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The way we are: The way we think

By Helen Ovbiagele, Woman Editor

It is comforting to note  in these days when the slogan for many young people’s marriages seem to be ‘ Me & My Interests First’, a few of our young people are  holding on to the principle of ‘hanging in there and together, making it work’.

In recent months, there have been well-publicized stories of the homes and marriages of some rich and famous international stars, hanging in the balance, and almost tilting into the abyss.

First, it was the world golfer, Tiger Woods, a father of two who’s married to a Swedish lady.  It was the usual tale of ‘kiss and tell’.  One after the other, several ladies came out of the woodwork to declare that he had dated them while away from home on golfing tours.  Like most wives everywhere, his wife, Elin, was very upset by these acts of infidelity.

You wonder why these ladies had to come out with their stories at the time they did.  But then, that’s the western world for you.  One of them even said that she got pregnant for Tiger twice and she aborted them without telling him!   She added that each of the pregnancies happened at the same time that Tiger’s wife was pregnant!   Why did she get rid of the pregnancies, you’d ask, and why come out and tell the world now?  Would she have bothered to tell us if it had to do with a poor man?

Tiger’s wife didn’t find all this funny, of course.  Everything spilled into the open when a neighbour’s of the Woods’ called the Police to report that there had been a vehicle crash on the Woods’ premises. Police investigated and found that Tiger had crashed his car into the hydrant on his grounds. The world was startled!

This was big news because Tiger had hitherto been regarded an all-round  gentleman, a role model in family life, and  the idol of many young people.  There were various speculations about  what could have led to the incident.  Could it have been  that husband and wife  quarreled; husband got very upset; got into his car and crashed into the hydrant?  This didn’t fit the image we had of Tiger.

That was when the  woman who claimed she got pregnant for him twice, came out to confess their affair, and say his dalliance  with women may have caused some domestic violence in which he was attacked, and it was while trying to get away that he crashed his vehicle.  The couple denied this, and shortly after, Tiger went into hiding when the scandal broke.  His wife was alleged to have said she was leaving him and taking their two kids away to Sweden.  His mother-in-law expressed great anger at Tiger’s affairs.

I got circulated to me, a jokey e-mail on the issue.  In it, the writer placed Tiger and his wife on Nigerian soil and made them Nigerians.  On hearing of her husband’s  various acts of  infidelity , the wife, in tears, rang her mother telling her that her cosy world had collapsed and she was going to quit the marriage.
‘Ye!  This girl wan kill me!  You want to quit your marriage?’
‘Yes, mum.  I can’t bear the shame and disgrace any more.  It’s not as if I’m ugly and dowdy, and he has to go look for pretty and sophisticated ladies outside!  I just can’t live with him anymore, mum.’
‘Has your husband stopped looking after you and the kids well, financially?’
‘No, mum.’
‘Does he eat the food you cook?’
‘He does, mum.’
‘Does he beat you and the kids?’
‘No, mum.  He’s not a violent person.’
‘Has he stopped being a real husband to you?’
‘No, mum, but he can’t have me and then other women as well.  I can’t bear that.  I can’t.’
‘Does he bring all those useless women to the house and matrimonial bed?’
‘No, mum, but ……………………………..’
‘Then stay there!   You hear me?  Stay there!  Don’t quit!  I repeat, don’t quit!  Abi you wan to kill me?  See this girl o!’

We all found this imagined telephone conversation very funny, but at the same time, it’s the way many people down here would react when the man who strayed is wealthy and famous. Who wants to leave a life of luxury, and the side of a world figure?  Not here!   If he’s poor and unknown and still had the guts to misbehave, the mother-in-law would be the first to go move her daughter out of the squalor, and hiss at the man.

In the western world philandering is seen quite differently. While we look at the man’s financial input in the home, and are concerned about a stable home made up of both parents for the kids, our western sisters are mostly more concerned about how the man’s action is affecting them personally.  Has it brought them honour or dishonour?.

The public over there doesn’t help matters as they jump into lives of the rich and mighty when they stray, and muddy the matter further.  The wife is advised to leave the man, as he’s not worthy of her, etc. There are divorce lawyers who specialize in helping the woman get hefty divorce settlements in court. It’s big business.

Tiger Wood spoke remorsefully at a Press Conference the other Friday, apologizing to his wife and kids, his relations, friends and all those who regarded him a role model.  He said he had been ‘selfish’ in what he did, and he regretted the hurt he had caused them, and that he’s seeking counselling.  That public apology can’t happen here.  We don’t even expect it, whatever the calibre of the person involved.

We pray Tiger’s endorsement contracts are not cancelled and above all, the wife forgives him and they come together again.
Recently, it was Ashley and Cheryl Cole.
‘GIRLS ALOUD (Cheryl’s band mates) have urged Cheryl Cole to dump husband Ashley Cole after he became embroiled in another sleazy scandal.  The Chelsea and England football ace has been accused of texting ‘nude photos and raunchy messages’ to two girls, one a topless model.  The new allegations follow his alleged infidelity in 2007, which almost resulted in the pair splitting up,’ went the news report on the internet.

Reactions to this news report were interesting, and in a way revealed the culture of the writer. Some were:-
‘To be honest, I think it’s nobody’s business but theirs’  – Khara. (This could be an Asian).
‘Hey, a good looking girl, great body! what the hell is this man after in a woman?  Give him the boot, girl!  You can do better!’ – Gerry.
‘The GIRLS should get a life.  What is their business in any person’s relationship?  If she takes the advice she will find out later that one of the GIRLS will hook up with Ashley later.  I think they should mind their business and same goes for all the other people that are pro this suggestion on this page.  Get a life.’  Ladapo  (The writer’s name suggests he’s Nigerian.)
‘She needs to wipe the tears out of her eye; once a liar, always a liar!’   – Liz
‘Dump him and then go for you, or your brother?  Cheryl, stay where you are.’  Ihuoma (Again the name of this writer suggests she’s Nigerian).

You can see that Nigerians, many of them, still believe that the home should be protected and a marriage (where violence is not the order of the day) shouldn’t be thrown away anyhow, and people shouldn’t encourage break-ups.


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