Marriage sucks these days, and many of us are making a veritable joke of that noble institution by pretending to be married when it suits us. With the end of many marriages only realized in the beginning, there are gloomy forebodings about marriage than when Mephistopheles and his arch-demons sailed down these parts. Like a dispensable item, it is possible to marry and dissolve the union in 24 hours on the internet. There are lawyers standing by to put everything asunder in a quickie.
Imagine somebody literally putting the devil in our already troubled marriage, to ensure that it really gets worse and irreparable. That is the Diabolus ex Machina (Devil from the Machine). In Greek literature, the term refers to the sudden introduction of an event, character or object, purposely designed to hasten the destruction of the protagonists. It is the opposite of Deus ex Machina (when God shows forth).
As if our marriages are not bad enough, we have real instances of the Diabolus ex Machina threatening to destroy everything we believe in and whittle away our little gains. These demons come in the form of whatsapp and other interactive digital communication tools, which make it possible for a woman to record nude and pornographic videos of herself and send them through cyber space to another person.
Who cares if they are already married? Ashleymadison.com offers married people the opportunity to cheat on their spouses without having to bother about the associated guilt. The motto of the adult and ‘married people only’ portal is ‘life is short; have an affair.’ Millions of married people have signed on, ready to cheat on their spouses.
This is a generation of quickie marriages, quickie sex and quickie divorces. Things move so fast these days there is hardly any space to pause and breathe and think about morality. Dating starts with only a click of the mouse. Next, we exchange photos and adjust our status on social media. The next day, we meet for sex. We are already hard pressed on every side and we are actually getting crushed by our careless ways of life.
This generation has seen more self-help books on marriage and relationships than any time since the invention of printing. We have trained more marriage counsellors and relationship therapists than any time in history. There are more marriage seminars and marriage clinics than we have seen in a long time. Yet our emotional problems have increased, just as our divorce rates have soured. Where are the marriage counsellors?
How are marriage counsellors helping us navigate the dangerous minefield that is marriage? Are they useful and why must we listen to them? When they are not able to make instructive examples of their own marriages, do they have any spiritual or moral authority to counsel us? What qualifications do marriage counsellors hold?
These are questions that many Ghanaians have been asking lately since Rev. Counsellor George Cyril Carstensen Lutherodt started making the news as the no-nonsense marriage counsellor who says it as it is or perhaps a little more than it is. He breaks all the rules, often offending sensibilities and sensitivities in a way that gets him a little close to apostasy. He is loathed my men, especially single Ghanaian men.
Over the past year or two, Counsellor Lutterodt has sold his strange ideas about marriage to single and married people in Ghana and beyond, mainly warning prospective couples about the dangers of financial insecurity in marriage. He advises women never to marry a poor man because a poor man’s marriage will kill them early. “And when you die, you will go to hell.” He adds: “A man who is not ready for marriage is a man who cannot feed himself three times a day plus snack.”
The marriage counsellor, who describes himself as an emotional fixer, is popular for other unusually interesting and logically preposterous assertions. For instance, he admonishes women to report any man who uses their photographs as display picture on social media to the police and get them arrested. They would be blocking the chances of the ladies from meeting prominent suitors. He also advises women to report national service persons who propose marriage to them to the nearest police station.
On other platforms, Rev. Lutterodt has made more disturbing statements about women’s emotional preparedness for marriage. He says “dating more men is capacity building; it’s a period of studying each other, so there is no ownership.” He warns: “If you are a woman and you date one man for more than two weeks, then there is something wrong with you.” He also thinks a promise ring is a curse.
Compared to experienced and celebrated marriage counselors like Opanyin Kwadwo Kyere and Rev. Dr. Samuel Kissiedu, George Lutterodt is in a special class of his own. He is bombastic and unnecessarily superfluous but speaks the truth in a way only the hypocrite will find offensive. Does it matter where he trained and acquired his marriage certificate? If you are working as a national service person, you are not ready for marriage. Is it not true? Who desires to marry a poor man?
As a married man, father and a Christian, I appreciate many of Counsellor George Lutterodt’s prescriptions. Money is an extremely important commodity in marriage. I know my family is happy when I buy them plane tickets to spend their school breaks in Canada. I get a big hug. That is a more convincing demonstration of love than a poem written on a lifeless piece of paper. Mathew 6: 31-34 is not to be taken literally by Christians. Indeed, a wise man is anxious about tomorrow and creates tomorrow.
Truth hurts, even if it is clothed in gentle robes. It takes money to marry. It is only a buffoon who expects a woman to contribute to the dowry or the purchase of the ring. Pitiful grass-to-riches stories of couples who started with nothing and ended up wealthy should not be the motivation to marry. The real motivation should be the ability to take charge of a home and provide for a family’s comfort. It is money, not love.
If I had married after national service, I would have had a difficult marriage because there were lots of competing interests and pressures on my limited resources. I would not attract an ambitious career woman because I didn’t have a car. And yes, you need a good car, good accommodation and a good job to get a good wife.
These are truisms. Women look out for these comforts when they marry. These are the little devils that Counsellor George Lutterodt talks about. Well, he is spot on.