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Chiugo Akaolisa: Westernized Love

Chiugo Akaolisa

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I am a fan of action movies (the more the fight scenes, the better) but I can see why the movie “The Notebook” and so many other similar movies pull at the heart strings of many Nigerians. It shows the western side of love. Men are shown to be very affectionate and accepting of equal responsibility and treatment with their lady loves.

These western movies and songs have shown us that the gender roles can actually be blurred and couples can get more than what they are confined to. We look at how bland and restrictive some traditional relationships are and wish for more colour.

Chiugo and Idris Elba can elope and start a family on nothing more than each other.

Romantic right? Unfortunately, that hasn’t translated to longer years of being together.

That is where the ever dependable “African Values” come in. Because Africa has high respect for family values, it designates roles to each member of a partnership. This type of union tends to last longer as a result of these gender roles and also the dedication to it. Adding the fact that members of the extended family are involved, it is a lot harder to part ways.

In short, partners sacrifice a considerable measure of individual freedom and sometimes happiness to act in the interest of the family.

If you ask majority of people in Nigeria to explain the increasing divorce rate and poor quality of relationships, they would tell you that it is a result of westernization.

Some blame the lack of “African Values” in any relationship as the reason for its downfall. A woman who isn’t trained or interested in the domestic affairs of the home (not humble) or a man who isn’t the primary provider creates a growing concern.

I do not totally disagree: I mean, educated women are becoming increasingly independent and assertive about what they want and men now have a lot more westernized means of distracting themselves. New hangout spots, new video games, more susceptible women (affairs are no longer a taboo), etc.

Put these two together, I do not see how a relationship can last longer than the initial spark. When the real issues begin, rather than hashing it out, the man escapes to his safe haven and a woman looks for ways to get by on her own. Love can only forgive so much before the easily available means of separation is suggested.

In my opinion, this is the only area where westernization needs to take a back seat. Couples lost in misunderstanding need to create more time for themselves and figure out the best way forward.  In other areas, I do not see what the fuss is all about.

I still laugh at the fact that other westernized improvements to the society are welcomed but relationships still have to remain traditional. Why should a man cook for his family and why should a woman be the bread winner, why should the in-laws or extended family members reserve their opinions? (Let’s be honest, some of them are too nosy)

If both parties in the relationship are happier for it…then why not?

The quality of a relationship shouldn’t be hinged on pre-existing values. Every relationship should be unique to what works best. If you know that each of you can contribute outside the norm to help out the relationship, then there is no shame in doing it. Both cultures (westernized and Traditional) are both very important. We can benefit from being more affectionate and considerate just as we can benefit from putting dedication and hard work into each union.

It is very important to learn from the mistakes and benefits of both cultures and build something rather unbreakable. Personally, I would rather have a friend than a king.

Those who cannot learn from the past are condemned to repeat it– George Santayana

Goodluck!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang

Chiugo Veronica Akaolisa is a graduate from the University of Alberta, Canada. She is a God-lover and a recluse. Her every spare time is spent writing and developing her business. She is an entrepreneur and a budding novelist. Her true passion is Poetry and Relationship Tips. She has a minor in Psychology.Twitter: Verachi | Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cakaolisa | Instagram: missverachi |

13 Comments

  1. cindy

    May 31, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Love is love. Marriage is marriage. I don’t want a westernized or traditional version. I just want it to be me and my husband against the world. I don’t want my marriage to be defined by any culture. I want it to be based on God’s values and our understanding of eachother alone. I want every other person to screw of. This might be unrealistic though?

  2. April

    May 31, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    i beleive in doing whatever makes you happy. if you think the traditional is the way to go, why not? if it’s the westernized version that suits you, just go ahead and do it. I hate rules and regulations (it’s a woman’s role to do that, That’s a man’s role) i can decide to pay some bills at home, he can decide to do the laundry, it doesn’t matter so far we’re happy. happiness over everything else.

