It is a fight that could end the way of Lucky Dube’s hit song, ‘It’s not easy’ or to bring it close to home, the 1970 Ghanaian movie classic ‘I told you so.’
But it has also ended in parents eating humble pie in accepting that their experienced fears are still not facts as the marital choices of their sons and daughters get justified by time.
Here is the story on one such battle which Daniel [Not his real name] faced when he brought home his fiancée from another African country.
“She is beautiful, she is so graceful…she is a Christian and she is good,” the stricken-lover gushed like the powerful force of freshly dug wells.
“I completely fell in love with her,” the confession was complete.
Daniel says his would-be bride flew into Ghana to have lunch with his family on Saturday and the reception was flawless.
Great smiles flashed around the lunch table as his mother, siblings and relatives played their roles as hospitality ambassadors.
“They were just being nice. They were pretending,” Daniel would later realise the lunch demeanour was nothing more than scene 1, act 1 of a box office movie.
There was a brutal grilling later. “What is wrong with you?” ‘Why can’t you find a woman in Ghana?’ “You can lose your children if ever there is a custody battle in a divorce!’ – the blitz of disapproval swallowed his every explanation.
The full force of the family, the full force of psychology in pleadings and beggings, the full force, of course, prayer and the full force of experience thundered against the ‘naïve’ heart of an eager bachelor boy.
“It was a very crazy argument,” Daniel remembered those moments. He would go ahead and insist marriage is a personal decision.
“I went ahead with them.”
His mother would take the cue and let it remain personal by not showing up on his son’s wedding day in a country far off. Daniel said he has always shared a special bond with his mother and her absence hurt.
“Seeing her happy would have made me happier,” he confessed that one decision that he could not take to keep mummy happy.
His siblings would, however, book a flight to make the journey to give a semblance of family support for the marriage even if that support looked fragile.
Daniel’s brothers and sisters would return and impress on their mother to accept her son’s choice because they had witnessed he was happy.
She began to warm up. “She came to like her very much,” Daniel told of the change and the return of peace.
But while peace prevailed in the extended family, it was not all peaceful in Daniel’s nuclear setting.
He called it “bumps” in a way that sounded euphemistic and masked. There were “battles” – he settled into a more accurate description of how feisty young marriages can get.
But Daniel’s real challenge was who to talk to without getting “you were told not to marry this girl and you went ahead” – the feedback he got when he tried to reveal his need for counsel and help.
“I had to redefine the people I talked to,” Daniel found strategy in retreating from family counsel.
His mind began to play tricks on him – playing Lucky Dube’s track. Was his family right after all? Should he have listened to experienced counsel? ‘Mummy said this would happen.
The mental game and the second-guessing can be relentless. But Daniel knew marriage is hard work and despite those effusions of frustrations and those ‘I-want-a-divorce’ moments, he would continue to work things out with his wife.
“There was no time I opened up and went to my mum or siblings to say, mehn, you guys were right.”
“It made me work hard,” he revealed a life of concessions and compromise all necessary to keep a marital promise.
“I have no regrets,” Daniel distilled his experiences.
While nationality was a challenge in Daniel’s marriage, James would consider Daniel’s challenge ‘chicken change’
His family did not approve his marriage to a woman because of her ethnicity, social status, religious background and there was a child she was bringing into a new marriage.
“There were very serious questions.”
Listen to his story and Daniel above: