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Leaving and Cleaving

Glory Edozien

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“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

Glory is the host and executive producer of Inspire Series, the web talk show which uses the collective stories of everyday women to inspire others. She believes women are more than hand bags, hair, make-up and other externalities and is passionate about about pursuing purpose and living above societal conformities. She is also a day dreamer, and romantic at heart who loves TV, food and family. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @inspiredbyglory and read more from her on www.inspiredbyglory.com

42 Comments

  1. Ms. Jayee

    August 3, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Nice piece. But i was a tipped over by all that psychoanalysis….

  2. Ms. Jayee

    August 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

    *but i was a bit tipped over…..” (lol! typo)..hey! first to comment.

  3. mia

    August 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    Nice one

  4. miss.naturelle

    August 3, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    On point Glory! Rome was not built in a day and for anything to work well including marriages, it takes patience and hard work to get to the usually greener other side (lol usually taking into account those that do all the right things but it just doesnt seem to work, the exceptions). I read an article about 4 sisters who had racked up an impressive 200 years together each married to the same spouse. The article then went on to quote on of the sisters who attributed the longevity of all their relationships to the fact that back in the day marriage was for the long haul. You take the ups and downs and you stick with it, for better or worse was taken more literally then.

  5. Juwon

    August 3, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Beautiful. Good piece.

  6. fokasibe

    August 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm

    I never wished for a man like my father..(not that I hate my dad or anything remotely like that, but…hardly anone I know wants to marry a man like their father……Your dad must be something for you to want to marry someone like him!
    I only pray

  7. fokasibe

    August 3, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    …………..my sons would want to marry someone like their mum…then, I’d know I’ve done something good!

  8. heyr

    August 3, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Nice write up. We also seem to forget all the ‘drama’ episodes that happened between our parents, and just focus on the good parts we want to see.
    BTW: i think Elektra’s complex is more apt for women.

  9. doz!

    August 3, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    hmmm…

  10. TJ

    August 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Great article…I am a recent newly wed…and this was a very good read.

  11. iLoveit

    August 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

    I do want to marry someone like my father. My father treated me like a princess but was my number one supporter and critic (I love that man, RIP Daddy). Great article Glory and great insight on why our generation is failing miserably at marriage. Our microwave mentality is doing us in so badly.

  12. Koinonia01

    August 3, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Well said Gloria.

    You are a 21st century lady with your own job, life, car, money and even apartment but some things just never change, you want to get married, but he has not asked you yet. You have been dating since like forever it is obvious you’ll be together for the long haul but where’s your ring?
    You’ve been unbelievably nice to him – You don’t hangout with your friends on weekends anymore, you call his mum, cook him dinner, wash his laundry.

    After all this he still doesn’t want to marry you. Well, you’re a big girl and he didn’t force you so don’t let him take you for granted. You’ve done all the wifely duties but guess what? He still hasn’t asked you to marry him…………… to be continued on http://www.koinonia01.blogspot.com

  13. ossy

    August 3, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmph!!!

  14. Koinonia01

    August 3, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Well said Gloria

    You are a 21st century lady with your own job, life, car, money and even apartment but some things just never change, you want to get married, but he has not asked you yet. You have been dating since like forever it is obvious you’ll be together for the long haul but where’s your ring?
    You’ve been unbelievably nice to him – You don’t hangout with your friends on weekends anymore, you call his mum, cook him dinner, wash his laundry.
    After all this he still doesn’t want to marry you. Well, you’re a big girl and he didn’t force you so don’t let him take you for granted. You’ve done all the wifely duties but guess what? He still hasn’t asked you to marry him

    ……. to be continued on http://koinonia01.blogspot

  15. tamiz

    August 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Nice one…Well said!!

  16. tiki2a

    August 3, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    i like this piece…and i especially like the part about ‘growing’ together; personally, i think when a couple grows together, their lives intertwine, such that a separation is unthinkable. I pray God gives me a man not afraid to love, so I can give all the love I have to give…

  17. 'Lia

    August 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    In many ways, I do want to marry a man like my father…..but I also want a unique man that owns his own. Patience, understanding and tolerance are very important in those first few years as a married couple.

