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Marriage: The Bonding Ritual.

As Elohor and Wisdom walked down the aisle, they knew nothing and no one could tear them apart, not even Wisdom’s problematic mother and sister. This was an enormous commitment, a walk into fulfilling God’s purpose; marriage.

Elohor was decked in a long white floral bridal dress with light makeup. Her hair had been rolled neatly into a bun. The smile that was on her face from the very first instant she stepped into the grand hall has never left her face. She held a bouquet in her left hand while her right hand was wrapped around her soon-to-be husband’s arm.

Wisdom, the man of the hour was clothed in a black and white tuxedo. He looked elegant. He had an aura that was deemed respected and superior.

Massive chandeliers were hung on the ceilings of the grand hall. A glamorous bouquet was positioned on each table. Even, the aisle on which the bride and groom had walked was beautifully adorned with rose petals. From the arrangements of the wedding hall, one would deduce that the soon-to-be couples were affluent. No doubt, the wedding ceremony was outstanding.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here in the presence of God, and in the presence of these witnesses, to join together this man and woman in holy matrimony.” The priest said, with an unusual grin on his face.

The priest glanced at the wedding guests and then fixed his gaze on the bridegroom. “Do you Mr. Wisdom Abeo take Elohor Efetobore to be your wife? Do you promise to be faithful to her, in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love her and to respect her all the days of your life?”

“I do.” Wisdom grinned. His grip on his wife tightened as if he was scared she would let go of his hand and run away.

The priest repeated the same question but this time to Elohor who was quick to reply to him. He smiled when he saw the eagerness in their eyes. If only they knew what awaited them in marriage.

“What God has joined, let no man put asunder. You may kiss the bride.” The priest said and almost immediately the guests roared in happiness. A lot of people shouted congratulations and reacted to the couple’s kiss with an awwn.

After exchanging pleasantries, Wisdom and Elohor walked to the dance floor with their fingers interlocked, while a huge crowd formed around them. The Dj played a slow song while the couples promenaded to it, their motions were in sync. The crowd applauded.

After dancing to a few songs, the newly wedded couple headed to the dining hall along with their guests. Their foods were already being served by the caterers. While still having their dinner, the maid of honor and best man made a hilarious and heartfelt speech that got the guests talking about it.

When they were done with their dinner, the couple made their way to the reception hall where a huge cake was placed on a table. The bride and the groom cut the cake while the guests cheered.

The newly wedded couple said their goodbyes to the guests and got into a white Toyota Camry parked outside the hall. The car was adorned with flowers. Most of the guests remained in the wedding hall as they laughed away their sorrows.

For an unmarried person, marriage is blissful and the sweetest thing ever. For a married person, marriage is a trying time; a time where you learn to accept your partner’s flaws, a time where both partners share their happiest and saddest moments, a time where both partners face challenging situations and look for a way to overcome them together. The challenging situations married couples face together have a way of strengthening their bond.

Nowadays, so many people go into marriages because of peer pressure, the need to feel among others, and most times because of their partner’s wealth. We are straying from the real purpose of marriage. In a situation where there is no love; unity can never exist. Marriage is unity; a union of two people in holy matrimony.

Finally, Wisdom and Elohor arrived at their new apartment; an apartment they had gotten a few weeks before their wedding. Immediately, Wisdom rushed out of the car and opened the door for Elohor. Swiftly, he lifted her feet and carried her inside.

“Hmm. What a strong and caring husband I have.” Elohor chuckled.

“You haven’t seen anything yet.” Wisdom laughed out loud. He carried her to the room and placed her carefully on the bed. He lay beside her and caressed her cheeks while he showered her with compliments. The start of marriage truly was a unique and blissful feeling; it makes you feel like you were over the moon. But then when reality strikes, one would immediately realize that he still lives in Nigeria, a country with a hard economy.

The next day, Elohor woke up early to prepare food and serve her husband breakfast in bed. When she was done preparing the food, she placed it on a tray and took it to her room. She patted her husband slightly on the elbow.

“Good morning, dear.” Elohor greeted.

