PLIGHT OF THE UNMARRIED WOMAN
Marriage is defined as a union between a man and woman to the exclusion of all others, there are other definitions but they all rally around the fact that it is a union between parties to become husband and wife.
Every weekend in Nigeria, a wedding ceremony takes place. Cards are sent out at first and aso ebi are sold out to families and friends. It is now a tradition to see roads blocked by canopies every Fridays and Saturdays.
From investigations, the age of which a Nigerian woman is “ripe” for marriage is between the ages of 20-26, if you are older than that then you should be in the church rolling on the ground and crying for a husband to come your way. As a matter of fact when at thirty you are unmarried then you have no identity, a married woman is more respected than you. You go to a salon and you are told to wait after all “madam who have no one to go home to”, let the married woman do her hair first. The first thing everyone looks at in you is your finger for a ring.
The society doesn’t help matters with their castigations “When are you getting married?” “Shey you don’t know you are getting old?” “Your friend Amaka just got married” this has given single ladies sleepless nights. Funny enough this is not the same for male counterparts of the same age, the society see them at this age as hustling and making a future out for their families.
It has come to the stage that our mothers now teach their daughters that marriage is the ultimate goal for a woman. As you graduate they ring it in your ear, find someone to be serious with now ooo.
Another issue that worries the unmarried woman is the scare of menopause, this one that you are still single at this age, you won’t have a child they will say. As women get older they are told the chances of them getting reduces. What people don’t know is that menopause could occur to a woman while she is in her twenties and that a woman past menopause can bear a child.
Our religious institutions do not help matters with their weekend programs tagged “Lord release my husband” fasting and deliverances have now become the norm to deliver our sisters of singleness. The single women in the congregation are made to believe that being unmarried is a spiritual problem from the village.
Families and friends also play a role. You see a married woman cutting ties with her single friends immediately she gets married, for her she has stepped up to greater things.
I know of women who don’t go back home because of their single status, they rather remain in the city than go home to their parents who continue beating the drum on marriage. I also know of women who are willing to jump into marriage with any tom, dick or harry because of the pressures.
We see women being desperate, doing crazy things like visiting native doctors to get a life partner, changing their looks to that of a “Christian sister” and worst of all in my opinion lowering down their standards to catch a husband.
I am very much pained with this. Why should marriage be the yardstick of which a woman should be measured with? Why are our women being pressured into this institution that ought to last for a life time? I don’t understand why after five years in the university and a year of national service I should then be subjected to pressures to get married? Am I not more than that? What happens to our dreams? Is it only the men folks that are allowed to pursue their dreams? They tell you don’t buy a car, don’t build a house, you will scare men away.
In Nigeria today, we just have few women breaking records. Where are our daughters?
Marriage ought to be a lifetime decision, so why jump into it because of what others say or think? Why make a mistake huh? Something one should realize is that you and your husband will be the only ones in your home, no one else.
I feel that the Nigerian woman has to be more confident, it may be hard to do but you ignore them, in time they will get the message. There’s nothing to worry about. She also has to sit down and ask herself, why do I want to get married? Is it because I am lonely? I am not financially buoyant and want my husband to settle the bill? Exactly why then?
Someone once drew my attention to the alarming divorce rate in Nigeria, why rush into something people are running from? Our courts are flooded with cases of divorce on grounds ranging from assault to adultery. This does not mean there are no successful marriages out there, there are. I am a fruit of one, I have seen marriages that are strong that an earthquake won’t destroy them and I have seen marriages crash. Do not lower your standards as a woman and marry a man who you don’t like, how long do you expect that pot of soup you despise to last? As a matter of fact you drain it down the sink because you are tired. What is worth doing is worth doing well.
Marriage is a beautiful thing no doubt but it is a choice that’s why the officiating minister asks during the ceremony if you want to be joined together with your spouse. Being single should not be a plight. Even the Apostle Paul advises that marriage is not compulsory. If as a woman you think you have gotten old and you are still single then build up yourself, there’s so much out there to do. Do a professional course, learn a trade, learn a new language, do charity work, travel and explore various cultures until that special someone comes your way. Live your life to the fullest, you came to this life alone and will depart alone. What matters is living a life of fulfillment and happiness. A popular musician sang surulere meaning patience is a virtue.
Tega (OAU)

Shortlisted for Stage 1 (2016) ">

Author

Aghogho Onobrakpeya
Tega

Student of Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU)

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