Monday, 23 August 2010

Balancing Modern and Traditional Culture in Marriage/Relationship

I want to discuss an issue which I believe is relevant to most women in the UK. That of proper conduct/expectation when one is dealing with an African man. Most of us were brought up the African traditional way of life but have then left the shores of our homelands to make home for ourselves in foreign lands and have imbibed many of their cultures. However, African women in the UK who display too much Western culture in their way of life face so much misogyny from African men. I have even heard that men will simply refuse to marry such women and would rather marry white women. How does one know where one ends and the other starts when it comes to relationships or marriage? I know that quite a lot of African women grapple with identity problems and who wouldn't when opposing cultures clash?

Sometimes one may have good intentions but somehow come out looking as if one does not know what one is doing. There are certain things I do for my partner that some of my friends marvel at and ask why I go to such lengths. Also, there are certain things I do and they are quick to chastise me for not handling things well saying "he's the man". Sometimes I'm left all confused and wondering what I'm doing right or wrong.

Say for instance I want to go out with my friends, do I need a permission from my partner to go? Or say for instance I've done some cooking and after cooking decides to watch some telly. My partner then decides later that he is hungry, do I have to go and fetch him some food or does he do that himself? Laziness and love aside, am talking about realistic expectations here. Naturally I wouldn't seek permission to go out but I believe that it is my duty to go and get him the food. Does that mean I'm some sort of sell out who will gladly do one and not the other? After all, both acts fall under the remits of the traditional role/expectation of a woman? Do they not?

I've met guys in this UK who will expect you to be able to cook egusi for them and then on the other hand expect you to pick up the tab at restaurants too. It's not as if they'll ever take you to the mall and pay for your shopping. Some married men expect their wives to go 50-50 with the household bills but they hardly ever share the household chores 50-50. Is that not some sort of madness? At what point does it become rebellious of the wife when she feels hard done by and demands for fairness?

I have a neighbour who spends night and day screaming on his wife. Telling her "ori e daru" (crazy or something derogatory along those lines) and she just keeps mute. Now it's either she goes comatose at the time he's busy reigning those abuse on her or she's one woman who is taking her traditional role way too seriously coupled with some heavy dose of stupidity. Bottom line is this woman never utters a word back to her husband. In fact often times I wonder if the man was merely just displaying some madness by picking a fight with their furniture. Only something that cannot speak will seat through such insults and not utter a word back in defence or whatever. In fact things get so bad that I have considered calling the cops because I do fear for her life. Now is this normal?

So sisters and brothers, how does one balance these two cultures without coming out looking like an idiot or a stuck up cow?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

How True?

So I have a pertinent question or two to ask.

Is it true that Nigerian women (living in Nigeria) will not leave their husbands if they find out he has a mistress? Basically, while pursuing my personal passion, I had the priviledge of hanging out with Tuface and his crew on Saturday night and this line of discussion broke out. Tuface's Manager stated with confidence that he is yet to meet a woman in Nigeria who would leave her husband solely because he was cheating and he had enough backing from the rest of the guys. He continued by saying that leaving your husband for cheating is mostly a western idea and that only young women who live abroad or have cultivated Western culture will do such a thing.

Something else I found irksome was a lady within the group who said her husband is free to do whatever he likes but she must not find out about it. She said she cannot expect her husband not to cheat but he must not bring it home. Now this is a lady that lives here in the UK and she seems to think it's the way most married Nigerian women think too. Is this valid?

I know a lot has changed in Nigeria since moving here seven years ago. I mean folks now leave University and walk straight into jobs within multi-national companies, the average person now has access to loans to finance a new car and more people are generally more well off than there were a decade ago. Off the back of that are stories of men and women cheating on their partners without a care in the world and how divorces are rife amongst newly married couples in Nigeria now. So everything is moving rather fast so I would naturally assume that women would have bought into the idea of leaving a cheating husband and fully expect the fidelity that comes with marriage from their spouses. I am not saying this is the right thing to do or not. I just wondered how accurate their assumptions are so guys let's discuss.