If there’s one thing that you can expect from Nigerians is that when you reach a certain age, they expect you to pull a husband/wife out of a hat. Just like that. After you’ve satisfied these expectations, the next trick is to pop children out like skittles. It seems like all you’ve achieved prior to marriage is easily forgotten. To Nigerians, you are not really rated till you’re married. I heard some ladies actually buy fake engagement rings when they’re going for NYSC camp, so that they get respected there, and how landlords won’t let you a flat if you’re single. All I could get from this is that as a single woman you really can’t expect much respect from people till you’re cuffed. So I have to ask myself, why am I trying to achieve all these goals when no one will respect me until I have a husband? Why work so hard when you’ll end up being defined by your relationship status? Is it really anyone’s business what your status is as long as you pay the rent and bills? Why focus on such trivial things?
However, it’s really not trivial to some. It’s like people live for the day you wed. As if you’re invisible, suspended in the air, unimportant till that ring appears on your finger. This is the effect of BellaNaija. People start keeping tabs on you from the day you are tagged on BNbling and I think this is what some women work towards to when they think of marriage, with a whole lot of other privileges that come with a ring. Like marriage is an exclusive club and once you’re not in it, your opinion doesn’t matter till you join. It’s easy to be deluded that it really is simple. Get your husband and that’s it, you’re made, you are a woman. But as I got older, I soon realized the complexity of the system. I became aware of my goals and what I want to achieve. Somehow, marriage and kids started to look like an added bonus, but not my ultimate goal actually. Now I’m thinking way bigger and getting into relationships opened my eyes to the emotional stress that is involved. It’s difficult to make something of yourself, so now imagine tagging another individual along. It really isn’t as easy as ABC. To be very honest, now that I think about it, marriage scares me.
Here’s me, someone who is very independent and protective of her heart and here comes someone who makes you vulnerable and codependent. It’s like taking down that wall and exposing yourself to the unknown, only hoping for the best and praying for strength. Love is all-consuming and not always convenient because you have to compromise. I’ll have to shape myself and my life plans to accommodate this other person and society’s expectations. I may have to lose a bit of myself in that process and I’m scared that one day, I’ll look in the mirror and not recognize the person staring back at me. I’ve been told many times that marriage has no escape plan, so you take what you get. And even if there’s an escape plan, you will be doomed to a lonely life, as you have to remain unmarried. I thought about this and considered how time passes and you both change and discover things about one another. Your attitudes towards certain things change and this can either make or break you. I thought of love and how it falters. It’s seasonal so imagine being stuck with a number of cold dry seasons when the air is filled with nothing but tension and you both can’t stand each other. You’re filled with regret and It seems like you’re stuck underwater with no way to come up for air. It’s choking and sounds like a cage, not some fairy tale ending.
It seems like I’m dwelling on the negative here but these are worst-case scenarios. Take a closer look and realize that marriage is an adventure and a journey. So shouldn’t that be the beauty of it? It may sound scary but these are just fears and vague ideas of tomorrow. I think that’s what’s exciting; finding out what tomorrow holds, having someone else on that journey with you. Both of you taking each day at a time, learning more about one another and hopefully falling in love with each other more and more. Imagine someone holding your hand as you build your empire and achieve greater things. Imagine you two taking on the world and making beautiful children. Grooming and watching them blossom to the best you could possibly hope for them to be. It’s not so bad when the both of you have the same will and build your relationship on love and trust. If the will is there, I doubt it could fail.
Marriage is serious and I think as a society we don’t emphasize on the reality. The uncertainty of the future, the gravity of the commitment, vulnerability and co-dependence that is required is quite frightening. But that’s the beauty and thrill of it, and only the strong will survive.
But what do you think? Do you agree or are these thoughts exaggerated? What’s your opinion on marriage? What do you think of the stigma surrounding single women? Should marriage be a choice or an obligation? Feel free to drop your opinion.
First published on Lucidlemons.com on July 27, 2015