Six years ago a friend of mine and his girlfriend loved each other so much they got married. Theirs was a perfect example of a sweet relationship every one of us dreamt to have in our lives. Pictures of laughter and events together were never on Facebook rare. But lately, all are memories. All I get from my friend these days are complaints. His wife would leave the house with the kid for her mum’s, three hours away without telling him, and six weeks she might not bother to come home. He told me for a year now, his wife had not allowed him a kiss, not to talk of the proper couple’s intimacy. So I visited him and sat in this staggering couch in a stuffy parlour, their marriage picture hung directly behind the TV which was no more working, covered in cobwebs. The house, even with lights on, was a quiet house, a dead house. Then he started to complain about how hard things have been, how his mum has refused to assist him on paying the house rent and all. I didn’t need to ask what has sucked the glory out of their love; I knew it was money.
Until recently, I never really knew what makes a man ready for marriage. I have no foolish mum, she told me being emotionally ready alone doesn’t just do it, you have to be able to provide your family’s needs. If you’re financially incapable of keeping your home fed, your love is ruptured by the setting of every day’s sun. Even if the wife is working but you’re not, you’re gonna be the first to not enjoy the marriage. Rivers are beautiful, twilight is, so are flowers and artworks but one thing blinds you from seeing the beauty of all those; hunger. When you lack money, you get hungry. When you get hungry, you get angry. When you’re always angry, how does your love look then?
I’ve wondered why I never got to catch girls’ attentions as a bachelor being pestered for marriage; I do not look financially capable. If I had pretended to be rich like most guys do by wearing fake stuffs, I would surely have brought many girls to bed but is that what I need? It’s never girls’ faults to avoid relationships with financially impotent guys I’ve realized anyway; where’s the love when you cannot afford any fun? You take the well dressed girl to the mosquito club you call your apartment, everywhere reeking and buzzing with flies. Now you sit her down and begin to tell her how much you love her and how bright your future is because you have graduated with Second Class Upper; my brother, you’re on your own. Your mother struggled with your father, loved him and believed in his dream, where is she today?
Because of poverty, seventy percent of couples in Nigeria are only together for baby production; they aren’t in love. They could’ve been in love when they first started, but I assure you, not anymore. If you don’t believe me, come to Ilorin, come and see how husbands give their wives ceaseless beatings, of course mostly among the poor folks.
I’m not saying love doesn’t exist among poor people, of course it could exist if they have a farm to harvest food crops from. But if they don’t, hmmm, let’s say the wife is pretty and the husband loves her, so to satisfy her, he takes on his motorcycle for commercial rides everyday, if he’s lucky, while he plummets through the sunny afternoon, the wife is not at a hotel, rocking another man’s boat. Without money, marriage is easy to start. At least, you still have all those Alfas telling you God has provided what you’ll eat for you from heaven and you should go on, but one year after marriage, 500 Naira equals 1 Dollar, if your wife is still in love, it’s because she’s never lived above that level before; she came from a poor family.
Death is real; it feeds on life. Life is real; it feeds on earth. Societies are real; they feed on love. Love is real, what does it feed on if not money especially in marital situations? I swear to God I’m not trying to impose my beliefs on you, and I’m not sure I’m entirely right, just like I’m very sure I’m not entirely wrong; matrimonial love cannot survive without money. I knew a girl who was so decent she never allowed her boyfriend to touch her and of course they loved each other, but then it happened that they were at a campus party together which one famous Nigerian artiste also attended. When the artiste pointed her out and asked her to follow him and his friends to their hotel overnight, she left her boyfriend at the spot. When you’re ripe this age, money makes you ready, not your erections, not your emotions, not your education, not your age, for when poverty comes in through the door, love jumps out through the window and you know it; we both know it. But wait o, for how long do we wait for money before we get married in this country? Where’s the money? Hmmm… Ifá laá bi ò. Let’s ask the oracle.
– Lord eBay (and his random ruminations, 2017)
eBayism School of Thought