In a changing world, where the population of eligible bachelors is falling daily, ladies now find themselves having to marry men who may be below their status in terms of educational attainments or economic standing. As would be expected, this is re-defining the male-female relationship equation. The long held perceptions of the past no longer seem to jell with most people. Seun Adams has this to say: “I had this guy I dated for over four years whose financial status can’t be compared to mine but despite this I was faithful to him and I loved him with everything. At that time I thought he was a good person but right now I think otherwise because when I began to analyze memories I found out he was only using me. So I would rather advice anyone not to waste time with someone who is just below your class because it can never work. Tonia Aderonke shares her experience too: “Ours was made in heaven, although I was a lot older and better educated than Kelvin (not real name) but he seems older. Kelvin was the perfect date, when I first met him it was an instant attraction, he had all the right characteristics, he was tall, fair with brown eyes and an eager smile and he wore a crisp white sleeveless shirt that day. And he had this bold tattoo on his left arms too. I didn’t have to impress him much because he hardly knew what the political and economic climate was about. He didn’t understand what the melt down was about neither did he understand what the climate change was either. All he wanted to talk about was music. I let him be because for once I was enjoying not been in academic environment. He filled me in on the latest club on the island and I enjoyed all the outings. It might just be because he called me beautiful or he sent me text message just to say hi. But I continued to date Kelvin. Honestly, I was happy with him but there was a nag I couldn’t introduce him to my friends, how much more my professor parents. His IQ was below average and he was so wild I knew right deep down he wasn’t really doing anything tangible at that time. I wanted to help him, I wanted to be open-minded, and I wanted to give him more chance. Was I shallow? I was too cowardly to hurt him but I knew the relationship couldn’t grow. I knew I just had to let go because I couldn’t get past our polar differences. Interestingly, Kemi Adedayo also opined that marrying a man below her class is a no, no, explaining: “My answer to that is absolute no; I can never marry a man below my class because I really need someone to be proud of. Someone I can easily tell the whole world about. Really I need someone high up there, not in terms of money but I would prefer someone who is intellectually sound, vast and more knowledgeable than me. I think it is possible for me if I were to be a man to marry a woman below my status but as a woman I can’ marry a man below my status. You know a woman needs to flaunt her man, someone that has a solution to my problems. Seun Jayeola view is that “it is good for every woman to know that using your head along with your heart will help you select the right partner. You see there some issues you just don’t overlook when saying I do. I honestly think that in every relationship social status and money count a lot. If you marry below your social class you might end up with so much problem. Although there are marriages where they have major differences in status and they have managed to work things out but I don’t think I can handle it though.” Tinuke Williams (not real name) plunged into such relationship and she came out with burnt fingers. Recalling that experience, she says: “I wouldn’t say we were not in the same class because his families and I came from the middle class. But I am the only child of my parents so I had everything at my beck and call. On his part he was the first child and he had to struggle through school. I met Tunde at the church and we became great friends. Afterwards we began dating, I was five years younger than him but to be modest I was always the centre of attraction anywhere I went. Aside the fact that I was very pretty girl, I guess I was easily loved by everyone who came in contact with me. My parents were a bit skeptical and my friends never gave him a chance but I felt they were all biased because they wanted me to date the richer guys. After youth service I had multiple job offers and I eventually settled in an oil company. But Tunde never got a good job; he then decided to get a teaching job, which I supported. I encouraged him and I felt he was doing well. After four years of courtship we got married, it was his idea though but I had to prove to him I loved him. Barely six month later we started having problems, he would accuse me of sleeping around and this was the same guy who deflowered me. Then he started hitting me and I knew I couldn’t take it anymore because I tried to make things work but he kept hurting me. In fact it got to point that I felt that the only way he could show he was the man of the house was when he hits me.” However, Boye Adelaja thinks differently, ‘Of course I will he said emphatically. According to him love knows boundary. In his words “Love know religious, educational or social boundaries. If I truly love her I will marry the person straight on. Interestingly, Sarah Ope, a relationship analyst, also agrees with Boye Adelaja. She strongly believes that love knows no boundaries. According to Sarah, “love is something you don’t have control over, if there is true love status has little or no role in marriage. A woman who truly loves her man would be submissive no matter how rich she is. Even if she is more educated than the man but a woman must tread softly if she is more financially buoyant than the man. She has to be more submissive and respectful because of the ego of her man. I won’t deny the fact that money matters a lot but if both spouses have the fear of God, I am sure it will work out fine. Even if your spouse is illiterate you can still flaunt him to the world if you really love him.” Pastor Osondu Anyalechi, a renowned marriage counselor holds a contrary opinion. His position is that “Under normal circumstances, a man should be higher in academics than his wife. Also he should be more exposed and even earn more. What Adam was given was a helpmate, someone to render help as requisite. A helper should not then work more than the owner of the farm or work.” He further went on to buttress his point by giving an example of someone who had a bitter encounter in such marriage. “I know a man who never attempted school certificate examination but whose wife earned two master’s degrees and also a doctorate. She was beautiful, tall, light complexioned and from a good family. The husband was beating her most of the time. I even intervened.’ According to Anyalechi such a marriage would only work if both of them are real Christians and that God himself led them to each other. However, stresses that they must be sure that God is leading and not sentiments or emotions.
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