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The Decaying State of Marriage in the Diasporan Community

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By Ekerete Udoh

“Why We Left Our Husbands”…5 Women Provide Startling Reasons.

The marital heartbeat within our Diasporan community is on life support. It has been afflicted by several ailments- ailments that have left it enfeebled, emaciated and lacking all the nourishing nutrients for a healthy life.

Where one had expected it to show vibrancy, strength, and all agents of happiness and growth, it has instead been plodding, lumbering in its tired form as it gropes for direction and a sense of purpose that had all been sacrificed at the alter of deception, greed and emotional cruelty. It was never intended to be like this.

Marriage is God’s ordained and sanctioned enterprise or undertaking that we are all expected to partake of. It is one of the most sacred and profound assignments that human beings are expected to perform. Marriage- where all the ingredients, such as love, trust, mutual respect, abiding faith and hope in one’s spouse, fear of God align themselves, can be an incredibly exhilarating affair.

It can lift the soul and soar our minds above the sublime. It can bring blessings of indescribable proportions. Where the elements veer off course, it can sentence one’s soul to a lifetime of emotional roller-coaster,  alternating between moments of highs and lows, the mountains and valleys, and the attendant loss of purpose that most times defines unions that have ruptured.

Here in our Diasporan community, stories of matrimonial fissures, down right cruelty, infidelity, the shirking of responsibility often associated with men and the utter and sometimes unimaginable sense of disrespects shown to spouses by their supposed loved ones boggle the mind.

For the past one year, drawing from the true-life stories that we publish in our popular column “Stories that touch the heart” we have received many letters from our readers, especially the female, urging us to look into the state of matrimony in our Diasporan community. Many of those letters detail some of the observations and crises that they have seen and how these issues need to be addressed by the general public.

Three weeks ago, we received a lengthy mail from five women who belong to a nascent association in Maryland (name withheld). The mail was entitled “Why we left our husbands… and why men out there should read our stories.” In the letter, the five women gave gripping and sometimes heart –rendering accounts of the misadventure that was their attempts to fulfill the cardinal undertaking of marriage.

Beginning from this week, we will publish one of the stories by the lady-a medical doctor, eminently successful and one who ordinarily should be a picture of marital bliss and happiness. Her story, alongside others, speak to a greater problem affecting our Diasporan community, the decision by some of our compatriots to seek out wives who are above and beyond their intellectual and social pedigree, often motivated by pecuniary considerations, the hope of turning the women into the family’s ATM or piggy banks while the man rests on his oars and have the woman work to maintain the home front.

The five stories had a common thread in this aspect. While I believe that we should all aspire to marry wives that complement our strengths and values, I think something is inherently wrong for a man who for whatever circumstance life has dealt with him, may not have been intellectually curious or may not have had the benefit of a university education to decide that he would travel home and marry a medical doctor, a pharmacist, a lawyer or a nurse, bring her to America, and hope that the marriage would succeed- the apparent and gaping gap in the intellectual and professional angles notwithstanding.

As one of the stories illustrate, the husband had lied to the medical doctor while courting her in Nigeria that he was an IT specialist, only for the lady to realize later that the ‘IT specialist’ she had married was a man who was doing odd jobs to get by. I believe that marriages entered into on such platforms and foundations are like a house built on cardboard.

The first encounter with the elements will reveal the shaky foundation upon which it was erected and  would come tumbling down, leaving  debris of hate, anger, deceit and pain in its wake. I believe that men should tell the truth about their circumstance in America to their would-be spouses. That way, they can make the determination if they want to go ahead with it or not.

The motivation to marry a woman purely for economic reasons should be disavowed. There is no denying the fact that American society is designed for two family incomes. The man should strive to bring something to the table and not see the wives, who oftentimes may have a job that earns more money than the husband as the official ATM. This is a major kernel of conflict that the five ladies stories revealed.

Below, we publish the first of the five stories that show the crises in marital department of our Diasporan community. We would love to have readers’ reactions to this issue.

Dear Mr. Ekerete Udoh

Let me first thank you for giving us this wonderful and entertaining medium. Your newspaper The Diasporan Star is so good and so addictive.

Here in Maryland, we always look forward to the beginning of the month, when your newspaper is on the newsstands. Congratulations for continuing the good works that you started in Nigeria. It’s good to know that you have not abandoned your passion for journalism. Keep up the good work.

I decided to send in this story along with four of my dear friends whose decision to find love and happiness got blown away in a haze of deceit and insecurity by the men whom we trusted our lives, passions, emotions and heart to.

I could have internalized the hurt and pain I experienced, but I think my story may help change the way our men conduct their marital business and by so doing, help the sanity of other women out there who may end up being lied to, taken advantage of, and sometimes emotionally scarred for ever. If I were not emotionally and psychologically defined and stable, I would have lost my mind following what I experienced.

Let me go straight into the  heart of the matter. I got married to a Nigerian-American five years ago. My husband, a handsome gentleman, well spoken and significantly older than me, met me five years ago in Lagos, during one of his trips to Nigeria in search of a wife.

I was a physician, working at a public hospital in Yaba-Lagos. Even though I may not be considered by American standards to be rich, I was however, by our standards, comfortable. I had a beautiful apartment, a nice car and a doting circle of friends and family.

Three of my friends in the medical school were in the U.S., and had told me how successful they were, after they got their medical licence and board certification. I was, therefore, desirous migrate to the United States one day. When my husband showed up, and told me he was interested in marriage, in spite of the almost 15 year -age gap, I gave the issue a serious consideration.

My husband had then told me he was an IT specialist for a Fortune 500 company and had an IT degree. I had no reason to doubt him. Things moved at a dizzying height, and six months after we met, I joined him in the U.S. after he petitioned for me as a fiancee.

The first signal that all was not well with my marriage happened right there at the airport when my husband came to pick me up in a car that looked like a cab. As we were loading my luggage into his car, his friends who were also driving cabs started hailing him about the beautiful woman he was picking up. I overheard him tell them that I was his wife, the medical doctor he has been telling them about.

I was stunned to observe that my husband was a cab driver and not the IT specialist he purported to be. But I kept my counsel. I deluded myself into believing that may be driving a cab was a second job he did to augment his income.
If I was disappointed at what occurred at the airport, what awaited me at his home completely demoralised and shattered me beyond repair.

My husband was living in a hell hole,  a stuffy basement in one of the most crime infested areas of Washington D.C. The stench that oozed out of the dingy place was so offensive that I had to go outside to catch some fresh air.

•To Be Continued next Week. Don’t Miss this Riveting Story

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