Instantly, Wisdom sprang out of the bed. “Is it morning already? Why didn’t you wake me up sooner?”

Elohor rolled her eyes. “Why? Is there a problem?” She asked.

Wisdom hissed. “You are talking as if you don’t know the heavy debts that are spiraling around our heads. I still need to return the car that I rented from Ayodeji. You know he told us to return it before 11 AM today.”

This was the brutal reality of the newly wedded couple’s life. They had finally woken up from their fantasy. The white Toyota Camry car that Wisdom had brought to his wedding venue had been rented. Even the money they had spent on the decorations was borrowed money. The house in which they live was bought with loan money.

Ayodeji was Wisdom’s colleague at work who had offered to rent his car out to Wisdom and his wife for their wedding ceremony after so many days of Wisdom pleading with him.

“It’s just a few minutes past 8 so you still have enough time to do that. Eat first. I prepared your favorite, yam and egg.”

“You sure do know how to appease me. Sit and eat with me.” Wisdom said. His wife sat down beside him with a proud grin on her face.

“Ehnehn…that reminds me. I just said I should let you know, I’m going to quit my work today.” Elohor said as she munched on the yam that her husband had fed to her.

Wisdom dropped the fork abruptly. “Why?” He asked.

“I’m married already and I can’t be seen working at that same place. You know my friends can say a lot of things.”

“Ah. This is one problem I have with you. Is it a crime to work at that same place? Why do you have such terrible friends who only advise you to do silly things?”

“Didn’t you see the way people were staring at us at our wedding? They think we are rich.”

“Well, we are not. And you better don’t think of resigning from your job when you don’t have somewhere else to work.”

“You sef ehn. I don’t know why you have a poor man’s mentality. Think rich and you’ll become rich.”

“One would only become rich if he works hard for it. You know I borrowed so much money because of you and your Desire to impress your friends.” Wisdom stood up angrily. “You know what, eat your breakfast alone. I’m going to freshen up so I can go to work.” So much for breakfast in bed.

“Why are you getting angry now? Ehn, sorry. I won’t quit the job, I’d keep on working there.” Elohor yelled but it fell on deaf ears as her husband had already locked the door to the bathroom.

Marriage is a lifelong commitment built on trust and understanding. It is important to fully understand and trust someone before going into a relationship.

“After waking up early just to give you breakfast in bed, you are telling me you don’t want to eat. It’s alright. When you don’t see any food to eat when you get back from work, don’t blame me o.” Elohor yelled.

A few minutes later, Wisdom came out of the bathroom looking drenched with a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Please, drop money for food before you leave,” Elohor said, her gaze fixed on her phone screen.

“I don’t have. I have a lot of debts to pay thanks to you.” Wisdom said angrily.

“Na wa o. What kind of husband are you sef?”

Elohor and Wisdom were a newly wedded couple. One would expect to see love and cooperation as this was just the start of their marriage but the reverse was the case.

Elohor and Wisdom had walked into marriage without understanding what it meant. Of course, they had declared openly their love for each other but marriage grows deeper than that. A marriage based on love and respect doesn’t just happen, both partners have a role to play. Compatibility is an essential factor in marriage.

Just like that, Elohor and Wisdom went about their day.

Later that day, Wisdom returned from work and met his beloved wife sleeping. She had not prepared his dinner.

Furiously, Wisdom shook her violently as he tried to wake her up. “Where is my food?” He roared like a lion who was about to devour his prey.

Elohor frowned slightly. “You didn’t drop money for food na so I didn’t prepare anything for you to eat.”

“Ah. You know this is one of the reasons a man marries a woman so that she can cook for him. I return home only to be told that there is no food to eat. Why are you my wife?”

These days, so many young people have the wrong concepts of marriage. We live in a world where marriage has taken a new meaning; a meaning different from the marriage God had talked about in the Bible.

“See, it’s late already. I need to sleep early so I can wake up early to go to work tomorrow since you said I still need to continue my job.” Elohor said and pulled the blanket over her.

Wisdom stared at his wife speechlessly. “Ah…what have I gotten myself into?” He lamented.

