Thirty years ago, I fell in love with her at a school in the country sides, and, because of the close vicinity, we’d talked of marriage, without knowing, that her family was against it, even though I’d gone to her house three times to ask for her hand, but I still couldn’t get the no, the reason being that she can marry just about anybody, BUT not a native.
At the start of the 1980s, the transportations aren’t that well off, the information didn’t get around enough, the tribal communities are quite closed in, and there’s this territorialism too, and they’d focused too much on being perfect matches. She was faced with her father’s orders, she couldn’t just leave, and she didn’t want to turn her back on our promise either, and so, we could only enter into the group marriage held by the government at the time.
It’s already done now, and my father-in-law wanted me to put up $150,000N.T. in dowry to have a wedding banquet and ceremony. That, was the year that I’d just started teaching, I had NO savings, and I’d earned only $10,000N.T. from my teaching, it would be hard as climbing to the moon to get the total of $150,000N.T. Gladly though, my colleagues had gone with me to the banks to take out a “loan of expenses”, and I’d gotten the amount, gave it to my father-in-law, and got married.
After we wed, our kids came one by one, they grew up, I’d worked, just as my wife did, fifteen years later, I’d gotten my wish of becoming a principal at a school. Just as my in-laws were finally starting to enjoy their retirement, playing with the grandkids, having their daughter married well off, my mother-in-law had a car wreck, and became a vegetable, my father-in-law was diagnosed with cancer and he’d passed.
After we’d had the funeral, my wife’s eldest uncle, who was my father-in-law’s will executor, he’d handled the last rites, there was a HUGE thing in my late father-in-law’s will, to return the dowry of $150,000N.T. back to me. My wife and I were too shocked, but, after her eldest uncle explained, we’d learned, that my in-laws loved their daughter, feared that their daughter would NOT be happy, that the $150,000N.T. was not a dowry payment, but her happiness guarantee.
As we’d gotten the money from my wife’s eldest uncle, we’d both cried, we’d worked hard, making our family work after we wed, my in-laws were happy to see, and it’d changed their stereotypes for natives too. Thanks to my in-laws for returning the “happiness guarantee money”, and for the dowry of “being a school instructor and working hard to keep the family well” too.
And so, this, is the heart of the parents-in-law, they never wanted the money for themselves, they just wanted to make sure that their daughter would be well taken care of, and the money got returned to the children in the end, that, is the BEST kind of legacy that parents can leave for their offspring, NOT the money, but the values, as values are MORE important than money!!!