WHEN on a quest for love, most people have a propensity to pursue someone like themselves — meaning someone of a similar background, character traits, level of education and wealth. And naturally so, since the more similar you are, the greater your level of compatibility and the less likely it is that your partner will be a threat to your desire for a happy, successful relationship and life.
But as many of us know, love cannot be confined, and sometimes we find it in unexpected places, and yes, people as well. And when this happens, some of us are willing to risk it all, knowing that the differences in our background, as well as other variables, could endanger the longevity of our love story.
Below, women who made an unorthodox decision in their choice of mate, share how their marriages fared.
Antoinette, 63, retired:
I was a university lecturer when I met my husband on a girls' night out. He was a lower level worker at the then Alcan Alumina Company. He was an absolute gentleman, well-mannered, and spoke my love language. It was obvious he didn't have a sound educational background, but as I got to know him I realised that his family was as genuine as he was. We tied the knot just over a year later and I have never regretted it. He was fine with me correcting him, he could take counsel, he went to so many upliftment workshops and worked his way up. He went to CAST, now UTech, and studied engineering and retired from the bauxite company as a leading engineer in the company. We built a good, happy life and family and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Winsome, 46, consultant:
I got married to my husband, who was an older guy, at age 19. He was from a wealthy family and my mother was his family's housekeeper. One day I went to meet my mom and I knew I wanted him immediately. He, too, seemed like he couldn't get his eyes off me. Of course, my mom was mortified when she found out. His family didn't agree with us dating either and threatened to disinherit him. His father didn't give him his blessings and my mother lost her job for “tying down” her “bhuttu daughter” on their son. We got married anyway, and they over time had no choice but to accept us. We have lived happily for the past 26 years. The marriage itself has been beautiful; of course, we have had our rough days as all couples do, but the hardest part I would say were the conflicts with family (thank God those days are over). The fact that I was too dark for their family pictures, for the family friends to meet, the scare about how dark the grandkids would be... But I am glad for the man God blessed me with, who was always standing up for me. He never made me feel less than and he also made sure that I was always treated with respect.
Sophia, 44, doctor:
I'm a medical doctor and I was raised in a middle upper-class family, even though people thought of us as upper class. I met the love of my life five years ago and have had no regrets. I helped him to stop just hustling, and start his own carpentry business. His business is flourishing and all is well with us. I have always been a flexible person and he was able to fit in with my lifestyle too.
Hailey, 39, business owner:
I know now that you can take the hog out the gutter but not the gutter out of the hog. I took up this man, bathed him and cleaned him up and was trying with him to get a skill with the intention of investing in whatever business he wanted to. However, the man seems like he is obsessed with living poor. He constantly seems to want to spend from my accounts with no intention to self-improve. Every time I talk about his lack of ambition, he says I am talking down to him and that things take time. I should have heeded the warnings that he just wanted me for what I had. I won't hide that he is a man that will take care of the house and me — he is very clean and will cook and clean up. But I just wish he would put the same energy into bettering himself.
My husband and I are worlds apart. He is white and half-Jewish. I met him six years ago while working under the table in one of his family businesses. From our first interaction, I knew he was someone I wanted to get to know better. He was the calmest soul, very gentle and respectful, good to the staff, and kind. So I was flattered when he asked me out. I had to practise how to act right... I will admit I am a little rough around the edges and I didn't want to hurt this man. At first, I saw him as my ticket to citizenship in the land of opportunities, but within weeks I knew I wanted this man for myself. Things got more amazing from there. Sure enough, there was a lot of culture shock on both ends; we both had to compromise on some things and his paternal family had already arranged an introduction to a young lady, but they soon came around I guess when they saw we were genuine and their son was happy. We have managed to live a good and happy life. We have a son and he helped me to sort out school and a job that allows me to work from home in the majority. In short, I am living a happy life and I am a happy wife.