Engagement Night - To do or not to do?

BY: Graphic Showbiz

“You’re looking like a ripened fruit; like something to be plucked and eaten”, Obodai said to me and lodged a knockout peck on my right cheek.  “You smell sweet too”, he added. 

 I was stuck in my track. For OB to open his mouth to make such a confession was enough to let my validation for the day soar high.  He is not one that authenticates my looks – kind of a rare occurrence.  

His compliments are nonverbal, mostly.  And sometimes, I wonder why he cannot just open his mouth to say a word of approbation to me.  I blame it on his temperament.  I do.    


As if making me feel wow wasn’t enough, he picked his Tablet from the dining table and asked me to pose in diverse ways for cool shots.  I am still trying to figure out what had suddenly turned my hard boiled spouse into a romantic chap.  Hm.  

With a tight hug that made my entire being go, “yiiiiiiiiiiiii”, I reluctantly bade him goodbye and left for Ema’s engagement.  For me, my day was made; complete. 

The bride, Ema, is one of my “small girls” in my circle of friends.  She really wanted me to be at her engagement and therefore wouldn’t take a “no” for an answer.  

Her date had clashed with a friend’s mother’s funeral at Nsawam so I was praying to absent myself from hers.  But having been by her side from the start of the two-year relationship with her spouse, she felt, I, of necessity, had to be by her side. 

Ahaa, that reminds me … let me ask, can a woman move in to live with the man she’s been engaged to, on the night of her engagement?  Are they allowed to consummate the erm erm engagement or marriage or wait for the wedding or…? 

 In fact, Ema had asked me this question a fortnight to the ceremony.  And I was myself confused.  Perhaps, you can help me with the right answer. Is the Engagement Ceremony recognised as marriage?  Or is it rather the wedding that is recognised?

She and Bismarck, her boyfriend, had abstained from sex, the entire duration of the courtship.  They had planned to sleep together on the night of their engagement, but their marriage counsellor at church had restrained them from doing so, stating that the Engagement Ceremony isn’t marriage yet.  So she wanted me to confirm whether or not that ceremony was a legal one.  Of all people, why had this young lady chosen to make me answer such a controversial question?

Well, I managed to explain one or two facts to her; please feel free to correct me if my explanation to her was wrong.  We learn every day, don’t we?   I made her understand that once families from the groom and the bride’s side had come together to agree that there should be a marriage between the two, that was legal enough for a definition of marriage.  

Customarily, that would be considered marriage.  All that the counsellor at church wanted them to do was to just wait for the blessing of the Lord on the marriage before consummation.  But she shouldn’t have told them that their Engagement wasn’t marriage.  Or? 

I was in fact, the wrong person Ema’s question had been directed to, because OB and I chose to wait till our wedding night to consummate our marriage.  We had been taught at church that that was the right thing to do.  Not that the Engagement wasn’t marriage, but we needed to ask for the Lord’s preeminence over the “food” before “hammering”. 

Huh, can I tell you a secret?  I trust you.  I know I can confide in you.  Hm, do you know that huh … eish, I’m shy. Okay, let me try and divulge this and be free.  I quite remember how difficult the period between our Engagement and the wedding ceremony was.  Huh, temptations galore.  In fact, if that waiting period had exceeded one month, I am sure we would both have ended up in a confession seat before our nuptial flight. 

Once my bride-price had been paid, we both saw ourselves as married; and indeed we were customarily married.  So each time we met, the tendency for some “akikiromi” to take place was so strong.  I lived alone, of course with a few dependents but I had my privacy, and so did OB.  Kaiiiiiiiiiii.  Each time we met in either of our homes, it would be as if all we wanted to do was to lay each other on each other’s back for good pleasure.  It was a terrible emotional period of our relationship.  

So we decided to stay clear of each other till our wedding day.  And today, I can boldly testify that we made it with God’s help!  Since that time, I have always advised my friends not to let the gap between their Engagement and wedding exceed a week.  Just so some of these unforeseen contingencies can be forestalled. 

So to Ema, I explained what I knew about Engagements to her, and asked her to do well to wait.  If they both had managed to abstain for two years, waiting for another week wasn’t going to harm anyone.  

I, however, made her understand that customary marriages are potentially polygynous: a man may have as many customary wives as he can, and there is no limit to the number of such marriages that can be legally registered under the Customary Marriage and Divorce Registration Law, 1985 (PNDCL 112). 

So persons who were customarily married stand the chance of ending up in polygamous institutions.  Ordinance, however, is strictly monogamous. Or is that not the case?  I encouraged her to abstain till Saturday night.  I hope she is able to.

Oh, my space is gone.  And I haven’t even told you my experience at the Engagement yet.  Please can we continue next week?