Nigerian Marriages always appear solid and formidable until the union gets a visa. The moment it passes through the UK Point of Entry, it starts to develop cracks until it takes more falls than the Naira under the current Tinubu administration.
In this piece, I will be taking a dive into the common reasons why Nigerian marriages struggle on UK soil.
(1). Personal Vendetta:
Marriage as an institution in Nigeria is modeled around patriarchy - a system of male dominance. In this case, the man is the king while the woman is the queen. As you know, the king dominates the queen, and nothing he does is wrong in most cases (especially for the wealthy men). The woman could be forced to endure physical, verbal, psychological, financial abuse, and lots more. She stands to get mocked if her marriage crashes. This creates age-long bitterness and a cold war in the union. Women have a long memory and they hardly forgive. The moment the marriage transits to a society that gives women an upper hand against men, they come for their pound of flesh like Shylock. This destroys the foundation and subsequently brings it to an end.
(2). Level Playing field:
Marriage in Nigeria is a bit lopsided in terms of the professional profiles of the couples. In some cases, the husband might be a doctor while the wife might be selling beauty products or other petty items that cannot sustain her financially. The man steps in, and this gives him an undue edge in the marriage. In the UK where a hard-working bartender can match a nurse financially, and there is a level playing ground, power changes hands. The man who might be an alpha male loses that edge. This kind of equality - an unfamiliar territory for the man, if not well-managed might be the collapse of the marriage.
(3). Cultural Issues:
In the UK, the difference between a man and a woman might be that one menstruates and the other doesn't. In fact, people switch genders according to their moods. In simple terms, there is no duty/responsibility that is totally exclusive to a man or woman. Over here, men go to the market, clean, wash, cook, babysit, run errands, and also fund the home. Local champions who are used to being served like emperors by their wives might struggle to cope with the new environment and could feel short-changed.
(4). Busy Schedules:
It is no longer news that the cost of living in the UK is as high as a COVID-19 patient's temperature. In my previous articles, I have overemphasized how people inevitably work for long hours in order to cope with rising living expenses and financial demands from their families back home. This might affect bonding between young couples and reduce intimacy. Most times, when one party is ready for a "mid-section parley", the other might be unavailable due to conflicting shift patterns, not being in the mood due to mental or physical stress. This gradually takes a negative toll on the marriage.
(5). Women Are Powerful Abroad:
In the West, there are checks to prevent the domination of women by men. This has made women so powerful. In the event of a conflict, the odds are always against the men. The Spanish FA chief, Luis Rubiales learned the hard way for controversially kissing midfielder, Jennifer Hermoso at the recently concluded 2023 Women's World Cup. Also in February 2021, Yoshiro Mori - head of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games Organising Committee, was coerced into resigning after saying 'women talk too much in meetings'. Former Manchester United player, Mason Greenwood apparently ruined his career due to struggles with his partner. In marriage, some women mischievously abuse their powers. A colleague lost his marriage of 5 years after his wife reportedly abused him physically multiple times. A behaviour that was never evident in Nigeria according to him.
A randy man who is obsessed with beautiful women would easily make mistakes in the UK. The UK exposes you to numerous women of different shapes, forms, and beauty. If you think you have seen it all, you need to see the Jamaican, Somalian, Pakistani, Iranian, curvy Kenyans, and some pretty Indian women. It is not just how they look alone but what they are wearing. Some of them might fancy you and might be willing to hand you the cookie on a platter of gold. There are also several single mothers who have nothing to lose. They are ready to 'share it' graciously like the Federal Government palliatives across their community. One person's husband might be hooked to the detriment of his marriage.
Another area of challenge in a UK home is money. In an informal survey I personally conducted, I realized it is the most common problem around. It is extremely difficult for a man to singlehandedly foot the household bills in the UK. Paying for everything is easily obtainable in Nigeria where the cost of living is lower. A woman who is used to the Nigerian system might be hoarding cash, and under-declaring her finances. This is done to force the man to fill the vacuum. This creates discontentment, and over time, frustration starts to hit the man. He might be tempted to seek solace outside the marriage to boost his mental health.
Osahon George Osayimwen is a Journalist and a Developmental Psychologist. He writes from the South Yorkshire region of England.