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Tope Damilola: This is Why Getting Married May Be an Accomplishment

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dreamstime_l_31638101Getting married is not an accomplishment‘ is the title of a post I recently read on Huffington Post. {Click here to read it} The mantra is growing in popularity as an offshoot of the call for equality and women empowerment. I share that opinion too to a large extent. But while I started the article bobbing my head up and down, I slowed a little as I read on.

The writer’s frustration was that getting engaged is still more celebrated than academic and professional pursuits of women. I do not disagree with this. Neither do I argue that she does not see marriage as a huge event. She does. I also appreciate how she says that accomplishment in marriage should be related to weathering the storm of life together and contradicting societal acceptance of divorce as an answer to tough issues.

So while I am not completely opposing all her views, these are some thoughts the article kindled in me.

I think we focus too much on how frustrating it is that women are being celebrated more for their relationship successes than other achievements. What about the men? Is it right that they should see these other achievements as more important than relationships, family and love? An engagement involves two people. What gives the impression to people that the man is not as happy or even happier to be engaged? Having the woman in his world is probably and should be the best thing he’s done on this side of life. Why then is the woman congratulated more? I would say that rather than reduce our attention to congratulating a woman for getting engaged, we should increase our show of joy for the man’s good fortune.

Furthermore, I think women have a high tendency to be self-conscious about these things. So it is both societal behaviour and the innate awareness that people would rather celebrate your engagement than a career accomplishment but would celebrate a man’s career accomplishment more than his engagement. Most women expect it and if you look hard enough for something, you will find it.

Young women also have a tendency to show off their relationships more than they do their career or academic accomplishments. Correct me if I am wrong, but have a look at the social media world alone and you will see this. We can argue that they are only protecting themselves from being called ‘too ambitious’. But if we want things to be different, we must break out of that conditioning. People will usually only celebrate what they know and what they think you consider as important. If a woman decides to keep mum about her promotion while showcasing her diamond bling, we can’t blame people for paying more attention to that.

As humans, we are prone to celebrating rare events in someone’s lifetime. Getting married is one of them. Now if we are accepting sporadic marriages and quick divorces when unhappy, as the new norm, it will be a different scenario. If the more permanent feature in life is career and academic accomplishments, we really should pay more attention to that. Please notice that I haven’t mentioned impacting lives, that should be a given be it through marriage or career. The truth remains that we still consider getting married as a once in a lifetime event. It should be celebrated as such.

Another point to note is that professional and academic successes are dependent on hard work, commitment and perseverance and these deserve to be celebrated. But saying that getting married is just a question of finding someone willing to marry you makes it sound trivial, which to me, marriage isn’t. Approaching marriage with that mind-set should be counted as one of the reasons for the increase in marital woes. The fact from what we see today is that it may be easier for young women to study hard, work hard, play office politics and maintain a business than succeed in a relationship. It is true that societal expectations are changing for women. We have women as leaders in different industries and in governance. Meeting a life partner and making that big decision on marriage is also quite important, if not more.

Let me quickly note here that getting married is not compulsory, but having meaningful relationships to share joyful and sad moments is important. No one is a loner. People yearn for that connection and this may be the reason why they can hardly resist celebrating with extra pomp when you ‘achieve’ a milestone with someone you love.

On a personal note, I have a vision. I have big dreams. I have the courage to surpass fears and achieve big things. I’ll like to have friends and family celebrate my career growth, my academic accomplishments, and my promotions. I want them to throw me parties. And when I get engaged, I want them to fawn over me and the man who I’ve decided to spend the rest of my life with. But in the end, after or before or without all the celebrations, I just want to be alone with him, sharing the joy and all other feelings that come with everything and be happy that I have him in my life. Now this is my choice.

I still don’t believe that women should place marriage as the ultimate goal. A happy life where we are fulfilled in career, marriage, friendships and other aspects of life that we choose to explore should be the subject of our day to day planning and living. But refusing to see getting married as a major milestone (a synonym for accomplishment) for both a woman and a man will be like running in circles.

Finally, shine a light on all the wonderful things that make up your life. People will celebrate what you show them is important to you.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime

Tope Damilola is a content strategist, social contributor and curator of life experiences, both personal and perceived. She loves God, family, friends, books, simple crazy ideas and the pursuit of a greater Nigeria. Follow her thoughts on www.otdamilola.com; on Twitter: @otdamilola; on Instagram @o.tdamilola

38 Comments

  1. Ijebujesha

    March 21, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    Getting married will always be an accomplishment and staying married a bigger accomplishment. It is however not the only accomplishment and no one can accomplish all. Women should stop consoling their failure to find a.happy marriage with the lie that ‘marriage is not an accomplishment’. Ofcourse it is, but you have not been able to make that accomplishment. Maybe you have made others and that’s fine.

    • Kaeto

      March 21, 2016 at 6:46 pm

      My dear I didn’t finish reading your life story. Either way I read other people comments… the same old news sha… marriage means nothing when married to a lie. As for me, please take my advice; when you see a man that’s worth your life ‘lion’ him. Many women limit themselves by the men that approach them, there’s nothing wrong pursing a man, increase your options. The so called ugly or very beautiful women with amazing men- if you ask them, they know they did the chasing… So yes marriage remains an accomplishment like getting a job. We get Jobs for security, we also marry for security. It depends on your type of marriage. Cause some just marry stupidly, aimlessly, no ambition, mindlessly, day dreaming without considering facts of reality.

    • Nahum

      March 21, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      I love that “marriage means nothing if married to a lie”….. That is all that needs to be said. You can celebrate it as an accomplishment or not, what matters is WHO you are married to and your happiness in it. The way a lot of Nigerian marriages are….lets just say it is no accomplishment for the couple in it.

    • Amaka

      March 21, 2016 at 8:25 pm

      @Ijebujesha. You spoke the hard truth. If you are married to the one God chose for you. You will feel fulfilled and accomplished. Writer, you tried but I disagree with the part that says just be in a relationship, you don’t have to be married. I have seen women excel in both and that’s the path I want to thread. Folorunsho Alakija is a christian ,married, with four boys and a granddaughter. She is also very accomplished. I d choose that over being single.

  2. Di

    March 21, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    You lost me halfway thru your good article. Fact still remains Nigerians can’t relate with what is on Huff post because Nigerians are still very very backward in their marriage mentality towards gender. So Nigeria should start rethinking on their own instead of hanging on the remanent wisdoms of the West. And maybe next time get straight to the point, patience is expensive these days.

    • Frustrating

      March 21, 2016 at 10:59 pm

      Yes I couldn’t finish the article however one thing I know for sure and this is an observation as a western, Nigerian women believe getting married and securing a man is the biggest accomplishment in life. A woman who isn’t working or hast achieved a damn thing in her life would fix her mouth and say to a well accomplished unmarried “well at least I have a husband, where is your own?” They are the first to throw marriage in people’s faces. However I really don’t blame them it’s a culture thing, when Nigerian parents have been drumming it in their child’s ears from day one that they need to get marred of course it would be considered an achievement. But like the commenter above said if you’re married to a lie is that really a acomolishment?half of the women making noise and showing off are married to men who indulge in extra activities outside their marital home. It is well sha

    • Nkechi

      March 22, 2016 at 12:37 am

      Marriage as an accomplishment is not African. Do you have upper class Britons and Americans as friends, you will understand my point. Secondly, try running for a top political position in the West as a single person, very rough road. Quite interesting, I was somewhere yesterday and a Caucasian showed us his daughter’s wedding pictures. He said that’s the next thought on the mind of most parents after college because it can either make or break the child.
      I understand the fact that it is weird to involve God in marital decisions these days which is pretty sad, I remember days when people asked God specifically whom to marry and depended on his wisdom all the way. Why would you think you know so perfectly whom to spend the rest of your life with and before someone comes up with the fact that Christians divorce, remember not all Christians are sensitive to God’s voice or obey him. Sad but true.

