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What’s The Worst That Could Happen When You Marry Without Your Parents’ Consent?

What’s The Worst That Could Happen When You Marry Without Your Parents’ Consent?

I and Ola started dating at the university. He was at level three hundred and I was a freshman. The first day he spoke to me, it was his accent that caught my attention. I asked, “Are you a Nigerian?” He said, “Yeah, but don’t worry, I’m a good man.” I laughed. I asked him, “Why do you have to explain yourself?” He said, “Just so you know that I’m a good person.” We stayed friends for the whole semester until he proposed to me when we were on vacation. I remember asking him, “We were in school all semester, so why would you wait until vacation before you propose? He said, “When you say no to me, it will take some time before I see you. That will help lessen the pain.”

But I didn’t say no. I said, “Fear won’t let you be great. Now that I’m here and you’re there, if I say yes, how would we kiss? huh? You wait, when school resumes, I will give you my answer.” He wasn’t stupid. He sensed the yes from my answer. The day we met, he couldn’t look at me in the face. His eyes were all over the place as though he was shy of something. I said, “So, we are lovers now. Where do we start from?”

We started from being in each other’s hostel every day and being together everywhere. There were few things we didn’t do together while in school. Soon, he completed school and left for Nigeria. It was one of the hardest moments of our relationship. I missed him every day. He promised he would come and see me but later changed his plans. He promised he would live in Ghana after school but that moment when he wasn’t coming back, I thought he had changed his mind and was finding it hard to tell me. One day I was at the hostel when someone knocked on our door. I went out and it was him. I screamed like I’d lost my head. I said, “Why didn’t you tell me?” He answered, “I wanted to surprise you.”

In all, he spent a year and a half in Nigeria. He came back to Ghana because he had a job offer. He attended the interview and got the job. He was in Accra. I was in school in Kumasi but every weekend, one of us traveled to visit the other. 

The day I completed school and went home the very first time, I went with him. When my parents met us I introduced him to them; “Dad, meet Ola, my friend.” He asked, “Ola? But Ola is a name of a school?” I said, “Not that one. This is Ola the human being.” My dad asked him in Twi, “Abrantiɛ, wɔfrɛ wo dɛn?” I told him, “He’s asking for your name.” My dad asked, “He doesn’t understand Twi? Where does he come from?” He answered timidly, “I’m a Nigerian” My dad asked, “A Nigerian and your name is Ola?” He said, “Yeah, the name actually is Olasupo but Ola for short.” My dad nodded and said, “Welcome to our home.”

When Ola left, my dad said, “So, of all the men in this world you didn’t find anyone to be friends with apart from a Nigerian?” I said, “He’s one of the best humans I’ve ever seen on earth. He’s calm, very considerate, and knows how to treat a fellow human being.” My mom laughed from behind. “You’re talking as if we don’t know these people. You better drop any intention you have before I slap it off your head. We sent you to school to learn. We didn’t send you there to come and lecture us on people we already know.”

From that day I knew there was trouble. I told myself, “As time goes on, they’ll know him and like him.” Boy, I was wrong. Anytime he came around and greeted, my dad only nodded and walked away. My mom would hover around us saying a lot of demeaning things in Twi. 

After my national service, I found a job where I was posted to. When I had a job, I decided to leave home and get my own place, where Ola would be comfortable. My parents resisted. My dad said, “A lady does not leave home until she’s leaving to her husband’s house.” My mom added, “You want to leave home so you can be moving around freely with that your Agege boyfriend, me boa?.” I couldn’t leave home but I stopped Ola from visiting. I was the one visiting him all the time and sometimes spending the weekend with him. 

He was deeply worried about my parents but I told him, “You have nothing to worry about. When the time comes, they would have no option but to say yes to us. He didn’t believe me. He was always doubtful but I kept assuring him of my unflinching love. One day I traveled with him to Nigeria to meet his people. I was wowed. I didn’t want to come back home. The way his parents treated me, I felt like royalty. It made me more ashamed of the way my own parents have treated Ola so far. His father told me, “We can’t wait to come to Ghana to snatch you away. They even gave me a Yoruba name; Eyitayo. 

A year later we were ready to marry. As expected, my parents said no. I spent days and nights trying to convince them that he was the only one who can give me joy. My mom said, “How many men have you tried that only this one gave you joy?” They simply were not ready to listen to me. I took them to their pastor. He did his best. They said, “Nigeria is too far.” I tried other family members. I even brought in people from outside to talk to them. They said no. For a whole year, our marriage plans stalled. One morning I woke up and asked myself, “What’s the worst that could happen? They would disown me and tell me I’m no longer their child? To hell with that. I will do it without them.”

My mother’s siblings promised to support me. My dad’s senior brother promised he’ll sit in for me. My own siblings were solidly behind me. When my dad got to know about the arrangement, it became a huge fight. He even pronounced curses on whoever would sit in as the father. “Who are you to marry my daughter off when I’m alive? How much did you pay for her education? Which of your children has attended the university that you’ll temper with mine?” He rained insults upon insult on his senior brother. One early morning his senior brother called me, “I’ve had enough of insults from my brother. I’m backing out before it turns into war.” He was my last hope so I ran to him and cried. That day I slept in his house, begging him not to back out. The next morning he said, “Let them come. What’s the worst that could happen?”

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As expected, my dad and mom said what they will say to me. They said I was no longer their child. My dad said he had regretted having a child like me. I was bothered but it didn’t stop me. The day before the wedding, my mom called, crying and telling me all the bad dreams she has had about the marriage. She asked me, “So can you stand somewhere and call us your parents after all this?” I said, “You gave birth to me. Nothing can change that.”

We got married without them. I missed them during the wedding. It wasn’t the same without them. After the wedding, I tried my best to get them to forgive me. My dad turned his back on me. My mom treated me like I didn’t exist. I left them alone. Five years and two kids later, my father’s senior brother called me one day. He said, “Your dad came to apologize to me for everything that happened during your marriage. I think from here, he’ll come to you so expect him.” I screamed, “Alleluia! What changed? What happened?” He said, “I didn’t ask him. He looked miserable. That was enough for me.”

One morning, I saw his call on my phone. Tears started falling even before I answered the call. Before he could say anything I told him, “I miss you, Dad. I hope everything is ok?” He said, “Forgive us. We had it all wrong. We were scared the worse could happen to you. We’ve seen it before and didn’t want that for our own child.” I said, “There’s nothing to forgive.” He asked, “I hope your husband isn’t mad at us?” I said, “Not at all. He can’t wait to meet you.”

Today, we are one big happy family. Nothing is lost but all is gained. 

–Eyitayo

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