Dear Marriage

Dear marriage,

I do not like you and I think I may never get married. Most of my friends and agemates are already married with some even having more than one wife and children of course. Whenever some of my friends, relatives or colleagues ask me when I’m getting married I just smile and tell them soon, initially I used to tell them never but the reaction and pressure I always got from them made me cook up a better lie ‘soon’ ( Although I don’t know long the ‘soon’ will continue to serve as a palliative to their questions and nagging, maybe I will start telling them very soon ). Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate you completely, I often find myself envious of some of the married couples I know especially when I see them with their children. I want to give my parents at least one grandchild, I want to hold my own child and be proud that I played a part in creating another human being but all that has never been enough reason to make me have a rethink. I respect the institution of marriage but I’m not just sure if I’m cut out for it.

You know how some people blame some event in their past to justify their current misdeeds or actions like saying ” when I was a kid my dad used to beat my mother that’s why I hate men”, well I believe some event in my past has made me scared of marriage. Let me tell you the story, a story that actually involves you.

You see I know these family who for years lived without really knowing each other, they were not entirely oblivious of the existence of each other but there was an invisible line dividing them and they hardly crossed it unless it became really necessary. They were happy living in their separate worlds. Then one fateful or is it unfateful day a visitor from far far away across the seas came calling, they had never seen his type before he did not have black skin like them instead his skin was as white as the spirits, when he spoke he seemed to talk through his mouth and nose. Some of them viewed him as an unbeliever and therefor unclean to associate with. To most of them he was an enigma they could not really understand but since he had come they had no choice but to accommodate him with his strange and unusual ways. With time this visitor established his name among them he used his tricks and cunning to exploit them until he became richer and more prosperous than them eventually he made them his subjects and forced them to start interacting with each other and then one day he called them all together and said;

“You know I have your best interest at heart and I want to make you as rich and powerful as I am”.

They all stared at him refusing to believe his lying words ( even though they were his subjects they were definitely not fools ) but since he was their master they kept quiet and he continued.

” That is why I called you today to inform you that I have decided to join you in marriage,I have found a suitable husband for you and all of you will be his wives”.

His announcement shocked them enough to untie their fearful tongues, they voiced out their protest which he immediately silenced with his roaring command. They all trembled at the roaring command which they were all familiar with and feared even more than the roar of a lion.

At the wedding he made himself the officiating minister. In marrying them he departed from the usual norm of asking ” Do you Mr A take Mr B to be your spouse” or asking the congregation ” If their is anyone who has any objection to the marriage speak now or forever hold your peace “, instead he headed straight to the end “I now pronounce you husband and wives”. When he told them they could now kiss their husband they remained frozen with disgust until he grabbed their heads and made all of them share a forced kiss with their husband.

And so their life as a family began, but it was not a peaceful marriage. They ¬†quarelled almost everyday, one day one of them will wake up and say “lets cook tuwo today” but another wife will say “no I want to eat fufu or amala” and before you know a quarrell ensues. One of the wives will declare “My religion is better than yours”, another will say “Im the only one serving the true living God”. It was terrible they were living under the same roof but they didn’t mind blowing off the roof or even destroying the whole house still the visitor insisted that they must stay together. Don’t you know that marriage is for better or for worst, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poor, till death do you part he told them. When he said till death do them part he said it in such a way that suggested he would rather see them kill each other than to see them separate.

As the years went by their relationship only seemed to get worst. The visitor also grew older and weaker over the years until one day the wives told the visitor to leave them alone and go back to wherever he came from.It was time for them to be independent. He also saw the truth in their demand and since he had exploited and stolen enough from them already ( sending whatever he got back to his original home ) he agreed that it was time for him to leave, and leave he did.

With his departure the marriage grew worst until one day one of the wives decided that the best way out was to put an end to the marriage but the husband and the other wives said no. It got so bad that the wife that wanted to end the marriage packed out of the matrimonial home fled across a bridge called the Niger bridge and filed for divorce ( as the petitioner ) but the husband along with the other wives ( as the respondents ) and the visitor ( who despite his absence still had a say in what was going on ) insisted that the marriage must stand. A long and violent divorce proceedings that lasted for two years, six months, one week and two days ensued, during this horrible period most of the other family and friends the family knew took sides and supported the respondents only a few supported the petitioner. Even the presiding judge was biased and seemed to be on the side of the respondents. In the end the respondents won and the petitioner was forced to move back into the matrimonial home. Even as I write this the marriage is on a shaky foundation and may actually give way any day now ( I pray it doesn’t ). The old petitioner seems set to start another divorce proceeding. I hear that some lawyers are already preparing divorce papers for the petitioner.

Before you start saying that the reason why the marriage isn’t working is because it was a forced marriage of convenience let me tell you about the marriage of the visitor. When he went back to his place of origin he also decided to enter into a marriage voluntarily and out of love but true to his tricky and cunning ways he refused to operate a joint account with the other party insisting that he will continue to use his pound sterling and not the euro they agreed upon. There is even talk that the visitor is contemplating opting out of the marriage.
From what I have seen from that family and a whole lot of other families I can see that you and I may never be on the same page. I just hope that after reading this letter you will understand why I dont want anything to do with you.


