Will You Marry An Illiterate?
By John Boakye
Marriage experts see illiteracy from three angles. The first is functional illiteracy, whereby a partner is unable to perform his or her duties as a husband or wife.
A wife who is unable to take care of herself, cook, take care of the home, give good intimacy and respect her man is functionally illiterate, even if she is a university graduate.
A man who refuses to show affection or provide security for his family is also seen as an illiterate, even if he holds a PhD.
This means literacy may not be the same as academic qualification.
The second is cultural illiteracy, whereby a partner knows very little about the cultural background and practices of his or her partner.
In every culture, people have their views about how a husband and a wife must behave for a marriage to be seen as good.
A lack of understanding of your partner’s cultural beliefs and practices makes you an illiterate and this may predispose you to marital conflicts.
The third is moral illiteracy, whereby partners have poor attitudes and show wrong behaviours of relationship. A partner may put his or her profession ahead of the relationship.
Some keep secrets of their finances. It is known that globally 30 per cent of partners don’t know how much their partners earn.
It is worse in Ghana. The worse example of moral illiteracy is where partners abuse the sanity and sanctity of marriage by engaging in illicit affairs. Here again the majority of Ghanaian couples are victims.
The narrow definition of illiteracy is someone who cannot read or write. There are illiterates all over the world. Even in places like US and Britain there are people who can’t read or write.
Problems of Illiteracy
Illiteracy is a problem that affects partners negatively and spills over to society. A partner may lack knowledge about current issues, making him or her unable to contribute intelligibly to social issues.
Illiteracy may also be a barrier to economic activities and good health. Imagine a man who sent a prescription drug to his sick wife.
The directions for use was indicated on the bottle but the wife was unable to read and because she was in great pain, she took an overdose. It was a fatal mistake.
A partner who is unable to speak English may embarrass his or her partner at a social meeting. Poor grammar and pronunciation could make a partner uneasy. Some people, therefore, never go out to public places with their illiterate partners.
Some people take undue advantage of their partner’s illiteracy and leech their properties or investment. A bank account may be showing red when an illiterate partner may be made to believe she is doing great.
Some men actually love to marry illiterates. They see highly educated women as sophisticated and, therefore, expensive, too exposed and independent to handle.
She claims equal rights and speaks “big English”. An illiterate wife, on the other hand, may be seen as more innocent and easier to handle. She will look up to her man and open up completely for care.
Economically, the dowry may be cheaper for the illiterate. She may show gratitude for a traditional marriage and not push for a marriage which many Ghanaian men find threatening.
Will you marry an illiterate?
If you meet someone who has all the qualities you want in a lover but who is an illiterate, the best advice is simple: Go after him or her. Go where your heart leads.
Illiteracy in whatever form is a solvable problem which could vanish easier and faster than you think if you work hard on it.
Look beyond academic qualifications; look for a partner who may be buried by illiteracy; dig him or her up; polish him or her up.
Like diamond, he or she will glitter your life. This is love, the kind that lasts.