I don’t like writing about relationships, I think it’s a minefield so I steer clear of relationship or marriage talk. Rules were made to be broken innit? A post on lifetitudes blog about being the miracle in your relationship inspired this post.
I’ve been blessed to have parents who believe that a woman should have a good source of income before venturing into marriage and since I am still serving, I can’t say I have truly experienced parental pressure to “settle down”. But as any Nigerian single woman above twenty-five or young man above thirty (in some cases, earlier) can tell you- the pressure is real.
From family, friends and foes, the pressure mounts. The M-word would be the new mantra spoken around you and all your accomplishments will be considered second rate if you’re not married and bringing forth the next generation. Even though I haven’t experienced parental pressure, I’ve experienced pressure from other quarters and I certainly have sympathy for those for whom the pressure is a little closer to home. This year, I’ve travelled for a few weddings and I’ve been getting questions like “you’ve been travelling up and down for weddings, when are we coming for your own?” I’ve learned to say “very soon” because telling them the truth- I have no boyfriend and I am not interested in one for now. Will get me an at least one hour lecture and intense prayer sessions. I actually prefer that reaction to the second- the doubting Thomas reaction where I’d have to convince the person of my boyfriendless state.
I don’t think that being single is bad though, it’s a time for knowing and growing.
We push people into settling down too early and chaos is usually the result. If everyone who went to a relationship was truly ready for one, was mature enough for one, we wouldn’t have so many stories of crashed relationships floating around. It’s not just about love… it’s about much more
Emotional health is usually overlooked when we consider getting into romantic involvements but I think it is more important than we realise. If you still kiss and tell, a romantic relationship is not for you, If you feel worthless, unworthy and imcomplete, please fix yourself by yourself and get professional help if necessary. If you fly off the handle at the slightest provocation or even use your fists when you’re upset.Then no matter how many times your mother remixes the “I want grandchildren song”, it is not yet time to do anything about it. Work your issues out first!
Is your spiritual life in top shape? I’m not saying you have to become a pastor/iman/sango priest before you’re ready for a relationship but if you’re not controlled by a higher power, if you have no respect for God, how can your partner hold you accountable for your errors. In that vein, if you have no respect for your parents and those in authority over you then that should be a red flag to you. You are not ready for the rigours of romantic love… no matter how many butterflies you’re feeling in your stomach.
The Bible says “do not be unequally yoked in marriage”. Though the thrust of that statement is religious differences, I think intellectual differences are too important not to be taken into consideration. Note how I didn’t say educational differences, two people who read the same course and had the same grade may have widely differing intellectual capacities and predilections. Looking for someone who’s on your intellectual plain is always a good idea, note again how I said intellectual plain and not intelligence level. The world we live in is an incredibly smart one and you have to constantly update your knowledge to keep up. A phone made in 2008 would be virtually useless today, it probably won’t be able to support even WhatsApp! How much more Skype, Candy Crush and other applications that seem indispensable today. My point here is update yourself, be the best version of you possible and if you haven’t found someone who can keep up then for the love of God don’t unequally yoke yourself. There’s nothing more frustrating than when when you feel your partner thinks like a fish- if they think at all, or if you think they’re manipulating you just because they’re smarter. Do the right thing… find your mate
My personal opinion is that if you can’t afford to feed, clothe or house yourself, regardless of your gender then you’re not ready for marriage. I personally find it irritating when young people still on allowance talk about wanting to get married. In the case of females, they might find men who don’t mind their broke-arse (excuse my french) state but for a man who’s supposed to be the “head of the home”? That’s bullshit (pardon my Greek). The last time I travelled to Benin-city, the occupants of my bus got into a conversation about the causes of failed marriages (one thing I miss about Uniben is the gregarious nature of the Benin people and people who grew up there, they can talk with you for hours even though you’ve just met) and I pitched in that the irresponsibility of a lot of men (trust me, I’ve seen plenty) was a major factor and the conversation shifted to the economy and joblessness. I told them that if my man can’t find a job then he should sell satchet water instead of sitting at home. The look of shock in some faces were comical, and even though I tried to explain my point, one man tagged me a man-hater. I don’t believe that the male partner has to be the richer one but he should be able to contribute something for his ego’s sake, with the male ego being what it is, being a “kept man” will only fester resentment and bitterness with misery as the result.
Society forgets that marriage is not for everyone, yes I said it! Not everyone can thrive in the claustrophobic confines of marriage and forcing such people to marry in order to fit in would only leave them, their spouses and the kids (when they come) miserable. Apostle Paul who wrote two-thirds of the New testament and wrote more books than anyone in the bible; was never married. Could he have achieved all that in marriage? Your guess is as good as mine. Apart from his achievements, reading the epistles I get a feeling that Paul’s high standards would have made any woman feel inadequate and dull. This guy probably didn’t think Peter (of all people!) was up to snuff, how much more a mere woman who he condemned to keeping quiet- 1 Cor 14:34-35, 1Tim 2:11. If he’d married me, we wouldn’t have lasted a year together. Anyone who can’t keep his/her wandering sex organs in check, shouldn’t get married either- does that sound harsh? The number of people who get infected with HIV and other terrible STIs by their unfaithful partners buttresses my point.
If you haven’t found “the one”, don’t settle. I’m not saying you have to wait until you met Mr/Ms Everything, we all know they don’t exist. Besides if they do, they probably won’t think you’re all that. But you know yourself, your values, skill set, temperament and the other things that make you, you! If someone seems ok but he/she doesn’t align with your core values, is there any point in going on? If I as an Anglican female who wears trousers decides to marry a member of the Lord’s Chosen church, then we’ll have friction unless I choose to give up my trousers, or if I start dating an adherent of the grail message. Early last year I was in a relationship with a great guy but I was miserable. I’d known him for years, crushed on him at some point, he had a good job, he was caring, very smart (smart men are my weakness). Amigos, yours truly endured some things in that farce that I almost thought I’d been taken over by body snatching aliens, the passive-aggressive comments on my actions, the snide remarks about my weight even though he knew all about PCOS (I really should write that post) made me realise that this wasn’t a real thing. His final act of cruelty finally gave me the courage to call it the crappy farce that it was and walk away. I’d rather be happily single than in a misery inducing relationship.
There are so people trapped in unhappy relationships/marriages and full of regret, no one should be guilt tripped or pressured into a lifetime of misery. Marriage is tough enough even when you “marry your friend”. A Saint will still test your patience and there are some days when you won’t feel so loving towards the love of your life. Imagine how terrible it will be if you get married and realise you should have just stayed single. Don’t let your life and that of your spouse be miserable, if you ain’t ready… Don’t Commit!