Why I Gave Up on the Idea of an African ‘Happily-Ever-After’ for Myself

A Few Disclaimers

That title should have probably read, ‘Why I gave up on the idea of a happily-ever-after African marriage for myself.’ Of course the key words there; Happy, African, Marriage, and For Me. That’s the difference between someone coming at me to ‘set me straight’ and me basically just sharing why I chose a certain lifestyle for myself.

The idea of me saying I don’t wish to ever get married to an ‘African man’ automatically rubs people off the wrong way, and I don’t blame them. I would feel some type of way too if I heard a black African man say something like that about African women. But, I can explain!

I suppose I have to make the disclaimer that I’m divorced. And no, he isn’t the reason I happened upon this path because aside from a few weaknesses, he was actually a wonderful human being. The reason I’ve referenced that part of my life is because most people I’ve had this conversation with before tend to assume it’s because of that experience that I chose this path. It’s partly the reason, yes, but it’s not even half of it.

The ME in the Equation

It’s ME, not you.

I am the major reason why I gave up on the idea of a fulfilling African marriage for myself. And another disclaimer here: there are plenty of Africans out there who are happily married and I envy them for having the courage to completely surrender their souls to love and trust that no matter what happens, their love would have been worth the risk. I deeply envy them.

This is a Me issue, as opposed to it being a racial or cultural issue – but the lines get blurry somewhere along the way, for obvious reasons. My experiences and my personality make it almost impossible for me to be the ‘ideal’ wife to an African man. Most people will say ‘I am not a marriage/wife material’.  In this article, I explore the ‘experience’ aspect in much detail, but I’ll touch on the personality part briefly.

I am a loner at heart. I find constant human interaction suffocating. I can be a social butterfly when the moment demands but I’ll require the same level of energy and commitment to relieve myself off of all that ‘humaning’. No matter how in love I am, I expect to have some space all to myself at least three times a week. I can have people in my house running around and living their best lives, but my bedroom is my sanctuary. My me-space. I have tried to compromise on this since I developed breasts but the results are always the same: Suffocation. So I know beyond reasonable doubt that being stuck in bed with another human being every day of the week for the rest of my life is an overwhelming adventure!

On the Matter of Submission

Firstly, the ideal African wife is one who is submissive. Apparently, this is based on the Bible. However, I’m not sure if the way most Africans translate this is exactly how the Author intended. To most, this submission is without merit. By virtue of marriage, submission is earned. Submission to some is “Shut the hell up when I’m talking to you woman!” As opposed to, “Let me speak first, and you’ll also say your piece.” Submission is not nagging a man when he comes home at midnight asking where he has been or who he was with. It’s keeping quiet when your in-laws abuse, disrespect, or take advantage of you.

Submission means not to be assertive or opinionated. To be demure, soft-spoken, slow to anger (in fact, never getting angry at all is the most ideal), dressing ‘modestly’ – which means not exposing the skin of your thighs, arms, or cleavage. It also means having the patience to cater to your husband like a devoted wife five minutes after discovering he’s fathered another child with another woman because you need to win him over back to your side with your meek ways and kind heart lest the devil wins.

I am not that kind of woman.

I believe in holding adults who have some level of influence in my life accountable for their actions. Be they presidents, ministers, husbands, siblings, etc. This means asking questions in a respectable manner and at the appropriate time and place. For the traditional man, none of this matters because what are you doing asking questions in the first place? I refuse to submit to a man who has not earned my respect. A man who has not proved he is worthy to lead me in any way. My love and respect are very conditional. One would assume that by virtue of marriage, these conditions would have been met, but I’ve found that that is not the case for most relationships.

On the Matter of Partnerships

In an African marriage, the gender roles are very specific: the husband is the financial muscle and the wife is the homemaker and child care provider. Even in a world that has fought to shift gender roles, the African marriage remains the exception. A woman like me might get lucky and meet a gender role-fluid man, but the people behind and around him might not be so fluid. In my culture, we marry the whole village, not just the individual – figuratively speaking.  

