“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies” (Proverbs 31:10, NIV).
On our last night in Croatia, we went to a restaurant for dinner. The food was good but our conversations were way better! One of the things we talked about was marriage, one of my favorite subjects. A wonderful woman asked me a question along the lines of who I’ll be if I end up marrying someone who is not Nigerian. I told her that if I do end up marrying a White man, an American for example, then I’ll be an American wife. She said something that I’ve been thinking about since, that my response sounded as if I’ll losing a sense of self. Huh….
After hours of pondering her response, I came up with more questions than answers: what kind of a wife do I want to be? Does it have to depend on who I marry or what culture I marry into? What does it mean to be an American or a Nigerian wife? Do I know who Elizabeth is? Do I even know myself? I do not have all the (correct) answers but I do know that I want to be a wife God is proud of. At the end of the day, I am a child of God who has different roles– I hope to honor God in all of them.
What does it mean to be a child of God? It means I must follow in Jesus’ footsteps, looking more and more like Him daily; I must be transformed by the renewal of my mind (Romans 12: 1-2) daily; I must live in absolute surrender to Him; I must abide in Him (John 15), etc. Being a child of God means living according to His Word. The Word of God, the Bible, has a few things to say about wives, marriage, etc. In my little knowledge of the Bible, any mention of wives or their roles/duties never specified anything regarding culture or race or ethnicity. What that means for me is that when I do become a wife, I should obey what the Bible says about that role. I think it’s that simple (but not really). What I am saying is that I am a child of God and I belong to Him always before I can be called anyone’s wife.
So, what if I marry a White man? Does that mean the Nigerian part of me would somehow disappear? The answer is no. Does that mean the American part of me would somehow become more prominent? The answer is no. It does mean that I would follow God’s instructions and I’ll be a godly wife, the kind of wife described in Proverbs 31. Whether American or Nigerian or Yoruba, which is my ethnic background, at the end of the day, I hope to be (and will be, by the grace of God) the wife God wants me to be. I have godly women (great examples) around me, those I can look up to; I also have the Bible to guide me; I have the Holy Spirit; and above all, I have God who will guide me and never leave be or abandon me.
All this is not to say that I somehow don’t care about my culture or that I want to lose myself based on who I marry. What I am saying is that my sense of self comes from who God is and who He wants me to be. I am growing everyday in what that means and what that looks like. I believe that with God on my side I’ll be the person God originally intended me to be, fulfilling all the roles He wants me to and succeeding in all of them!
Besides, whether my husband is White or Asian or Hispanic or Native American… whatever he is, I believe God has put us together for a reason. I want the both of us to grow together in the Lord, and that means loving and enjoying and learning about each other.
Regardless, though, I’m having a Nigerian wedding!!! 🙂
Did I just undermine everything I said…?