Dear Myne - I am Happily Married to an Igbo Man

I am married to an Igbo man and it took a bit of time to adjust to it. Having previously been a fiercely independent American woman, it took a great deal of adjustment on both of our parts. What seemed like control in the beginning I have come to realize is his way of protecting and caring for me. He is a gifted entrepeneur and an excellent provider for myself and his children.

Ha, I had to just laugh when I read that last line, but I won't edit it because its true -- most wives would say our children, but being married to an Igbo man I know they are his. My husband treats me with great respect and kindness. However, he does not place a high priority on my personal needs for affection or attention -- he is doing whatever is necessary to provide for the future of our family often with great sacrifice, and he expects me to do the same.

He is a strict discipliarian with the children, but it touches him deeply when they are hurt or sick or sad ... to see them cry breaks his heart, that is when his tenderness comes out. He isn't harsh or abusive or controlling -- he just expects things done in a certain way. My question is this -- of all that he does and sacrifices for me and his children, is it not a small price to pay to do these things as he wishes??

He's not the type to send flowers every day or leave love notes on the counter for me or write sonnets about his feelings -- but I wouldn't trade him for another in the world, he has made a wonderful life for myself and his children. I remember early in the marriage when I was frustrated with his behavior and ready to give up -- an older cousin sat me down and told me in their language there is no word for love. He said they have words for duty, obligation, family, loyalty but none for love.

He told me that Emeka won't love me with words and gestures -- he loves me by coming home each night, by working hard to give me a safe and comfortable lifestyle, by providing for and educating his children. He also told me something that changed my whole outlook -- he told me that just because someone doesnt love me the way I want them to doesn't mean they don't love me as much as they're able to.

I took that to heart and saw my husband and his actions differently after that and have been very happily married ever since.