This is one question with no straight answer. If I say yes it is, then I run the risk of courting the wrath of ladies and men who are not married, either by choice or the right partner hasn’t shown up, but whom have gone ahead to make enviable success out of their lives. And on the other hand, if a no answer comes forth, the Dames and Papas, who have been married for longer than I have been born, will not hesitate to let me know about the numerous worthy sacrifices they have made to make their marriage work or, at best, my answer is dismissed with a wave of the hand, “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
But I’m not going to give an answer here. Rather, I bring you feedback from a mini poll I conducted. Even some of our community members contributed.
Lawunmi is a newly engaged lady, preparing for her wedding in the next few months. She says “I’m 29 years old and I can tell you for sure that, since I clocked 25, four years ago, I have lost count of the number of people who have come to me asking when I’m getting married. If it were only my parents, I could deal, but imagine my neighbours, and even younger ones had an opinion about why I wasn’t married yet.
It grew worse, when my then 24 year old sister brought home her husband-to-be, two years ago. I felt like I should just run away to escape their questions and stares. Yet, I was the one financing the house. I literally bankrolled my sister’s wedding, as our parents were pensioners. It did not matter that I had a very good job, that I was well educated, that I was living a good life. The fact that I was not married was what every one fixated on.
Nowadays, I have noticed that I tend to be questioned much more about my relationship and recent engagement,( thanks to beau, who made a big deal about it on social media) or upcoming wedding than my job or related accomplishments.
But this didn’t just start in the last three months. It has always been the case. I was more likely to be asked “So, when are you getting engaged?” or “How’s everything going with Ade?” than “How’s your job going?”
Until I got engaged, with marriage plans in the works, I might as well not have existed to some of my extended family members. I’m becoming a ‘beta pikin’ now.”
Angela is even more jaded than Lawunmi, I guess as a result of having spent so many years single that everyone had given up on her marrying. “I used to be so concerned at first. I felt as though I had failed in one key area of my life. I had let down myself, my parents and even my family’s name, as people would point and say, “That is the old maid of the Duncan’s family.” I didn’t like that at all.
So, I set out to do everything to attract a man. I sold my car, moved into a hostel, from my two-bedroom apartment (which my parents had been against me renting in the first place). I put on this toga of a calm and meek lady. If you know me, you know I’m anything but calm. I became very friendly, suffered fool’s parading as men, tolerated insults. Shebi na me dey look for husband.
After one year of doing that, with no results, I just went back to by real life. I was done husband-hunting, of putting my life on hold because I wanted a man. People used to ask me questions but now at 35, with a booming business of my own, there is no time for people to see me to ask me any stupid question.
For me, marriage is not an accomplishment. If I get married, all well and good. If not, my life rocks. I don’t need a man to make me feel good about myself. Besides, I can have a baby by myself. See, you might be shocked at my statement, and so will many other people, but as with everything with me, they get over it. It’s still my life.”
When Chioma weighed into the matter, it was an unequivocal yes, that marriage was indeed an achievement, especially in the African clime. “It’s a big deal! That is the utmost sign of responsibility. If you’re not responsible, you can’t get married and more importantly stay married. That is the utmost achievement in life. Normally people ask about your family, before they ask about your work. Work is not life oh, family is life. That is why you should get married.
Even though I don’t totally agree, getting married may not be an ‘accomplishment’ but being married, and staying married, certainly are. I am nearing my 20th wedding anniversary. We have raised five beautiful, intelligent, caring kids. We have supported each other through the deaths of parents and siblings, loss of income, and homes. In that same time, we have loved and laughed, argued and cried. But we have remained. THAT is an accomplishment, and I’m so proud of it than all I have done with my life.”
Bringing a male perspective to the table, Larry says being married is quite important to him for different reasons. “I was raised with a romantic idea of marriage. Intellectually, I don’t think there’s any difference between being in a non-married committed relationship, or being single, or being in a married one, but emotionally, for me, there’s a difference.”
Being married is like having your own personal cheerleader. Your one-man fan club, who will always be there, no matter what. My marriage is the best thing that has happened to me. It is my major accomplishment so far. Everything else I have achieved are off shoots of my marriage and partner.”
There you have it, opinions from real people. However, what do you think? Is marriage an accomplishment or not?
Kristine is a member of The Lovelint team. She is a down to earth person, who says it as it is. Having given relationship advice for years in a national daily, she has found out that fear is one of the main reasons holding people back from enjoying a healthy, happy relationship. She is married with kids and is willing to listen to you and help as much as you let her to.