Women and Marriage

by Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

A female friend called me last week to say she was having cold feet in regards to her impending marriage. By all account, and from what I know of her and her fiancé, theirs is a relationship “made in heaven.” They met in college when they were both in their first-year of law school; but prior to that he was a high school teacher in Sugar Land, near Houston, while she was a professor of economics at a nearby community college. After several years of drifting, he decided to return to school to specialize in oil and gas law. She found her calling in life and became a corporate lawyer with a Fortune 500 company.

Thy have similar backgrounds: he is part Hausa and part Igbo; she is part Yoruba and part Igbo. He was educated at the University of Ibadan and at the University of London. She graduated from the University of Benin and then went on to the University of Chicago. Both arrived in the United States seven weeks apart, became US citizens and went into the U.S Peace Corps. Furthermore, both came from polygamous homes and have fathers who were actively involved in party politics. She was a Christian who later became an agnostic. He was a Muslim who became an atheist. Their irreligiousity was the topic of attraction when they met by chance some summers ago at the beach in Galveston Island.

After all these years, he gave her cause for concern. Her complain was that he seem to have developed wandering eyes. She suspects he might have cheated, or is cheating. And lately, he has “gone African”: expecting her to cook and clean and wait on him. He also expected her to attend to guests — especially his male friends — to fetch the food and drinks and clean up afterwards. It is her duty, he says; and that he would be much happier only if she could or would take cues from “real African women” back home.

To her chagrin and consternation, he called her parents to complain about the negative influence of Oprah and American culture on their daughter. And they — especially the father — have been calling and writing and accusing her of waywardness. He believes she didn’t turn out right because her mother failed to raise her to be a “proper and dignified African woman.” What’s her mother to do? She is grown and independent and need not take orders from both parents. Or is she? In moments like these — when there is a clash between tradition and modernity — what’s one to do?

My friend is mightily scared because she is afraid she would lose her voice and her identity and her essence if she were to go along; and at the same time, she is afraid she will lose him and lose everything she has worked for these past years. What would her friends and family say? Especially her mother? She is 35 years old and has invested time and emotion in the relationship. What is she to do? Be an obedient wife? And to think that after all these years abroad he hasn’t evolved, he hasn’t assimilated? That in spite of his education, he hasn’t freed himself from the shackles of agrarian culture? If she agrees to his demands now, what other demands would he make in the future? She wondered. And she is scared. Her life seems to be coming off at the seams. She was no longer sure of anything and of anybody. In shock and in exasperation, she called. It was almost 3am.

Now, what was I to say? What counsel was I suppose to give? Love is a very delicate matter, a matter I do not fully understand and am not about to encourage anyone to disregard it and move on. Personally though, the idea of romantic love scares me. I have always thought it trite and overrated and undeserving of my attention. It was invented for fools, and only fools I am told, fall in love. Moreover, I was not about to referee two lovers’ spat because there is a boomerang effect associated with getting involved in lovers quarrels.

Lonzen is a dear friend. I have always thought he was a nice fellow. Evelyn is also a dear friend. But more than that, she is like a loving kid-sister. I like her. A lot! I like her as a friend and as a human being. As a rule, discussions about their sex life and their financial challenges were off the table and she was not to badmouth Lonzen to me. Other matters were fair game.

This is a fascinating couple. Evelyn is a cross between Gabrielle Union and Halle Berry — only taller and more elegant and more of everything. I swear! Lonzen is debonair and could easily win the Jeopardy quiz contest.

That he cheats or has cheated didn’t exactly surprise me. Oh no, not at all! Most men I know have cheated. And sooner or later the vast majority of the men between the ages of 19-60 will cheat if the opportunity presented itself — more so if they are sure or assured their wives or lovers will never get wind of their escapade. For men, infidelity is almost an entitlement. Women, they believe are meant to be had, to be taken, to be sexually conquered. Sex is very important to men. Not romance. Forget romance; forget foreplay; forget the music and the candles and flowers and the dim-lighted room. Forget all that. Romance is women’s invention: a ploy to tame the selfishness in men, to tame the beast, to have the music play longer.

Most men just want it here and now. After a long day at work, most men want to wind down by being laid. After a nasty quarrel, most men want to have sex. After a particularly bad day on the job, most men want their wives or lovers to calm them down by way of sex. A man wants sex before going to the war. He wants it so bad after battle that he can’t wait to get home and be with his partner. The first thing most men wants after their tenure in jail is to be laid. Push the right buttons and most men will tell their innermost secrets during sex. Promise a man blowjob and he will promise you his soul. Most men, at least.