I desire a man who can cook, clean after himself, wash dishes or place them in the dishwasher in the correct manner, and also handle 50% of the childcare without him thinking he is doing me a favor. It doesn’t matter if he has a day job or not. If I was a full-time homemaker and child care provider, I would expect to have an assistant or two during the day in form of a maid or housekeeper and/or nanny. Naturally, I would expect to ‘knock off’ from my day job, the same way my husband gets to knock off from his paying job. At which point of course the 2 assistants would have knocked off and the 2 of us would have to find a way of dealing with the rest of the evening/night without the other person thinking they’re doing the other a favor.

Clearly, I’m very ambitious! I can tell you with 100% certainty that there are very few African men who are gender-role-fluid. He knocks off from work to relax on the couch and watch Arsenal yet again fail to win the Premier League title while you (despite having a day job as well) will be laboring in the kitchen and taking care of the kids. If you’re very unlucky, he will be chilling with the boys at a pub somewhere until such a time he sees it fit to make an appearance at home. And if you’re super unlucky, he’ll be with another woman…or man. I know me very well. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Period.

On the Matter of Promiscuity and Polygamy

In most African cultures, a man’s cheating isn’t frowned upon. In fact, it’s a demonstration of his very masculinity! We used to call it polygamy at some point until some Bible-wielding Caucasian ‘explorers’ told us it was a sin.

When I was younger, I fought against men having multiple partners with an unrivaled passion. Then somewhere along the way, after my divorce, I happened upon a truth I no longer wish to wrestle: Most men (black/brown/white) find the idea of having multiple lovers fun to explore. Men will swear by the nails that pinned Jesus to wood that they love you despite their misadventures. And I no longer have the strength to fight losing battles.

I have attempted to have multiple partners in my life. Attempted. Failed miserably. I have neither the emotional nor physical capacity to handle two or more grown African men. The most that African men bring to the table is money. They rarely clean after themselves, cook, wash or physically and mentally take care of the kids they bring into the world. So what would any sane woman be doing trying to have more of such, especially if she is financially stable? There’s only so much sex you can have as a woman. At some point, it starts to hurt!

I am monogamous at heart, which is why I refuse to exchange monogamous vows with a species that believes it was not engineered for monogamy. I would be selling myself short. Exclusivity rarely exists in African marriages, and mostly on the side of men…although lately, women seem determined to even the scores. But that’s a topic for another day. If my man cheats and if it so happens that I don’t have the energy to leave him, I’ll simply cheat back to balance the equation. However, me being me, I’ll probably get tired of creeping around or I’ll want him to know that I’m giving it just as hard to someone else…which sort of defeats the whole purpose of marriage, you know.

On the Matter of a Conclusion

And that, my dear brethren, is why I’ve deemed myself ‘unworthy’ of the African man. I have naturally removed myself from his list of potential mates, and I would hope he sees this as a favor, rather than the insult it appears to be. I do not wish to fight a system that has proved to work for many for so long. I have accepted who I am, fully aware of my strengths and inadequacies. Chances are that I might die ‘unmarried’ as long as I live on the African continent. I absolutely have no problem with that.

Will I have moments where I long for a permanent companion? Hell yeah! Will I settle for a conservative man if it means less loneliness and a bit more respect from society thanks to my marital status? Triple hell nah! Do I think there is an African man out there who meets my expectations? Yes, but only a handful. Have I met such a man before?

Probably.

11 thoughts on “Why I Gave Up on the Idea of an African ‘Happily-Ever-After’ for Myself

  1. Petrina says:

    What most women don’t realize is that they are far better off single. This is due to the quality of the “men” out there.

    They want to live in sin. Plain and simple. Not only do many enjoy the idea of polygamy and love to cheat around. They are not satisfied behaving themselves.

    They’re not concerned with the fact that they will have to answer to God. Not only that, even Christians in America and around the world have hijacked the gospel and tried to turn the word submission into slavery.

    The reality is the husband has a greater responsibility and his role as the head of the wife is a greater sacrifice.

    He serves God by being a servant to his wife and providing for her and providing for her needs. He is called to love his wife like Christ loved the church.

