Beauty they say is in the eye of the beholder, however, when it comes to marriage, a good one is defined by those who live it. See, as a writer I observe a lot. I have come to believe in nuances. There is rarely any black or white in relationships. I have observed that a lot of marriages have many shades of gray in between. I have also observed that there is no one size fits all. This is a mistake Funke Egbemode seems to have made in her article titled “Public Lies Married Women Tell.” This article, recently brought to my notice, was written back last year but you can say it’s a timeless piece, seeing that it is on marriage. Funke Egbemode, I understand, is a popular Nigerian columnist and writes for one of the most widely distributed newspapers, The Sun.
Now I am a married woman, my mother is a married woman as are so many women, friends, colleagues and mentors. So while I appreciated the humor in the write-up, it rubbed me the wrong way that someone was propagating the idea that so many women would usually lie whenever they talk about their marriages in public. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to rubbish the article, I have no doubt that it is very valid in its own right. After all, there is still almost a 50% rate of divorce in the country I live in and more and more divorces and separations in Nigeria and other countries in Africa. “It is also not far-fetched to think that some of the women who ended up divorced spoke of their marriages in glowing terms a few years, maybe months and even days before their marriages crashed.
The question to ask though is how we can be sure that these women and even those who remain in their marriages were or are lying?” Now that would be a very difficult one to answer I tell you. The thing is, a marriage you as an observer would call an unhappy marriage, may have its happy moments you may not be privy to. It may be those happy moments the women refer to when they say those things Funke Egbemode’s article considers public lies. Who are we, the outsiders to call them liars then? I know that in the same vein, this means that it can be said that the happy marriages also have unhappy moments. Do you think I would deny that? No way! LOL…of course there are ‘down’ moments in every marriage. There are those times when you feel lonely, when you feel crowded, when you feel misunderstood, when you ARE misunderstood, when you agree to disagree with your spouse and even disagree to agree. Yes, there are those moody days when you blame all and everything including your marriage for your misery. But this does not negate the general happy state of the marriage.
It also does not mean that your marriage or your spouse was the cause of the unhappiness. Let’s face it, you also felt like that when you were single, whether you are a student, a worker, or in between jobs. I used the divorce statistic earlier and everyone seems to like quoting that 50%. What you will not find so common is people referring to the other 50%. Yes, we find it easy to forget that more than half of the people who get married do not get divorced. Most of that 50% remain together and celebrate their 20, 30, 40 and even 50 years of happy marriages. Yes I said happy marriages. If we are so quick to assume that all the ones that got divorced did so because they were unhappy, we should extend the same courtesy to those that remain together, no? What is good for the goose and all, LOL.
But I didn’t write this article just to rant. I wanted to respond to some of the issues raised by Funke Egbemode and make some points of my own about the mostly negative perspectives we usually see in the media about marriage. One thing I will say here is that you do have to marry the right person for you to reap the benefits of a good marriage. I did not say or mean a perfect person because none of us is perfect but it has to be someone we can cooperate with, someone we trust, someone we see in our future, whom we can be honest and open in communication with and best and over all, someone we love. These points are not just about me, right now, they are from the marriages I’ve seen and have learnt from, and where I hope my relationship to be in the years to come.