By Francis Ewherido
I was not there; I saw the video like many others. The narrative said it happened in Kilo, Ikate, Surulere, Lagos. A newly-wed man walked out on his wife during their wedding reception; saying “I no dey do again” (I am not marrying her anymore),while putting both hands at the back of his neck/head (a sign of despair). His wife was running after him, throwing herself on the ground, but the guy insisted he was done.
At a point, he almost went physical with the wife. What could have gone wrong between the time they exchanged marital vows and the reception? Was there a verbal exchange between them? Did he get information revealing earth-shaking secrets? What went wrong? The video did not have any details.But somebody in the background was saying, “something is wrong somewhere.”
I believe the video is real, so I am just going to give my take on the whole incidents, which someone in the video described as, “the thing when we dey see for film naim be this; this is real.” One, the incident brings to fore the essence of courtship. Courtship is a period when you scrutinise and get to know your potential spouse better. The objective is to be able to say after a while that “I feel I can spend the rest of my life with this person,” or you opt out if you feel you are with the wrong person.
To be able to do this, you need to have all your senses and bearings in place; no sentiments. But the problem with many courtships is that in no time, fleshy lust takes over and sense of judgment becomes blurred. When you take decisions with blurred vision, the probability of making wrong decisions is higher. How did they conduct their courtship that their marriage is over before starting?
Two, marriage is not a contract, so the doctrine of “buyers beware,” which operates in the law of contracts, does not operate in marriage. Christian marriage is covenantal and the doctrine of uberrima fides (utmost good faith) is what operates here. During courtship, courting parties must exercise utmost good faith. There must be full disclosure.”Courtship bears some similarities to insurance. In insurance a buyer of the insurance product (the insured) has a responsibility to disclose to the insurance company (the underwriter) any information that aggravates or alters the usual nature of the risk the company is about to assume (underwrite).
Also during courtship, parties should disclose fully any condition that will make the other party have a second thought about continuing with the relationship.”(You can read more inLife Lessons from Mudipapa).Did the young man hear something about his new wife, hitherto hidden from him,that made him to have a second thought about the marriage between the time he exchanged vows and during the reception? Did he hear something new that made him to feel betrayed by his few-hours-old wife? I do not know, but there is a possibility.
The other thing in the video that made me feel gutted was the wife running after her husband in the streets and hitting herself on the ground. Where were her family members? I could only see the chief bridesmaid consoling and running after her. When the incident happened, her family should have rallied round her immediately. They should have consoled her and given her some words of comfort: “don’t worry; we are going to sit down and resolve the matter.” Running after the guy in the streets was not classy. At that point, nothing would have changed; the guy was in a rage. Tempers need tocool down before you resolve issues of this nature. Moreover, their church and families would have to be involved. In some denominations, like the Catholic Church, they will have sponsors whose duty it is to resolve such issues.
Three, did the young man contemplate and really ponder the vows he took earlier? All too often, exchange of marital vows is a hollow ritual that many about-to-wed people want to get out of the way so that they can move on to mundane stuff like their reception, their well-choreographed dance, after wedding dress, etc. Someone who pondered the vows he took earlier could not have been shouting,”I no do again,” the way the young man did.Moreover, as I watched the video over and over again, I kept asking whether the guy actually loved the lady before going into the marriage or he acted perfunctorily. You do not treat somebody you love and deeply care for the way he did.
The scriptures will help us here. Mary, mother of Jesus, was betrothed to Joseph. Before they could start living together as husband and wife, he found out she was pregnant and he was not responsible for the pregnancy.If Joseph were like this our young man, he would have surrendered Mary to the Jews to be stoned to death in line with the Jewish customs and traditions of the time. But Joseph, being a man of honour and desiring to spare Mary the public shame because he cared for her inspite of what happened, decided to divorce her quietly Matthew 1:18-19). The rest of the story you know.
Where do they go from here? Both of them agreed to get married before going ahead, both of them must also sit down to decide the way forward. They will need help because both of them seem to be consumed by emotions, not reason,right now. Their church and families will be very useful, especially if the family members can look at the issue dispassionately. If it is just a misunderstanding of issues, they might be able to resolve it amicably and they can go and live happily (I hope) thereafter.
But if it is an issue of fundamental condition (like hiding a previous marriage, child or critical health condition from the man), then the young man has sufficient grounds to ask for the annulment of the marriage. Annulment is different from divorce. Divorce means that a marriage was valid, but it was dissolved. Annulment means the marriage is regarded as invalid from the beginning because it was based on falsehood.
Finally, the marriage, as it is, is invalid because it was not consummated. They just left the church for reception when the guy opted out. For a marriage to be valid, husband and wife must engage in sexual intercourse after the wedding. This has not taken place in this instant.
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