    May God bless us all with life-long, happy, love-filled marriages!

    Can I get an Amen?

    Amen!

  18. Deeply-troubled

    August 3, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Can couples really grow together? I used to be madly in love with my ex-boyfriend and knew right from the beginning that I would be happy married to him but we eventually broke up (yeah, i know right, if we were that good together, why did we break up? but shit happens). However, the feeling I have for my current boyfriend is different, I am not madly in love, I only like him and am really scared that he may propose to me soon but I am nit exactly sure if I want to be married to him for the rest of my life since I don’t have the feeling and peace I had with my ex. Can I really grow to love him enough? I am so scared and worried that after 2 years of dating, i still don’t feel that fire and calmness in my spirit that he’s the one.

  19. teebee

    August 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    better dont marry someone you are not sure you have feelings for . Otherwise you will be in deep trouble.
    Love changes over time too…its not always the fiery passion or heat of the early days of courtship, its like wine : ages as the years go by and gets better too….but really be sure sure about what you are getting into ..better be single than married to the wrong person…you would have wronged yourself and wasted the guy’s time too….leading him on and pretending he is the one

  20. Proudly_Naija

    August 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    @ deeply troubled don’t let your past (ex) rob you of your present or future. Your ex is an ex for a good reason for all things work together for good. And don’t think about going back to an ex (that is a no, no). I’m not saying you should marry your current boyfriend but don’t be hung up on someone (ex) who has moved on – it ain’t worth it.

  21. dudu

    August 3, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I totally agree with proudly naija. Leave the past behind and move on love.
    Your ex most definitely has. There’s a lot of treasure out there, if only u would open your eyes and heart to receive.

    All the best dear.

  22. mary007

    August 3, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    I always love reading your write ups Glory,initially I was wondering where this was going then I got it , Glory this is a really really good piece well done.

  23. Ola

    August 3, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Yet another compelling right up…i really enjoyed this piece and agree with you.

  24. madame

    August 4, 2010 at 7:00 am

    niiiizze!

  25. Olivia

    August 4, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Excellent piece! The paradox and mystery about marriage is that it really isnt about ‘needing’ someone else or having someone else complete you. This builds unrealistic expectations cos truly man is man and only God can complete a human being. If you truly took time to love and accept yourself and be authentic to whom you are, you will attract same and build something beautiful over time, one simple day at a time. I like to think of relationships as a sharing of our awesomeness with someone else. You are inviting another human being into your life to be a witness to the majesty of God in you and vice versa. If each partner has sincere self accountability and is true to their core…life is so much richer (not without challenges, but also interesting). People live in fear and half truths and it chokes the lives out of great relationships. Authenticity is simply being you, warts et al and rediscovering each other daily, basking in the NOW. We all change over time and relationships enter different seasons and if we really focused on the NOW and lived in awareness we would adapt beautifully to the changing rythms of our partners-No one esle is responsible for your joy or life but you cos you are each co-creators with God and you CHOSE to be together…respect and self accountability water the seeds of love to bloom through changing weathers!!!

  26. Olivia

    August 4, 2010 at 7:04 am

    *else

  27. Catwalq

    August 4, 2010 at 7:43 am

    For those who would like to marry men like their fathers, do remember that a father’s love is veery very different from a husband’s love. You need to look at your parent’s marriage and ask yourself, was your mother indeed very happy. fathers do tend to spoil their daughters and mothers cover up the realities of their marriages so before you equate a graduation gift to evidence of a good spouse, pause…

  28. Tomi

    August 4, 2010 at 8:52 am

    Great article!

  29. Koinonia01

    August 4, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Olivia that was a very articulate comment, It couldn’t have been said better. You hit
    the nail right on the head. Thanks for the beautiful insight.

