Nigerian Men and their Foreign Wives

Sabella Ogbobode Abidde

Taken aback...

Increasingly, and in greater numbers, Nigerian men are marrying non-Nigerian women. In droves, they are marrying Caribbean nationals, White-Americans and African-Americans. They are marrying, not for the primarily purpose of acquiring “greencard,” but for other noble reasons. They marry, not for the curiosity, but because they are bonded and are determined to make a success of the marriage institution; they are bonded by love and faith and a commitment to one another to live their lives as one in a happy matrimony.

The more I notice this phenomenon, the more I wonder about some Nigerian men. I wonder. Culturally, Nigerian men are overbearing, controlling, and paternalistic. They relate to their fathers and mothers differently. They believe it is “a man’s world” and so they have the tendency to relegate women to subservient roles. True, things are changing. True globalization and modernity and westernization are impacting the Nigerian culture. In cities across Nigeria, these changes are noticeable; but over all, the effects of these changes are minimal. A Nigerian may be well read, well educated and well traveled, in the end though, he will succumb to the weight and influence of the Nigerian culture.

We have a society where anthropological and sociological behaviors are still paramount. For instance, a great many Nigerians still practice levirate and sororate marriage, and they also engage in polygyny, bridewealth, and matrilocal and patrilocal living arrangements. And in spite of westernization, Nigerians are still not comfortable with public display of affection, i.e. kissing and verbal declaration of love; and neither are they comfortable with open and public discussions of abortion, sex and exotic sex acts. That Nigerians are not comfortable with such public declarations and have not completely embraced westernization is due, to a large extent, on the hold the traditional African culture has on the vast majority of the populace. At the core of every Nigerian, and indeed every African, is the thumbprint, the umbilical cord of their ancestors.

This non-public declaration and display of love and affection is not unique to Nigerians living in Nigeria. No! The vast majority of Nigerians living in the United States are loath to engage in such practices, too. Furthermore, most Nigerians do not engage in endearing practices like candlelight dinners, flower giving, romantic walk by the lake or park, or even running the bath for their wives or lovers. It would surprise most westerners to know that a typical Nigerian father or mother would rarely, if ever, utter affectionate or confidence-building words like “I love you…” to their children; yet, the children have no doubt that their parents love them. Children are the crowing glory of any respectable Nigerian family.

Haven digressed a bit, I return to the issue of Nigerian men and their foreign wives. I am stunned, perplexed, taken aback by the transformation Nigerian men, married to non-Nigerian women, have gone through in the United States (and perhaps all over the Western world). My goodness, here are a group of macho men, fiercely independent, with a burgeoning sense of entitlement who thinks the world belongs to them; and that women are made to be at their beck-and-call. Here they are; they have suddenly or gradually gone soft and sensitive and romantic and wide-eyed. How did these groups of men become “oh baby, oh baby” kind of guys? How did they become “yes honey, yes sweetheart, yes darling” kind of fellas? What has happened to them? What got to their hearts and soul?

How were they able to adjust to living under a different set of rules and matrimonial conventions? How is it that a breed of men married to their fellow countrywomen would behave in a given and predictable manner; but then adjust to a different matrimonial lifestyle when married to foreigners? When they are with the Nigerian women, these men are all about control and power and they expect their wives to cook and clean and raise babies and provide sex on demand; but with the foreign wives, their balls shrink! Such men live by schedule. They have daily and weekly schedule of when to do the laundry and the dishes; of whose turn it is to empty the thrash; and of whose turn it is to sweep and mop the floor; and of when to eat out and cook at home.

These men -- especially if married to White women -- feel lucky and grateful and mightily blessed. These men meet and exceed all matrimonial expectations; but would rubbish and dominate their Nigerian women. What is it about a White woman that makes the Nigerian male lose his senses? Could it be because of their skin color and their supposed sensuality and submissive attitude in bed? Could it be because they engage in all kinds of mind-altering sexual acts that, understandably, the Nigerian woman would NOT engage in? Or perhaps it has to do with the warped mentality of some Nigerian men who thinks everything white is good and desirable and so must be had!

Why are Nigerian men afraid to turn control over to their Nigerian wives? Why are they averse to showing their sensitive side? Why the need to control and dominate? Why are Nigerian men reluctant to take their wives on a romantic walk to the parks and beaches, buy roses and cards? Why the need to bottle up their romantic side? Why have they refused to do for their Nigerian wives what they would heartily do for non-Nigerian women? After all, Nigerian women, unlike their foreign counterparts usually do not demand to be co-captains of the house. They usually do not demand for more than is earthly possible. And way more than their foreign counterparts they understand what it means to be a wife and a partner; they understand what it means to be part of the extended family.

