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Nkem Says: On Becoming the ‘Lord of the Ring’



Nigerians are awesome, especially when it comes to giving nicknames, coining slangs and making memes. In fact, at this point, I feel like we have a name for every possible situation or circumstance one could ever find oneself in. The funny part is that these names or phrases always make sense.

In Nigeria, “Lord of the Ring” – a title which hints at the 1954 book series written by J.R.R. Tolkien- is an alias for someone (most times, a girl) who has been engaged for far too long.

I only heard about the “lord of the ring’ phrase two days ago. I had run into a crystal set eagle (alumni of Covenant University) that I had not seen since graduation. She had added some body weight (like most of us have) and looked like she was settled in life. And while exchanging pleasantries, I made a comment: “Sure you have kids and all now”. This would not have been an issue had she not given me a weird look that made me feel really awkward. To be honest, I don’t know why I made the remark. I am not one to comment on things I am not sure of, and I do not even like asking such questions as: Are you married? Has he asked you to marry him? Do you have a baby yet? Do you have a car? How much do you earn? But, this particular aunty was engaged the same year we graduated. My impression was that they got married right after and moved on with life as most people do. I mean, it had been 8 solid years! She was even wearing a ring. I believe anyone would have made same assumptions as I did. Unfortunately, she replied and let me know that she and her fiancé were still engaged. He had traveled out to get a better life for them and they would get married eventually e.t.c.

Of course, I did not make any further comments…but I was shocked. It was incredible. I called my bestie later in the day to give him the gist and he said “Ah! That one has become Lord of the Ring oh!” Apparently, when people go from asking when you and a fiancé will get marry to asking if you will ever get married…you, the one proposed to, are a lord of the ring. There is no official time specification as to when you can become a lord of the ring, but I would like to think that you have earned the title if after one year of engagement, you are still unmarried. Sure, most of the things that are worth achieving in life require a measure of delay in gratification but I don’t believe engagements fall under that category of achievements.

Having had a number of friends get engaged and eventually married in the last couple of years, I have come to understand that sometimes, people are not able to get married immediately after the proposal for several reasons: they need the extra time for wedding planning; they have family or religious issues to sort out, or one person has to finish school first.
Other times, it is because the bride-to-be wants a particular month or date for the wedding, or she wants to stretch the engagement period for as long as possible so she can thoroughly enjoy the perks that come with it – showing off the ring, posting pre-wedding pictures and events on social media, recounting the proposal to a enthralled audience, e.t.c These reasons are to an extent reasonable.

What I find baffling and perplexing are situations where people justify a long engagement for the sake of building the relationship or as a way to see if the marriage will work. I find it ridiculous. The question I ask is this: if you knew you were not ready, you still had doubts or you felt like you and the person were mismatched in timeline and expectations…why did you propose? Why get engaged? If you’re putting a ring on it, then you should be ready for the wedding bells. Do not engage someone with a ring, when you are not in a place to get married within a short period of time. Marriage is a leap of faith, make up your mind do it and actually do it. The length of your courtship or engagement most of the time will have no effect on how the marriage turns out.

Some people get married after two months of dating and stay married forever; others date for years, get engaged for even longer, yet they get divorced after just two months of marriage…and it has nothing to do with the weird phenomenon of long-standing relationships falling apart after making it legal.
Waiting for the perfect job, or waiting to make the right amount of money or have the right house in the right neighborhood may never happen. Nothing you do during the engagement period can prepare you for all the challenges that may come with the actual marriage. Instead, a long engagement will put a long of strain on the couple, especially the lord of the ring, and because a rise of avoidable tensions that may eventually kill the relationship.

Bottom line: Do not get engaged and make someone a lord of the ring when you are not ready. Also, if you are a Lord of the ring…you may want to rethink your situation.

Are you currently in long engagement? Why or why not?

Nkem Ndem is an energetic and highly accomplished Media Consultant who loves to help small businesses, especially women-led, grow their online presence using the right digital strategy or transition from traditional organizational boundaries. With years of experience in Copywriting and Editing, Content Branding and Strategy, Social media, and Digital Marketing, she is clearly obsessed with Digital Communications. She is the Head of Content and Lead Consultant at Black Ink Media - an Ideation and Content Agency that excels in providing fresh, creative digital services to content-centric businesses. Find out more about her at or send her an e-mail at [email protected] Also follow her on IG: @nkemndemv, Twitter: @ndemv.


  1. Bloop

    July 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    This particular “aunty”… really?

