I found myself confronted with this question after watching an episode of DStv Eva’s channel new telenovela ‘Wait for Me’.
By now, you should know I’m a telenovela addict. The story revolves around a low-class family whose daily lives are inundated with debts and every poverty indicator. After being evicted from a coffee farm due to debts, an indecisive son-in-law (Alex) is pressured by his mother-in-law to travel abroad to cater for the family.
A footstep her oldest daughter (Carolina) has already taken and is the idolised breadwinner of the family, even if they are unaware of the hardship she faces in New York City, USA.
But Alex’s wife (Rose) is unperturbed by their poor status. She is optimistic that they can make it in their home country Colombia. Rose does not believe in long-distance relationship. She has faith in love more than a billion pesos.
However, she is willing to give her husband a three-month wait if he travels abroad, irrespective of the nagging demands of her overbearing mother who can’t stand her aged and poor father. She pesters her older daughter (Cecilia) in America to send money home so she can live the life of an affluent society woman.
But her naivety was leading her to a path of doom and regret. Meanwhile, the older daughter, the breadwinner of the family, struggled to be seen and accepted as a human being rather than an illegal immigrant in a land where she was not needed. She confronts the challenges of working long hours at different jobs to cater for her family back in Colombia and attune the illusion that the grass is green, well combed and very lush in New York City.
On the other side is a legal immigrant who is forced to return to Colombia to spearhead a new partnership company of his American employers. Grudgingly the wife, a successful career woman in America follows him to Colombia but found it hard to adapt to the face of poverty looming everywhere.
From the nosy and sarcastic driver to the strains of hiring a house help that can speak good English. Unable to cope, she flies back to New York without a promise of returning to her husband.
The narratives explored in the novela brings to fore a crucial question in relationships for the millennials. Does the idea of waiting for love still appeal to us?
I remember as a child, stories of aunts who were abandoned by their supposed husbands across the pond. Usually, the idea of marrying an Obodo Oyibo’s (white man’s country) husband was very appealing. It came with the promise of wealth and a golden opportunity to relocate to the promised land.
These sweet perks are the tricks the love scammers use to get women spend their eternity in a lifeless marriage. Some of these aunts ended up calling the marriage quits when they ran out of patience. Others were forced to engage in extra-marital affairs to keep the mind and soul together.
In the modern world, such narratives still exist with huge modifications. Women rarely wait for their ‘obodo oyibo’ husband. Those who wait do so half-heartedly. They are more attracted to the material gains than the prospect of love. Where in the past, the women were more concerned about the man’s fidelity, nowadays the men are daunted by the fear of losing their women to Nigerian men.
There is also the tendency to leave the marriage at free will; after all, what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
But this is not the only scenario where patience is tested. A delayed marriage proposal can spring up impatience. When is he finally going to take the bold step to propose to me? When will he stop listening to his mother, dump his bitchy girlfriend to be with me instead? How long can we wait? That promise of eternal love can be shaken down to its roots if no visible action is carried out. Its fulfilment depends on distance and time.
Patience, it seems, is not a strong virtue for today’s couples. The reason is not so far-fetched. Today’s couples are laden with the burden of expectations and when it’s not met, they bail out.
There is the expectation from family to settle down, from friends who are leaving you behind in the race, from even church members who can’t wait to don the marital garland on you. These expectations put a lot of pressure on singletons and they desperately seek a bail-out.
A string of sentences about undying love in a later date or a journey to a far-away green pasture may do little to allay their fears of failure or disappointment. They are confounded with the doubts of what ifs? What if he doesn’t return? What if he marries someone else? What if I fall in love with someone else, which by the way has great possibilities?
A thousand and one things can happen during the waiting period and love is a huge prospect. Someone who is smart enough to grab the opportunity may come along and sweep you off your feet. You may not necessarily be in love but at the moment, he meets your immediate needs. So will love override pressure of expectations? The choice is a difficult one the individual has to make, at the end of the day.