The more the world changes, the more it remains the same. It’s like everything that’s happening around us is a repeat of something in history.
For instance, back when some of our parents were young, women got married not only to the men they fell in love with but with his whole community. For you to be fully accepted by your man, you had to be ‘in-law compliant.’ Every member of your man’s family had to give you a clean sheet.
Marks were added and subtracted during visits or events prior to your marriage. Women were then left with no option but to play robot to please their in-laws.
Then came the revolution; women went to Beijing carrying empty suitcases and came back with suitcases filled with rights. That must have been the best feeling ever. Suddenly, we realised we only had to please the men we married and continue to live our lives on the fast lane. We stopped seeking approval from our in-laws and they too stopped poking their noses into our affairs.
It was a wonderful time as couples lived happily. Men stood by their choices of wives and would protect them come what may. Trips to our matrimonial homes – whether planned or unplanned – became wonderful adventures.
These merry moments didn’t last long though because the rights we carried from Beijing slipped out of our hands as swiftly as they slipped in. Now, we see women all over trying to seek approval from their in-laws even when they are clearly not at peace with them.
Nowadays, if you want to give a married woman a mini heart attack, just tell her she will be hosting an in-law. That alone is enough to make the white blood cells in her body turn to green or yellow and all of a sudden she will start suffering from God knows what.
Whatever happened in the Garden of Eden that created tension with in-laws should be revisited as soon as possible. I have seen women go into prayer and fasting weeks before meeting their in-laws just so they can have the strength to persevere. They seek advice left, right and centre on how to behave or dress.
One man was lucky enough to take me to meet his parents. I remember him telling me to be on my best behaviour, claiming the visit would be treated as a test and his people would provide the marking scheme and the final grades that would determine whether I would be married there.
I didn’t quite understand what he meant by me being ‘on my best behaviour’. It’s not like I was going to wake up in the middle of the night and start whipping the people in that homestead or pouring safari ants on them. I pretended I wasn’t hurt by the statement but, truth be told, I felt so disrespected.
We were supposed to spend five days in that home but by the second day, my marks were in the negative, meaning all they had done since I set my foot there was subtract, subtract and subtract! I wasn’t even given marks for waking up early daily to sweep the homestead using tree branches that I had to fight monkeys to get!
Not even a single mark for doing the dishes after every meal and dressing like my clothes were supposed to sweep the streets for those walking behind me.
To date, I have never really figured what happened. Sometimes I think it’s because I used to call their son ‘Baby’ in front of them, or maybe because I asked him to wait for me outside the makeshift bathroom at the corner of the homestead every time I was taking a bath. But did they expect me to take a bath at that lonely corner? What if someone stole me? Yes, the world has really changed, even a full-blooded adult can easily be stolen.
What hurt me most, however, is the fact that my man didn’t stand by me. Instead, he went by his people’s marking scheme. That’s how our relationship ended. I’ve been sitting on my small behind since, waiting for an independent man to come sweep me off my feet. I am looking for a ‘stand-alone’ man!