In my tribe, customary marriage involves the man's family presenting two bottles of schnapps, an amount of money known as the bride price, and a few other items to the woman's family. Presentation of a Holy Bible and a ring are Christian additions which may be skipped. The intention of the bride price is often to set the woman up in a trade to make her independent financially to support the home. The groom may present a small amount of money to the in-laws as compensation for bringing up a wonderful daughter into a wife.
In modern times, a woman's family may present the "groom" with a list of items to present at the customary marriage event. One of the lists I saw some time ago made me cringe with fear: a bride price of US$4,000, a laptop computer, and 12 half-pieces of Holland wax prints among 13 items on the list. Her father and uncles wanted to get rich on the bride's back - practically offer her on sale. The question is whether such a bride is on sale like a slave or foodstuffs to be given away for such an amount? Paying a heavy bride price gives some husbands the idea that the bride has been bought. This is one of the reasons why some men batter, insult and neglect their wives.
When the Women's Manifesto for Ghana was being completed in 2004, the issue of bride price came up for discussion. Some women reasoned that no more bride price should be paid so that men would not consider their wives as goods. Others argued that in patrilineal tribes where the women pay the "groom price" women are still abused (in Indian, brides pay the groom price and still get burned). The bottom line is that some men really do not value their wives in any way; not because the women cost two bottles of schnapps and some money. What we all need to understand is that whether a man pays the bride price for a woman or not, a wife is neither a slave nor a piece of property.
A wife is worth more than two bottles of alcohol and certainly worth more than any amount of money we could imagine. Your wife is precious; treasure her and you will be her treasure.DEDICATED TO ALL WIVES.