Sometime last week, a couple that I’m close to, clocked ten years in marriage and I was really happy for them. I mean, that’s a landmark. How many marriages last that long nowadays, and they are still so besotted with each other. I have picked them as role models.
When I mentioned this fact to the wife, she was flattered but warned me not to get carried away just by what I see, as they do have their moments. Of course, I expected that but mehn, its ten years of marriage we are talking about! Surely, they must be doing something right.
I wanted to know whatever it was they were doing right, so I could replicate it, even though my husband and I are just one year behind. It was important for me to learn what was working for her, so I implored her to share with me. Apart from it being useful to me, it would be good fodder for writing.
She started to, then changed her mind and instead shared with me about the time before she got married.
For the purpose of this article, I will call her Alice. This year, Alice turns 49 and had gotten married just a year shy of turning 40.
From the moment she graduated from University, at the age of 25, she had wanted to get married, but it was from one failed relationship to another, meeting men who were so not it, that she never bothered taking any home.
When she turned 29, her mom started asking her when she was going to get married, who her boyfriend was, when was she going to introduce him to the family, as though she would be hiding her relationship at her age. By the time she was 30, her mother was breathing and sleeping Alice’s husband-to-be.
If they saw in the morning, she talked about it. In the afternoon, that was the song on her lips. She suspected every man she saw around Alice of being the one. In the evening, Mama Alice was still going on about this man business. There were even some times that she went into Alice’s bedroom in the middle of the night to have what she called, “Mother-daughter heart-to-heart chats.” During this time, she implored Alice to tell her if there were any issues, she as her mother should know about, which could be delaying her marriage.
Mama Alice seems a bit overwhelming right? Well, she is her mother’s only child and mama can’t wait to start on the grandma duties.
Long story short, by the time Alice was in her early 30s, she had grown into a fairly independent woman. Her career was on track, and she was earning well and rising rapidly in her work place. When she decided to turn her passion into a business, everything worked for her good, and very soon, she was so busy she didn’t even have time for herself, forget about cultivating a relationship. She wasn’t even looking for one.
But then, the moments came when she felt that yearning, that ache for companionship, like the times some of her employees would ask for permission to leave work early because of a family commitment, or witness the lovey-dovey of the mating dance between the young. It got to her at the end of the day, and then, she wondered if getting married wasn’t in God’s plan for her. And she would go, “If not, why do I feel this ache?”
The next morning, Alice, as the boss lady, would be issuing directives, seeing to the daily activities of her business with so much passion and doggedness, that would leave everyone wondering if she ever wanted what most women wanted; a man and children.
“You see, Kristine, I really wanted those things like yesterday, but short of throwing myself at a man, or allowing one of those men whose aim was obviously to fleece me into my life, there was no way I was going to have them. So, I withdrew into myself and poured all of myself into my business. Of course, there were results, but my personal life was non-existent.
My mom was on my neck like never before. I started to avoid my own mother. I swear, that killed me, more than it did her, but it hurt really bad for her to talk to me about husband at my age then. At that time, I thought I would have finished having children, and would only be looking at training them, but yet I had not even started.”
I wanted a man but I wasn’t willing to settle, so I stayed single.
I liked the fact that I had grown so much that I didn’t feel like I need a man in order to be happy, and it is one of the biggest personal achievements of my life.
However, that didn’t mean I didn’t want an emotionally mature, amazing guy as an equal partner by my side. It bothered me when people assumed I hated men and had no desire to have a boyfriend, just because I’m such a strong personality and don’t accept less than what I deserve.”
Her days of wondering if marriage was on the cards came to an end, the year she turned 38, an old old friend of hers came back into the country. He expressed an interest in her and they started dating. In less than six months, she, who was resigning herself to a mate-less fate, was organising an introduction. Three months later, they had an elaborate wedding.
A year later, they welcomed their first child, and two years later, they welcomed another, and yet another, all without any medical intervention, and for that, she is mostly grateful.
Even more so, for the kind of husband she married, hear her gush about him; “I think, while I was waiting, God was busy panel-beating him into shape, into my specifications; he’s taller than I am, and I’m 6ft tall, he’s fair and slim built, and is so mature, it’s scary. I can even pull tantrums (remember I’m an only child) and know that my man has got my back.
As for my mom, she’s got plenty grandchildren now to play with, and she’s spoiling them silly! I stay out of it, before she reminds me of how I made sure she was old and had less energy, before I decided to grace her arms with babies. I can never win that battle, so I stay out of it.”
Right now, Alice’s business can pretty much sort itself out, and she’s with the love of her life, married to him and celebrating ten years of marriage. If you were to paint this picture of her life for her at in her mid-30s, she would have said, “Don’t bother.”
However, that’s exactly her reality. Time changes so many things.
For a woman to have a strong personality, to be tough or even act tough is no sign that she doesn’t want a relationship or a man in her life. Most times, it is a way to ensure, not all riff raff come her way, but a man supremely confident in himself.
Get close to that super confident lady, if you are that man, but if you are not, there are many fish in the sea.