Marriage Challenges in Africa: When Parents Oppose Child’s Choice
In Africa, the family plays a central role in shaping society. It shapes such daily experiences as how and where individuals live, and even how they interact with the people around them. In some cases, families influence whom individuals in the family marry. As a result, when parents oppose child’s choice of mate, it often comes with so much drama and after-effects. That is the story of Ozoemena. . .
Ozoemena was born to Chief & Lolo Anazobe, a wealthy couple from Enugu State. His parents had been married for nearly 10 years before he was born. His mother had suffered 5 miscarriages during their first 5 years of marriage, and despite all their efforts, Ozoemena’s mother could not conceive again the following 3 years. People have been pointing accusing fingers at his father for his mother’s situation. They often stop to whisper every time she’s seen in the community. This always made her cry and refuse to eat.
In the African society, every married couple want to have male and female children born to them so as to ‘continue the family name.’ Unfortunately for Chief & Lolo Anazobe, they couldn’t bear any children until Ozoemena was born. After his birth, Ozoemena’s father named him ‘Ozoemena‘ which means ‘may it never happen again,’ referring to the multiple miscarriages his mother suffered. And his parents never had another child after him.
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As an only child in the home, his parents showered him with love and affection. Ozoemena did not lack anything. In fact, his parents hurried to give him anything he wanted. He was given the best of education, and received quality personal lessons from primary school to university levels. His parents wanted him finish school, settle down and eventually take over his father’s business.
Ozoemena responded positively to the training he received, and his parents were very proud of him. He eventually graduated from university with first class honors in Business Law at University of Ghana. His parents beamed with pride as they watched their son receive his certificates on his graduation day. What more could they ask for? Everything they wished for their son was going according to script.
As is common in the African society, parents usually make decisions for their children in practically every aspect of their lives. The parents would decide what course the child should study in school, and some times even the university the child should go to. Being fond of his parents, Ozoemena agreed with the course and school his parents chose for him. He loved to see them happy, and would do anything in his power to make them smile.
For his National Youth Service Corps, Ozoemena’s parents influenced his posting to Enugu their home state. They wanted to continue keeping their eyes on him, and Ozoemena did not object. Indeed, he loved being with his parents because of all the affection they showered on him. But a time came when he was faced with a decision that would mean disobeying his parents.
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“You Know You Are Now A Man”
Just like his parents wanted, Ozoemena started working in his father’s company, and eventually became the manager. His father left all the day-to-day running of the business to Ozoemena as soon as he got used to the company’s affairs. Up till this point, Ozoemena still lived in his parents mansion because he didn’t see any need to go live somewhere else. His parents encouraged him to bring his friends to visit him at home; both male and female friends were allowed to visit.
Three years after he started working, Ozoemena began to consider moving away from his parents mansion. He was about 28 years at this point. His father had other properties within the city, and he wanted to take one of the apartments as his new home. When he tool his parents about his plans, they didn’t object to his plans. At that point, his father told him: “son, you know you are now a man. Very soon you will be getting married, and so you need a place of your own. Yes, go ahead and choose any apartment you desire and I will ask Barr. Nsofor to make it ready for you.”
Within a few weeks, Ozoemena moved into his new home, and settled in very quickly. Now that he was settled in, his parents started to hint the issue of marriage to him. Ozoemena promised to inform his parents when he’s ready for marriage. One year later, he informed his parents that he has something to tell them.
“Whose Daughter is She?”
On that weekend, Ozoemena joined his parents for dinner at their home, and the parents were eagerly waiting to hear what he had to say to them. Of course, his mother knew she couldn’t force the words out of him until he was ready to talk. After a few chit chats, Ozoemena finally told to his parents: “Dad, Mom, I am now ready to get married. I have proposed to my friend and she has accepted”
His parents were very excited, and they let out a big shout of joy. He could see his father nodding his head in approval, and his mother beaming with pride. Just at that point, his father asked him: ” Now that you and Udoka are finally getting married, let me start making the preparations immediately! I will call Barr. Nsofor to give him the good news. As soon as Ozoemena heard his father’s word, he frowned, shaking his furiously. His parents noticed his actions, and Ozoemena told them that he wasn’t marrying Udoka.
His parents were stunned! What did their son just say? Ozoemena went on to say: “I want to marry Jennifer, my best friend when I was in the university. She’s a humble girl from a good family, and I have already proposed to her.” After a few moments of awkward silence, his father spoke up. “Whose daughter is she? Is she from Enugu State? Do I know her father? Look son, you can’t marry that girl. Udoka is the girl we have chosen for you, and that is final!” When parents oppose child’s choice of mate, is it right?
What Will You Do?
It was the turn of Ozoemena to become shocked. What is his father talking about? He looked at his mother, but the look on her face showed she agreed with her husband. Why are his parents doing this to him now?
What is he going to do now? You can find the answers to these and other questions in the following article. If you were Ozoemena, what would you do? Are you going to stand up to your parents and marry the woman of your choice? Or are you just going to back down and marry the girl they have chosen for you? Is there any thing to do when parents oppose child’s choice of marriage mate?
Share you thoughts with us in the comments section below. Tell everyone what you think about this situation.