WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE GIRL FROM THE OTHER SIDE?
I got posted to the north for my service year. My people cried, begged and began to call my nonexistent uncles, aunties, somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody in NYSC to change my posting. Somehow they all forgot about me. While the drama was going on – and really it was based on genuine concern and love, I gently packed my ‘kaya’ and prepared myself for one year of adventure in God’s own land without the nerve-racking gaze from my folks.
Suddenly, as though someone was prompted, they remembered to ask me what my thoughts where. This was my response, ‘are people living there? (Jigawa) Yes. Is God there? Yes. Therefore if people are there and God is there, then I am safe. I would be afraid if God wasn’t there. But as long as God is there, I am cool and I am going.’
That is my general attitude to life and the unfamiliar. It’s the same attitude I had towards marriage and see where it landed me – in the hands of God’s finest boy – My husband.
Stereotypes. Everywhere you turn you find it – in business, marriage, politics, even religion.
Time and time again, culture, tradition and the issue of ‘he/she is not from our place’ rears its ugly head in the choice of marriage. I see brilliant young men and women settle for second or zero best because the person they wanted is ‘not from our place’, not of our class.
Sometimes you are given a list of where, who and who not to marry. For example – westerners don’t know how to marry; those from the north can marry 10 wives, do you want to be number 10? As for Easterners – the woman is a furniture, an object to be seen and not heard, and for the women – they are disrespectful, saucy and wicked; A girl from a divorced home – ah, you know her parents are divorced, therefore, she will do it . The list goes on and on
I remember a neighbour who told my husband in confidence that the woman he’s married to is not his choice but his mother’s – why? The girl he loved and wanted is ‘not from our place’.
One of my staff is going through a terrible time because, though the man she is dating is from her place, but he is an outcast – an Osu. A dear sister has been kept waiting – and that means age is counting – just because she’s not from a particular place.
So the question is, what’s wrong with the girl or man from the other side of town?
What’s culture got to do with it?
Oh madam writer you don’t understand, even our father Abraham when giving instruction to his servant Eliezer said to him, ”Get a wife from my (our) place, my kindred, my father’s house” ….Hmmm.
Another group put up the language challenge …. ‘ah how will she communicate with my people?’ . She doesn’t understand our culture! Some even raise examples of people who married outside their clan and today have tales of woe.
Interestingly these are all very valid reasons but like I have seen and experienced of life ‘ the fact that someone else had a bad experience does not mean I will. My destiny and that of another is totally different. I know the God who holds my life. I can only speak for myself. Some people even go scriptural with even the bible says …. Pause.
I can show you two great women in the bible who defied the ”not from our place” syndrome and guess what? They are the great grandmother’s of Jesus – Rahab and Ruth. Gotcha!
Permit me to digress. The beauty of Christianity is the fact that Jesus did not come for the Jews alone. He came for you and I, the ofe mmanu’s, the onu nkita’s, the yamiris and all the other derogatory names we foolishly call ourselves sometimes. The day we accepted His Lordship over our lives, we changed our citizenship forever. We are no longer citizens of earth with its decaying and failing standards; vain tradition that is self seeking and self gratifying; dictates, norms and cultures that should be left in the archives of time past with no eternal value or relevance to the life we now have in Christ Jesus.
Infact, 1Peter 2:9 describes our citizenship thus – chosen generation/race, a royal/ Holy Priesthood, a holy – dedicated, purchased, God’s possession – nation; a Peculiar – distinctive, special, uncommon people, citizens called to show forth the praise of Him who has rescued us from the DARKENESS of culture, tradition and sin into His marvelous light. Halleluyah!!!
Now what has this got to choosing a life partner. Plenty. Let me show you.
If I walk in the understanding that I am heaven’s citizen, and the lady or man I want to marry is also heaven’s citizen – then the norm and ‘earthnocentric’ issue of ‘She is not from my place’ loses its power.
In other words, we both come from heaven, our language is the language of heaven – because the dividing wall has been broken forever.
In order words, the criteria for marriage will no longer be based on our geographical location, language barrier or social standing, but instead, it will be based on – physical, intellectual, mental, and emotional Maturity, Character/Virtue and Doing His (God’s) Will.
The two ladies we mentioned above are a case in point.
The basis for marriage should be:
- Is he/she born again?
- Does he/she exhibit the character of Jesus?
- Does he/she have the fear of God?
- Is she a Proverbs 31 woman?
- Is he ready to LEAVE his father’s house and CLEAVE to his wife?
- Are the two persons mentally, emotionally and financially mature to cope with the challenges of marriage?
- Is this God’s will or my will?
By the way, i come from a long line of inter tribal marriages – we have Anambra, Calabar, Enugu, Yoruba, Itsekiri husbands and wives. The only people missing are northerners. Hmmm, Peteru and Giddy boy (my younger brothers) take note.
May the Lord give us wisdom!