Last week as I stayed glued to CNN because of the forthcoming American election, I saw a mini documentary on Weddings, The Naija Style. I must say that from time, we do know how to put on a show, especially my brothers from the West.
We as Africans are generally boisterous people. We love events and for us, everything is a large party and the larger the party, the more successful an occasion is interpreted to be. Naming ceremonies, weddings, even funerals have become one big jamboree and my personal opinion is that we are losing the significance of this occasions which are meant to be solemn by the noisy chaos we have around it. I’m particularly going to focus on ‘wedding tinz’.
Several months ago, my last son came to me to talk about his impending marriage and of course the wedding planning came up. He was expecting to have a high society wedding at my expense (Hmmm…) but I told the young lad that it is whatever he can save for his wedding that will be the budget for it. Nobody paid for mine so he has to be disciplined enough to raise the money he needs for his. Of course as an entertainer and a showbiz personality it is easy to surmise that I will like large occasions, as shown by my late father’s burial which was a carnival of sort. But I still think that most of what we spend is unnecessary.
Let me begin by saying that in modern days, the ceremony of weddings has become more important than the marriage act itself. Which is why we find the fragile institution of marriage collapsing. I’ll have to say to some certain degree that elaborate functions are not always a bad idea especially when the person hosting it is spending money as a result of their hard work and not stolen or borrowed money.
It is normal for people to show off and have elaborate and flamboyant ceremonies, that’s one of the factors that differentiate us from animals. I also believe that simple is beautiful, but some occasions call for an elaborate celebration especially when it’s a once in a lifetime event. What better way to make the moment memorable than to make it elegant? However, what I find most worrisome is that some people go as far as borrowing money from the banks, other financial institutions, friends and family members just to celebrate weddings, burials, birthday parties, and the most upsetting part, is that after the show is over, then you still see them long after, struggling to meet up with the basic daily requirements of living? Why can’t they have a business plan in which they can invest that money and get returns or something more profitable.
One of my favorite sayings is, “cut your coat according to your size not your neighbor’s size”. Abegi, why must one go a borrowing just to impress people, when the aftermath of the ceremony leaves you in debt? Especially at the point where you have to start to think of someone else in regards to raising a family.
My advice to young people is that it’s not how expensive your occasion is that guarantees a stable married life. Instead of spending such a huge amount to have an elaborate wedding and when the debts pile up, the quarrels begin, the advice I give young couples is that they should have a long financial discussion before marriage. Issues like who pays what bills and when should be addressed.
Most of the major conflicts people have in marriages are always financially related so it is very important to have this talk about the kind of financial future they want to have and strategize on how they intend to achieve it.
Abi? Weytin you think?