Marriage. That great wonderful word that sounds like music to the ears of most single women. The same word sounds like prison to most young single men.

What is marriage? From the layman’s perspective, it is the union of a man and a woman. It is their commitment to be together until death do them part or until the man says to the woman ‘na baki tsaki ukwu!!!’’.What we are trying to ascertain in this piece is if marriage is for everybody or not.

I used to be married and now I am a very happy divorcee. (Please do not open ya mouth in shock and forget to close it). So therefore, I qualify to talk about marriage, before during and after. Ehem.

When I was single, I was fixated on getting married. I prayed and fasted. Have you heard of dry fasting before? It means you go three straight days without food, praying to God to give you a husband. Of course, I was desperate to get married. I was in my thirties! My shelve life was running out! I often wondered what my life would be like if I did not get married. Would I end up an old, bitter and a frustrated old maid? Would I be depressed and childless and alone? God saw how much I prayed and prayed and disturbed Him and He just decided to kuku let me have the husband so He can have some peace and quiet. I was married alright but not happily. It turned out to be nothing close to what I imagined it to be.  And so after plenty long long long story, I did the “unthinkable”. I filed for a divorce and now I say the unbelievable, “I am happily divorced.’’

Society says we should get married. Culture and tradition says the same. Our families, especially the nosy aunts want to lovingly see us off to our matrimonial homes. The movies do little to help our imagination because most Marriages and love are made out to be very happy, romantic and to last happily ever after. