By Francis Ewherido
In the last few weeks, we have read about a few love affairs gone awry. Still fresh in our memories is the air force man, Ben Kalu, who allegedly killed his lover, Air Force Woman, Oladipupo Solape. The usual refrain is “jealous lover” or jealous husband.”
All of a sudden jealousy has become evil. It was not always so. These days many of us also use the words envy and jealousy interchangeably, but it was also not always so. Hitherto, jealousy was seen as protecting what is yours, while envy was the act of desiring what belonged to another.
It is this paradigm of jealousy that prompted a priest to ask a young lady preparing for marriage if she truly loved the man she wanted to get married to.
The lady had said that whatever her husband did with himself even after their marriage, including having girlfriends, was not of interest to her. From the tone of his voice and his facial expression, I could see the priest was not comfortable with the lady’s disposition to marriage
So what is love and what has it got to do with jealousy? There is no single universal definition of love because it is as diversified as the people who inhabit mother earth, but for our purpose today, love is a profound tender, passionate affection for our spouses. So what the priest was basically saying is that if the young lady had deep affection for the husband-to-be, she would naturally want to protect him from other women.
Jealousy is like any other genuine feeling we have for what belongs to us. Done in moderation, it is okay, but taken to the extreme it gets you into trouble. Everybody, who cares for his/her spouse, harbours some degree of jealousy. In my university days, I had a female friend who was engaged.
During the holidays, she told her fiancé how guys took her out for dinner. “What was his response,” I asked her. “He doesn’t mind,” she responded. “You be mumu (fool); which guy doesn’t mind other guys taking his fiancée out,” I told her. You know what? She did not resume with us the next session.
The fiancé quickly fixed their marriage and thereafter converted her to a baby factory.
Jealousy is not attributable to only young couples or youngsters. Even people who have been married for decades still harbour some degree of jealousy. It is only a question of whether or not they still love their spouses.
A young man playfully put his arm around an older woman and told the husband he was taking “mama away.” We all laughed, since we saw it as a joke, but for the husband, it was not funny. “Take her away, take her away; you boys of these days do not have respect,” he exploded.
Jealousy started running into trouble when it started mixing up with bad boys and girls like anger, ego, envy, murderous rage, revenge, sin and others too numerous to mention here. Surely, jealousy cannot be responsible for killing and harming of loved ones. Jealousy propels you to protect what you treasure.
Why will the same jealousy make you to kill or harm your loved one? Such killings are propelled by lack of sense control, ego, anger and the rest of the bad gang jealousy has been unfortunate to associate with. It has got so bad that jealousy is now synonymous with envy.
At the time of writing, the story of Kalu and Solape was trending. Unfortunately, jealousy was dragged into a matter of pure ego and youthful exuberance. Sometimes you even wonder why a lover will kill a partner s/he cannot legitimately lay claim to because they are not yet married: legally, traditionally or in church/mosque.
But unmarried lovers do not rely on marital status for legitimacy; they get it from a bond which grows from consent to go into the relationship. Until one party opts out, the other party lays claim to ownership.
Sometimes even when one party opts out, the other party uses cohesion, threats and blackmail to continue to lay claim to ownership. So how does jealousy come into this matter? Anyway, that is just by the way.
Over time, jealousy has been given a bad name and hanged. But jealousy is simply protecting your treasure. Show me a loving husband or loving wife who is not jealous. Love and jealousy are intertwined; they are inseparable.
About 10 years ago, the Justice, Development and Peace Commission, a church-based NGO I belong to, was involved in settling a domestic quarrel between a woman (we call them co-workers) and the husband.
After hearing terrible tales about the man from the wife, we met the husband, who replied in greater measure. In fact, he said the wife was troublesome and he had told neighbours to beat her up and strip her naked anytime she crossed their path again. When we came out, I told my colleagues the marriage was over. It actually collapsed shortly after.
I was not surprised because, when you tell neighbours to beat up and Strip your wife naked, love has left the marriage and, with it, jealousy (protection).
So rather than wear a garb of evil on jealousy, spouses should be encouraged to be jealous within legal and moral bounds. Those who kill or maim their spouses do not do so because of jealousy; there are other underlying factors. Some of them are deeply insecure, unstable or have morbid anger.
THE ADOGHES HIT GOLD
I congratulate my other daddy and mummy, Chief and Lady Gabriel O. Adoghe, who marked their 50th wedding anniversary recently. Surely it took a lot of grooming and nurturing to achieve this milestone; they also crossed many rivers. The marriage was also jealously guarded. Happy golden anniversary, sir/ma. I wish you many more happy years together in health of body and mind.
FROM A TEACHER’S SON
Recently, the federal government said it was releasing $6.9b of the Paris Club refund to states to pay outstanding salaries to teachers and civil servants. I add my voice to others to appeal to state governors not to divert this money, but use it to offset outstanding salaries of the family men and women they call civil servants. My father was a civil servant, a teacher, to be specific. If he and other teachers of his time had been denied their salaries the way these governors are denying these teachers their pay, my education and that of my siblings and other teachers’ children would have been truncated and what a waste of human resources that would have been?
Paying teachers as and at when due and taking them and their families out of misery is part of the development these governors were elected to bring to the people. They are unknowingly, I believe, endangering the future of Nigeria. Please pay up.