Surviving on an average of 3 hours of sleep every night for the past two weeks is reminiscent of my last days in Law School. Back then, I promised myself that if I made it out of there alive, I’d never go near academic pursuits again.
So here I am again, wondering why as a person of sound disposing mind, willingly subjected myself to this kind of torture again. As if having to worry about my deadline is not enough, I am being forced to think about ‘What’s Next?’ So, when a friend asked me about my home coming, I said I didn’t want to think about it. Her response to my concerns about expensive rent, car money, generator money, plumber/electrician woes was: “Don’t worry about all that. Just find one man to marry you and all that would be sorted.”
Almighty marriage – the solution to all accommodation, logistics and status problems. Marriage is extremely important to a Nigerian. It invests upon the parties a certain level of respect and status. For the man, it is an indication that he is ‘responsible’, and for the woman… oh well, for one she gets to say “My husband and I…” It’s really cute to watch.
Picture this scenario: A young woman with parents of modest means living in Ife. Lady gets a job in Lagos; salary is just enough to keep body and soul together – not enough to buy a car or rent a place. Parents say, don’t worry we’ve spoken to Aunty Funto who stays in Ijegun, she says you can stay with her. So, with her office on Sinari Daranijo in Victoria Island, Lady begins the approximately 4-hour commute everyday. She sits in traffic on the way home knowing that she will probably get home to a frowning Aunty Funto – who is looking at the clock and wondering if she’s the “only one who works in VI”. Why does she have to come home after dinner has been made and chores have been done? Even worse if she works over the weekend or dares to have a social life.
It’s a scenario that has led a lot of women into marrying the closest person who can take them out of that situation.
Forget that they don’t really know or like that person. After all, nobody is perfect. And anything is better than having to endure another month of Aunty Funto’s scowls.
In chatting with The Nengz about this topic, she talked about someone who was JUST lamenting about the fact that one of the marriages for which she she had attended the wedding earlier this year had broken up. According to the girl, she had not “even gotten a chance to recycle the 40k Aso-Ebi.” If we consider the costs of weddings these days, it is enough to try and get it right. What’s the point of getting married if the only people who would benefit from your venture are the vendors who serviced the big event.
The head-first dive to marry, however, is not limited to women. A lot of men are nagged every day to ‘settle down’. They’re told that they need to put down roots. “What are you still waiting for? See how skinny you are. Or you still want to be chasing girls up and down?” And so, ready or not, they take the plunge (after all, who is ever really ready?).
After a really bad break up, one of my friends said that he was going to marry the next girl he dated. I said, “Ahn ahn, just like that?” His response was, “Abeg I’m tired of the cycle of toasting, dating and break up.” I asked if that was enough to marry the next ball that came to his cue stick, he said “Omo, I really don’t care. Girls kuku want to marry!”
Committing your life to another person is a really big deal. God knows I don’t want to do it because I am terrified of having to go back to a life of my mother asking me if I’ve made Daddy’s carrot juice. Or having to sleep in the heat because “In this house, the generator goes off at 10.30pm”
I read an article about why a lot of people get it wrong; now, while I read it with a pinch of salt (because really, mistakes are part of life and nobody’s prefect) I took some points from it.
1. KNOW YOURSELF AND YOUR SELF WORTH (Seeking existential validation from someone else is nothing short of folly. Honestly.)
2.UNDERSTAND THE DYNAMICS OF HUMAN BEINGS (Nothing is cast in stone and people change/evolve. Knowing that, will help you sleep well at night.)
3. BEING SINGLE IS NOT SO AWFUL (Well, maybe in Nigeria it is! The validation that ‘MRS’ confers in Lagos is shocking! So is the level of degradation that comes from the absence of it therein. People, let us make a conscious effort to see beyond the titles)
4. WHEN DID ATOKE BECOME A MARRIAGE COUNSELLOR BIKO?
Have a wonderful week ahead. Don’t forget to love yourself and believe in yourself. Dream big and work hard towards your goals. Oh, and pray for me as I go hand in the final piece of this post grad puzzle! I bind the demon that is making me consider a doctorate degree. I bind and cast into the lake of fire.
Don’t forget to share your stories with us. If you’re married, please tell us why you decided to? If you’re not married, don’t hesitate to share why you want to. And yes, it’s okay if you have one Aunty Funto who won’t let you be great. Also, if you’re tired of jumping from one Keke Marwa to the other. (Someone actually told me this!), tell us. What are the cutest reasons you’ve heard for people getting married? What are the most absurd reasons you’ve heard. Someone once told me she wanted to get married to be able to have ‘God sanctified sex’. I went away from that conversation thinking “sex” vs “a lifetime of uncertainty”. What happens when the fire of arousal is doused?
I know marriage is a really beautiful thing. Heck, I just spent the last week with my friend who has been married for the past 6 years and gosh their love is sooooo… no it’s not the sickening syrupy type. They’re just Alobams and you can tell!
Peace, love & BranFlakes,
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Michael Zhang