“For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”
This is arguably one of the most common bible verses recited at weddings. The officiating priest or pastor usually casts a stern glance at both the parents of the bride and groom and bellows in a loud voice. “Your children are now married, let them be, this is what the Bible commands”! Both mothers on either side would attempt to cover a sneer but fail hopelessly. The couple stare into each others eyes, silently vowing not to let outside interference ruin their ever blossoming love.
Fast forward a couple of years and all the sentiments expressed on that day may have been all but forgotten! “My mother told me not to marry you”! The once so in love husband screams at his now crying wife. “Was I suffering when you met me? She screams back. You promised we’d move to Lekki Phase One when we got married, yet we are still living in Ajah”! Frustration seeping from every pore on her skin. And then the battle lines are drawn. The man feels his wife has turned into a gold digging nag, who can never be satisfied while the wife sees her husband as a cold brute, incapable of keeping any of his promises. Before long, the once passion-filled bedroom is replaced by a cold bitter silence.
My dad recently gave me a huge graduation present. For days I prayed for my dad endlessly and called him everyday to tell him how much I appreciate him, regardless of the gift. Instead of listening to me ramble on, he would revert to prayer mode and as is customary for parents with children my age, he would pray for God to give me a family of my own and enable me to do bigger and better things for them. It was during one such conversations/prayer sessions with my dad that I mentally came across a stark realization. I wanted to marry a man like my father!
The mere realization of it all took me aback. How could I even think that way? Was there something wrong with me? My mind vaguely recalled my first year psychology lessons on the ‘Oedipus Complex’ by Sigmund Freud. The ‘Oedipus Complex’ is a psychoanalytic theory which explains how humans unconsciously posses feelings towards the parent of the opposite sex. It is named after a Greek mythical character ‘Oedipus’, who unknowingly kills his father, Laius and marries his mother, Jocasta. While there is absolutely no chance in hell that I am going to murder my mother and marry my father, the theory is useful for understanding why women and men often seek for their partners to have similar characteristics to their parents.
Ask any man on the road and if he is being honest, he will tell you he wants his woman to do all his mother does for him. Cook and clean, accept him wholeheartedly for who he is without complaint and be a haven of peace from the cold harsh world. Every woman wants a man that treats her like a princess, showers her with gifts, provides and takes care of her every need. A man who treats her like she is the single most important living thing on the planet, a man she can lean on come what may. Do any of these characteristics sound similar?
While I do not think there is any thing wrong in seeking out these character traits in a future partner, there are important things to remember. One, my father was definitely not as well off as he is now when he met my mother. In fact I am sure the contrary is the case. Neither did he have the time to shower her with a barrage of gifts. If I recall correctly, my father spent most of my formative years climbing the professional ladder in his chosen career. Similarly, it usually takes years of learning and experience for a woman to turn out 3 perfectly cooked meals in less than an hour and still have enough strength to clean the house from top to bottom, go to work and come home to do the washing, ironing and dishes. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither are perfectly made partners. I think the single, and possibly the married ones too, in our generation are so caught up in the ‘ideal’ situation that we have forgotten how to build up from scratch. Be patient with your partner as they slowly learn how to love you. As with all good things in life, this will take time but the rewards certainly are bountiful.
So maybe the next time a pastor is preaching on the above verse. Let’s not concentrate so much on the mothers of the bride and groom and their interfering ways. Instead let’s concentrate on ourselves. Are we prepared to leave the notions of parental love which in itself is totally different from that shared between a man and woman and cleave instead to the person we have chosen to love, knowing one day, after much energy has been spent, they too will learn how to love you perfectly?
Photo credit: www.angel119.files.wordpress.com