When it comes to matters of life, love and death, Nigerian women have stood by their husbands. They are there during the passing of their in-laws; they give succor in times of crisis. These women understand what the African family is all about. But not much can be said about non-Nigerian wives who may not even find it necessary to visit or attend marriage or burial ceremonies in their husbands’ ancestral homes. For non-Nigerian wives, life begins and ends in American. For these women, marriage is not about marrying into another family; it is about “us and us alone.” And in fact, they would rather you not bother them with stories about your extended families and the need for the monthly or quarterly remittances.

Yes, some of us can’t help with whom we fall in love; but to the extent that one can, I would rather a Nigerian. A Nigerian woman is not likely to throw you out of your home; she is not likely to call the cops on you based on flimsy reasons; she is not likely to drag you through the judicial system; she is not likely to throw the divorce papers at you at the slightest provocation; she is not likely to turn her backs at you in times of financial difficulties and other crises. In order words: Nigerian women are likely to stay and be loving and generous and supportive for the long haul! Again and again and again, they have proven that of all God’s creations, they are the very best. And indeed, they are!

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14 comments:

Kimlin said...

As far as i am concern Nigerian woman can be the worst woman to deal with with no offense to the good one I have heard Nigerian men on a whole say many time that they will never marry a Nigerian woman because they tend to act with attitude at all times. Most African woman tend to try and control their African Brothers (husbands)and that is not so My man i Nigerian and we live very happy and no he may not buy roses at all times, but we have a mutual respect for each other he is my King and my brother my lover not my God if he needs me I will be there and I cook for him and clean for him and everyone of his friend and family know me as his ideal WIFE not just some foreign woman I work my own money and he works his at time I treat him and treats me we are equal in that way,but with some Nigerian woman it is all about sitting at home having babies and depending on the man to mine them all the time when sometimes they don't have it why do you think your men die faster cause you lazy woman killed them by over working them. Maybe you became more like western women, who by the way can and do adjust to their Nigerian Man culture your men would live LONGER.

God Bless

joan said...

I am currently dating a Nigerian man and he is very affectionate in public and behind closed doors. He has taken my children and treats them like they are his own and he tells them that he loves them. I can not wait until the day that we become man and wife because i've told him what i expect from him and he has told him what he expects from me. We both agreed that our relationship is 50/50. Neither of us is above each other. So I really don't know what the Nigerian women are doing wrong. Maybe if they actually tried to work and take care of their men as well as the men work and take care of them they wouldn't have to go through those things because my man treats me like a Queen.

prince said...

I have been a resident of the US for 5 years now and I still like Nigeria simply because I still like my heritage. I have dated white-Americans and African-Americans alike and they are both wonderful people to date and maybe spend the rest of your life with. I live in the US and I know my kids would become Americans. Nigerian women have their own fault

There are two types of Nigerian
women. Either you belong to one or the other. They are both two different people with different motives for marrying. I like both of them but you will have to make your choice. They both grew in Nigerian or elsewhere and are totally trained differently.

The first group are the ones that wants to be treated as Nigerian women and American women at the same time. They come to the US with no prior knowledge of how the system works. They don't want to work, always want to be a stay at home mother, they are preoccupy with the thought of sending money home when they can't even think about their immediate problem in the US, wants to go to Nigerian parties with their best outfit and show off, they eat, eat, eat, and want to become fat just because their culture glorifies "thick women", they nag all day and complain about external family problems, they report every little thing that happen in their marital homes to their family for guidance, when they come to the US, they are in constant competition with their husband.

A subgroup of this group is the new brand of Nigerian women known as the Neo-Nigerian women. They are the first to sign divorce papers just because they want to send the man packing to the street, they are the ones that stab their selves and report the case to the cop just to see their husband are thrown into the prison.

The second group of Nigeria women cook, have a part time job or even a full time job to help in financial state of the family, further their education to help the kids and the family grow better, say less things that happen in their home, these women are hard working.

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Cherry Pie said...

I am an British born Nigerian female, I must say that I think you are being very harsh towards Nigerian men and obviously generalising. Maybe it is different in the States, i live in UK, I have been in a long term relationship with a nigerian man and he is affectionate, loving , sensitive and kind and generous and so much more. some people say that your partner is a reflection of yourself ..maybe that is something that people should consider whilst choosing a partner for themselves.

