Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Marriage or Wedding?

As I read my friend, Adura’s blog, I couldn’t help but smile. She wrote on an issue that has being on my mind for a while. I had debated within myself if I should write anything in this regard but reading Adura’s blog kind of assisted me to make up my mind. I smiled when I read her question on the obsession with being married. My first impression was that probably she has forgotten what it is to be an African or a Nigerian.

Historically, a woman is not respected in Nigeria except she is married. In the sixties, a girl is considered an old maid if she was not married by her early twenties. Though, there is a little bit of change when it comes to marriageable age probably due to education however, a girl is expected to get married after her first degree or at least be engaged. Anything short of this, would attract family meetings and people openly asking you when you would tie the knot. A wedding ceremony especially of siblings or friends would attract greetings in forms of prayer like ti e na a de o (yours will soon come) a be e se ti e na o laipe lai jina (we would join you in celebrating yours too, very soon) of course, you are expected to genuflect say an amen and also thank whoever for putting you under pressure. The pressure is everywhere you turn to not only at weddings; but also at naming ceremonies, birthdays, Christmas and New Year celebrations etc. Soon, the issue becomes a prayer point with everybody close saying a word of prayer concerning your singleness.  After a while you can’t help but be obsessed about it because everyone is anyway. It takes the grace of God and strong heart to survive this.

A woman is almost treated like someone who has an incurable disease from her family and the society at large. It is difficult even in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos, for a single woman to rent an accommodation though she has her money. In most instances, she has to front a man as her husband if she needs accommodation. In religious settings, special programmes are organised for singles in order to get hooked.  On and on it goes each day, the single woman sees herself more like a victim than a victor. If all these are not enough to make anyone obsessed then what will?

Despite all, I think this is not just a Nigerian phenomenon but I believe that generally, at one point or the other, the biological clock starts ticking and the eagerness to obey the clock kicks in. Nevertheless, as I always ask my younger friends Is it marriage or the wedding? For the wedding is very easy, after all, it is just the celebration where we take aso ebi, call the local musicians, the alaga ijoko and the alaga iduro all the works for both the traditional and the church wedding but that’s where it ends. After all the celebrations, the journey starts. Most people don’t even understand what it takes to be married neither are they emotionally and spiritually prepared to marry. I have heard young girls giving deadlines as to when they want to get married without knowing or identifying what they want in a marriage. I asked a young friend of mine once, marriage or wedding? She could not give me an answer but only said, “I just want to marry before I am 30 years” As if that would bring an end to all her problems. I felt rather sad for her because I can see her towing the same path many took which led to failure. The truth is there is nothing wrong in being single. I read a book by Dr. Myles Munroe - Single. Married. Separated and Life After Divorce which further reiterated this. According to him, enjoy being single before getting married. Being single is not an illness that needs marriage to cure. Marriage on its own has its challenges and there is a need to be ready for these challenges to actually make a success out of it. Marriage is not going to complete you but you have to be complete before you enter a marriage. If not you are on the way to a broken home and heart. Moreover, I have seen a lot of married women who are not happy. Some try to hide it but for some they don’t even bother again because the burden of the choice they made is heavy, too heavy for them to carry. Don’t be fooled my sister. Marriage is not the ultimate problem solver.  


  1. Word! You speak the truth, ore. Be complete before you enter a marriage for marriage will not complete you. I have not forgotten what it means to be Nigerian and African o. Can I even be allowed to forget? Even here in the UK, those expectations and traditions follow you. It becomes the shell you live in like a snail, so it cannot be removed or gotten rid of without the person dying or being damaged in some way. That's why I wrote that post in spite of kilo ti e de na? Why is our culture like this? Here in the UK, you get treated like a leper within the naija community if you're single. If you're a single's even worse! God help us...we as a people need to get over this marriage by force thing.

  2. This issue calls for an open conversation indeed. Yemi, this is interesting. I wonder why girls would have to trade their happiness and peaceful living for marriage. Life is for living and not for endurance. Marriage is a choice and it is very painful when l see women enduring abuses of whatever nature in an 'ugly faced' marriage all in the name of satisfying our societal marrital norm. I link this habit to one big reason why our women are hypertensive - if it is not an abusive husband, then it is some hard to please inlaws. Lord help us!! - RonkieBabie