    • Di

      March 22, 2016 at 11:13 pm

      Yes, I have those top class western friends. And yes, they value marriage for political or financial connections BUT they are not insensibly extreme like Nigerians who shame single women while going soft on the men. They don’t go to 100 prayerhouse in a year nor talk about it with so much grieve like someone fucking died the way some African parents do. Those high class western families nudge both sons and daughters for marriages not just the girls. They are not extreme like Nigerians.
      Being a single female in politics or executive roles in US works BEST for you, yes and am talking out of experience. If you are married, you may catch your boss looking at your tummy sometimes wondering/hoping you are not pregnant. They want a female free of mothering responsibilities as they believe that infers with a woman’s competence.
      My point is Nigerians should stop the West follow follow mentality and use their darn brains to create a cultural change that suits them because we and the West CAN NEVER have the same cultural values, we are Africans. Everybody aiming to be an imitation of the west, we can use some originality. No offence to writer.

  3. Mabel

    March 21, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Getting married can never be an accomplishment. Look how many ppl marry for Visas, or to hide their homosexual nature, simply because everybody is doing it or parents and family are nagging them. One of my uncle married a woman to get to go to the US, he had a church wedding and big reception, that woman loved my uncle and everyone in the family knew he was marrying her for papers, she was the only one who didn’t know it. In her mind she may have thought it was an accomplishment and she was finally settled, but it was all smoke and mirrors.

  4. throttles

    March 21, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    Dear Writer,

    I was about to blast you but I’m going to pardon you because you said marriage ‘may’ be an accomplishment. All you people carrying marriage on your head like bread, may you not fall into the wrong hands all because you want to be a Mrs as if other things in life don’t matter. I wonder if men view marriage as an accomplishment.

    • Natu

      March 21, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Men do not view marriage as an accoompliment. They are all about making that money. Women are the only ones pressed and stressed about marriage.

    • The real Ibinabo

      March 21, 2016 at 7:09 pm

      That is not true o! Say some men not all men, a couple of my male friends have been asking me to “find wife” for them. I have heard one even say the only milestone he has not achieved is having a wife and children, he claims good girls are scarce (lol). I personally don’t consider marriage in the general sense as an accomplishment but I definitely think having a long-lasting, healthy marriage is an accomplishment for both sexes.

    • Natu

      March 21, 2016 at 7:14 pm

      *Accomplishment

    • nene

      March 21, 2016 at 9:35 pm

      men actually are more desperate to get married than women, especially in nigeria. when i was younger i heard most of my older male cousins asking everyone to find them a wife, my female cousins were not bothered, they never searched for a husband, and once they got older, because they knew their chances were slim, they just focused on their work. men want stability, which is what marriage brings to a man, while women just want everlasting love from marriage.

    • Tai omo yoruba nimi

      March 23, 2016 at 1:26 am

      @the real ibinabo,pls help a sister out with one of these your friends looking for a wife ,I’m single and well behaved ..no jokes o

  5. Imade

    March 21, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Marriage is a good thing but not an accomplishment. Counting it as an accomplishment is what increased the rate of divorce- people who ve no biz getting married, get in. And others settle for anything just to achieve it. Even in the time of old, not everyone gets married. Like money, marriage doesn’t make u happy. They make life a little more comfortable.

  6. Essy

    March 21, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I support women equality and empowerment but fact is that marriage is an accomplishment ,not the only accomplishment in life but part of it.Even the world acknowledges this,for example In the US army ,you get paid more when you get married and being married might open some doors and earn some respect in African and The western world.
    The ideal situation would be to be married to someone you love .Marriage is a good thing.Singleness also is a good thing .So that’s that…

    • Bianca

      March 21, 2016 at 8:13 pm

      It’s not an “accomplishment”, maybe making a wonderful marriage work by BOTH the husband and wife can count as an accomplishment, but not “getting married”. If my boyfriend and I decide to get married today, is that an accomplishment? the accomplishment would be if we stayed happily married. And seeing as a good percentage of Nigerian marriages last only because the woman is “keeping it” ie ignoring the husbands cheating, bullying, wicked inlaws etc, how is ThAT an accomplishment.
      Marriage is NO accomplishment, because if it was, we can say that child brides, women in abusive marriages etc are “accomplishers” now. An accomplishment would be Omotola and her husband having a happy marriage irrespective of two busy careers, but calling “marriage” in itself an accomplishment is the reason why rich men’s housewives on Instagram put “wife” in their bio; when other people are putting “34,accountant,florist,music lover,engineer,tv fanatic” etc (note that I’m not bashing housewives, just the idea of housewives making being a wife what defines them).

