CHRISTIN BOLEWSKI
constructed passage

Marriage

When the marriage has taken place, what happens after that - I mean divorce -
the responsiblility of the man and the woman who takes care of the children and than also the rights of the woman ....

Marriage in Ghana - we see it as a very important ceremony or institution, because even long before we came to Ghana - our forefathers took this marriage ceremony very, very seriously, because we believe !! Since there is a different sex, there is a woman and a man - this two have to come together to give a family. Because of that, when a man marries a woman, so there are some customs in ghana which differ from place to place, ....

Head of the family

We believe that the man is the head of the family and I think the bible also testifies this. The woman was as a result of the bone taken from the rip of the man, so we always see the man as the head. In the marriage the man is the head of the family and he is supposed to take care of the whole family and because of that, any responsiblilty in the house or in the family is for the man to see that every thing is done. Finacial righs in the familiy is the man, shelter is the man, and than protection also is the man. This is how it was - our traditional way, that´s why we feel the man is the boss...

Helper to the man

The woman is a helper to the man, so the man is to go out to bring what they need in the house to the woman. The woman has to preapare those things, anything that will make the family feel comfortable in the house - I mean for the family . This is how our marriage is.

One child - one father

And our custom does not encourage divorce. In our customs a woman is supposed to marry only one man, but a man can marry as many woman as he can. He can look after, he can marry hundred women and if he still can look after all of them, there is no need to abandon that.

The reason behind this is that - in marriage something comes out of that marriage - that is a child-bearing. Only the woman can feel the pregnancy and no child can have two fathers -
One child is supposed to have only one father: ...everyone can see this is my daughter, I am the father ...that means the pregnancy is only for one person... Because of that - if a woman has two man and that woman is pregnant - I feel the pregnancy is for me and the other man also feels the pregnancy is for him...

Because of that - they think the man can move and maybe have other friends - girlfriends or woman. The woman is not supposed to go out at all - because of the fear she might bring a pregnancy from outside! The woman is always kept in the house. And since the woman is not supposed to do that the man has to give her the green light to go out.

Trust and faith

Trust is there and the faith is also there, but we believe - I mean - the weak of the devil is also there! Sometimes the devil influences the people and there are a lot of thinks that attract people to some other things. Because of all of these things, we don`t know...maybe, maybe ...I offer to you sometime and you take it very seriously and you maybe want to retain it - in other ways - you see - in other ways you can do it, but if you want to retain it in such a way ...in that case you are always be blamed.

Reveal some secrets

Your wife can do anything to you - as a man you are supposed to forgive her and than forget about everything. When the woman goes out for another man, they ask you, if you still love your woman - and if you want to take her back - No problem! But if you feel - as your woman has gone out for another man, and you dont want her back - they will encorage you to leave her. If you take her back, the others would allow that, but your friends and the people around will always be laughing at you. They will see you as you are no more a man, you are a woman, they see you as a woman.

Because you know the reason why your wife went out. Maybe if you leave her and divorce from her, she might reveal some secrets of yours. Because of that, you are afraid to leave her. Or after all this, if your woman is pregnant that man who has once slept with your woman can go around and tell: " This pregnancy is mine. I pregnated the woman." When that thing happens - the man will totally divorce you, because he wants no stories afterwards. The other men could say: "That boy, that girl among your children is mine." ...To cut everything short: he will divorce you. So this is how the divorce comes to our marriage. It is not supportet by the elders.

Women can also divorce

A woman can also divorce, but she has to have a very good reason... The only good ground is maybe the man can beat her massively and she can collapse, when this happens one, two times, she has a good reason. Or if the man of having so many other women and gilfriends - if he doesn´t make love to her at all one week, one month...

The men they are very weak and maybe you just do a small thing, a small mistake, that man can even sometimes beat you massively to the point of leaving - you can collapse... So if this happens one-two-three times you have a good ground to divorce him. Because its also a thing of your heart.

And sometimes, if the man because of having so many other women - not married woman but other girlfriends - and because of that he doesn`t make love to you at all for one week, two weeks, one month you can also stand on that. Because, if you do not stand on that and you don´t want to divorce - and than you attend to go out, he will leave you in the end!

So the woman can also divorce. And because the man is the head of the family - if divorce comes, the man is supposed to look after the children.

Money and children

Before divorce comes, if it is the man who is seeking for divorce, the eldest will ask him to perform some rights. He performs some rights, if he wants to marry you, so he will performs some rights again to divorce you that the people know that you are no more his wife. If somebody maybe comes forward to marry you - that right is a signature or a stamp. That day the man gets the stamp on that divorce, he and his wife are no more husband and wife.

If the woman is no more your wife, the family of the husband and the clan - they are not supposed to look after her anymore. But they have to remember that the man has children with the woman. Is the man taking the children along or is he leaving the children with the woman? If he is taking the children along, then there is nothing more to do. But if he is leaving the children with the woman, then he has to look after the children. He gives some amount to the children through the woman - but the man is not supposed to go to the woman and to her house or to give the money to the woman. He sends the money through a relative of the man. And that relative also send the money through a relative of the woman. And than the money will be given to the woman. Just to make sure - all that is that the money will pass to the woman. They are the witnesses that the man is looking after the children. So it is a responsibility of the man to look after the children after divorce.

Make the woman stay

But if it is the woman who is seeking for divorce...
The man: - if I love my wife and maybe I have done something wrong and the woman stands on that thing and she wants to go because of that - I will try everything to make the woman stay. I try to insist her that she maybe changes her mind. So I tell her: "If you are going, you have to go with all the children and don`t come to me for anything about the children. If you insist of going, than go along with all the children. When they are alive they are for you, when they die they are for you. Everything of theirs is for you." Then the woman will think very very far and sometimes she stays. You see! But if the woman has already a very nice place to go ...

