My niece recently told me that she wanted to get married at 28. She’s 15 so 28 is half a lifetime away. It got me thinking of how when I was her age, I swore I would never get married. I swore I hated boys and they were the devil’s spawn. I promised myself that if I ever got crazy and did get married, it would be at 28.
Fast forward, at 20 I realised that I did like boys but I didn’t trust them at all. By the time I was getting over that hurdle, I realised the real problem. It wasn’t the boys I had an issue with, it was the marriage system in Zambia. It seemed to extremely disadvantage the woman.
From the moment a girl child is born, she is trained to be a home maker. Cleaning and Culinary skills are instilled in her until the time she leaves home. In the meantime the boys, in most homes, are left to their own element.
Later on, when a couple decide to get married, the elders focus on teaching the woman on how to please her man. The amount of teaching given to the man is minimal at best. The Zambian man never learns to please his wife. Infact, he goes in thinking it’s his wife’s mandate to please him. So when the marriage is on the rocks, society blames the woman. As if the responsibility lies solely on her. So now the men are relationship lazy-bones while the woman strives to make her man happy. There is a bemba proverb that say “Ubucende bwamwaume tautobe n’ganda” meaning The infidelity of a man does not break a home. This irks me and is the utmost proof of society’s warped view on marriage.
Anyway, I had a view that all Zambian men were the same and lacked the lustre I desired. I couldn’t imagine ending up with a typical Zed guy. The type that insists on eating nshima for breakfast, lunch and supper everyday of his life but has no idea on how to cook it himself. The type that thinks a meal from Zamchick is the utmost treat. The type that won’t watch any movie unless it’s an action flick and doesn’t have an inch of romance in him. The type that has no sense of humour and his idea of communication is him telling you he’s hungry. The type that thinks wife and friend cannot be used to describe the same person. The type that would rather spend time with his boys than his wife.
Then I met Him. At first it was the phone calls. We talked forever, about everything and anything. He was funny, he thought I was funny. He thought I was a genius and was not threatened by it. I thought to give it a try, it surely couldn’t change. But it did, for the better. He opens doors, he holds my hand and buys me flowers. He watches my type of movies. He knows my views on marriage and believes we can go against the tide. He prays for and with me. I am his best friend and we still talk for hours. He occasionally exercises his limited culinary skills on me. He is open and freely shows me his sensitivity. He listens and considers my opinions as valid. Oh and he’s not a big fan of nshima :-).
I feel like I struck gold when I met him. A man whose top priority is to make you happy is a rarity. He managed to change my life plan and instead of 28, I’m getting married at 24. I still think the marriage culture in Zambia stinks but He’s given me the reason to believe that ours can be different.