  3. Pitch perfect

    May 31, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    I do understand the perspective of this article. However there’s one flaw in your article. It’s the assumption that having a “traditional African” marriage or having traditional African values has protected marriages from divorce back home. I used to believe the same when I was younger too. In my eyes, everyone had a mummy and daddy and those roles were rigid. However if you look around carefully, there’s divorce in the older generation. Often it’s not legally done. The man just leaves the women and children or the woman leaves. In other cases, he has a mistress and openly visits mistress and keeps family. In other cases, the woman is doing wifely duties but is not actually married to the man. (Mr Ibu’s recent wedding ceremony is an example). And finally, a lot of our grandfathers and for some, fathers were or are polygamous. In summary, “African” marriages are not always successful in comparison to western marriages. But Africans do a good job of hiding it.

  4. Juli

    May 31, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    Yes…A good job of hiding it indeed…In the west my parents should be divorced. A lot of married people stopped having sex 10 years into their marriage. A friend of mine noticed her parents were overprotective about their bedroom. Always locked and they never let anyone in no matter what..One day she snuck in and found they have divided their bed into two. Mum has her own bed and so does dad. When she asked them questions they both admitted it has been over a long time…

    • Tosin

      June 1, 2015 at 1:30 am

      I’m not married and already think separate bedrooms might be cool. 10 years is a long time to be exclusive hands-on with another person y’all. I don’t know how anybody does it.

    • Mabel

      June 1, 2015 at 6:20 am

      @ Tosin. They do build some houses here in the west with double master bedrooms. My dad snores like a freight train and many a night my mom has kicked him out of the bedroom so she can sleep in peace, she complains that he is the reason for the bags under her eyes, he complains of all the abuse he has had to take with my mom’s elbow ramming him at night to stop the snoring…lol. Some couples prefer different room temperatures for optimal rest, sleeping in separate rooms would work for them. I think having to sleep in the same bed is overrated, but I know it helps to keep the bond alive and easier access for copulation.

    • Tosin

      June 2, 2015 at 5:14 am

      @mabel
      i hear ya.
      lol @ easier access. no be de same house? 🙂

  5. Blessing

    May 31, 2015 at 8:04 pm

    Marriage/relationship is about 2 people. It will take those 2 people putting in 100% each and prayers to make it work. you have to build your home based on how you want it not how the society or a certain culture define it. If blending the western and traditional ways work for you good, if the western way is what you and your spouse want then go for it, or if you value the traditional way then stick to it. Mix, match, add or substrate from all the cultures if you want. At the end of the day, make sure that both of you are on the same page on how to run the home and always put God first!

  6. Busola

    May 31, 2015 at 11:42 pm

    At the end of the day, our love should be greater than pride. That’s the kind of love I seek.

    • Dollz

      June 2, 2015 at 10:52 am

      I want a friend too o…king koor…Babalawo ni…go check plenty queen wey no get mouth for where their king husband is talking….Peace of mind is necessary please…we should live our life jejely and be happy, not doing Oga Oga tins….Im out…….

  7. anonymous

    June 1, 2015 at 12:53 am

    Madam, you rather have a friend than a king? There’s obviously no Queen in you. I’d rather choke on greatness than nibble on the crumbs of mediocrity. Whatever works for you is fine, but it should work towards uplifting both parties, not just settling for less than you desire or deserve.

    • loveaddict

      June 1, 2015 at 4:39 am

      So bitter! To each his own. Nigerians need to learn how to start accepting that. Not everybody must settle for a money and greed. Some just want peace of mind. I want a friend too oh. All this Oga tin no dey work.

  8. Michelle

    June 4, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Funny that divorce rates has been seen as an indication of successful marriages.”Traditional marriages” may have lower “legally” divorce rates, but there is no means of telling if these couples were happy and together or miserable but still trying to save face in society.

    “Traditional” or “westernized” rules don’t matter. It’s about a couple deciding what works for them. Not going into marriage with their individual expectations but joint agreements on how things should be that will work for them both. Couples should also understand that things do change and be willing to communicate as well as be patient enough to work through changes.

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