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What’s Rice Got To Do With It?

If you want to eat rice every day, you have to learn to garnish it in different ways…"

I heard Funmi Iyanda say that a long time ago on some television programme – I forget the name – but it stuck with me for a simple reason. I eat rice virtually every day.

Fried rice, Jollof rice, White rice, Curried rice, Chinese rice, e.t.c. You name it, I eat it. I guess I love rice! But it does get boring sometimes. And so I eat it with moin-moin, or fried plantain, with salad, and sometimes with Okro (you're probably disgusted by that, but it's absolutely yummy). My point though is whatever I combine rice with, it still manages to taste good. And because I can combine it with a lot of things, whenever I see rice, no matter how many times I've seen it during the day, I'm still attracted to it.

Now, enough about rice. On to more important things. Like Marriage! Maybe not marriage per se, but the underlying principle of marriage – Till death do us part.

When I hear that phrase at weddings (which I avoid like a plague now by the way), I really don't think about it. And I'm not so sure the couple is thinking about it either, at least not at that point. They're too busy becoming 'the latest couple in town'. Most people just read through it because it's a compulsory part of the vows (I would edit that part out if I could) but I'm not sure they give much thought to what it connotes.

After reflecting on it on one of those wedding occasions, I came up with a mental picture of doing the same thing over and over again for the rest of one's natural life. Basically, you marry someone and you're expected to stay with, love and be faithful to that person for the rest of your life. The first word that comes to mind after that dreary picture is BOREDOM! How do you cope with waking up in the morning to the same face, talking, living, eating, sleeping and doing everything with the same person all your life??? It's like watching a movie on repeat, right?

But it really shouldn't be like that. Human beings are creative beings. We are adaptive beings – we still buy petrol when the price goes up, and we stop eating bush meat when there's an ebola scare – and most of all, we are reasoning beings. If we try hard enough, the so-called monotony of marriage will be greatly reduced (not wiped out, because let's face it, we're still waking up to the same face).

This is where my rice theory comes in. Marriage is a bowl of rice and the people in the marriage (as well as what they do) are the garnishing. Each party should strive to grab and retain the attention of the other; strive to continue to interest the other; strive to bring something new and creative into the relationship. Women shouldn't stop looking beautiful just because they got married. Who says you can't seduce your husband every now and then? Send the kids away, prepare his favourite meal, light the candles, put on some sexy lingerie. Add some spice to your married life my friend! Instead of sitting there feeling sorry for yourself and wondering why he hasn't touched you in months.

And you men, you should never stop courting your wives. Who told you that she doesn't want to receive compliments anymore, just because she married you? Or gifts? Or be taken out to romantic places? Take her on a trip for the weekend (somewhere really exotic if you have the money, otherwise, there are several resorts even here in Lagos that are perfect for getting time alone). Spoil her a little, or a lot. Relive those good old (or not so old) days when you just met and the wooing had just begun. Surprise her…

Stuff like this is guaranteed to always refresh the marriage; at least if there was a real spark in the first place (cos these days, plenty people just marry. On top of nothing!) It's like watering a plant so it doesn't wilt and die. You don't have to give it too much water, cos it'll kill it too (*choke choke*). But give it just enough, at regular intervals and give it enough warmth and enough air and watch it grow and blossom (and bear fruit, if you're the type who wants kids).

Plantain, Moin-moin, beans – these are just some of the things you can combine with rice to make it different. There are so many other ways to make rice interesting, just as there are a million ways to make marriage interesting, fulfilling and long-lasting. And even when the going is slow, when it gets a little boring, the thought that something interesting could happen keeps you going, makes you stay. And if nothing interesting happens, then you (yes, you) make it happen…

Keep Calm and Eat Rice.

Tell us how you've kept your marriage or relationship alive.
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