    Christ initiated for us, loving us to the point where He laid his life down and died a gruesome, tortured extremely painful death for us and we submitted in response to him.

    That’s why women should never marry a man who has not selflessly loved her and laid his life down in his actions and proved himself to her first.

    God did not intend for women to be slaves or for men to bark orders and dictate.

    Headship is about responsibility, love and servitude. It is about initiating in righteous and good examples. The reason so many men do not live this way and cannot accept it is because it is not pleasing to the flesh.

    A lot of men live to please their flesh and what God calls them to do will make their flesh suffer greatly.

    God holds that man to a greater level of responsibility. This does not negate the fact that they are partners in a a marriage and they should do their best to come to agreement.

    After putting God first, they should put each other second. When and if they cannot agree in what they believe is right I believe the responsibility falls upon the man to do as he knows the Lord is leading him to do.

    Regardless, he will answer for the decision made and the outcome. The responsibility falls heavily on him and what these men have done is flipped the script and put the responsibility on the woman to carry her husband around, to bow to him, to cater to him while he just uses the fact that he makes money to basically make a slave out of her.

    Men should be able to know how to wash dishes and to do their laundry. I think people need to be careful about strict gender roles.

    As a woman I don’t mind cooking and I understand that I probably will do more housework than my husband if I get married.

    The reason being, if I am having to tend to the house, I don’t plan to work full time. I’m not going to be one of those women that take on the burden of working full-time outside the home and being full-time housewife as well.

    Women do this to themselves. The key is to marry the right man in the first place who will not weaponize money. He understands that what he provides belongs equally to both him and his wife. If they are Christians it belongs to God and they are stewards of it.

    He understands that he cannot weaponize the money. Women are taught to settle for less. People have twisted the Bible to make it mean what they want it to mean.

    Men have gotten away with murder basically when it comes to taking advantage of and walking all over women while the men are living an easy life.

    This is very cowardly, lazy and it does not represent Jesus Christ at all. Not in any way, shape, or form. So again, unless a woman can find a miracle of a man who actually does what is right, she’s better off single.

    Most fathers do not raise their sons correctly, so it is a generational problem. Generation to generation, fathers do not model or correctly instruct their son’s verbally on how to be good, loving husbands and fathers of integrity who are faithful to one woman, their wife.

    They focus mainly on a man providing material needs. They focus on encouraging their sons to be good at sports in many cases.

    Making money and being good at sports does not mean a man will be a good father or a good husband. The reason so much emphasis has been placed on a man’s material assets is because it is so much easier for a man to go out and make money and provide materially than it is for him to have all around Integrity.

    They tend to sort of cop out of the all-around integrity and place the focus on how much money they’re making. In addition, they turn around and weaponize the money and try to dominate and control women with it.

    In other words, ‘I pay the bills so you are my slave.’
    Meanwhile, despite his material possessions, the man doesn’t know how to have healthy relationships.

    In addition, many men have not held other men accountable and rebuked their promiscuity and cowardice.

    Instead, many of them praise promiscuity and women are expected to accept it. These men are evil they are wicked and they want to live an easy life doing whatever they want at the expense of women. Women need to leave these men alone.

    Women are enablers of the problem when they keep marrying these men and having babies with them. I understand women have been conditioned to believe that her value as a woman means she must get married and have children.

    This is a tactic to control a woman. If they wanted us to get married then they should have raised their sons correctly so they would make the right kind of husband. And the right kind of father.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    First time reading your blog posts. I must say, I love the vulnerability and honesty here. This felt like beautiful wounds. Thank you for sharing a truth we wont dare to speak about.

    Like

  3. Chali says:

    I share your sentiments. Sometimes I wonder if there are any men that believe in monogamy. It’s disheartening and how can you correct someone who sees nothing wrong with their way of life ?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder about that too. Whenever I meet a woman who is convinced she us the only one, in my mind I hesr myself say, its just a matter of time. And I feel like this mostly about African marriages because our culture does not frown upon a man having more than one woman.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s