Whilst it is rather easier for men to decide, the big question is when exactly should ladies get married and the yardsticks in which they should consider seems very tricky. In my own experience primarily in the Nigerian society, it is the men who do the marriage proposals. This generally undermines the readiness of the lady generally, as to whether she’s ready both physically and emotionally and if marriage even figures in her plans at that point in her life. The society’s paradigm of the perfect wedding and marriage in the life of a lady has definitely undermined the really complicated process that leads up to marriage in the life of ladies and sadly focuses more on the ” wedding” than on the actual “marriage” itself. The real question for me is should marriage (right time or not) be a major factor in describing the society’s paradigm of an ideal woman?
Of the many problems the unmarried lady face, the race against age has been the most critical one in Nigeria. Most parents consider the ages 21-29 if not 30 to be the proper age bracket for ladies to seal the marriage knot and of course start bearing children. The pressure from family and friends friends has led many ladies into sad life mistakes in marriage. Some single ladies from the ages of 29 upwards who are unmarried out of sheer “ill-luck” or simply feel they aren’t ready turn to their career for solace then the pressure from family and friends becomes worse. First from her mum who is tired of buying other people’s “asoebi” (glamorous uniformed fabrics used during weddings and celebrations to show support and acceptance of invitation to such event) and is desperate to sell her own daughter’s “asoebi”. That mom who wants to brag to her friends that her daughter is married to one of the richest men in town as well as how beautiful her grandchildren are. The only thing the unmarried lady hears from her mom is the comparison between her and her friend’s daughter. The unmarried lady is under more pressure when she has a younger sister of 25 who is already married with two kids while she’s still in her mother’s house with no boyfriend, then she’s being referred to as the old maid by the family members who feels she won’t ever get married or referred to as her father’s other wife “Nna ga nu” (the one the father will eventually marry) a demeaning stereotypical insult.
They also suffer pressure when they have that one friend who is engaged and preparing for her wedding. That one friend who is ready to rub the fact that she’s getting married and the other is single on her face. Sadly ladies do this alot, always wanting to point out the married ones and isolate the married ones from the unmarried ones. All this and more is what the unmarried lady experience and leads most of them into desperation. Most single ladies becomes desperate and is ready to do anything to get a man. Using a rich unmarried lady as an example, when the pressure becomes too much she begins to go for parties, clubbing, and many other outings just to see if she can catch the attention of the “Mr Right” and she also has this friend who is always there to give her information of where the party is happening and introduce her to different blind dates. Sometimes the lady is not happy about this but has to endure all that so she stops being the laughing stock in town. We’ve heard of ladies literally asking men to marry them and also sponsoring the wedding setting up such men to their standard financially and actually end up running such marriage. This is infact unnatural in the Nigerian society and more often than not, such marriage do not end well.
The middle or low class unmarried lady cannot buy herself a husband so her case might be even more saddening. She becomes so desperate and may sometimes get convinced by other family members r close friends that it is a spiritual issue and so she’s being taken to different prayer houses. She’s sometimes advised by that friend who gives bad advise to stop dressing decent then she switches from the classy looking lady, to adopting indecent dressing. Logically, this will attract men who are often more interested in her body and your guess is as good as mine, she’ll get dumped after being used to satisfy the list of such men. The Nigerian society has sometimes made it extremely tricky for the single lady to get married easily at the right time and for the right reasons.
My advice to the unmarried ladies is not to get pressured by family and friends who may attend weddings, but have nothing to do with the marriage. The journey is lifelong and the partnership must be sound to say the least. Focus should be more on the long time factors guiding happiness, the man involved and of course major direction from God. Do not settle for less, the right man will definitely come at the right time, you just have to be able to recognize him when he comes. And even if life throws unlucky have at you, you owe it to yourself to create your own story. Stay happy with what you’ve got, for life is temporary nothing in it can be truly permanent.