A time comes when women begin to feel the flutters of loneliness, where the desire to have a person they can call their own sets in. Marriage ideas begin to grow, and she starts to screen possible suitors according to her preformed ideology of what marriage entails. Soon enough, she settles on one man who satisfies at least 70% of her desires, if not all of it.
That seems all good and diddly until the day after the wedding. Things change so drastically after she says ‘I do’ that she wonders whether she is on a roller-coaster ride. She wakes up to the reality that marriage may not be the fairy tale she had envisioned it to be.
First of all, she loses her identity. She is no longer called ‘Martha’, ‘Janelle’, ‘Iniobong’ or ‘Safiya’, but ‘Mrs. (insert husband’s name)’. No one cares anymore that she was a person in her own right before she joined herself to her man. Many people conveniently forget her name because she is (huffs) now married. In the typical Nigerian context, she might be called Amariya, Iyawo, Nwunyem or our wife.
Secondly, society expects her to stop dressing beautifully because she now no longer has any reason to. Society thinks she was dressing in an attractive manner to catch a man and having done so, should stop being attractive. No one cares that she probably dressed well because she wants to or loves to. On the other hand, no one expects the man to stop rocking his jeans and polo shirts. No one expects the man to look shabby on purpose. They expect him to always look dapper or the wife gets blamed; one of her many chores it seems. But the woman has to start wearing big(ger) clothes, wrappers and Abayas. If she is found wearing sexy clothes, or even normal clothes (such as jeans and a simple top or tee), she will not be able to live down the side-eye she is sure to get from other women…and men too.
Also, if push comes to shove, the woman is expected to give up her career and job to play house and raise the kids (if there are any). This comes from the notion that husbands and children are the essence of the woman’s life. No one cares that raising kids is a two-parent affair; at least. A woman might have to give up on her life for her kids, because society dictates that kids are the center of her life. Does that, in essence, mean the kids are of no importance to the man or not as important to him as they are to the woman?
When a woman considers marriage, let her realize that religion (if she practices any) places a huge role on women. In Christianity, it is expected that the woman submits to her husband (Ephesians 5:22-24) as the church would submit to God himself. The flip side is that, a man has to love the woman as Christ himself loved the church; willing to put up life to restore the world. Marriage in Islam is viewed as an important and sacred union between a man and woman that fulfills half of one’s religious obligations. Let women also consider that in Africa, the dictates of society on married women is condescending, patriarchal and in some cases, absolutely misogynistic.
The unfairness of marriage is such that until you are willing submit to that man whom you profess to love, you are not expected to be talking about marriage. Submission of this sort, if not properly considered and digested, can lead to bitterness and immeasurable sorrow.
If however, you are of the opinion that marriage is a partnership – as it should be – you would still need to contend with family members who refuse to accept your postulations. Men can get away with being opinionated about the things they want; women, not so much. We are changing the narrative, but it really is at a sloth’s pace.
So really consider if you want to get married. Can you handle the pressure? Can you hold your own? Does your partner know who you are…and supports it? Because if you are marrying for the feelings of it, you may be headed for a place of such utter sorrow.
Think about it…and prepare for that marriage if you choose to walk down that road.