Most Nigerian ladies are trained from a young age to be docile. They must learn to cook otherwise, no man will marry them. They must know how to wash clothes and iron. They must always be of good character. They must always be soft-spoken. They should not raise their voice regardless of any provocation. They must also be very sacrificing. They must not hold a contrary opinion; when they do, they must find a way to present it such that the man of the house thinks it is his idea. They are also told and shown that marriage is their ultimate goal. Their achievements do not matter, even if they have found the key to immortality, if they are not married, they are lesser beings. And should the marriage fail, they are the ones at fault. It does not matter if they face domestic abuse or if their husbands are cheats.
Most Nigerian men on the other hand are trained to be entitled, to be lord and master. Their word is the law. It does not matter if they do not know how to cook, wash clothes or handle basic chores. They’ll marry and their wives will do all that. It does not matter if they have no self-control; their wife will build him up to be better.
We raise selfish men.
Marriage in Nigeria is the legally (as seen in court marriages) or formally recognized union (as seen in traditional marriages) of a man and a woman as partners in a relationship. It is also an intimate union and equal partnership of a man and a woman. This is the ideal. However, most marriages are anything but equal partnerships. Selfish men and docile women do not make equal partners in marriage. One party has the tendency to suffer the woman.
The wife is to always put up with the husband’s shortcomings; the man is not expected to do so. It does not matter if the husband does not contribute anything to the running of the home “in cash or kind” the wife should make up for it. It does not matter if the man does not take part in taking care of the children. A man will not think of quitting his job to take care of his children, but that is a regular sacrifice for many women. Many women have quit flourishing careers for the sake of peace in the home. Most Nigerian men would not do that.
This reminds me of the words of a popular song by Pasuma, “a man can have as many wives as he desires, if a woman should try such, it is illegal, and she is a prostitute.”
We need to stop raising selfish men. We need to do better by our children.
By Tolulope Lade Banjo
Lade is a Microbiologist who sees social media as a platform for ideas dissemination. Easier to find on Twitter than on BBM, she is a mother of two and a doting wife to a creative writer. She blogs via diaryofanewmum.com