‘Off The Mic, Honourable Adviser’

But let me get this straight, what do fathers, mothers, aunties and neighbours think when they tell single ladies or guys about why they need to get married and the fact that they are not getting any younger. What exactly do they think marriage is? Are they paying attention to any lessons from their own life, trends and realities or is it a case of all of us must enter this together?

Now do not get me wrong, concerns and advise by parents, family and friends about a single lady or man’s marital status is valid but adding more pressure to the subject of this advice is the issue here. Have you seen any lady or guy who does not want to marry, have children, and live happily ever after? But hey life and things happen, and we must understand that when they happen, we cannot force it.

A lady or young man has no means of livelihood, the first thing you tell him or her is when are you getting married? And when he or she wants to tell you about getting a job then you start the story of how you married living in a room and parlour without any job and today you are made. You have forgotten that back then room and parlour was built (mostly) and rented out, today it is ‘self-contain’, 2 or 3 bedrooms flat and it comes at a great cost to rent depending on which part of the country you are in. Was there ice cream and shawarma in your days?

Yes your wife or husband was understanding and was managing what you have, but you did not mention the days you fought because there was no food in the house or when you could not play your role and you were ridiculed by friends and family. You have refused to mention how you regretted marrying without having the resources to keep a home. You have refused to acknowledge the role of having your own money especially when you have arguments with your partner and he or she decides not to give you food or money because of the disputes you both had.

Yes! no marriage is perfect, but some basic truths are better said. When we advise the single to get married let us tell them what to expect in marriage, Let us tell them that there is no single formula for making marriage a success but that there are basic must haves one of which is defining what you want from life, why you want to marry, what marriage means to you, the role of family and friends in marriage, the place of money, your maturity, tolerance, ability to forgive in a large way and capacity to stay resilient in the face of marital challenges amongst others.

We cannot continue to tell people to “go and marry” when we have not told them what to expect and how to navigate it. We should stop those narratives that makes it look like marriage is the only thing we have come to this world for and that those not married or divorced are not successful. Many have been divorced by their spouses in their mind and hearts they have only refused to formalise it due to stereotypes. What is the essence of a marriage where the wife and husband can’t co-habit, one where no one can move freely in the house, where the children are closer to their mum more than their dad, where they can’t even joke with their father. What is the essence of a marriage where the woman is wicked and not accommodating? Who wants a home where only the wife’s family can visit others cannot do the same or who is interested in a marriage where the man and woman beat each other? Certainly, no one and no human plan for this at the start of their marriage but life happens.

Our perfect idea of marriage is a place of love, happiness, and prosperity. We all want the perfect life of no drama, no hassles and joy all the way. Isn’t this what God also wants for us? Oh yes it as He is the creator of marriage, but His original purpose for human was thwarted by our first parents (Adam and Eve). Let me not even go into sermonizing as it seems I am missing “church”. People of God my point is stop pressuring the single, mind your own business and if you will advise, tell them what it means to be married and stay married. Of course, it is not all doom certainly it is not all gloom. Balancing the narrative is only fair. Crediting their bank account with at least 500, 000 Naira after asking the single to get married is fairer, otherwise ‘off the mic’, honourable adviser ‘off the mic’.

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