But to look and sound sophisticated most men go into denial and will swear in the name of the Lord and tell you how romantic, sensitive and considerate they are. Bull! A big fat bull! A man just wants to be laid. When he is all spent, he may not even remember your face or name, or remember what the fight was all about. He is probably thinking of the next game, the next conquest, the next face. Women should know this about most men.

Knowing your man will cheat — and he will whether it is today or tomorrow or the day after — why not pack condoms with his trousers when he is traveling? Why not stuff condoms in his briefcase when he is about to leave for the office? Why not slip some in his wallet when he tells you he is meeting with some friends down the road. He is what he is so just deal with it. Deal with it. A man is a man is a man and most men live mostly for sex. He may be a poet or a lawyer or an engineer or teache

r or an artist of some sort, still, he thinks about being laid more than half of his waking moments.

If a man wants you to cook and clean, well, that may be okay if in turn he is willing to do the carpets, the laundry and the garden and the trash. But what if he refuses? What if he wants you to do all the cooking and the cleaning and be his doormat? Then, we have a problem. We have a huge problem. This is one of nine problems I don’t have solution to and I am not sure there are manuals on how to deal with such scenarios. For sure, in most African homes, this won’t be considered a crisis, but in America, you have a grenade on your hand. How do African couples living in America relate to things like this? How do they cope with marital conflicts in this globalizing society? Gee, I don’t know. Do you?

Why did Lonzen wait all these while to tell Evelyn he wanted an “African wife”? Why did he act “modernized and westernized” for three or so years taking turn taking out the trash, cooking and cleaning? He’s been known to be at her service. I have seen him do her nail, do the laundry and iron her clothes, cook and clean up after himself. I have seen him do it all. And now with less than 3-monthst to the marriage, he suddenly remembers he is an African — an African who wants an “African wife.” Is this shameful or what? What happened? What took place in his mind?

At 35, Evelyn is acutely aware of her biological clock. She is aware of what her friends and family will say. She is afraid of what “society” will think of her. To start all over again? And with whom? As it is, educated and marriageable men are not easy to come by. Going to Nigeria or the UK to find a man is out of the question for her. What is she to do? What is she to do?! Stay in the relationship with the hope that he will see the light? If she gives in now, what’s he going to insist on next? Sex on demand? Sex on ice?

Or is this just a ploy to get her out of his life so he can import an obedient wife from Nigeria? I wonder! Life, as we all know is full of surprises. I saw her last night — needing advice — but she was all tears. He was out and about with his male friends…

You may also like


Anonymous September 1, 2007 - 7:04 am

Regarding Evelyn's situation, what is alarming isn't that her fiance expects her to wash the dishes. What is of concern is the fact that he hid his true nature until the point where he felt that she would not back out. That is deceitful. It breaks down the trust. It makes her wonder, with good reason, about who he really is as a person. Nobody in their right mind wants to marry an unknown.

Regarding the author's view on men – this would be laughable if it wasn't so common. I hear many African men and, especially, women, speakig in such a manner. When will people understand that men are rational, intelligent, conscious beings who are capable to controlling their actions? It's so degrading and, when I hear African men talk about men, it really makes me feels sorry for those men.

Anonymous March 25, 2006 - 7:41 pm

deal with it??? are you outta your mind? THAT is BS. you ain't in Africa anymore honey, join me here in NorthAmerica where we DO NOT need to deal with that.

susan November 27, 2005 - 12:01 am


Godwin November 12, 2005 - 9:48 pm

Please comment 14, offering your man packs of condoms is a way of saying too much without uttering a word. By that singular action you have made it known to him that you are convinced that he has the attributes of a male dog and worst still his discretion or lack of it may bring a calamity on the family if he contacts HIV. Certainly you know the risk involved in all this as a wife.

If you have a girl of fifteen, who is already doing things women do with men. We all know the most appropriate advice is total abstinence from sex, but any parent who does that and leave issues at that, may be asking for trouble as it is most unlikely that your little girl who has come to discover the joy and not the risk involved in sex will ever listen. Supplying your husbands condoms may be immoral but asking your husband to make sure he is protected if he find it difficult to handle such temptation when they come his way is being shrewd, prudent and pragmatic.


