If you come from a culture where you are expected to have a husband or wife by a certain age. I empathise with you. During my travels, I always try to catch up with friends’ and acquaintances, especially the girls. I love spending time with the girls—having long discussions about life. Lately, the topic that has been popping up is marriage. The most common word is when. The questions that ensue are:
- When are you getting married?
- When are you having kids?
- When are you getting engaged?
- When are you going to find a man?
Those not in relationships I have seen; have ridiculous expectations thrown upon them. When they do meet someone, they are so ready to quieten the voices of when that they throw caution to the wind at whom they are dating. Others get so desperate to be liked and stay in a relationship that they sacrifice their happiness in order to please the other person in the relationship. Mind you, when someone does get married, none of these people will be there to help you raise your children or fix your problems. When someone gets divorced, they also become a pariah in society. Most often, the woman is blamed for not being able to keep a man. Which is highly unfair, it’s unfortunate when people get judgemental not knowing what really went on. Divorce despite any age is difficult as a couple made an investment ( time, love and mutual support) to be together, things do not always go the way we plan.
I understood the magnitude of the importance of marriage in general when I met an old acquaintance I had not seen in years. When I asked them how they were, they lifted their left hand—waved it Single Ladies style flashed her wedding band at me and said “I am good, I am married !”. I was floored, I had never experienced anything like that and for the first time I understood the predicament that different women or men go through for being single. Their married or engaged peers flash their relationships in their faces and throw their micro-aggression around and consciously or unconsciously belittle their single friend’s. Berate their activities or behaviour as the reason they can’t find a man or woman. As if it is a race where the ultimate prize is the alter, thereafter being elevated to a status of Mr & Mrs. Some even alienate their single friends when they are in relationships or married. The worst is getting it from family where, people decide that since you are single and a neighbour or family friend have a son or daughter in a respectable profession, that’s who you should marry.
Marriage, is not a bad thing or a sentence it’s how it is viewed in a single scope that can be problematic. As Chimamanda Adichie said “…marriage as a source of joy and mutual support.”
I feel the most important thing anyone wanting to get married or be in a relationship, is to understand who they are first and foremost. Like and love yourself because you are brilliant in your own way. No one is perfect. What virtues and qualities are most important to you? When you live a life of where it is a competition to get things. What is your reason for getting it? Does it give you fulfilment? Any relationship should be fulfilling. Do you really want to settle out of fear of what everyone else thinks? Do you hate yourself so much that you would sacrifice your happiness over a status? In some cases, some have no say and are pressurized. Some just do what everyone else is doing, while others see it as a way out of situation. Of course you are in a happy marriage or relationship and would love to spread the joy and love that you have received. It is a natural reaction. Just do not be pushy about it and fix up your friends with someone unless they ask you to.
Whatever your reason is for getting married, please be gentle on your single friends. While you have someone to rely on and depend on in case of strife, some of your friends may not. Some may not even want to ever get married, have children or be in a relationship. Respect their decision. Those that want to be in relationships or relationships that lead to marriage. Figure out what you want first and why it is important to you.
When you stop looking or searching it happens when you least expect it. When you are desperately looking, you find the people you shouldn’t be with. Desperation in one’s eyes is recognizable! True story! Be happy with who you are and work on yourself, you are a masterpiece– your price is high so do not settle because you feel you have to. The best investment is working on yourself and being comfortable in your own skin. Whatever relationship you are in should complement you not complete you, you were already whole.
Think of it this way, if you can’t love yourself how do you expect to teach someone else in your life to love you?