    • Mama Sefe and Tife

      March 22, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Bianca, your logic is not working at all. If I graduate with a first class, do you classify it as an accomplishment or do you wait until I get a great job before it becomes an accomplishment. Its either something is an achievement or not. It cannot be subjected to another thing. My opinion is that every human being is free to define their accomplishments. So whether its marriage, getting your masters, learning to speak other languages,you can choose what you identify as an achievement and bask in it

    • Denise

      March 22, 2016 at 9:25 pm

      @MamaSefe as a 1st class student myself I’m so insulted that you’ll compare getting a 1st class to getting married, do you know how I’ve put in time,sweat and blood to make my grades? You want to compare it to getting married? Not even staying married? Childbirth even, I’d have understood, but marriage? Getting married that I can do in 10 minutes at Vegas? Abeg abeg it’s 2016 get over it, marriage is not an accomplishment, and I hope it’s not the only thing you’ve “accomplished” so far. Because as a Mama of two children, I can’t imagine how someone who has been able to push out children (twice) and possibly has a university degree and achieve all those and class getting married as an accomplishment. So if your husband treats you badly, what then have you accomplished exactly?

  7. tope

    March 21, 2016 at 7:53 pm

    All I will say is that , you keep this article of yours till you are late 30’s or early 40’s. if u are married by then and if u are not . By, then you will know what is accomplishment. And if for what so ever reason u get married and it is not working, that is your choice. But u cannot tell me that u never had the feeling of accomplishment on your wedding day. And if u still think marriage is no accomplishment, then why is there a demand that the global community permit same Sex marriage.

    • Bianca

      March 21, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      Marriage is not an accomplishment oooo. Being in a happy marriage is. You felt accomplished on your wedding day, I’m guessing because you were with the man/woman you love. If you feel some sense of accomplishment as you’re married, it’s because you’re in a happy one. And before you say “I don’t know because I’m too young.” My dear, I do. I’m a feminist in a happy union with a feminist (man) and we’re best friends that spend 24/7 together. Our making our marriage work irrespective of our busy schedules and no nanny in a foreign country is an accomplishment, not because we decided to get hitched.

    • Bianca

      March 21, 2016 at 8:20 pm

      As for the gay marriage one, that’s the point: that they can enjoy a happy union (an accomplishment) with the partners of their choice, and not end up in heterosexual unhappy marriages (ie not an accomplishment, seeing as that’s so easy to do that it can’t even be counted as an achievement)

    • Derin

      March 21, 2016 at 8:26 pm

      I hate when Nigerian adults dismiss the opinion of younger adults. If Nigerian adults are so wonderfully all-knowing, why are the country and its institutions-including marriage such a mess. The girl was clearly stating her opinion, why should you put down her argument simply because she’s 30 or 40. I’ve not read anything ignorant or naïve in her opinion. It’s a bit of a rant but it’s a not-so-subtle problem that our society is suffering from. Tomorrow they’ll say “the youths” should come and lead, but if they say something: “shut up what do you know”. Na WA o

    • Derin

      March 21, 2016 at 8:27 pm

      *because she’s not yet 30 or 40. Somebody cannot not care about marriage without breaking it down to “when you’re old you’ll know”

  8. nene

    March 21, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    marriage is an accomplishment to both men and women. it is a stage in life just like being born, going to school, graduating from primary, secondary, university, getting a job, getting married, having kids, etc. it is part of the major milestones in life. even gay people fight for a right to be married. but then again, if marriage means nothing to u, or having kids or going to school, then fine do you, but people will have an opinion just as u have a right to do what u want.

