Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Is there a good or happy marriage?

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So a lot has been said recently in some blogging quarters on this issue of marriage, and I have decided to chip in my bit. Some may say I can't write about it because I'm fairly new to this business but that has it's own advantages too. The major one being that I'm not too far gone to remember what it was like BM (Before Marriage) and I'm not so jaded by the cumulative responsibilities that come with the institution to have lost my faith, lol. Anyway, let me not go on, read the article and tell me what you think, the complete write-up is up on the Love and Relationships section of Afrikan Goddess.


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. I read a lot of articles and can say some are timeless pieces, seeing that they’re on marriage.

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 some of the write-ups on marriage, it rubs me the wrong way that some writers will be propagating the idea that so many women are usually lying whenever they say they have a happy marriage. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to rubbish any article, I have no doubt that they’re very valid in their own right. After all, there is still almost a 50% rate of divorce in USA, the country I live in and more and more divorces and separation in Nigeria and other countries in Africa.

It is also not far-fetched to think that some of the women who end 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 these articles consider 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 marriage bashers 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.

Tis is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. So help me God.


  1. I found that story quite funny to be sincere but I think if I were married myself I might be be less inclined to laugh about it. I think its a satire and anyone that thinks that it reflects all married couples is just fooling themselves. There are couples that are genuinely happy with their spouse. And not everyone's husband is a wife beater.

  2. Very well said. Bravo!!

    i like this: //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.//

    PS: Someone once said: Just becos someone doesnt love you the way you want them to, doesnt mean they dont love you with all they've got.

    Everyone has their definition of what happiness in a marriage is...lets just not use our own definition to judge another person's definition....nice post

  3. very encoraging write up for a single like me...thanks Myne

  4. @Myne, didn't know u were a newbie like myself. Lol.

  5. Oya Myne, abeg carry GO!

    This write-up sha battered, bruised, killed and resurrected this topic. I LOVED IT. Sorry about my wierd analogy.

    But, it's true. And there's a lot of misconception because the ones who are having good marriages ARE NOT TALKING ABOUT THEIR MARRIAGES. So all we hear about are the not so functional ones!

    I am not married but I have seen marriages work. PLENTY OF THEM!!!


  6. "He is a great provider. He makes sure I don’t lack anything."

    "No woman can snatch my husband."

    I have to admit that those ones are definitely lies that most married Nigerian women tell... I know this for a fact. Especially the first one. Most women we see are the ones who pay the fees, sort out groceries and all while the man comes home and expects assorted meat in his stew and complains when he only sees fish on the table. Too many women are the actual breadwinners but are not allowed to even whisper this to a soul because it makes them "bad wives" or "irresponsible women". Noone considers whether the man himself is a "good husband" or "responsible man". It's the woman that is scrutinised.

    Women lie about the state of their marriages, not because the "happy" moments make up for the sad ones like this article suggests... But because the marriage is their validation in the eyes of society. If they admit something is wrong, then they are accepting that they have failed. They haven't prayed enough. Or shut it down in the bedroom. Or cooked enough. Or been submissive enough. Cos that of course is the only explanation why your husband refuses to give you money for the upkeep of the house and is cheating on you with numerous other women...

    So I agree more with Funke Egbemode's article than this one because it shows the reality of most marriages in Naija. I have examples of parents, aunties, uncles and loads of "couples" I have seen to back me up. Note that I said MOST and not ALL. There are the lucky few... But the sad truth is that they are indeed "few".

  7. Good points Myne and very nicely written. I particularly liked this quote
    "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."

    Thanks for sharing....

  8. Yeah, I agree that we must first be with the right person [for you] in order for it to be productive.

    Too many people get married just to say they're married and don't even KNOW each other. That's sad.

    And to the other 50% that are happily married, I say keep up the good work.

