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The relationship between Obinze and Kosi is complicated, to say the least.  It is clear that Obinze cares for his wife, even if he doesn’t love her. He listens to her pleas to reconsider his decision for divorce to an extent, and he has always taken care of her in the years of their marriage. However, they have very little in common. One of the more significant reflections of Obinze highlights he feeling on his marriage.

Kosi became a touchstone of realness. If he could be with her, so extraordinarily beautiful and yet so ordinary, predictable, and domestic and dedicated, then perhaps his life would start to seem believably his… Still, he married her. They were living together anyway, and he was not unhappy, and he imagined that she would, with time, gain a certain heft. She had not, after four years, except physically, in a way that he thought made her look even more beautiful, fresher, with fuller hips and breasts, like a well-watered houseplant. (pg 565-566)

His comparison of her to a houseplant is a very accurate description of their marriage. Obinze needs something more than a pretty decoration at the end of the day to take care of him. He wants the intelligence in his marriage that he had in his relationship with Ifemelu. He even expected this spark of curiosity to grow in Kosi at the beginning of his marriage, but it never did. This creates a void between them that they have never been able to bridge in the four years they have been together. This is likely because Kosi was not bothered by the void and Obinze was still half in love with Ifemelu. He didn’t want to grow closer to another woman, so he did not press Kosi.

In the end, a situation like the one in the book has no perfect answer. While it is difficult for me to connect as deeply with Kosi as I do with Ifemelu, I still couldn’t help but feel sorry for Kosi. She tried very hard to be the perfect wife, but Obinze’s notion of the ideal wife and her own notion were just too different.

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