  9. someremarriedcosofwedding

    March 21, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    some marriage are sham..they just want to ansa married man like mine..marriage s not a do or die affair

  10. Koko

    March 22, 2016 at 12:59 am

    I’ve observed that the people that say marriage is not an accomplishment/or do or die affair, are actually the ones that want to get married. Marriage is an accomplishment, just like gaining admission into the university, however not everyone would accomplish it and sustaining that accomplishment depends on the bearers commitment.

    Marriage is an accomplishment and a happy marriage is a fulfillment.

    • Janet

      March 22, 2016 at 2:15 am

      Just say marriage is an achievement to you. You didn’t see the people here that have been saying that they are married but marriage is not an accomplishment. Did you at least read the others’ comments?
      Marriage isn’t an accomplishment. Marriage is a joining of two people as customarily or legally married. That means that if you go and marry a mad person, you’ve accomplished abi? Although, if you were able to make that a happy Union, THAT would be an accomplishment ? Are you one of those people that shout “gaan marry” or “she’s on Forbes list but she ain’t married though” or the ones that put “wife” on their IG bio and so they have to stay even though the man is a horseband 😉

    • "changing moniker"

      March 22, 2016 at 1:38 pm

      u’re definitely from SDK blog. “Horseband” gave you away.
      thanks Naijablogger for the tip.

    • Denise

      March 22, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      @changingmoniker you’re a fake wannabe-elitist because if you didn’t read SDK blog how would you know how the comment? Seeing as it’s the commenters that say it, not the headlines. Try again next time #horseband

  11. The real dee

    March 22, 2016 at 2:32 am

    If you really desire to get married to your own God ordained spouse and its not forthcoming, bashing the institution of marriage is not the way forward. If you desire something, envision it, pray about it and see to its manifestation, don’t act like you don’t care and bash people who have what you desire. Whether marriage is overrated, people have sham marriages, people are unhappy in their marriage, none of that should bother you, tell yourself your own case will be positive and different.

    Now that’s by the way. I never knew marriage was considered an accomplishement till I saw this post. Accomplishment ke! What is spectacular about ‘getting married’ that qualifies it as an accomplishment? Maybe I’ve not thought about it well. When I was getting married, I didn’t feel like it was an accomplishment.

  12. I no dey talk

    March 22, 2016 at 10:10 am

    marriage is an accomplishment cos as a woman you feel secured being with your man and God created marriage not what you can achieve. marriage is beautiful when you are married to the one you love and loves you in return. what is life without a partner to share the good times with even the wealthiest people today are married so what is there not to be accomplished.

    • Her royal awesomeness

      March 22, 2016 at 11:02 am

      Dude….. 🙁

  13. Ch

    March 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    What’s the point of this article exactly? Maybe I’m just not in my comprehending mode.

  14. Mama Tife and Sefe

    March 23, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    @Denise, what makes you think some people didn’t toil and sweat to get their husbands.?Its no one’s place to tell another person what their accomplishments are. someone has a to do list of what they want accomplish before turning 30. Marriage and getting a masters is on that list, if these happens before 30, haven’t they achieved what they wanted?If marriage is my accomplishment and having a first class is yours,how does that affect you?. What I want now is to resign from my present job, the day I do,I will feel accomplished but another person might not get where I am coming from, does that stop it from being an accomplishment for me? NO!!!. Personally, I don’t know if marriage is an accomplishment for me because I have not given it much thought, however I say it again its not my place or yours to tell people what their achievements are. So whether its marriage,getting a job, getting a first class, let people decide what counts as accomplishment for them.

  15. tomi

    March 30, 2016 at 5:01 pm

    Like how she kept saying MARRAIGE and not WEDDING. I think we have confused the two and overtime thought of them as one and the same. Marraige is a milestone and should definitely be celebrated.

  16. OTDamilola

    April 3, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading all the comments and reactions to this post. I especially liked Mama Tife and Sefe’s comment ‘So whether its marriage,getting a job, getting a first class, let people decide what counts as accomplishment for them.’
    My hope is that each one of us is true enough to our desires and bold enough to declare it if we choose to.
    Societal pressures don’t always produce the same results; it depends on the individual. But having a happy, balanced and fulfilling life is something I hope everyone of us enjoys for a long time in our lifetime. Thanks again for reading. And dropping your comments. 🙂

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