Where did I get it wrong, what is wrong with me? I’m a strong, independent young woman. I have achieved everything I aimed for in life. I’m happy with myself because my hard work has paid off. But why does everyone think I haven’t reached where I’m supposed to be in life?
Oh, okay. I think I know now. I’M NOT MARRIED! No wonder, whenever Aunty Onome comes visiting she always regards me with disdain. When Uncle Tega sees me on the Island he always looks at me with such pity, that I can’t place, why?And finally, Mama will come and tell me, “Mama Kachi’s last child is getting married oo, and this is the aso- ebi,” just to slight me. But what she does not know is that it doesn’t trouble me the slightest. My name is Nana, and this is my tale as a single woman pushing 30 in the Nigerian society.
My being single is not as a result of not being toasted or proposed to. It is a decision I took very early in my life to avoid it getting more complicated. I come from a part of this country where if a lady is not married between the ages of 25 to 27 then she has a problem. Well I’m 28 and I’m not married, and I don’t intend to be anytime soon. I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide not to get married. I have my reasons.
Growing up in my neighborhood, I saw what women go through in the name of keeping their marriages, and I know deep down inside me that I can’t endure half of what those women went through for any man. So why bother getting married when I know that if he misbehaves just a bit, I won’t think twice before leaving him? At least I’m helping the nation to reduce the number of divorce cases by not getting married in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong. Marriage can be a beautiful thing if with the right person and is entered into with true love. But the problem nowadays-and even in the times past- is that how many marriages built on sincere and unconditional love actually exist? In the olden days, most marriages were arranged, the question of love did not even arise at all. You just get married because your parents told you to do so, and if you are not happy in the marriage you have no choice of divorce like we do today. But these days the ladies themselves walk into the marriage for reasons other than love. These days love is attached to something. If it’s not money, it is the physical benefits or fame. I’m not saying money and ‘fineness’ are not important. But they should not be a basis because riches and beauty fade away but true love stands the test of time.
Now, back to my story, the main reason I don’t want to get married is my parents. They didn’t have the best of marriages, and growing up in that marriage was troublesome for me. , My mum was a fighter and my father did not care at all. He kept quiet most of the time. He was the cause of all our problems, but he just had a nonchalant attitude about the whole thing, and my mum, with her tendency to nag, wouldn’t let him hear the last of it. The good thing about the whole problem was that my siblings and I were of age by the time all hell broke loose, so we were able to handle it much better and didn’t allow it to affect us sociological or academically. But I think it affected us psychologically, because their problem changed my view towards marriage and my opinions about it. Because honestly, my parent had a near-perfect marriage. I still don’t understand how things went so wrong.
I feel marriage should be thought over properly, and not everyone will ever be ready for marriage. Marriage is a lifelong journey and a lot of things have to be put into consideration before taking that step, for instance, your future kids. Do you want to put them through the trauma of a broken home if things don’t go well between you and your spouse, or expose them to violent scenarios? Research has shown that most violent men or women beaters came from a similar background. Such men must have gone through traumatic experiences while growing up.
Also, why must I marry at a certain age? I should have the right to take my time and pick the kind of man I want especially in a time where we have few responsible men. Many men these days want a woman they can depend on, and the most annoying part is that they are young men. If young men are looking for older women to marry, who will take care of their needs, who is left to marry? Plus, the level of cheating is at an all-time high. You see married men having younger girls as girlfriends, sleeping with them and spending all their money on them, while they leave the legal wife to be soaking garri in the house with a bunch of kids. At the same time, they are exposing her to STDs because they have unprotected sex with these young girls who have numerous “sugar daddies”. We all know men are the carriers of cervical cancer, and I’m not ready to die because of one man’s stupidity! What then happens to the children you leave behind? The man goes ahead to marry another woman, probably one of his girlfriends, and your children are left to suffer.
What really annoys me about this cheating thing is that the society makes it feel like it’s a norm especially for men to cheat. When a woman cheats, they would call her all sorts of names “ashawo ,witch,omo-ale” for just sleeping with one man. When a man cheats it’s a normal thing, even if it’s with 50 billion women(metaphorically). In fact, from the part of the country where I come from, if a man is faithful to his wife there is something amiss. His friends will assume that he has been charmed.
Marriage is meant to be based on true love that will stand the test of time. I’m of the opinion that men should love more in a marriage because when a woman loves she loves with all her heart, she is fragile and easily broken. I’m not saying men don’t deserve to be loved too, but I doubt any man who will allow his heart be broken more than once, they quickly adjust and pick their selves back up again unlike a woman.
Most people think I am proud that is why I’m not married, but really I know there is no perfect man. I’m very much aware of that but since I know no man is perfect I’ll like to take my time and choose a man whose imperfections I can manage for the rest of my life. Marriage is a huge commitment and I should be allowed to take my time and not be pressurized into picking my sacrifice because of time constraints. This also goes for the men, pick your sacrifices wisely!
Also, this idea of measuring a woman’s success by her marital status and having kids is very unfair. It is one thing to get married. Not having children is another kettle of fish. I see no reason why a woman who is successful and independent should not be applauded or praised without the phrase “she should go and marry sef, abi what is she waiting for” or the Yoruba version of “Aww and she’s not married oo”. It can be really annoying. Why must a woman’s happiness be based on being married!
Love is patient, love is kind, love is beautiful. The more reason why in every marriage this should be the first criterion before any other thing. Because love means different things to different people it has different interpretations. So I have to take my time to find which category of love interpretation I fall into and find someone who fits it. That exactly, is my point.
Adedayo is a 400level student of the faculty of law,she loves music, reading novels,meditating and enjoys solitude,she writes to keep herself sane and express herself when no one listens,she can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org