Marriage is not by force. But weekly, the nuptial production line churns out an endless torrent of superficial, accidental marriages, which had no business being contracted in the first place.
And, let the reader note, this article is not against marriage but against the erroneous and unfortunately, timeless philosophies surrounding the institution.Enjoy.
Our tradition forces people to marry by hook or by crook. Many marry to fit in, give their parents grandchildren, for survival, to cement family relationships etc. It's all a big scam! They are pushing you to fulfil their agenda while you alone are left with the daily consequences and grind of carrying on a sham of a marriage. And it’s not an African thing, it’s a typical tendency across cultures around the world.
Parents, bless their hearts, want grandchildren to enjoy. And when they reel out the ‘statutory” list of achievements of their grown kids to friends and family, marriage has to be at the top of the list. What’s more, they want those kids married off to the best, based on their definitions. I really don’t blame them, I want my kids to do well naturally and according to my definitions.
The “eligible” bachelors and spinsters, the real actors in this script are ticking time bombs beneath suits and ties, human hair weaves and designer perfumes. These are really great people, just dealing with personal issues against the backdrop of societal pressure. No one is patient with them enough to let them discover themselves, what they stand for, their most personal principles. If you don’t know what you really stand for, can’t live without and can’t live with, how on earth are you supposed to find the right person to permanently stand or live with?
The rest of the society, made up of supposedly, gainfully employed persons, sit and watch you keenly, reviewing your biological clock on your behalf. After a while, they begin to vocalise the pressure, pushing you towards a future and lifestyle they have no personal stakes in, the consequences of which will, will not affect them.
Yes, our realities are different, so are our expectations. We hope that marriage will save us from loneliness, offer us financial security, settle us, make us happy and grant us acceptability, sexual fulfilment and enable us to procreate as much as we desire. These are good and laudable expectations, but dare I point out to you, that you will not find most of these things in marriage if you are not whole in yourself and hopefully, your God? Many singles believe once they get hitched, all their problems will evaporate; their spouses are magicians with the Midas touch, able and ready to fix everything, yeah right! I hate to break it to you, but from time to time your spouse will be unable or even unwilling to meet these your needs. What will you do then?
And the thing about marriage, is, it tends to amplify what you are or have.
If you are a usually reasonable, decent, centred person, your character will find expression in your marriage. If you are insecure, jealous and hateful, it will reflect in your marriage. It’s pretty much garbage in, garbage out.
So, why on earth, are we not teaching people how to be secure, mature, growing (not perfect) individuals before we harass them to marry? Many of them are not ready, some will be 40 and still not be ready, they are only ready to have sex and birth children due to Biology. And Biology, alone, will not guarantee success in marriage. I’m sorry, marriage should be a joyful union of two people who are paying attention and growing daily, not a convenient arrangement between disinterested flatmates marking time and paying their annual rent.
The day-in-day-out proximity tends to get on the nerves with time. Undoubtedly, you’re bound to rub the other person rightly or wrongly and viola, issues we should have sorted at the foundation stage spring up.
I’m not asking you to be perfect, I’m asking you to know who you are and what your values are. No matter how ridiculous they are, as long as they are decent, someone somewhere will match them, even if they are not! Many a marriage has been killed on the altar of value conflicts. If you know who you are, are secure in yourself, you will find it easy to identify whom you can walk with and whom you, simply, cannot handle.
The following are NOT reasons to marry.
• Age, yes age. If you rush in, your time will be wasted even more than if you had waited.
• You’re pregnant. This is not a reason to marry. Too much pressure to put on a child and certainly not a solid foundation to build several decades on.
• You’re broke. Who says you can’t work and stand on your own feet, who says he or she can’t lose their wealth?
• Your family, church or mosque says so…will they live with you and deal with the daily issues you’re bound to face?
• Loneliness. There’s no guarantee. Sometimes, married people are the loneliest, especially when they get it wrong.
The following are reasons to marry.
• You are self-aware to an extent; you know your strengths, weaknesses, your peeves, the things that make you tick and more.
• You share the same values with the other person i.e Spiritual disposition, lifestyle idiosyncrasies etc. And this is not an opposites attract matter, you need to share certain fundamental inclinations.
• You share the same values with the other person( No, its not a mistake, I can’t emphasize it enough)
• You know you can live without them, but you don’t want to, because, really, there’s no one you can’t live without.
My submission is this. Wait until you find the right person, one with the same ideologies as you...ignore others and make YOUR decision for the RIGHT reasons. There are many single people living better, more purposeful lives while waiting. If you're not living on purpose, there's nothing to look for in marriage. I know you may not want to hear this but you're not here on earth just to marry, you are here to fulfil purpose, first and foremost. Marriage is not by force, and certainly not the solution to your problems!