FEATURE ARTICLE

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
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JOB WEDS JOY

nlike some persons who were born with golden spoons in their mouths, this man called Job Uwabuekwere was born with a cross in his mouth. His father died when he was three years old. He was left to care of his wretched mother, who ate from hand to mouth. She used to search under palm trees for palm-kernels to sell. With the little money she got, she used it to take care of her son, Job. Due to hardship, Job did not begin school on time like his mates. He was brilliant but his pocket was full of poverty. Through the untiring effort of his mother he was able to complete his primary education in flying colours. Unfortunately, he could not go into secondary school for lack of sponsorship. Therefore he was compelled to go into Onitsha Main Market to learn trading. He did his apprenticeship under a strict relation known as Mr. No-Nonsense, who maltreated him beyond measure. Jesus Christ was crucified under Pontus Pilate while Job Uwabuekwere was crucified under Mr. No-Nonsense. Our country Nigeria is being crucified under who? A good reward awaits the correct answer. Under who are you being crucified?

After seven stressful years, Mr. No-Nonsense settled Job with insufficient amount of money. It was not even enough to purchase a shop, not to talk of goods. It is just like a man who bought a car but was unable to buy fuel. Should he sell the car and buy fuel? Or should he answer car owner and walk about on foot? Often a bicycle rider without a bell is advised to sell the bicycle and buy a bell. That's tantamount to madness, moving about on foot ringing the bell without the bicycle itself. All said and done, Job was confused on what to do with the little money. He later decided to hawk second hand clothes, popularly known as 'okirika'. From the proceeds he was able to cater for himself and his poor mother. The two rooms mud house built by his late father was almost collapsing. Job did his best to renovate it a bit. He changed the thatch roof to zinc. Then he plastered the wall and floor with cement.

Being the only son and only child, Job Uwabuekwere was advised by the mother to get married at the age of 25. He accepted the motherly advice. Then he began to look for a good woman to marry. My town's man says that on the day he goes out to look for a wife, all mad women would dress up well. Thus, Job did not find it easy getting a wife. Once he told his fiancée that his name is Job, the woman took to her heels. About eleven of such women did so. According to them, they do not want their husband to suffer like the biblical Job. It was suffering that inspired the parents of Job to give him that name. Fortunately, Job came across the twelfth woman called Joy Uwaezuoke. He asked her hand in marriage. Initially, Joy turned down the request. But after prayerful thought, she accepted the proposal. The dowry was paid. This was how Job Uwabuekwere met his heartthrob Joy Uwaezuoke. From that moment till today, they call themselves JU-JU.

Later, they registered for church wedding. As a prerequisite, they must undergo a 3-month marriage course. This they successfully completed. The banns of marriage were published thrice. The congregation laughed each time the catechist announced: "A Wedding is intended to hold between Mr. Job Uwabuekwere and Miss Joy Uwaezuoke. If you have any reasons why they should not get married, kindly inform the parish priest." On hearing the publication of the banns the second time, a concerned person went to the parish priest to tell him why Job and Job cannot get married. His reason was that Job and Joy are incompatible. He asserted, "It is just like Heaven and Hell dwelling together. Can God and Satan live together? Hence, if Job and Joy marry each other, then it will be disastrous." The priest thanked the informant for his courage and concern. However, he reminded him that Job marrying Joy is not an impediment since marriage is for better, for worse.

Eventually, Mr. Job Uwabuekwere got wedded to Miss Joy Uwaezuoke. On their wedding day, Job arrived at the church premises on board a wheel-barrow while Joy rode on a pleasure car. The people were very much amused when the bridegroom alighted from the wheel-barrow and was waving at the people around. The officiating minister admonished the would-be couple that marriage is for better and for worse. They nodded their heads as a sign of concurring. The bridegroom told the minister that the bride's name Joy stands for better while his own name Job stands for worse. Therefore, there is no cause for alarm. The congregants gave them a standing ovation. The church service was brought to a hilarious end. The people from that day refer to them as 'For Better and for Worse couple'. Job and Joy live happily as husband and wife till today. They love one another and understand themselves in good times and in bad times. Their marriage is blessed with five children.