smokeysmokey48238@yahoo.com November 10, 2005 - 6:50 pm

It is not easy being an African woman. You spend half your time wondering who you are supposed to be. Poor Evelyn. Her worries are legitimate. None of us are in any position to give her advice because no one really knows the extent of her situation. If she loves this man, maybe a heart-to-heart is in order. They both need to sit an evaluate what they want in a marriage. If he wants a woman to cook and clean, and Evelyn is willing to do that without compliants, then let them marry. If he wants a woman to cook and clean and Evelyn does not feel all housework should be hers alone, then she can step and say so. This is America. Husbands work and pay bills. Wives work and pay bills. It is a partnership where both try to complement each other to run a household. If he wants a wife from the village. It is his prerogative. Just give that new wife a few years to get acclimated to America and show him she is not a "village girl" like he thought. Love is hard to find. If he does not shape up, Evelyn can leave and find someone who will tell her to take the evening off to relax while he orders chinese for both of them. Chikena!

eazy9ja November 10, 2005 - 5:13 am

Sabella was just been honest in this write-up. Pack condoms for your man to safe yourself of any STD & the killer disease AIDS. You can hardly control your man's sexual escapades for most men's promisciousity is a reality of biological balance. Check it out today, in any social gathering, clubs, parties etc, women takes the numerical dominancy, so because of this numerical superiority of women over men .Promisciousity can never be healed in men because the women draged them into it & do you blame the women, NO. Let every man stick to one woman & see the numbers of women that will be left unattached,afterall they must all fulfill this mission, so they take solace in those of us attached but are generous.

Anonymous November 9, 2005 - 6:00 pm

What an article.

Why would women be packing condoms for their husbands'escapadesIs that not a sign that they condone that vile attitudeNo woman should believe that her husband must cheat and that she has to lend her support by buying him condoms and stuff…that's ridiculous!!As for ur friend,she better make up her mind about what she really wants.No woman…or man deserves an unhappy marriage.

Anonymous November 9, 2005 - 5:26 pm

such a sad story… but it's an old one too. when will men (ALL OF THEM) realize that a woman was not created from man's foot so that he can walk on, not from his head so that she's superior but from his side so that she's equal.

And another thing, it's time for men to wake up. your best bet to getting sex without complaints is to think of your partner… that will blow her away! don't just give the leftovers… give your all!What the hell does that mean, right be thoughtful, be attentive, think of her as… fine china. do this and you'll see that your patner will bend over backwards to keep you satisfied in every department.

Anonymous November 9, 2005 - 7:02 am

No man is a saint!

Sabella though you're being castigated for being a sex maniac,what you said is almost a fact but the only difference is that most guys try and curb this nature to lay anything in skirt,at least i for one!

Sabella was just man enough to put pen to paper that's all!

Washing the plates and picking after yourself is not bad but i believe you shouldn't be made to feel like a child all over again with your mama shouting down your neck,'will you pick up your plate and wash it up!'Most women will want to rub it on a brother when they know you got it bad for them but after a while you'll revolt,i know i did even though i love her to bits!

Now to this issue of this 35 year old female,she should stick with her man if she knows what's good for her,forget all those rose-carrying caucasians.Ok,so you suspect that he's cheating let him know and express your fears,worries and concerns….these will call him to order.Don't threaten him ,tell him you really love him but you want to trust him and he's not making it easy for you.He may either want to bail out of the relationship by playing the 9ja man card or he's just testing you.

Like one of the respondents said,he's grateful for his mother staying in the marriage despite what his father put the mum thru and so am i,every relationship has it's sour side.

Finally,if she's a cross between Halle Berry & Gabrielle Union,that half mallam is not going anywhere!

Anonymous November 9, 2005 - 5:40 am

After going through the article, I really felt sorry for Evelyn. I mean, it's really sad that someone she has built dreams with over the years would actually turn around and start giving excuses three months to their wedding. I have some words for Lonzen. In my opinion and with due respect to him, he is not being fair at all. He should remember that whatever a man sows, shall he reap and what goes around comes around. No one human being is perfect. If both of them could sit down and discuss this issue like mature adults, I'm sure a compromise could be reached. I won't pretend to understand what Evelyn is going through but in any case, she's still African and I personally don't see anything wrong in doing all the house chores .

Anonymous November 8, 2005 - 1:14 pm

Sabella, good one….this is at the heart of the dilemma facing immigrants not just in relation to marriage but to lots of other things…..how much should you hold on to and how much should you let go. And there are no easy answers. My guiding framework would be to start with "What is most important to me/us" ie the non-negotiable and then work backwards from there. So in Lonzen's case for instance, is she prepared to forgo marriage Or would she rather have a 50 per cent marriage than none at all The choice is hers/yours/ours

Anonymous November 8, 2005 - 8:46 am

The write up is just okay but the issue of men and sex turns me off. Why should a wife pack packets of condom into her man's briefcase, wallet or trouser So should every wife prays her man to be a womanizer Why shouldn't men tame their selves and lives. Why should a man sleep with somebody he couldn't even remember the face or the name. this piece is uncalled for in this topic. It portrays men to be shameless beings without self control, sex animals. It is too bad!!!