  30. Teris

    August 4, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Babe, you try.

  31. Doll

    August 4, 2010 at 10:08 am

    i used to think i’l want to marry a man like my dad and have the kind of marriage my paernts had, but knowing what i know now, i second Catwalq….they paint the picture they want us to see

  32. kemi

    August 4, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I can relate to the feeling of wanting to marry a man like my father, in most respects. In the others, hell to the NO. I think it comes from knowing I can truly depend on him coming through for me, accepting the person that I am, and hoping to mould me into a better person. Good one.

    P.s its not oedipus complex when its a female. Its called electra complex.

  33. Netty

    August 4, 2010 at 10:24 am

    This piece is trés fantastiqué! I was having a similar discussion with my house mate about how women are unconsciously drawn to men that have similarities to their father and, we concluded that there had to be some psychological explanation for this behaviour.

    Enjoyed reading it. Thank you

  34. ibinike

    August 4, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    True indeed!I can tell you from experience that even if you don’t go ou lookin for a man like daddy, yu still find out that you marry someone like him! I remember my mum picking books, magazines, leaflets and all manners of written stuff after my dad and away fromther bed. I dthe same with my hubby now! I marvel at how similar they both are and still very different.

  35. ATS

    August 4, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Good piece, Well written…Mabrook!

  36. Myne Whitman

    August 4, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I loved this, so on point. Well done Glory!

  37. loly

    August 5, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Good piece, i really like the idea

  38. DaBreeze

    August 5, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    spot on

  39. Bola

    August 6, 2010 at 8:03 am

    @ Deeply Troubled, take your concerns to God in prayer

  40. goldfinger

    August 6, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Very well said Olivia…I concur!

  41. dami

    August 19, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    @ Deeply Troubled you need to let go of your ex i perceived that you still in love with your ex maybe hoping he come back to you (i dare say) that why you dnt love your current bf let go of your ex and the past and open your heart to love your current bf without letting go of your past there is no way of moving forward i know you scared of getting hurt again by your bf but it part of life ( we have loved, hurted but we have to try again) you have to keep kissing the frogs to find your prince…. and like wat bola said take it to God…

  42. it is not easy.. full stop!

    November 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    @ deeply troubled maybe the fire and calmness you felt for Mr Ex is not what you want to feel for a future husband especially as it ended up in a break up.

    @ glory.. lovely piece.. but my own concern is the fact that I might be willing to be patient for my man and help him grown and all of that while he just takes the piss.. like i am breaking my back giving him all the help and support he needs, breaking my back to make things easier for him while he just sits there and does nothing because even though he tells me that is what he wants… secretly he doesn’t. Bare he mind that if I knew he didn’t want it.. I wouldn’t be breaking my back and would have saved myself the trouble.

    Also last christmas I spent with my aunt in DC and on the new year’s eve service in her church.. this woman gave a heart wrenching testimony about her husband as in.. I was weeping! The couple are nigerians. Got married in naija, they were doing really well and then he decides he wanted to move the family to the states so he moved back ahead of them to set the pace before he would eventually send for his wife and his 4 kids. He struggled bad in the states, so much so that his wife had to move there with the kids to help him. They didn’t have much. She used to work 3 jobs if i remember correctly, just so she can give her husband the money he needed to do the qualifications or whatever he needed to make it inthe states… this woman loved her husband and she worked hard to make her relationship work…

    Only for him to eventually make it and get a younger woman pregnant!! He then tells his wife she is too old for him! Didn’t he know that while she was helping him build his empire?? long story short he sends her out or he moves out cant remember which, she then had to bring up the kids by herself and get this… cancer comes knocking on her door.. and a whole load of other things… she couldnt even finish the testimony.. I was in tears!

    I am not saying it was the man that gave her the cancer… but at least if she wasnt nursing a huge heart break during the cancer, maybe it would have made it more bearable. So long story short… it is not a journey i look forward to.. but a journey i will embark on anyway.

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