Tunji – T.J for short- had always seen a bright future for himself in Nigeria. Not even SAPA could make him JAPA. He knew where he wanted to go and had a map even Google would be proud of, of how he’d get to his destination. So, while all his friends and peers were testing the waters of cybercrime and considering yahoo-plus and its gory gruesome details, T.J had his eyes peeled for how he’d move from his ‘near Lagos’ Boys Quarters’ apartment to Ikoyi, Lagos. Yes, you heard that right; from extreme poverty to the five-star neighbourhood. How? He was going to find himself a rich man with a single-and searching daughter. Lucky T.J, he got both in one fell swoop. He found both a rich man and his single-and searching daughter.
Don’t get ahead of yourself with that ‘head of the family’ because the title actually belongs to Chief because he will make a lot of decisions about your life.
It was a September to remember for T.J seven years ago when he had gone to pitch for an account in a major firm. The Chairman of the company had looked in during the pitch and was mightily impressed by T.J’s brilliance, easy way with technical words and delivery. His daughter, pretty, vain Yemisi joined the board at lunch and thus started a journey to the future T.J had always wanted to marry the money. One year later, Yemisi and T.J were married in a talk-of-the-town ceremony. The couple got enough gifts to start a departmental store and a small car mart, if you get the picture. Their Ikoyi home was put together by a top interior decorator. Everything seemed to be coming together nicely as planned by T.J and every day he sang ‘I never knew you will answer me this way’ in his brand new Lexus SUV on his way to work as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of one of his father-in-law’s companies. His job came with gold membership cards of three clubs, two of which he’d never even heard of until then. His wife took him to a fitter that promptly fitted his closet with tailor-made suits and other such assortment of wears fit only for the Chairman’s son-in-law.
T.J’ saw, smelled, ate, drank and rode money like he was one of those Hollywood celebrities on Star Cribs on DSTV. But did he think such a grand leap from nothing to something wouldn’t have consequences and contra-indication, like the pharmacists would say? T.J soon found out that it wasn’t all roses and violets in his new nest of comfort. First, his new family didn’t see his real family as fitting into their circles. Or rather, T.J’s parents-in-law didn’t know how to fit their new in-laws into their lives. Chief and his wife didn’t want to look down on T.J’s parents but the latter didn’t also want to look up to anybody either. Ekiti parents, ah, proud and educated. Just poor. It was a tough arrangement.
All Chief’s grandchildren had to be delivered in the United States of America in a designated appropriate hospital for proper care, and T.J and Yemisi’s first fruit was not going to be an exception. Yemisi’s mother was, of course, going to do the ‘omugwo’ honours and stand guard at the family’s Florida home. Not T.J.’s mum who was welcoming her very first grandchild. Poor old woman had no passport, least of all an American visa. And when the baby and mother returned to the country four months later, T.J’s mother was still largely fenced and made uncomfortable around the house and the large sophisticated nursery.
That was just an abbreviated story of the culture-shocked life that T.J faced and daily too. Coming from one remote village in Ekiti or Ebonyi, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and then diving head-first into a billionaire’s castle can leave any man with a lingering migraine, irrespective of a fat bank balance and a garage full of choice cars. So, dude, before you kit up for the hunt for a rich father-in-law, do yourself a favour and read up on the subject. The glossy cover of ‘Married to Money’ can be deceptive because once you flip that cover, you will discover the other side of midnight. Yeah, trust me. There are many chapters ahead of a man who marries the money.
For one, you will discover your wife will forever be her father’s daughter, her mother’s pet and your children would be raised in a certain way different from what you had in mind. Indeed your mind must change. Check this out: what if there’s a school where traditionally all the children attend when what you really want is for your children to attend a Catholic mission school? What if there’s a traditional family dinner at Christmas and or New Year at the ‘the mansion’? Where does that leave your dream of going back home to the village in style to show off your classy new life and how exactly do you repay your parents for giving you life and providing the divine transportation that took you to this SAPA-free zone if the poor folks can’t get to spend time with their grandchildren?
Did you say who will now marry the rich girls? Somebody’s son. And I do not believe that the rich boys should marry the rich girls strictly, thus keeping the wealth in certain closed quarters. The purpose of this long missive is to remind boys whose ambition is to get a better life by getting on the wealthy lane by fire via the daughters of the rich, that it is not as pretty and flawless as they may have envisioned.
There’s nothing wrong with knowing what you want in life and planning the path that’ll get you there. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to marry the money. What I disagree with is thinking that the road will be smooth and your luxury destination will have no problems. Really? Marrying money doesn’t work like that. Coming from nowhere or at least from humble beginnings into wealth by marriage is not an easy transition. It requires mental prep.
Yes, you cannot just see in your mind’s eye the first class tickets across the globe and private jets without preparing for the bumps and storms because there would be plenty of that too. And yours will be different. What you see is what you get. What you buy is what will be delivered. Be ready for all the consequences and repercussions.
Do not go into ‘marry the money’ with the traditional husband attitude.
‘I can’t let a maid make my food’.
‘It’s either pounded yam or nothing. No poundo yam for me, please.’
‘My meals must be freshly cooked.’
‘My mother is the queen of my youth. My wife must know that.’
‘My wife must know that I’m the head of my family.”
Keep your head down and when they say jump, just ask how high, not why should I jump? Good boy. Just enjoy the money.
Dude, your food would come to you fresh. Yes, fresh from the microwave cooked by a trained chef wearing a tall white hat. Your ewedu would be from the fridge and your pounded yam would be from a designer food processor. Kick that mortar and pestle out of your head this minute. Your wife, if she’s raised and allowed herself to be raised, will supervise the cooking and may even occasionally serve you. In the rich people’s conclave, a chef cooking your food is plenty of respect. Focus on those designer plates and how to use four different types of forks and spoons at dinner and leave the village mentality at the gate.
You need a different set of coping skills in this brand of marriage. Your wife is rich and sophisticated. She will spend money on things that will leave you bewildered. Be ready, re-set your brain to accommodate your new life. Your father-in-law or parents-in-law will be calling the shots in many areas, if not in all areas, of your life. Be humble, lap up the insults when they come and focus on the money. Don’t get ahead of yourself with that ‘head of the family’ because the title actually belongs to Chief because he will make a lot of decisions about your life. Keep your head down and when they say jump, just ask how high, not why should I jump? Good boy. Just enjoy the money.