Anonymous November 8, 2005 - 5:33 am

Lady E. in comment 6. A white man such as Bill Clinton, Charlie Sein, Ruddy Guiliani, or the ones on Jerry Springer TV Show I guess these white men did not cheat on their spouses; please get off that twisted mentality. I am proud to be a Nigerian man educated in the USA, UK and Nigeria. I am happily married to a non-Nigerian black woman.

I believe the author discription of men is about himself. Sorry to say; he will have problems keeping a loving and caring relationship with a woman.

Anonymous November 8, 2005 - 1:15 am

the oyinbo will help her with the dishes and when her parents die he will be well represented in america since he cant survive a nite of mosquitoes in Idu-Ora Village..yeye, most of u ignore the core cultural values of marriage and think this thin na business partnership may be a read of Abati's article in the Guardian this weekend will give u a feel of what marriage is…a good woman is a warrior, not an easy life woman like most women are these days…I know my father was not I a saint but I also know what my mum had to put up with and I am very grateful to her, cos of her I am reaping the benefits of 2 parents home not the 75 divorce rate among African americans,..very soon, naija-americans will definitely rival this record..sabella already predicted it, I am only waiting for it to happen!

Anonymous November 7, 2005 - 11:37 pm

This is a different day. The days when our mothers suffered mental/verbal/physical abuse from their husbands are long gone. Here's the bottom line … everyone should know what they are worth. And if you feel you are not worth enough for a man to be faithful to you, then by all means you are free to accept wayward behavior. But women who know what they are worth "demand" more from their men, and they hold them accountable. It time to stop making excuses for womanizers. Hold them accountable for their actions. When society starts expecting more from men, they will change.

p.s. I have a sneaky suspicion that you made this story up. I can't imagine any woman who suspects that a fiancée is cheating on her… will still plan to marry the man. And I can't believe that your friend would allow herself to be treated like a maid in front of his friends. ouch. that hurts. If he can't show respect to her in front of his friends when will he do it Just tell her to marry a white man and be done with it. The oyinbo will help her with the dishes.

; )

Lady E

Anonymous November 7, 2005 - 8:28 pm

I came to the conclusion that this author does not know much about men. He must be single and looking; or probably married and divorsed; and is using this forum as a soliciting platform. Women beware; he will cheat on you, and use the excuse that he is a man; and therefore cannot control himself.

Anonymous November 7, 2005 - 8:28 pm

sabella no mind all these women ojare..me I think the comments before me are just driven by plain pragmatism which is good, the problem is how many of the people suggesting breaking up will do thesame in same situation; truth being said most of them will remain with their knuckle head husbands and be praying to God than take the risk of divorce or break up- I no blame them, who want to marry a 35 years old grandmother But the point in your story rises far beyond this , I think naija men in America usually send the wrong signals (I included) we meet these girls and in order to warm ourselves to their heart we act all romantic, u know we unknowingly the women here the best of both worlds the liberal culture of america relating to relationships and the african ethos that says we should respect our women (at least we dont call them bitch, hoe etc. and we dont make our sexcapades with them public info); but problem is when marriage time comes we try to change the game on them, and I must tell u that change is a very slow thing to come in relationships..may be if we are real from the beginning, we wont be breaking the hearts of the evelyns of this world. In my world – my woman takes care of me, I take care of her – u know, thesame way my grandfather this his, if you are not a game carry on!na by force

Kole Liadi November 7, 2005 - 6:53 pm

This write-up is arrant nonsense and a load of rubbish, especially the portion about men and sex. The author seems to be expressing his sexual habits and wrongfully attempting to attribute his weird pattern of sexual conducts to all men. It is wrong to portray men as sex maniacs. Most men I know are not what this author claims men are. I will be suprised if this author can sustain a useful relationship with a woman, not with his weird ideas about man and sex. Evelyn should look for someone more reasonable for advise about her relationship.

Anonymous November 7, 2005 - 4:57 pm

Maybe she should step outside of her ethnic comfort zone and expore other mate-options.

Anonymous November 7, 2005 - 1:25 pm

Evelyn is lucky at least she got to know what Lonzen really wants, imagine if she had already married him and felt like she does its better to break an engagement and start all over again than to think of ending a marriage.


Leave a Comment