If everything went according to plan, we should have been married by now. We wanted to get married in December 2020. She told me, “It’s easy for us to get married now than ever because of the Covid. We can meet our pastor today and tomorrow we are married. Let’s take advantage of that.” I said, ”Great idea but everything is in the hands of your parents now.
I can’t come up with what they are asking from me. If I try, we’ll start our marital journey on debt. I don’t want to do that. Talk to them to reason up. If they bring their expectations down, I will meet it so we can marry as soon as possible.” She said, “I’ve told you, let’s marry without them. They are beginning to annoy me.” I said, “Let’s give honor to whom honor is due. If you get some of your family elders to intervene, they might change their mind.”
This is what happened…
In June 2020, I went to see Afi’s parents with my family. Our mission was simple; to perform the knocking rite and also get the dowry list so we can prepare and get married before December 2020. That day, they gave us a beautiful welcome and accepted our offer.
After going through all the traditions, we asked for the list. Her father said, “I’m sorry, we couldn’t put everything together in time. Give us one more week and we’ll present the list to you.” In my head, I asked, “One whole week for a list?” I didn’t; know what was coming. He said one week but it took them ten days before they sent the list to us. It was my father who opened it. He laughed after going through the list. He said, “It looks like your in-laws think you’re the son of Dangote or Dangote himself.”
I took the list and went through it again. I thought it was a mistake. I called Afi and asked if she had seen the list. She said, “No they didn’t show it to me.” I took a photo of it and sent it to her.” She said, “No this couldn’t have come from my parents. There’s a mistake somewhere. I said, “Then please talk to them so they can rectify whatever the mistake is.” Two days later, “Afi came to me and said, “It wasn’t a mistake. They intended to list everything they listed.” I said, “Including the four goats?” She said, “Yeah, they meant it but they are joking. You won’t buy anything for them. If they decide to fight against us, we’ll go ahead and marry without them.”
I spoke to my father and one elder in our family to go with me to the house of Afi’s parents so we can plead with them to knock things down. The day we went there, her father met us with an angry face. We saw the signs but didn’t bother. My father started the conversation. He said, “We saw the list you sent to us. We are here to acknowledge receipt and also plead with you to reduce the items on the list. These are two young people trying to begin a journey in life. We don’t have to put impediments in their ways to make things difficult for them. We are pleading with you, do something about it.”
Her father responded, “Young people don’t marry. If he’s young and not ready, he can go and come back later when he’s ready. Again, we are not happy about what he told our daughter about the list. That was a clear case of disrespect that ought to be brought to your attention.” We apologized. We pleaded with him to do something about it. His last words were, “Everything on the list is equally important. We can’t do without any of them. You have time. Go and prepare and come back again.”
When I told Afi about what her father said, she got so pissed off she started crying. She said, “I don’t blame that man. I blame my mother who gave him a second chance to appear in our lives. Do you know that he never took care of me?” I asked, “How?” She said, “I was young when he ran away from me and my mother. He traveled without telling my mom or any family member of his. I was in my first year in the university when he resurfaced with sickness. My mom forgave him, took him in, and helped him heal. Now he’s here writing nonsense as a list.”
When Afi went home, she made things worse. She gave them a piece of her mind and told them that we will marry without their consent. The sad thing is, when Afi tells them something, they took it on me, believing that I sent her to tell them what she said. Anytime Afi fought with them, they tightened their resolve not to decrease what’s on the list. Afi invited some family members in to talk to them on our behalf. After those family members had finished pleading, her father said, “You all should wait until your daughter goes to the university and complete so you can give her away on a silver platter but not me.”
Afi was there. Of course, she responded to what her father said, “Where were you when I was at the university?” The father got angry and left the discussion. We’ve done all we could but they say no, they’ll take what they’ve written on the list. In March this year, my father asked me to give up on the marriage and begin looking for another woman. I guess the up and down we’ve been doing has gotten him tired. I assured him that we will get to the bottom of it very soon.
Now, everything has turned personal. Her father has given me enough reasons to believe that he just doesn’t want me to marry his daughter. Everything shows in his actions and the way he talks to me whenever we meet. Last time my mother called me on the side and said to me, “Ansah, we should give up on this marriage. If today her father agrees for us to marry his daughter, I won’t be happy because the relationship between us has already strained beyond measure. Her father is disrespectful and I don’t respect him too. Nothing will change that so give up on the marriage and let’s look elsewhere.”
Starting all over again isn’t easy. Again, Afi is a good person. I’ve been through a lot with her and I’m convinced she’s the one. The problem is not her but her parents. So I told my mom, “We have until the end of this year to resolve things. If they don’t agree, we’ll go ahead and marry without them.” My mom screamed, “Abomination! You can’t do that anywhere. A marriage like this will be dangerous to go in. They’ll fight you in all realms to bring you down. Don’t you dare.”
Now the two of us are confused. My parents are telling me to back out. Her parents are using tactics to make us fail. I wish I could put the list down here but I don’t know who is reading. If they get to know that I’ve published something of this nature, it will be our end so I’m threading carefully. But to put everything in perspective, everything on the list will cost us a whooping GHc40,670 . Where am I going to get that money from? Our plans for the wedding itself wouldn’t cost half of that amount. But a father and a mother are doing everything in their might to deny us the love the two of us deserve.
If I should obey my parents, the marriage will not happen. If Afi should obey her parents, the marriage wouldn’t happen. We are at the end of our wit. We’ve brought every person we deem fit into the issue but nothing has changed. I want to know, where do we go from here? Marrying her without the involvement of her parents is not an option because my own parents would not honor a wedding of such nature. What do we do?