Happy Gamophobe.


This letter is a work of fiction, any resemblance to the British creation and colonization of Nigeria, the Nigeria/Biafra civil war,the European Union is purely coincidental.

12 thoughts on “Dear Marriage” by Mamman Saba Mustapha (@danjuma)

  1. An allegory of sort… or is it a satire of d institution called marriage.
    For your UTOPIA, marriage is beautiful and if you “find a wife”. Not a forced marriage. So there’s hope for you. You don’t have to be forced to marry someone u don’t love, you don’t have to be afraid to marry.

    For your DYSTOPIA, if we work together with the purpose of wanting it to work…Nigeria will work and remain undivided. I pray for peace in Eastern Nigeria. I pray for peace in the North-Eastern Nigeria. I pray for peace everywhere.

    N.B: Consider how this would have been more interesting, creative and mentally hallenging for the readers if you had not added the DISCLAIMER. It spoilt the fun for me, cos it was what I first read.

    Well done.

    1. @ojestar. Thanks, I pray that Nigeria works and I pray for peace everywhere too. I just thought the disclaimer will make readers understand the piece better.

  2. This issue of marriage eh…its a very tricky one o but you see the thing is, you can never really understand it fully no matter how hard you try just the way you can never fully understand two persons and it’s sad to know its become a very scary institution. However, I think the utopia concerning it can be conquered when one has a relationship with God.

    “for He has not given us the spirit of fear but of love and of a sound mind”.

    So if it’s something you really want, then you have to trust God that it will all work out for your good.

    It is also clear in God’s word that marriage is also not by force. It’s a choice you alone as a person have to make for yourself subject to the Will of God. So no matter how much God wants it for you, it also has to be your choice. He wouldn’t force you.

    So I think in the end, the most important question anyone has to ask themselves is, is it the will of God for me to be married? Most people forget to ask these questions before they dive into it. They let their own desires pursue them into the field and then everything goes wrong. Not all are called to be married but don’t let fear be the determining factor of why you shouldn’t be. Let God and you be that factor.

    And sweet, if you keep looking at other people’s marriages, you wouldn’t get it right..Nah you wouldn’t. Just the way you don’t look at other people before you succeed, don’t do the same in the case of marriage.

    Oh shoot!I’ve written an epistle. Forgive me. but then no matter what the decision you want to make in life, just make sure FEAR isn’t the determining factor.

    Thanks for sharing. kisses!

    1. @kyceeq. Lol, I was beginning to view your comment as some sort of rejoinder, but you are right marriage is not something that can ever truly be understood, sometimes I think it’s unnecessary other times I know it’s a necessity. Thanks for the kisses.

  3. Marriage is beautiful, but only if you find the right (And I say right, not perfect) person. I celebrated 10 years of marriage this year, and am excited to spend the next 70 or 80 years of my life with my husband. Not that we don’t have our disagreements, but we are both committed to making it work.
    However, I get that first paragraph too well, when well-meaning people keep on asking you when when, and you have to improvise your replies. I have had a lot of people ask me when I was going to have a third child, seeing my second is already five. I am not interested in a third child, and said so often and often to these people. Now, I just say, “pray for a miracle for us”. Now, if you are praying for a miracle of a child for me, you will be dissapointed, because a child is not a miracle for me right now. But my answer seems to satisfy the askers.

    1. @folakemi. I agree with you marriage is beautiful when it’s with the right person ( I’m still searching for the right one) . I’m glad you could relate with the first paragraph but you’ve also put more fear in me, so you mean even after I give in to their nagging and get married it won’t end there. I guess I have a lot to learn from married couples like you. Thanks.

  4. Nice, nice. The story of the history of Nigeria is a complex one and you made it easier to see in a few words. I see your profession (law, if not mistaken) piercing through this. I agree with @ojestar, no need to have given the disclaimer at the end.
    Still enjoyed it, both as a metaphor and as a representative of marriages.

    1. @aplusn. Thanks, glad you enjoyed it, I just thought the disclaimer will make the piece clearer especially for those who do not really know the history of Nigeria, your point is well noted.

  5. She is an old woman already, why seek for a divorce? Any lessons learnt from the last (1967 – 1970) episode?

    The agonies of a forced marriage. Still, whether forced or the parties fell in love and decided to remain permanently joined together, disasters await them when either party becomes selfish.

    1. @namdi. I still tremble with fear whenever I think about that period (1967 -1970) although I was not born then I have read a lot of literature on that period to know that we should never allow something similar to happen again. We should learn from history.

  6. The disclaimer didn’t complicate matters for me…maybe Mamman saba just wanted a little humour at the end…or he’s trying to play safe.
    All the same this is a nice work.
    Spotted one or two typos though.
    Well done, Saba

    1. @praize. Thanks, the disclaimer was meant to add humor and make the piece clearer. Your point on the typo is well noted will try to do better next time.

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