Growing up, I made a very important decision early that when I fall in love, I was not going to encourage it to be a secret relationship. I told myself I will do all I can to meet her siblings and parents, either while we are friends or within the first year of dating. Why? I just thought it was the wisest thing to do if the end goal of my relationship with her is marriage. If it’s not for marriage, then well…it wouldn’t matter meeting anybody because we won’t need anybody’s approval or disapproval really.
Maybe it was not so much a decision I made; maybe it’s because I was brought up that way. My mother of blessed memory never encouraged wrong associations and would make sure we bring our friends home. She was very homely and just wants to know our friends and wants us to feel comfortable bringing them home instead of staying at friends homes. She was very protective and interested in what kind of friends we had. If you have a mother who is very strict on the rule that all her children be back home by 6pm no matter where they said you were going to, then you would understand how she never joked with certain things. It became a part of us that no matter where we were or which friends we are with, as long as it is approaching dusk, we start making our way home.
It was like the default setting. It didn’t matter to her whether you are the eldest or youngest or whether you are old enough to take care of yourself, you just must never stay out late!
So, yes, I grew up with the decision to feel it’s very important and safer to bring my girlfriend home quite early in the relationship or to get to know her family early. That one thing was very important to me because I needed to know very early in the relationship whether or not her family will accept me, first of all as a friend, and then potential partner, and whether she and my family will be cool as well.
Travelling the distance in a relationship to later discover you are not accepted by either of your families is a pain and wasted years. I will rather break things off early than sink in deeper before that reality dawns on me. I know how families can be and I didn’t have to lie to myself that all will be well when we are ready to marry.
In the culture we find ourselves, family approvals have a very important place in marriage. Our people say that marriage is more about two families coming together than just two individuals. Deciding not to care about parental approvals and blessings and just elope to get married is a recipe for disaster. As such, it is better to cross that bridge earlier than later in a relationship and that was my principle.
For me, I believe whatever you run away from in your journey to marriage or in life generally, you will still meet later. So, why not get the hurdle at least half solved now or why not know your fate sooner than later in a relationship leading to marriage?
Secret relationships will surely only have one or two outcomes, and that could mean it ending in tears 🤷🏽♂🤷🏽.
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©Mark Gadogbe, 2020