Sunday, August 19, 2007

African Marriages Hit By Cultural Rocks.

Culture is the identity that differentiates one person from another. There is no culture that is superior to the other, yet culture has a great influence in the lives of individuals and people that their actions are greatly influenced by them. Assimilating into a culture could either be a blessing or a curse. African couples in the US  may be experiencing one of them or both with the high rate of divorce.

The African society like most oriental and Latin American societies is a patriarchal society after the advent of colonization. Before colonization and slavery, the wife and husband operated as partners. The wife was in charge of childbearing, hoeing, planting and harvesting; meanwhile, the husband was in charged of clearing the virgin forest, fetching and splitting wood, hunting for game and fishing for fish, crabs and other sea food. The husband was always responsible for training children. Romantically, it was only the man who asked for the hand of the woman.

It is expedient to know that African marriages were more stabled than any other group in the world until the 1990s. Studies have shown that Africans who are married to western women are more successful than their counterparts who are married to Africans. There are a couple of reasons. A successful marriage means a happy marriage. I do not mean one without problems, for there is no marriage without problems. I am not in anyway saying that all marriages between western women and African men do succeed. Surprisingly, the African women are copying the American culture and no wonder their marriages are going kaput.

In the West, most women won the war of feminism, but they lost that of a successful home. Here is the deal; the woman expresses equal or more rights than the men, so they talk back and forth to their husbands. Now African women always remind their husbands that they are in America. He knows that, but he did not expect that to come from you! That is why the marriage fails. The African man was not use to having that from his wife who has just found her new freedom, so the marriage goes into ruins. When he marries a western woman, he was expecting it, and it comes as no surprise. He has prepared himself to deal with it. That is why the marriage succeeds. Generally, a soft answer will turn away wrath, but grievous words stir anger.

Since most African men grew up under this culture, they seem to witness a reversal of roles. Instead of the men dominating (which is still not good) the women do. The women will dictate on everything, even on how the money is used at home despite each of them bringing in money. They will want the man to sponsor all their relatives except his. Putting down the thoughts and suggestions of their men has driven them out. When the African man and western woman come together, conscious of their backgrounds, they are willing to listen to each other. Therefore, paying each other the attention they need.

One of the things that destroys American marriages is bad inference. Most women grew up hearing about strip clubs and cheating. If the husband is constantly out, they interpret it as having an affair. Africans know that you can hang out just drinking, telling stories and playing games with friends, with no secondary thoughts. Now their women have quickly copied that culture of suspicions. Love does not grow in suspicion. I have known that even in leadership. If you want to have good subordinates, you show them you trust them. They will feel bad at the slightest idea of betraying your trust.

Our mothers knew that our fathers were either playing draft or just down there talking. Surprisingly, nowadays the western women tend to understand that in the African man. Those that are married to western women receive fewer calls when they go out to those with African women. Calling intermittently makes the man to feel you trust him, but no one would be faithful where they do not expect them to be?

In the west, it is the standard for people not to express openly their hurts. They store it like Mary Winkler and only explode one day by shooting the man on the back while he is asleep. As Africans, we were taught to speak up, even though our politicians do not enjoy free speech. Nowadays, it is the same thing. Most African women do not express their hurts. They become embittered and then just serve you one day.

Let me state that the African woman divorcing in America stands at a disadvantage for many reasons. She may not find another husband, boyfriend or Friend with Benefit (FWB) because our women do not ask men out; meanwhile, the western woman can do that. The western women were taught in freedom while we keep a practice that is unbiblical and subject the women to servitude. Except she is beautiful, it may be her last real man interspersed with some occasional donors. Until African women learn how to ask a man out too, love will be by passing them by daily and easily.

Therefore, to my African sisters, you see; the western woman does not want to be like you, you must quit from trying to be like her. See, every woman is beautiful and important the way they make themselves. Be yourself and you should make a successful home. There are both good and bad things in every culture. Take the good things from the West and add to the good ones from your dominant culture and blend your marriage. Except we do that, the rate of marital failures will outgrow that of our western counterparts.

Until then, I wish you all a successful marriage.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk

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