  9. Of course there are good marriages and bad marriages and good marriages that have bad times and bad marriages that have good times, and some women lie, and some don't etc. etc. I think that the ones who are having good marriages don't talk enough about it. I love my husband to death and he's superman but I generally avoid going over the top when I talk about him, especially to friends because I don't want to be seen to be bragging. You know us africans. You don't want to be the one saying your husband is the best thing since chocolate when others are whining. So you keep it to yourself and enjoy it in secret:)

  10. Good marriages are out there and they mean different things to different people. To Bob and Aunty Vero it means something else. Same goes for Josh and joy who like to swing with other married couples.

    Life is meant to be enjoyed so make we all enjoy am well. Those who are chopping at the bit to get married make una shine eye.

  11. Great right up myne... "ms cleland" already said what I was going to say.

  12. Thanks for all the comments, I just think it's time those who have good marriage - by their standard - begin to talk about it. I don't support getting married just 'because', but if you get a good thing, let others know it is possible too and how to go about it.

    @F, I will not say you do not know what you know but try to shine your eyes well too, lol.

    @Esi, finally a comment on my post. Maybe some bragging is required make e no be like say we chop and clean mouth.

  13. Hello Myne, its been long I heard from you, I'm still waiting for you to start following my 2nd blog

    Pls, I need your personal e-mail address, I have something to discuss with you.

    Thank you!

  14. Great article Myne, thanks for shedding positive light on marriage. It seems that with our generation, and especially amongst us Nigerians, all we keep hearing about is husbands who cheated, or people whose marriages have one manner of K leg or another. It's refreshing to read something positive.

    May God continue to bless you and hubby and keep y'all happy.

  15. Marriages are worth praying for immediately u're signed up...not talking about...and people generally lie about everything marriage shouldn't carry a spotlight! Y'all know how many people working with degrees they haven't earned yet have guts to trash others with lesser classes of degrees? Sooooo even though the open secret is that a lot of marriages are sham...if ur's is working,make it ur best kept secret while giving the complainants 'morale' support. PS...writers write all sorts about all sorts..blogville taught me that! But myne, you tried sha, setting the records straight! Good one.

  16. As someone who has been married for 19 years, I agree that there are good and bad times. Marriages are a process not an event. I thnk many marriages fail because people don't accept that. It's about respect and acceptance.

  17. Unfortunately, I am inclined to agree with F but I do acknowledge that there are happy marriages out there but I think they are fewer than the unhappy ones. I also think especially with Naija culture its hard finding that balance between maintaining your privacy and being honest.

  18. I agree with F&M, WILD BOY,LAURI & TAYNEMENT...see, marriage comes with it's 3 exotic flavors; SWEET, BITTER & SOUR!
    When SWEET, enjoy to it's fullest!
    When BITTER, swallow with courage!
    When SOUR,cry your eyes out!
    Many marriages are endured than enjoyed in 9ja! Every marriage has it's problem...NO MARRIAGE IS FAIRY TALE! If pastors that are in the household of faith are encountering problems, then just imagine what others are facing.. HAPPINESS is relative! What makes you happy & content, may not be mine..SO PEOPLE WORK OUT YOUR OWN MARRIAGE TO SUIT YOU! & IT IS NOBODY BUSINESS HOW MR A OR B DOES THEIRS! Funke wrote a SATIRICAL article & it should be seen as such! She got great reviews on that because wives living in 9ja know it is true! The STRESS of living in 9ja had made 9JAS to ALWAYS try to see the funny side of things so as not to LOSE IT! Comedians make jokes out of REAL LIFE situations & people pay to go & listen! PLEASE NOBODY SHOULD USE ANOTHER PERSONS MARRIAGE AS A YARDSTICK TO MEASURE THEIR OWN SUCCESS BECAUSE WE CAME FROM DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS & PERSONALITY..this i said much in my older post.tnx MYNE. shalom.

