Without any doubt, the dread of COVID-19 has not worn off for many people, despite the seeming disregard of the preventive protocols recommended by the government in line with the advice of the World Health Organisation (WHO). But in all honesty, one of the benefits of the pandemic is the bonding it created between spouses. With mixed feelings of different tastes left in the mouths of so many, the new normal stands out like a sore finger that has become the correction fluid that all needs. New normal is being interpreted to include diverse meaning to life and its complexities. Of these, family bonding, especially between couples was one great entity of the fallout of COVID-19. It afforded families greater opportunities to be together compulsorily and otherwise. It healed broken and dying affiliations while strengthening some others.
Remarkably, some women have really confessed the positive side of the pandemic as it healed their dying romantic wounds, even as it ravaged both white and black lives that matter.
“Mrs. Peace Pepple, a secretary in a multinational company, is one of those who dug a grave and buried the institution called marriage in her heart because of her marital experiences. With an awful facial expression, she said: “When a supposed husband constantly reminds me how I have gained excess weight, especially around my love handle even after four Caesarean Sections (CS) that almost took my life. With constant threat of a new wife on the way that kept me miserable because I do not allow him access to my finances. Therefore, my children and career became my lifeline as I give both my all and simply hated the word marriage. But just in a twinkle of an eye within the pandemic, whatever that brought my husband to retrace his footstep from being my ‘once-enemy husband’ to become a darling partner is a story for another day. He suddenly started buying me gifts constantly the much he could, talked to me politely, reached out to my parents and I began to see the meaning of a ‘new normal’ in my husband. During this lockdown, he looked at me one morning and said, ‘you are over 40 and still very beautiful even after all the health challenges you went through.’ That statement alone led him to press my mumu-buttons like he never did, and it was like a dream come true.”
Mrs Adah Fiona Uwem, a chartered accountant, whose husband is an engineer and has been married for over 30 years, said of the period: “My husband and I got married as young university graduates over 30 years ago. Due to our various professions, and the busy schedule of our careers, we struggle to include holiday into our programmes to be together especially now that the children are grown up. Apart from being together in our younger years, this is the first time since our last child graduated that we spent four months together at a stretch in the same house as husband and wife.”
Now, the bonding we are discussing here goes with the right spirit. Every element of Christianity points at one’s relationship with one another. That is the first teaching of the new normal. How do you treat other people? What amendments and sacrifices are people willing to make so as to move on in life? Have both men and women accepted that a lot is required from them to make positive impact that will herald the new normal? When a man or woman opens his or her heart to bond, it looks like a fairy tale. In some bonding cases, family members accuse them of being hoodwinked. Yes, that is the true bonding that is being discussed here.
In this day and age, for one to bond, he or she must come in terms of sincere and genuine repentance like a little child, not a verbal pronouncement as born again Christian. No! The new normal allows a lot of respect for each other, sincerity, uprightness, love and care. New normal forgives, drops wrong doings and opens a new chapter of life for the bonding process to take place. Hot romance can be initiated by any of the spouses while the partner catches it blistering as well.
For those men and women who are adamant about ‘away-match,’ who still vacuum clean the opposite sex in fornication and adultery, you are not ready to accept the bond that comes with the new normal. These kind of hearts and mind are still far away from today’s discussion. All young wives who are interested in older husband’s money, but look for satisfaction of the oil rig from a younger boy outside, you are not near bonding with your lover. You cannot have your cake and eat it. The young boy is super in bed while the old man is stronger financially; therefore, choose the god you will serve and close your eyes to other deficiencies so as to bond with your spouse.
The story told by a young beautiful wife, who would drive to her boyfriend’s hotel room the moment she dropped off her children at school is heart-breaking. “When my husband goes for his spare parts business, I will drop my children at their school and drive to my sugar-cane who is already waiting. By the time he drives me to my satisfaction, I would have gotten my local alert which keeps me for days; so when my husband does his march past around me, I look at him and laugh.” Absurd! Sister, you need a repentant mind to bond with your husband.
Now, most men would jump at this assertion and draw a knife ready to kill a victim wife. Inasmuch as no one promotes infidelity and cheating, but then, calm down and ask: “Am I a saint? Am I responsible for my wife’s sexual immorality, what laurel have I won with our non-communication, non-bonding lifestyle? Again, sex is not the only offence in marital relationship; do men still prefer side-chicks to their wedded wives after the COVID-19 pandemic? Are men and women still looking down on their partners after their experiences? Are they still telling themselves lies, operating with pretense? If yes, are you ready to embrace the new normal? Women who regret their marital choice and see their husbands as ‘not up to standard’ that is not the new normal as prescribed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What the new normal allows is happiness orchestrated by give and take. Whatever you cannot take, do not give another person especially your partner. The new normal allows all men and women to speak the truth at all times, be responsible and faithful. While men cry wolf, they forget that a lot is in their hands to move forward their families, communities and the nation as a whole. If couples agree and give the new normal a chance, life would become a lot easier.
When the new normal takes its place and becomes active, the same couple will be the first beneficiary of the reconciliation and bonding. When the romance heats up, most of the court judges would not be part of the freebies.
Couples are not the only ones that should embrace the new normal, but the entire family first before getting to the communities. There are some families where age-long enmity has covered the brightness and glory of the entire family. That is not the new normal. There are siblings who do not see eyeball to eyeball for whatever reason, you are from mobile networks that allow connectivity as a new normal.
Nigerians, the work that leads to bonding as a couple to achieve the new normal is not one person’s responsibility, but a joint effort to change the narrative. We cannot continue to live in the dark ages.