Sola Odunfa: The price of marriage
Many Christians no longer see marriage as sacred
In the south-west, the situation is different.
The bride price is not the cause of headaches, but values and morality are.
To the young man here, his parents' stories of wives being totally loyal and respectful are from a different planet.
He will find that his wife is imbibed with the Western values of equality in the home and the freedom to choose her way of life.
He may fret and grumble as much as he chooses – if he is really serious about ending his marriage, the divorce court is next door.
Considering the huge economic implications, wise men ignore their wives' pranks and cast out their own nets.
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Many families demand that their son’s girlfriend be pregnant before marriage”
It is generally acknowledged that those women who seek freedom via divorce courts are the God-fearing ones.
Others consult spiritualists and have their husbands done in the traditional way – through murder.
Thereafter, they stage elaborate funerals and when the mourning period is over, they live on happily in wealth.
Many young men still walk down the aisle, even if their numbers are dwindling.
‘Ungodly and unAnglican’
And in Nigeria's commercial capital, Lagos, churches are abandoning traditions to allow men to marry their pregnant lovers.
This is in recognition of the fact that many families demand that their son's girlfriend be pregnant before marriage.
These days, churches generally do not cast out such couples. Instead, they ask the bride not to wear a white dress and veil.
Churches which remain dogmatic tell the couple to wed at the registry and come back for blessing. Children are a gift of God, they say.
The Anglican Bishop of Amichi in the south-eastern state of Anambra, Reverend Ephraim Ikeakor, would not stomach such permissiveness.
He told the Synod of his diocese last week that conducting the marriage of pregnant brides was “unChristian and ungodly and unAnglican” and, therefore, banned in his diocese.
Far be it from me to question the bishop's charge but I am happy Reverend Ikeakor is not the primate of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.