A happy marriage entails husband and wife understanding themselves at all times. This does not mean that they are perfect. Indeed no marriage is perfect. There is neither a perfect husband nor a perfect wife. Have you seen one? However, anyone who marries a bad husband or a bad wife is already in hell. A married man came to my office. He was very worried and sweating by 8.00a.m. I asked him, "My brother, what is wrong with you? Why are you sweating like a pig this morning? Did you eat hot-dog?

Let me digress a bit. A hungry man went into a restaurant and asked the waiter to serve him hot-dog. After about half an hour, the illiterate waiter came out with a pot of hot water and a-2month old live dog. The hungry man shouted, "What is this?" The waiter replied, "Sir, you asked me to serve you hot-dog. Here is the dog and hot water in a pot. When you put the dog inside the hot water, it becomes hot-dog. A hungry man is an angry man. The angry and hungry man descended on the foolish waiter and beat senses into him.

As I was saying before the digression, the sweating man said he did not eat hot-dog, rather he entered into hot-soup. I enquired, "What for a hot-soup?" He started to shed tears. I asked him why he was shedding tears. He tearfully replied, "Father, you will not understand. I married a devil as wife. I can no longer carry the cross. Please give me a certificate of divorce here and now." I tried my best to console and calm him down. He sighed and asserted, "Father, thank God you are not married." I asked him to stop saying so. I explained to him that my choice in being a celibate priest does not mean that I would not make a good marriage. I went on to tell him that there are many married couples in heaven. You cannot have a perfect marriage as such. It is only love, understanding and tolerance that can sustain a marriage.

Some couples in reality accept the Better and reject the Worse in marriage. Once upon a time, I witnessed a wedding somewhere. During the exchange of consent, the couple in question individually loudly said 'for better' and muted 'for worse.' According to them, they cannot place a cause on themselves, because 'for better' stands for blessings while 'for worse' is a cause. All my efforts to correct them were like pouring water on top of stone. Two years into their marriage, hardship set in from left and right. They couldn't endure at all. The worst was that pregnancy was nowhere to be found. They accused each other of witchcraft. All efforts to reconcile them proved abortive. They divorced. Both later died of cardiac arrest. What will happen if they meet themselves in the world beyond? Only God knows.

On a cool evening this year 2018, I was relaxing and was sipping a cold bottle of beer. Suddenly, my mobile phone rang. I picked it and heard a shrill voice of a lady at the other end. She was talking to me and was crying at the same time. It was an unknown lady. She told me that if she had known, she would not have married. She said that her husband is a good-for-nothing and have no human sympathy. She had lost all her front teeth as a result of constant beating by her husband. Her beauty has turned into ugliness. She swore never to marry again, if there is reincarnation.

My people marriage is not heaven but purgatory. Marriage is Job and Joy. The following 10 Top marriage quotes are food for thought. (i) "A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person" (Mignon Mc Laughin). (ii) "When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife" (Prince Philip). (iii) "My most brilliant achievement was my ability to be able to persuade my wife to marry me" (Winston Churchill). (iv) "Love is moral even without legal marriage, but marriage is immoral without love" (Ellen Key). (v) "Marriages, like careers, need constant nurturing…the secret of having it all is loving it all"(Joycee Brothers). (vi) "Neither man nor woman is perfect or complete without the other. Thus, no marriage or family, no ward or stake is likely to reach its full potential until husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, men and women work together in unity of purpose, respecting and relying upon each other's strengths" (Sheri L. Dew). (vii) "The secret of a happy marriage is finding the right person. You know they're right if you love to be with them all the time" (Julia Child). (viii) It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages" (Friedrich Nietzsche). (ix) "Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife" (Franz Schubert). (x) "A good husband makes a good wife" (John Florio).

In addition let us consider the following funny quotes: "Marriage lets you annoy one special person for the rest of your life" (Anonymous). "Marriage is the only war where you sleep with the enemy" (Gay Busey). "Marriage is when a man loses his bachelor's degree and a woman gets her master's degree" (Anonymous). "A happy man marries the woman he loves; a happier man loves the woman he married" (Anonymous). "Marriage is a Workshop where husband works and wife shops" (Anonymous).

Happy Wedlock to Mr. Job Uwabuekwere and Miss Joy Uwaezuoke! I wish all mothers successful August meeting and happiness in their homes. It is said that behind every successful man is a woman. Is also true that behind every failed man is a woman?


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