  19. it's also been on my mind to write on this as a consequent of all the marriage talk on blogsville but i have really been time constrained.

    now, i like the point where you said people with happy marriages need to talk more abt it.. now i will talk from personal experience.

    i have two friends who are in really bad marriages(in all respects) and i find it difficult to turn them away when they come to confide in the same time, i find it difficult to talk abt my own experience cos it feel like i have it too good and such..

    i have the same feeling when i hear people talk abt so many bad marriages (even sometimes seem to make it a nigerian thing) but still, i turn around and i see it many people have good marriages and it is not a lie to say you do.

    what a person has seen affects his/her perception of things(in this case marriage) and i have seen a quite some great marriage relationships, i grew up in one and tho you may count be a newbie(with only 3years gone), i have one..pardon my optimism, therefore if i want to believe that there are others, lots of others.

  20. Lovely write up, Ms Elegbede's write up evn though satirical tells the truth about some women. Marriage has become a scary business that we never really know if we are making the right choice. but like said Marriage has got 3 flavors: Sweet, Bitter and Sour. HOpe the Sweet part lasts a long time.

  21. Yeah! Marriage is a very unique institution! One has to be ready in ALL ramifications before enrolling. However, in this institution, there is no written examination. Marriage is not a competition as there are no special awards to be given to contestants!

  22. You have many valid points oh,....if its for the regular sex...its worth giving marriage a try. Now I have my inspiration for my bext blog. Thanks Myne.

  23. I enjoyed reading this and I certainly agree with you (didn't read the other article but I get the idea)... but there are many sides to this coin sha...

    Some couples are happy and talk about it. Some are happy and don't talk about it. Some are sad and talk about it. Some are sad and lie that all is well because of several issues others have raised (eg pressure from society). Some are sad and never talk about it.

    Many sides to the coin.

    I can thankfully testify though, yep - there are many many great, happy marriages, no lie!

    Thanks for sharing Myne!

  24. I agree with Lauri. Marriage is a process, not an event. It will definitely have its ups and downs. For single people to expect it to be any different, would be setting themselves up for disappointment.

    Shine ya eye, keep it real, respect and accept each other - faults et al, and you may just be happy.

  25. This was so well said, Myne. I'm not married and haven't been yet, but from what I've seen of my parents' marriage (which ended two years ago) what you say rings true.

  26. Well put.. Even better than I did, I tell you..
    Well, I'm not married so I wouldn't know much, Lol

  27. As a newly married man, I think I would share your points. We always look at the negatives and not the positives and I am working hard to be in the positive 50.

  28. As a couple of people mentioned, that article was satirical so its really not that serious. It just made me laugh.

    In Nigeria,(from my experience)People are prone to exaggeration for no apparent reason. I can't remember the last time I asked anybody a simple question that got an honest reply.

    People get sucked into all that prestige shit...everybody lies. About their jobs, careers, their kids, their husbands, their houses, everything.

    So, I don't think its just women and marraiges. Men are the number one liars, cos they lie to others and themselves too.

    And its not just Nigerians. People in general, will rather die than allow others see the true state of their affairs...thats just the way it is.

    I do not doubt that "happy marraiges" do not exist. Of course, they do. I am sure there are many couples all over the world having a great time with their lives.

    Ah! People should just live their lives the best they know how...if it makes them feel better to disguise the truth, na dem sabi...whatever gets them through the day.

    And as for those already living happily...well, carry on...I have never heard of anyone needing "proof" of happiness...if you're happy, you are happy. You don't need to prove to anyone that your marraige is great. You just live your life...

    In my opinion, people spend way too much talking about "marraige". Good, bad or ugly, there is nothing that has not been said before.

    Lots of love to those just starting out...enjoy yourselves...

  29. think i ve missed a lot,need to catch ASAP

  30. Myne,thumbs up!!! you have spoken so well and I totally concur :-))

  31. Thanks for all the comments, I really appreciate them. I have also learnt from them and added to what I already know. At the end of it all, it is to each their own.

  32. A very insightful post. Marriage is a process, not an event/occasion. Much well learnt from this. Thanks

  33. Hmmm....So u never cease to keep me here longer than i bargained!
    Great piece. Thoughtful too.

    Thanx a bunch for the birthday shoutout.

  34. Wow..this is deep, marriage is a tough subject for real, there is really no perfect marriage, there's more to it than we all know about. It's all takes work


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