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Judienne said...

i do believe that not all nigerian men are the same. the main problem is that the mothers need to stay out of men lives and let them, date, love and marry whoever they want to. its is good to give your sons advise but when you start telling them who to love and what to do then it becomes a problem. this is america not nigerian so if they want to tell their sons who to date, marry or live with then they should all pack up and go back to their country where they can practise the cultures and marry other nigerian women.
the one i hate the most is when the mother has a problem with the son living with a woman and they not married! come one this is 2010 and america at that go back to nigeria with that crap. futher more dont you have to live with someone and get to know them before you marry them. that crap is irritating and sad!

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IN_LOVE_LINGERIE said...

We are currently viewing a video documentary called "Black to Basics" where we explore.

Is it harder for a black woman to find a suitor than a white woman? And what are their choices?

Exploring the challenges that black successful British women face when choosing possible suitors. Choices to be discussed include dating a black guy less successful than you, returning to your parent’s country to find a man and finally dating outside your race?


http://www.naijapals.com/modules/naijapals/index.php/?topic=54546.new#new

Please take a look.

Kris

trenishia said...

Sorry dont know exactly where you got your sources but this is all wrong first off it seems like it's a little racial like white women are the only one's who can please a man secondly i am with a nigerian man and have taken in the culture and yes he may not do the romantic things but shows his love in other ways. Also not all american women are trying to put our man in jail, trust me my husband has taken me to hell and back and i have always stuck by his side. even with my husbands flaws i still love him and him me. Also not all nigerian women are sticking by their mans side, my husband refuses to date nigerians in america because he says they come here and develop a sense of freedom so he believes alot of them are too loose. So before you right something like this you need to adress every side of each culture including black americans by the way.

Bradly Jones said...

Thanks for the post. It's like five years of not being in Nigeria has finally made me out-dated for this to be news to me. The change is amazing. Great blog!



--
call Nigeria

robin amos said...

Hello I am here asking somne advice. I am an american raised woman but raised very out of society. I was raised and taught to be a wife and men are above woman. I do not mind it at all my traditions in a small community is very different. woman cannot divorce only men could if they are not pleased with their wives. I was married at 14 and divorced by 18 because my husband desired sons. I lived in much shame until 2002 when i remarried. I married a man 20 years older then me. I gave him 3 children. He came to me last year and said he wanted a younger wife I am getting to old. He has been very abusive the whole marriage.Ok so now is where the advice comes in I met a man from nigeria who says he will come here to marry me and he loves me. I do worry alot I do not want to fail another marriage. I want to serve him as a good wife and be everything to him but I need advice on how are cultures differ. He thinks I am too submissive. So I am very confused. He gets so upset easy with me cause he feels I am not being treated right and expects me to stand up for myself. I do not know how to. I told him I do not know how to speak back to men I was not raised like that. Men are always right where I was raised. I also am concerned when he comes he with the making love situation . I am 37 and only made love 12 times we only make children it is not a pleasurable thing. He wants to come to me but I am scared I might be a waste of his time and not what he wants. Please any advice would be helpful.

Jennifer said...

@ Kimlin,

{ Kimlin said...As far as i am concern Nigerian woman can be the worst woman to deal with with no offense to the good one I have heard Nigerian men on a whole say many time that they will never marry a Nigerian woman because they tend to act with attitude at all times. Most African woman tend to try and control their African Brothers (husbands)and that is not so My man i Nigerian and we live very happy and no he may not buy roses at all times, but we have a mutual respect for each other he is my King and my brother my lover not my God if he needs me I will be there and I cook for him and clean for him and everyone of his friend and family know me as his ideal WIFE not just some foreign woman I work my own money and he works his at time I treat him and treats me we are equal in that way,but with some Nigerian woman it is all about sitting at home having babies and depending on the man to mine them all the time when sometimes they don't have it why do you think your men die faster cause you lazy woman killed them by over working them. Maybe you became more like western women, who by the way can and do adjust to their Nigerian Man culture your men would live LONGER.God Bless}

Although I don't agree with everything in this blog, I definitely don't agree with your comment and can't understand why you would choose to blame the mortality or longevity of a Nigerian men on Nigerian women. That's insane.

I'm an American female married to a Nigerian and I have in-laws, colleagues, and friends that I SEE with my own TWO EYES that work their tailbones off particularly when they come to the Western Hemisphere so much so that they make me tired watching them.

I know several Nigerian women who work, go to church, attend baby namings, anniversaries, birthdays, cook soup, take care of family/ extended family, plus ALL on little no sleep. Of course, there are exceptions to every individual family, but this is what I have seen.

I've only known one "so called lazy-person" from Nigeria, but that was what my in-law said about her based on her idea of what Nigerian women are suppose to do from their own cultural upbringing. Anyway, I find that you have been very unfair to Nigerian women.

JenFad


Jennifer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.