harem. You are disarmed when you are deactivated like a time bomb without a fuse; when you are neutralized, or won over by a powerful opponent.
Henry was a two-timer, meaning he was always conniving and devising ways to take advantage of anyone, any time, even if it meant playing "wayo" (tricks) on his own wife. That's what this man Henry was. While this writer was growing up in Nigeria many moons way back, we Igbos had a popular nickname for persons behaving like Henry. We called them " ezigbo anu ohia "(a true wild animal).For one thing, Henry was a fastidious crook given to incessant okwu asi (story telling or fabrication of untruths). Henry spins lies like as a garden spider fabricates or manufactures intricate shinny webs to trap unwary flies.
It didn't take long for Mrs. Henry (Nora), upon arrival in America from Nigerian's Murtala Mohammed Airport to discover that her husband was indeed a builder of castles on thin air and designer of giant mansions in the sky. This man named Henry married a wife outside his league. You are out of league when you try forcing a square peg into a round hole; and more so when you limbering through a locked door, or injecting yourself into a conversation that does not concern you. Everyone shouts MYOB for Mind Your Own Business.
A classical case of being out of your league would soon happening in America is when a Mexican crosses the iron border President Donald Trump will build separating Mexico from America, or when a Nigerian swims under the 200,000 miles of concrete barricade President trump constructs across the Atlantic Ocean. The barricade, an engineering feat, is adorned with flags that say in bold letters YAKON for "You Africans, Keep Off Now."
You are out of your league when you do not belong, when you are picking high cotton, or when you tell folks you are a rocket scientist and your close friends tell folk you've lied to what a jerk you indeed are or that you are but a waiter at McDonalds restaurant in Washington DC. while you continue lying to folks back home friends around that you were an engineering major at Howard University.
Picture this scenario common in Nigerian communities everywhere. An invitation card is sent out from the White House, inviting people to dine with newly elected President Donald Trump. The invitation letter arrives in a mail mailbox in Atlanta, USA. A man accepted the invitation and was planning on attending and arriving at the White House on time for the diner. He arrives, wearing a big white coat. The name tag on the coat's lapel announces "Dr. Henry Anuohia, Chief of Harvard Department of Oncology" .
A waiter at one of the tables taps the guest wearing the big white coat with the name Dr. Henry Anuaohia, Chief of Harvard department of Oncology, on the shoulder and whispers in the guest's ears: "What are doing here, Henry? Are you fired from working at McDonalds kitchen? What the hell are you doing here with that bogus name tag , Henry?".
One of the reasons many marriages of Nigerians fail is that the men tell lies at the initial dating/wooing stage and continue to lie throughout the rocky marriage. Nora flew into New York City from Murtala Mohamed international Airport amid unpredictable uncertainties concerning the man she would call husband. . She would be facing a man with as the many lives and lies as Henry.
Nothing is more disheartening to a wife than to be taken for granted and made a fool of, or to be looked boldly in the face and told point-blank that the sky is green when it is actually pitch darkness; or to be told the man before her eyes is Professor of Economics when he is actually operator of tire-changing machine on Bankhead Highway. Let's examine a few of the lies of Henry a.k.a (also known as Mr. Henry Anuohia). Marital lies are egregious. A thing is egregious if it is conspicuously evident, obviously appalling, noticeably horrendous, atrocious, despicable, or abominable.
Henry had his wife believe he owns a big house in whites-only neighborhood in Dekalb County. Truth was Henry was renting a two room apartment for $550 a month in a run-down South Fulton tenement. Henry told his wife Nora he had completed the equivalent of the Masters degree in Nursing and was practicing at Grady Hospital. The truth is that Henry had not completed an undergraduate college degree worthy of anyhing since arriving in America 12 years ago; not even a two-month training in janitorial/housecleaning training at the Atlanta Airport. How do you trust Henry Anuohia, the liar, the fabricator of okwu asi (false words), the man who sips Heinekens on high table next to a dancing harlot ?
In addition to lying, Henry has some other shaky, sneaky, and shabby, shifty, shitty, or downright nasty habits unbecoming of a married man. He tells his wife, " I am going to the corner store to buy a pack of cigarettes." Nora waits for hours, expecting Henry to appear with some cigarettes. She tosses around afraid all night in rickety, noisy bed. Where was Henry? Henry was drinking Heinekens in dimly lit bar, peeking under the legs of a nude dancer in high heels, who entertains drunk guests on a high table.
There are several lies that can and do ruin a marriage and lead to divorce. The first lie is to harbor the feeling that marriage is for convenience: that it is sweet while it lasts and an experience when it is all over. The truth is that marriage is a contract, agreement, or a promise for a promise. It is an unbreakable bond that kechie madu (binds humans) "till death do us break." The bond that ties marriage together is stronger than the taste of Heinekens; it is stronger than mere love. It requires the steel chord of commitment born of truth.
Commitment is the obligation, assurance, binder, or pledge that cements two individuals into one person. Lies disunite, unbind, unchain, and unshackle. Truths unite, bind, chain together, and chain up or put in iron.
The second lie that unbuttons or unfastens couples' marital relationship is the feeling that one is contracting a marriage to the wrong person or for the wrong thing. Henry was married to pleasure, not to Nora. This is evident when old habits persisted, such that he found drinking Heinekens in bars while peeping under a prostitute's dress more titillating than spending quality time in bed with Nora.
A thing titillates if it is exciting, pleasurable, arousing, or stimulating. First, dealing in marital lies is like being a man who is watching a soccer game on television, and who is ignoring or is distracted from eating his favorite pounded yam foofoo and bitter leaf soup cooked with maggi or dawadawa. Dawadawa is out-of-this-world seasoning that can be addictive to a man or woman. Second, lying to a partner is like being married to an object rather than to a spouse To say that the football game or a prostitute is more exciting than a spouse is ipso factor (by the very fact) believing in a blatant falsehood.
Third, lying militates or fights against successful marriage if we tell that lie to ourselves. Self-deception is telling lies to oneself. It is a dangerous undertaking. Yes, it is dangerous indeed. Watch Henry telling those who care to listen that he was bored because "love is gone out of this marriage, the excitement is gone, gone forever." There is a far greater lie when Henry tells his friends that his marriage fails because failure is the fault of "that man or woman" who patiently listens to the squabbles he has with his wife, and who doesn't take Henry's side. We say to Henry: "Come on, man! Own up to your responsibility. You're efficacious. Be a man!"