I was looking through a wedding magazine the other day (it wasn’t mine, I promise) and one of the columns in there caught my attention. It was written by a single lady in her thirties, and she mentioned the fact that even though most people would’ve started losing hope of ever getting married at her age, she still ‘had a dream’. I loved the article, but something she wrote struck a chord with me. It was something along the lines of ‘In Nigeria (and most African cultures), no matter how successful you are as a woman, you’re still considered a failure if you don’t have a husband.’ As I read this, I realised with sadness that this is actually true. I have a few aunties that have done very well for themselves career-wise but for some reason whenever people talk about them, the fact that they are still unmarried always crops up. Having lived in a part of the world where marriage is not seen as a big deal and some women even put their career ambitions before any thoughts of getting married, it came as a shock to my system to find out when I arrived in Nigeria that even though I’m still a few years to my thirtieth birthday, some people already consider me as ‘old’! It’s crazy.
This insane way of thinking has led many girls to rush into marriage for fear that they might never get another proposal. What really gets to me is that I think some men have taken advantage of this and don’t seem to be in a hurry to get married anymore. It’s like they know there’ll always be an abundance of pretty girls for them to choose from, so they can afford to wait. Let me tell you a story. I went with my mum to visit one of her friends, and whilst we were there, a friend of the lady’s husband arrived. I met him outside as I popped out to get something from the car and I noticed as I greeted him that he seemed a bit too friendly towards me. I thought nothing of it at the time. The man of the house later introduced him to my mum and after he left, my mum mentioned to me that he gave her his business card and said he was interested in coming to ask for my hand in marriage! Bear in mind that this guy is friends with someone that is in his fifties. So, I put him at not less than forty-five. Now, if old men* are your thing, good for you, but I must say I was a tad disgusted. After a bit of prying, my mum discovered that this man was very selective in his choice of women and this was the reason he was still single. Anyway, I told the people we were visiting to tell him not to bother.
I guess it’s not just an African thing though; we women are ‘blessed’ with a biological clock so ideally, ‘the sooner, the better’. But what’s a girl to do if there’s no one around? Grab the first guy that says ‘marry me’? I think not. One of my friends actually said she’s having kids, man or no man. Her solution? Sperm donation. I think she was joking but I guess I can understand women that decide to do it themselves. The only problem with this is that where I come from, you’ll probably be considered a harlot for having kids outside wedlock. Anyway, I’m learning to be content, husband or no husband, but to be honest, it was a lot easier when I wasn’t in Nigeria.
*I know forty-five isn’t that old obviously, compared to someone that is say, eighty. But the guy is more than fifteen years my senior so in my books, he’s old.
Check out the poem below. Even though I cracked myself up whilst writing it, I think the last two stanzas are worth noting. I’ve titled it ‘The prayer of a weary single sister’. Enjoy!
Another day gone, he still hasn't appeared
It's happening you know, the very thing that I feared
That one day I'd find myself clocking thirty
But for marriage, still be very thirsty
Another invitation, one more friend now wedded
To be perfectly honest, it was worse than I even dreaded
I waited and waited, till the very last hour
But not one grooms-man was keen to pluck this flower
One more church service faithfully attended
I smiled, and a gorgeous looking brother responded
Got all excited as he began to walk over
But then I looked, and saw the ring on his finger
How long Lord, does a sister have to wait?
Sometimes it's so strong, I feel like I could faint
I know the single life ain't all doom and gloom
But you know me, Lord, I'm no Corrie Ten-Boom!
I created you for a purpose, and not just for marriage
To love me, to serve me and pay me due homage
Many think that marriage will bring happiness
But most end up just getting themselves in a mess
You ask for a husband, but you're not ready to be a wife
You've had to wait a little, but I'm saving you a lot of strife
When the time is right, it won't cost you nearly a dime
And you'll be glad you waited, for I make all things beautiful in their time