The next morning, Wisdom was all set and prepared to go to work.

“Dear, please can you drop some money for me? I need to plait my hair.” Elohor said. She had woken up from sleep a few minutes ago and had been checking her phone for any new messages on WhatsApp.

“Are you deaf or are you pretending to be deaf? I don’t have any money to give out. I am broke!” Wisdom yelled.

“Don’t shout at me. Why did you marry me when you know you don’t have the money to take care of me?” Elohor fired back at her husband.

“You know what? I can’t take this anymore. Stand up, we are going out.”

“Where? To the saloon?” Elohor grinned.

Wisdom glared at her. “To your parents’ house.” He said angrily.

An hour later, they arrived at Elohor’s parents’ house. Elohor’s mother, Elizabeth was the only one at home. Wisdom explained the situation to her politely and calmly.

“I know you rarely see people who get divorced just two days after their wedding but I can’t take it anymore. I respect you a lot ma and that is the reason I came here to see you before I do anything rash.” Wisdom said.

“Eh..my son. I’m sorry for my daughter’s behavior. Please, don’t divorce her. She is still young at heart and she still needs to learn a lot. Please, I beg you.”

“Then, let her learn in your house. Within just two days of marriage, your daughter wants to make me go crazy. I can’t take this anymore.”

Elizabeth attempted to kneel but was quickly stopped by her daughter and husband. “It’s my fault. I didn’t train her well. I’m sorry. Please, I beg you. Don’t do this. I promise you when you return from work today, you will meet a changed Elohor.”

“I’m going to give her one more chance just because I respect you, mama. I hope to see a positive change when I return from work today.” Wisdom said and stood up.

“Thank you, my son. God bless you.” Elizabeth bade him goodbye.

Elizabeth turned to her daughter in tears. “Do you want to kill me or do you want your father to die of a heart attack, you know how weak his heart is. Why did you do that to your husband?”

“Eh, mama. Don’t cry, please.” Elohor said and brought her hands forward to wipe away her mother’s tears.

“Leave me, let me cry as you have chosen to make me and your father a laughing stock.”

“But, mama. It is my husband’s responsibility to provide for me and my future kids.”

“Is it only his responsibility? We gave you the right education, not for you to sit at home and wait for your husband to bring money for food. Has he not provided enough for you? I can’t believe you made him borrow so much money to plan your wedding. Wisdom loves you and that is the reason he did all that. No other man would have done that. Be wise o.”

“See, forget that thing, mama. So many of my friends have rich and caring husbands who provide for them, they don’t even need to ask. So why can’t my own be like that?”

“Why must you always think like that? Your friends are married to wealthy men but do you know what hidden troubles they face? Elohor, when I married your father, the only thing he had to his name was a few pots and other kitchen utensils. We lived in a rented apartment, then but I never complained because I knew what I signed up for when I walked down the aisle and said my vows to remain with him for better or for worse.” Elizabeth said and stared at her daughter who remained quiet.

“Marriage is a sacred union. Marriage is a spiritual bond. It is not a classroom affair. When you said your vows, it was sealed in heaven. You can’t just go in and come out of marriage anytime you want. It is a lifelong commitment. What is your name?”

Elohor looked at her mother with a raised eyebrow. Why was she asking for her name? “Elohor.” She said.

“And what does Elohor mean?”

“Blessing, softness, meekness,” Elohor said.

“Be a blessing to your husband. Your husband and his family are your new family. Treat them with due respect no matter what. Become a blessing to every one of them. Let them know that you are the right woman for their son. It is a big disgrace when a man complains to his in-law about his wife.” Elizabeth said while her daughter nodded.

“There’s no bigger joy than being happy and fulfilled in your marriage. There will be obstacles that will try to cause a rift between you and your husband. This is why you need to hold God tight. Stand firm on his word and do not waver.”

“This is the only advice I have for you. Do not disgrace yourself. Go back home and be the best wife you can be to your husband.”

Marriage isn’t about marrying the perfect partner. It is about making a perfect partner out of them even after knowing their flaws. It is a bonding ritual; a bond sealed in heaven.

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