The guests had gone and we had pulled off our wedding clothes. I was just plotting the best route to follow to paradise when I realized that my wife was pensive.
I guessed that several months of courtship didn’t afford her enough opportunity to understand the real man she married. I was cork sure that she was suspicious of my halfhearted romantic disposition which changed like Port Harcourt weather even though she believed that I was a good marriage material.
I could the see the fear in her eyes; the fear of the unknown; that fear of “what kind of a man will he turn out to be?”
In my mind I said “which kain problem be this?” I was becoming impatient.
To drag her out of her deep withdrawn emotional drift, I said “Uche my angel, I will not change so much, not to the extent that would make you worry a lot. However, it is important that we agree to the system of marriage we will practice. There are two options- the traditional system my mother and father practiced or the biblical type”, I paused, accurately expecting what her answer would be.
And I was right. She said “Biblical”.
As a young girl, my wife loved God and feared hell. She became born again very early and fear premarital pregnancy, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases and believed that rapture could happen soon.
My wife was of tender heart, very ladylike, polite and self-respecting without longer throat. Her beauty scared many lily-livered men who would initially intend to win her love but ended up being contented with mere friendship or a periodic clean minded christian hugs.
So, I was not surprised when she said, “I prefer biblical marital practices”.
And that was how the trouble started.
“Uche, my angel, I agree with you. I subscribe to all Jesus and his disciples said about marriage but we must copy the marital examples of holy men in the bible.
“I will then have to behave like married men in the bible namely, Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, Joseph etc.
“Accordingly, I expect you from now onwards not to call me by my name. You should now call me “MY LORD” as Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, Rachel, Bathsheba and Mary called their husbands…”
I didn’t finish my last statement when I received a halfhearted slap on my cheek. If not for the fact that I was still relishing the ecstasy of a tenderly touch before the slap, I would have fined her an cock.
“How dare you say that I should also avail you my maids as Sarah, Leah and Rachel did? Are we not living in the modern times?” Uche protested.
I apologized. Every man apologizes while naked, not when the real man in me was even willing to collect another slap if that was what it would cost to finish what I had already started.
It came to pass that for about a decade of our marriage, that Uche, she has never called me “my lord” nor treated me as biblical husband. We have been living the Europe-inspired version of marriage powered by churches. I have by so doing lost my biblical or Igbo traditional marriage entitlements.
Go and check, all those marriage rites in christian churches were crafted by their leaders with the leaders’ culture in mind.
The Christian Bible is clear how Isaac married Rebecca and how Joseph married Mary, mother of Jesus. That was no different from Nnewi marriage practice before the whiteman came with his own versions.
The churches have complicated marriage processes without any assurance of creating perfect marriages.
Sometimes I feel as if I have failed my tradition and the bible. But, it is not too late to act.
Last night, while I was reminiscing on my ordeal and that of menfolk, my wife called from the kitchen, “Baby, the food will be ready in five minutes, kindly make the bed while I set the food on the table”.
Her timing was right.
I had already sharpened my pencil. It takes a lot to sharpen pencils these days of stress and lack.
She sensed it.
I had to make the bed while reassuring myself that I was in Lagos not in Nnewi.
Abomination of sort committed in Lagos doesn’t count for a titled Nnewi man. Alụ emelu n’Lagos solu ndị Lagos!
I’m now called “Baby” not “My Lord”.
By Anayo M. Nwosu