Although I might still be considered too young to be thinking or talking about marriage, I believe I have a few words to share about the topic. Of course, I have never been married before; I don’t even know that I have dated anyone that seriously to say that I have had a close-enough equivalent. But over the years, from movies, books, songs and the lived experiences of friends, colleagues and family, I have learned a few things about the matter.
We have all heard the “Marriage is not easy”, “It requires a lot of work”, “Every marriage has its ups and downs” kinds of talks, and given the insurmountable rates of separations and divorces, and just plain unhappiness and dissatisfaction encountered by married couples, I am convinced that marriage is no easy feat. So why is it still such a sought-after enterprise?
You’re probably thinking this is one of those feminist rants, or anti-marriage arguments, or something along those lines. Sorry to burst your bubble, but it has absolutely nothing to do with that. In fact, I would openly like to state that being happily married and building a home is perhaps one of my biggest aspirations in life (before you say anything, just remember, to each his own).
Anyway, what I am trying to get at is, despite the beauty, complexity and intricacy of marriage, for some reason, it seems that we are so desperate for it that we end up getting into it for the wrong reasons, and settling for much less than we deserve. And this applies to both men and women, even though in Nigeria, there is perhaps ten times more pressure on females to get married, and earlier too.
There is a myriad of reasons that could lead to these hastened, not-well-thought-out marriages including: unplanned pregnancies, financial interests, getting “old” and the pressure to get married/have kids that accompanies it. Oh! and my personal favorite: “We’ve been dating for so long already, we might as well just get married”, even when the love and excitement have died out. Perhaps the most interesting and accurate description of this example can be seen on Season 2 of Ndani Tv’s “Gidi Up” (only the best TV show ever! If you haven’t seen it yet, I have no words for you). Seriously, go check it out, it’s amazing!The producers just confirmed that Season 3 is on its way… so excited!:D
On the show, one of the characters, Sharon, played by the one and only Adesua Etomi, is engaged to be married to her long-time boyfriend and only child of her father’s bestfriend, Meka, played by Anthony Monjaro. Wedding plans are already underway, just for us to find out that Meka isn’t exactly happy or excited to be getting married. He recently lost his parents who were very wealthy business moguls, and he’s had to fill their shoes and run the family business. He feels like he hasn’t lived his life for himself but for others, that his entire life has already been scripted for him and he basically just has to show up to play the part. And it wasn’t that he did not have feelings for Sharon, because he did; it was that because they were childhood friends turned lovers, everyone expected that them getting married would be a no-brainer. But now that the time has come, he realizes that he doesn’t love her anymore, at least not in that way, and definitely not enough to want to get married.
Unlike basically all of my friends who have seen the show, I understood exactly where he was coming from. (I can feel some of your eyes rolling at this point, but just hear me out). Of course, it is not fair or nice to Sharon who is still in love with him that he feels this way right now, or that he let things get this far… but what would you rather have? That he marries her out of pity or obligation/duty and then in the future asks for a divorce? That he cheats on her or emotionally checks out of the marriage and leave her unhappy?
I don’t know about y’all, but I am sure that I don’t want to be married to someone just because he pities me, or because he feels like he has to. Maybe you don’t mind—I don’t know; whatever rocks your boat. What I know is that even though it will hurt like hell, and it seems like there has been too much emotional, time and even monetary investment “wasted” on any relationship, when it doesn’t feel right or complete, when it seems like something fundamental is missing, proceeding to marriage might just not be the brightest of ideas.
Obviously, this is not to say that we should easily give up on our relationships when there’s a glitch somewhere, NO. In fact, once there are any issues, I think it’s always smart to try to resolve them; talk things through and try to work things out. There is no guarantee that you will be successful, but at least you BOTH tried. Perhaps Meka and Sharon need to consider that. But if after talking about it, making some changes/adjustments, taking a break, counseling, or however else you choose to accomplish that, it still doesn’t feel right, it might just be time to pick up and leave, especially if your issues are between you two, and not external (from friends, family, work, money, etc.)
Everyone is different; we all have our peculiarities when it comes to love, relationships, and marriage—what we can handle or deal with, and those things we absolutely can’t tolerate. So it’s really up to the individual(s) involved. I always say: your spouse is literally the only important and relevant person in your life you have the ability to chose, so don’t mess it up for whatever reason. Rather than subject yourself or the other party to stress or misery, be honest with yourselves and do what needs to be done; there is already enough stress from work, the economy, and life in general.
This might sound a little selfish, but if there is one thing I’ve learned about relationships and breakups, it’s: “do what’s best for you, because ultimately, that’s also what’s best for your partner” (this was also said at one point on the show by Yvonne, played by Somkele Iyamah-Idhalama). There is no need holding on to something that can’t stand on its own. How much longer before you give up and let go?
P.S. Can you already tell I am obsessed with Gidi Up? ’cause I am! Love it! 🙂