We are right smack in the middle of the ‘’ember’’ months as we like to call them and the year-long wedding season shows no sign of winding down. The nuptial machinery continues churning out an endless vortex of “unwitting” couples week after week, 52 weeks a year. I had a lot to say about this…
The flow just never ebbs, from the scenic Proposals to the Pre-wedding shoots, to the Bachelorette parties to the Rehearsal Dinners to the choice reception venues or Destination weddings to the Hashtags to the After Parties, it’s all a major production. I have a good feeling its now called the BIG DAY because of the massive display (and of course huge budget) involved and not necessarily because of its significance.
Marriage is a delicate, sacred mission, the importance of which has been overshadowed by the need to make a carnival of the wedding day. Please stay with me, I am getting to my point.
A banter ensued between a couple many years back, the wife complained that her husband doesn’t do any of the romantic things he used to, like cook for her, and he retorted that he was just ‘’marketing’’ back in those days. Obviously, the gentleman does not understand the concept behind the advanced and more effective marketing paradigms in which brands seek to cultivate a relationship with the customer due to his calculated Customer Lifetime value. Which brings me to my point…
Having been married for almost 5 years, I think I’m qualified to share a relatively informed perspective with my generation. This unique viewpoint is of one who has had the institution play out before her eyes while the memory of pre-marriage simulations still lingers somewhere in her subconscious. Simply put, I’m not so jaded as to have forgotten the wonders of falling in love while I have a working knowledge of how things go in marriage. On top of that, I’m hoping any young person who reads this, sees it as a suggestion from one of us and not another rhetoric from an elder. That should count for something.
Do not get me wrong, I love love. I love the concept and all the fun trimmings that come with it but what I have a problem with is the level of detail, thought and attention given to the whole concept of love especially before marriage and towards the wedding and the fact that it ends there. We, carefully, create and re-create romantic sets in getting to know and wow the object of our love. Then, we go to a lot of trouble to propose and plan a spectacular wedding after which, like a light switch, everything goes off after the almighty Big Day.
The set is broken, lights dimmed, flowers withered, greeting cards faded. We forget that the allure of the ‘’lights’’, ‘’camera’’, ‘’action” were the promises that drew us to the stage in the first place. The promise of endless passion, eternal and unconditional acceptance, timeless friendship, ceaseless laughter, the deals we signed up for, remain undelivered. What’s more, the audience we had at the wedding is gone. There’s nothing to see.
Disillusion and unfilled expectations occasioned by life’s monotony begin to set in. The drone of marriage, which is the consequence of the short-lived jamboree, is the ‘reward’. Long after the last wedding meal is digested, and the last of the preserved cake has been eaten and the last lingering guest has returned to his or her base, long after the Aso Ebi ankara has been converted to a “duvet ‘(African Style, lol) or the expensive lace is no longer on trend, you are left with expectations, confusion and “how did I get here’s?” We are too caught up in the euphoria of the party and forget that someone needs to stay and clean up.
If only couples invested as much thought into their married lives as they put into the dating, pre-wedding and weddings phases, if the time, emotion and money investments in ostentatious proposals and elaborated nuptials were replicated, the rate of divorce today would be stifled. If we relived those elaborate proceedings in form of planned destination getaways, those elaborate menus to several intimate dinners in the next couple of years or even converted those fine cut diamond rings to real estate investments (wink) for the future, maybe we would have fewer extra marital affairs or less volatile discussions over finances.
There will always be a better, more elaborate wedding than yours and people are bound to forget what you spent when new hashtags begin to trend; that area is saturated. So you see, the winning ‘blue ocean strategy” is not before the wedding, its after and its not for all to see but for you both. Pay attention to the details between you two, create elaborate events for yourselves, have fun with it, marriage doesn’t have to be a drag. Situate the drama there… renew your vows, elope from time to time, throw surprise parties for each other, create couple game nights, create your unique family fun. Those memories are the most important and your resources are channelled at the right audience -You. That’s where your money is.
Now, I’m not saying all those activities are not good, they are good but they are not great and certainly not the most critical. The exhilaration will only last you, at most, a few months, marriage is going to last you decades…
Let’s leave the charade behind and embrace foresight. Enough said.
By Ayodotun Rotimi-Akinfenwa