- John Updike
If you are one person with a rather acute sense of fairness and equality, the institution of marriage might just not be for you; unless you are prepared to chuck some of those ideals out the windows. Marriage, by its very nature is steeped in inequalities. In fact, that's what makes marriage unique.
A marriage is not a partnership, it is a union.
That is why the very idea of a pre-nuptial agreement totally negates the idea of marriage. Unless of course its a business arrangement.
Someone once defined a marriage as like the relationship between a statue and a pigeon. The pigeon perches on the statue and shits on it and what not; the statue does not seem to complain -at least not openly. If you are in a marriage, on some days you are the pigeon, on some other days you are the statue. Live with it.
It is not possible for two people to love each other equally, one must love the other more -at different times in the life of the relationship. Whatever the reasons for getting married, of necessity, one must need the other more.
A clergyman friend of mine once told me this: It does not take two people to make a marriage work, success in marriage depends on the 'Power of One'. At any point in a successful marriage, one person is giving more, doing more, being more for both of them but because of the deliberate opacity of marriage, people on the outside do not usually see this.
Examples abound of this for me and I believe you have a few examples of your own too.
My friend Chinedu works in telecoms with an annual salary of about N4m, his wife Amarachi works in a bank with take home close to N3m per annum. They are from similar family backgrounds, children of retired civil servants. They have two beautiful children.
Nedu and I have been friends like forever; our families are like 5 and 6. I know that he pays the rent, the children's school fees and other fees around the house including feeding money. His siblings go to public schools - his kid sister is in LASU while the brother is in secondary school. Nedu pays their fees too because his parents are retired.
Sometime in 2006, Nedu's mum had to queue in the sun at LASUTH, Ikeja in order to get the free eye surgery for cataract removal sponsored by the government of Bola Tinubu, she also got a free pair of glasses. I know these because I drove her there.
Amara's brother is in Covenant University and she pays the fees. Her two sisters are in private secondary schools. Sometime last year, her employers sponsored a vacation for the famly in the UK. She went with her Dad and the children. Her Dad actually went for a comprehensive medical check-up in London and was treated for some minor ailments while there. Amara paid for it.
For some time, I used to think that the marriage was not fair to my friend. Until one day it hit me, Nedu had never complained to me! For as long he was happy in his marriage whatever the configuration, it was not any of my business.
Marriage is an eternal work-in-progress, a perpetual balancing act.
Marriages fail when one person decides that its not worth it anymore.