But sometimes they are very, very miserable. And if you ask them: "Can`t you move away from that man?" The answer they give you , is "No" because of the children. Sometimes with all the suffering the woman is able to stay with the husband until the end of her life. So this kind of family becomes a modell - it`s a family of her class. Everybody who wants to marry from that family act like that, because they believe, that it is their character. So this is how it is!

Change from bad habits

But if the way the man is treating the woman - thats why the woman wants to leave and the eldest understand everything - they will ask him - the man, if he can change from bad habits. If the man says "Yes", than they will ask the woman to stay in another place - or the man will stay in another place. But the man has to look after the woman and has to visit her - for maybe a year or two just to study this man. And if they are sure that he has changed, it has to come from the woman. Again they ask the woman: " How do you see your husband now? Has he changed or not?" If the woman confesses that he has changed, everything is o.k. But if he has not changed, the eldest will seperate them on the womans request. Then they tell the man: "Because of your behaviour the woman is now free for anybody who wants to marry her. And you have to look after the children." In all the man is supposed to look for the children, but if the woman requested for the divorce and they agree with the woman, they give the children to the woman. This is the whole thing about marriage, divorce and the one who takes care of the children after divorce.

Marry two hundred women

A man can marry two hundred women at the same time. He has to give them different homes. Every woman must have her own room. And the man has to share the days to them: "Today I am yours, tomorrow I am yours, tomorrow I am yours" - Every women knows her day that the man will be with her. "If today is your day, and I am going to be with you, my food, my eating, my everything is with you. I mean you have to look after that from the morning to the evening. And after feeding me, after everything then I have to sleep with you. And the next day I move to another women. You have to share. But if you know that today is not your day and I come to you... the one who is supposed to have that day, she will rush to you and fight." - You are the man, you have to make sure, that there is no trouble. If you can whish to marry two or three or four, you have to make sure that there is harmony among this women.

The average amount of women

In my place everybody marries 7 or 9 women. But you have only 7 days a week! If you marry 9 women, what they do is, they don´t give them a day, they give them a week. "One week is for you, the other week is yours." Nine weeks after you get your man back! And the whole week he is with one woman. The other week with another woman.

And in our village we have marketdays. Every 4 days we have market days, so they share along to the market days. On the market day the men give housekeeping money to the wifes going to the market to buy things. At the end of that market day the man goes to another woman. They share according to the market days, 4 days, 4 days, 4 days...

The population is fifty-fifty

Even if this is fifty-fifty, those men who have money they have advantage to those who don´t have money. So you see somebody looking for another woman to marry and you don´t have even one. Somebody has 10, 12, because he can effort them. The bible also says that there are 7 woman to the man...

Everybody, not only women, they want to have some basic things in life. If I am a woman, and I want to marry you and someone else wants to marry me - the two of you want to marry me and I know you have money more than the other, I will go with you! But there are some woman, who don`t look for money, they look for character. Because you can marry a rich man, he has money, but he is using his money outside and not on you. Because of this the character of the man, he makes you not feel comfortable in the house at all. So this are all the things the women are looking for before they decide marry. That`s how it is!

Servants

In marriage you don´t have the rights of the woman. I mean the woman is nothing but a helper not a partner. The woman is something like a servant! The man is supposed to work hard to get enough of money to get all the things before he can marry a woman. So he spents all the money on the woman and to bring the woman to his house. So he uses the woman also to work for him. At least to get his money back. They tell the woman: "There is a lot of work on the farm..."

The man is stronger than the woman, he will work more than the woman. After they both worked all the day, some of them will ask the woman to go and look for firewood too. In earlier times there was no electricity - the woman had to go around in the bush looking for firewood, tie this and carry all this wood home. Sometime the woman is having a baby. Maybe two years, three years old. Then she is going to carry this baby on her back together with this wood. Sometimes some of them are again pregnant, the baby at the back, carrying this load on the head!

When they come to the house after work the man will go to a chair - we call it "lazy chair" - the man will sit in his "lazy chair" and the woman is supposed to go to the kitchen again, prepare food, everything and then after sitting on the table and eating, cleaning, she has to make everything, washing the children, everything, before she goes to the bed. And during the night the man will also not make this woman rest. The man will always try to make love to her. So you see, he has taken the woman as a servant, making the woman to go to all this, I mean, suffering the whole day! And this is going on every day! She`s more or less a slave to the man. So this is how they used the woman in earlier times.

The bible says...

The bible says: "No, god created the woman not as a slave or a servant to the man but as a partner." So as a partner - one has to take a part and the other one has to take another part, together they become one thing! But now everything has started to change. Now the woman also has the right to say: "This is supposed to be like that!" The man is no more the boss to say: "No, I said this, and because of that it should be like that." That´s maybe what I call civilisation. Because now, most of our man here they judge like that. You see both man and woman together in the kitchen helping each other to prepare the food. And all this... More men are helping now the woman as it should be.

But it´s still very hard. The reason is that it´s a custom or a tradition that started from the very beginning. Some elder woman still raise their daughters or children who are going to marry the old way. They still have that mentality in the back of their mind. That´s how they were trained before, so they try to add that old thing again. Some woman also feel correct today, that`s our tradition. But some woman also say: "No!" This are those who are educated. They stand on their own feet and say: "No, it is no more like that!" If you see some woman like that, either they are not educated, or the influence is from their parents.

Mr. Bob`s Lesson Marriage

Marriage
Head of the family
Helper to the man
One child - one father
Trust and faith

Reveal some secrets
Women can also divorce
Money and children
Make the woman stay
Change from bad habits
Marry two hundred women
The average amount of women
The population is fifty-fifty
Servants
The bible says...