  2. Oyin

    July 2, 2017 at 8:16 pm

    I think to each his own. People may not want to go into the “celebration and galore” of the wedding just yet for variety of reasons. Yes, don’t propose if you are not ready. But life happens in the space or twinkle of an eye and can delay the wedding. Or the couple may just want to be engaged for as long as they want… I just don’t think anyone should dictate or decide what is the “standard” as long as it does not defy God’s instructions and all.

  3. Ewa

    July 2, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Women and gossip – “I called my bestie later in the day to give him the gist and he said “Ah! That one has become Lord of the Ring oh!””- See how you guys just ridiculed the babe? When will we learn to mind our business?. Do you think the said individual will be happy if she reads this?

  4. Authentic Sunshine

    July 2, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    Man: Will you marry me?.Woman: When – Not Yes? Under no circumstances do you say Yes to that loaded question. Simples. ?

    • NiceDP

      July 3, 2017 at 11:38 am

      I wish it were this simple, allowing the man to focus on the important aspect of when and where the marriage will hold and not on how grand the ring and method of proposing will be.

  5. Babe

    July 2, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    People can be engaged for as long as they want. If the two people involved are happy just being engaged then let them be. We really need to stop putting pressure on people especially about things that do not concern us.

    • EE

      July 2, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      This is the sort of attitude that leads to inflatable Barbie dolls turning themselves black. Pressure and judgement are part of society, roll with it.

    • bolintin

      July 3, 2017 at 9:58 am

      @EE no we will not roll with it. stop

  6. bukola

    July 2, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    Sounds to me like an indirect appeal to men to be quick in marrying our ladies. Instead of asking men not to engage for too long, ill rather they don’t engage too hastily.

  7. Dr Jones

    July 3, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Wow!!! Nkem Ndem, you actually wrote an article about somebody else’s private life that is none of your business. This is after you and your friend have obviously gossiped and ridiculed the lady in question. You ought to have more dignity and respect for a fellow human being. Who made you a judge over her life? How is it your business the length of her engagement? It is her life, her choice. Have you thought that she may read this post and the effect it may have on her? This article is very distasteful and sad. It is totally unnecessary.

    • Judge judy

      July 4, 2017 at 5:46 am

      Lol @Dr. Jones. You are advising someone to stop judging by judging them??? Where did she mention the person’s name or give away her personal details. All these people who like to form perfect when they are guilty of worse sins. Abeg abeg. Learn from the article or shut up and walk away. Simple.

  8. Dr Jones

    July 3, 2017 at 5:18 am

    I know of a personal friend who was engaged to his fiancee for 7 years. The dude is a doctor who trained in naija. He came over to the US and had to do a masters degree, the board exams and all that. The lady had to wait back home for over 5 years while he was trying to get himself sorted. To cut the long story short, eventually his fiancee joined him and today he is a Cardiologist and they are living happily with two kids. Don’t judge people because you do not know what they are going through or where God is taking them.

    • Chynwa

      July 3, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Nice to know. I’m sure they’re the rare kind

    • Uju

      July 3, 2017 at 11:51 am

      I wish I could like your comment more than once. I dislike it when someone watching from afar comes straight out to judge two consenting adults like they know exactly what’s going on between them. The world will be a much happier place if people just learned to mind their business.

      Now that we know of your friend who has been engaged for 8 years, how did that benefit you? or your fingers were just itchy to put out an article?

  9. Puzzles

    July 3, 2017 at 11:50 am

    The majority of the couples i know who were engaged for over two years didn’t end up together because the guys disappointed them. Some of these guys married ladies they met within months. The disappointed ladies involved were traumatized for a long time and one married a guy that isn’t her type just to save face.

    Those who did get married seem very happy together.

    So i guess at the end of the day, it depends on the faithfulness of the two individuals involved.

    For me sha, at my age, i won’t agree to a long engagement. If the man proposes and i accept, we should be getting married within six months. That’s my opinion.

  10. iceh

    July 3, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Dear Nkem, I don’t think I will like to be your friend in real life, I am assuming that thes stories are real and your friends are not imaginary. I will feel terrible if I came across your article after having a similar discussion with you. Is it possible to ditch the examples of your friends experiences or better yet mask it up.(Be considerate).

  11. kayla

    July 3, 2017 at 11:54 am

    @ Chyna they are really the rare kind because the one i know hmmmmmm, he impregnated a lady and the lady had a daughter for him while his fiancee still has no idea and they have been engaged for 5 years.

  12. Merryb

    July 4, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    I miss Isio de la vega!

  13. Johnspeak

    July 10, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    What’s there in sharing a story so others could learn from it.
    It’s like most of you are guilty of the Lord of the ring thing.

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