#UltimateLoveNG: A social experiment into the typical Nigerian relationship

There is a fine line between what is and what is meant to be, and such prospects especially socio-economic ones are always as a result of cultural relevance, the trends that shape our societies and the things that cause us to behave the way we do.

‘What’s up with the times?’ is a direct question that unfortunately results in subjective responses and the responses from the Love Guests in a counselling session with a special guest on Friday, is proof of this.

One of the reasons Ultimate Love was set up, was to portray on TV what a typical Nigerian relationship looks like, but after Friday’s counselling session, we can safely say that the show should pivot from not only displaying what Nigerian relationships look like but also teach the audience what relationships; no matter what part of the world you are in, ‘should’ look like.

To give an instance, what ObiEbi‘s relationship is, reflects what a lot of relationships in our society today looks like; a toxic on and off affair. Born off the anxiety of loneliness. Yet, it is what it is –  a discomfort that many Nigerians put up with because no one wants to be perceived as lonely. It is a way of life we have come to accept and as we say over here when we feel helpless; ‘na so we see am.’

But if this sort of toxicity is televised, and on a reality show no less; we stand the risk of invigorating our approval of such behaviour as media depictions have been known to play a key role in shaping cultures.

For the Ultimate Love show however, we have Aunty, a love counsellor, who takes great pleasure in correcting the mistakes of the Love Guests whenever she notices them, and last week Friday she did this by inviting a special guest to speak to the housemates.

On Friday, Parise Fowowe, a family engineering specialist and sex educator had a sit down with the housemates. He was called in to offer his expert advice and he did just that. The most interesting part of his conversation with the housemates came mid-way into his session where he asked a very interesting question- one that gives an insight into the sort of factors that define our society today. He asked the housemates who they believe is more superior in a relationship, the husband or the wife, and interestingly enough most of the housemates answered, husband – especially the ladies.

Aunty too seemed shocked by their replies, she couldn’t believe that her Love Guest had this sort of mentality. She addressed the response in a video, urging the audience not to nurture this sort of thinking. Her thoughts on the matter were; ‘to sustain a healthy relationship, the man and the woman must appreciate and complement each other’s differences rather than use it as justification to contest for supremacy. She stated that in a relationship, no one is inferior to the other, and as a society, we need to rid ourselves of this ideology.’

With this sort of mindset, one has to wonder if the narrative is ever going to change. Personally, I have no beef with a man leading his family or a woman submitting to the headship of her husband. Ideally, this in itself constitutes an appropriate institution. Hierarchy is important, but not at the expense of liberty. Yet, if not controlled, this sort of thinking often leads to the sort of misogyny that corrupts and reverts the growth made by progressive societies- the very stigma humanity has fought so hard to eliminate.

As a global community, we have made too much progress to begin to backslide, we must reevaluate the ideologies we desperately hang on to and the trends that shape our reality.

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