Sunday, April 14, 2013

Mr. & Mrs. Nollywood (When a marriage going downhill needs fixing)

I recently watched a Nigerian movie about broken marriages which, in their own unique ways, needed intervention. Although I quite enjoyed the moral behind the story - forgiveness for the most part - I was a little bit upset about the message I feel the movie was trying to convey. For those who have not watched the movie, and wish to watch it, please do not read on as this post MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS. You have been warned.

There were a few remarks that I definitely did not agree with in the movie, one of them being 'If a man messes up, we (meaning women) clean up after them.' The only thing that comes to mind is 'Why in the world does a woman need to clean up after a fully grown man who, otherwise, seems capable of doing that himself?' I feel the movie was somehow trying to tell its viewers that men are and will always remain babies. The blame in this case would partly be on their mothers for not teaching them that they have to grow up at some point, sorry to say. If they already have one mother, why would they need a second one?

You already have those men in society who feel so suffocated by their 'second mother' (their wife) that they leave her in the end. Being a man's mother is definitely out of the question, yet I am irritated by the fact that so many women look centuries older than their husbands because of taking on every possible role in the world just to keep the man satisfied, and in the end they just end up looking worn out and old, while the man is not putting on a single year (face-wise).

In terms of trying to save their marriages, not once did I see the men budge even a little bit to seek out help. Even though one of the main characters seemed arrogant about the fact that her marriage was in need of an intervention, she still went through the trouble of getting help. What did her husband do? He simply blamed her for being a bad wife once he was caught cheating on her with......*drum rolls please*..... their maid!!!! :O He even had the nerve to say that the maid was the very reason for him still being in the marriage, for the kids being so well behaved, and so on and so forth.  While the wife was bouncing around on her high horse thinking that she had her husband in the palm of her hand, and believing that he would have no time to cheat, seeing as there was no room for him to do that (come on now), and that he was so dedicated to her schedule - he was tiptoeing around and sleeping with the maid every chance he got. Not once did he communicate with his wife that he was feeling sexually, physically and nutritionally (if one can even say that) deprived by her. No, because according to one of the main characters, who had been going through turmoil (hardships) in her marriage, men are babies and need to be well taken care of, or else they will misbehave. *Shakes head*

What in the world happened to shared responsibility? It's common sense that what you give is what you get. A man cannot be expecting his wife to be a shining diamond, if he can't in the very least be another diamond to complement the diamond she is meant to be. In other words, a man cannot be expecting his wife to be in good shape if he is not, cannot expect her to take care of family affairs if he does not give a damn, cannot expect her to cook for him if he does not even contribute to shopping or help around, and cannot expect her to sleep with him when he does not pamper her or make her feel good, wanted or needed! You are indeed a lucky man if you married a 'doormat' who is willing to do these things for you without anything in return.

Too many men are being raised to become even bigger babies than what they were when they were younger, and that is just wrong.  It baffled me that when things were going so wrong in one of the households, the man simply could do nothing else but long for his wife's cooking and get jealous of her 'claim to freedom' once she had finally started pursuing life outside the home. He had been so surprised - not knowing that the wife of course had a plan of her own - that his partner had been so quick to sign a divorce paper, rather than get down on her two knees and beg him not to divorce her, like a crazy woman (just like he had expected her to do in the first place). He had simply been blown out of his mind when she did not even hesitate to sign the divorce papers.  Are we seriously in kindergarten (nursery school) here? Divorce is not a joke, and yet this man treated it as one of those games little children play when they are bored. Absolutely unbelievable.

Do not get me wrong, there were parts of the story line that I genuinely enjoyed, and must applaud. I do think that one of the wives, and main characters, was quite clever to come up with the method she did in order to save her marriage, but I do not like the fact that she was made out to be the 'biggest' problem in their down-hill marriage. While at counselling she had not one bad thing to say about her husband, except for the fact that she would love for him to help a little more around the house and appreciate her more for what she was doing for him. She practically went on to say that she worships the very ground he walks on. Her husband, on the contrary, had so much to say about her. He expected her to appreciate her role as his wife (more like slave), sit back and shut up,  and not to continuously nag so much.  From what I understand, marriage is not meant to be a prison or an institution for slavery, and if it was it would have been called slavery/prison and nobody would walk into it willingly. I would dare a person to go up to an alter and sign an agreement for entering into slavery willingly. I do choose to believe that nobody in their right mind would do that.

Marriage is an institution where two are meant to become one, and a healthy marriage is a marriage where all body parts in that 'one' person are fully functioning. A marriage where both parts are not putting in work becomes symbolic to a body that is dysfunctional. Without the brain signalling to the body what it should do (autonomic system), there will be no action, similarly if there is no communication between spouses, nothing will be done about problems in marriages etc. People should stop playing the blame game and firstly examine themselves when things are not going well. Rather than thinking that it is all the other persons fault, individuals should think about what they are doing, and what they can do to make things better. I may not be married, but I do know that communication (on a mature level) helps a lot in any situation.  There are several ways of sorting out indifference, and none of this involves infidelity, pointing fingers or just doing nothing about problems.

There are several things to learn from the movie than not though. While it was somewhat pointing the finger at the two wives, it was also showing that the men were not doing enough to really appreciate their wives' existence. They had simply forgot why and how they got married, and become too comfortable with things. Rather than communicating, they started rebelling - bringing females into the home, or, on the other hand, sleeping with the house maid. Some people prioritise everything in their outside life above their home, whether it be work (to bring in an income), community work, dedication to their church, or other things, and then get surprised when their homes are falling apart. But tell me, if you are not taking care of the body (feeding it healthy food, working out, pampering it etc.), what happens to it? It starts to deteriorate. Not rocket science.  It is nice when people want to make positive contributions to the lives of the people around them, or society for that matter, don't get me wrong. But one must first and foremost, male or female, take care of the most vital things in life first. In other words, a strong body is one well taken care of, and such a body is bound to last much longer.