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“Dad, can you loan me Five Hundred Thousand Naira?” Kola asked his father.
“What for son?”, his father asked.
“For my wedding. By our calculations, we’re falling short meeting the cost”.
Kola had come to meet his parents with his fiancé.
“Your wedding? How much is the total cost of the wedding?”, his father asked.
“N3.6 million. We’re thinking of starting the committee next week. We can together give about eight hundred thousand and expect our friends to help us raise about two million. I remember you told me if ever I need help I can come to you” Kola answered.
His father held him by the shoulder and said:
“Go get your wife and come meet me at my study room”.
“Yes dad”, Kola obliged.
Minutes later, Kola and his fiancé,Tomilayo walked into his father’s study room.
“Having a good time my daughter?” Kola’s father asked.
“Yes I am. You and your wife are so hospitable. I pray that Kola and I can emulate your marriage. You are an admirable couple” answered Kola’s fiance.
“Thank you. I am delighted to have you as my daughter. This is your home, you’re welcome anytime”, said father.
They sat down.
“Thank you dad”
“So, I hear you want to spend N3.6 million for your wedding and you need me to help with five hundred thousand?”, asked father.
“Yes, we will greatly appreciate” said the fiancé.
“The wedding will be at the Total Garden Ibadan in about six months time”, said Kola.
“Why do you want to have a big wedding?”,father asked.
“Well, it’s our big day. She’s always dreamt of a big wedding”, Kola replied.
“Have you dreamt of a big wedding or a strong marriage?”, The father asked the fiancé.
“When you put it that way, it’s more of a strong marriage” said the fiancé.
“Good. You’ve answered wisely. So who do you expect to come for your wedding?”, asked the father.
“Friends and relatives. About seven hundred people”, answered Kola.
“How many true friends do you really have?”,
I mean friends who have been tried and tested to be there for you through thick and thin?, asked the father.
Kola and Tomilayo looked at each other. “Countable”, the fiancé answered.
“So who are these other people who will come to your wedding?”, asked the father.
“OK. Let’s go to the relatives. I know you love your relatives, but how many are really close to you? You barely talk with the many relatives you have”, said the father.
“What are you trying to say dad?” asked Kola.
“My son, my daughter; why do you want to spend N3.6 million on a wedding, a one day event yet you need the money in your marriage? Look, you are actually coming to ask me for money, you will form a
committee to ask people for money; all to show off and please people who will not even matter in your marriage”
The father continued, “Let me share with you my experience. When I married your mother, we spent about a million for the wedding. That was a lot of money then. We fed people, got stressed by service providers, just so that we put up a wedding that will win the applause of a crowd. But as soon as we got married, the crowd disappeared. All the issues that your mother and I went through, no one cared, even family couldn’t do much. Every one is busy living their life. When things got tough, the crowd gossiped about us, some even seemed happy that our marriage was in trouble” Silence.
“I have seen this script repeated over and over. Brides get stressed on their wedding day, they can’t even enjoy, couples being angry at friends who don’t support them financially, the worst part is starting marriage in debt or struggling financially.
Do you know a wedding doesn’t have to cost so much, it doesn’t have to be stressful, it doesn’t have to be full of people who perhaps will never talk to you again?” added the father.
“But dad, what will people think if we do a small wedding or we don’t invite them?”asked the fiancé.
“Are you getting married for people? If you have a small wedding with only the witnesses who matter, will you two not be married? What is all this competition of who has a grand wedding for?
People are competing on Facebook, in weddings; why this need to show off? You know that money you are about to blow in one day, you can use it to invest in your marriage, you can start the process of buying or building a home, you can save up for the needs of the children you will have because you need money to raise a family.
Why not start your marriage financially healthy and not in debt?Marriage is what is more important than awedding”, continued the father.
“Dad, if you don’t want to support us it’s okay”, said Kola.
The fiancé stopped him saying, “No my love, dad has a point. I actually find the idea of a small wedding not just wise and economical, but also intimate. Marriage is just you and me, not people”.
The father spoke, “My son, in all the years you have been a man, you have never come to me asking for money, but now you are asking for money to put up a show? I look further, I look at your marriage. I admire how people come together in a wedding committee to raise money and I wonder, what if couples and people use that same energy to put up a business that will uplift families. Those members who will be part of your wedding committee, imagine if they become your investors, imagine if you build a company where you can make profit and feed your homes. Something sustainable.”
Kola and his fiancé nodded.
“My son, I have longed for the day you would come and ask me to invest in your business idea. But today I will make the first move”, the father said taking his cheque book from his drawer. He wrote on the cheque then gave it to the fiancé.
“Here my son, this is a cheque of five million naira, not for your wedding but as start up capital for a business of your choice. I am giving the cheque to your wife because as the Proverbs 31 woman said, she is to walk with you in building an empire for your family. Focus on your family, give your family the best; forget about the public and opinions of people who don’t matter. Build a future for your family. Build your family on a foundation of surplus not debt”.
“Thank you so much” said the fiancé. Kola stood up with tears in his eyes. His father stood up too.
The father and son hugged.
“Thank you dad for being a great figure and your counsel. I don’t know what to say. You have challenged me not to merely get married but to have a vision, a vision for my family. I don’t know what to say” he spoke.
The father held his shoulder, “You will make a great husband and father. I wish I had the same counsel when I was getting married, all those people I fed on my wedding day didn’t add value to my marriage. In fact, if I was to organize an event and feed multitudes, I would do so for the less fortunate and those in need.
Marriage is not for show.
I hope this inspires someone.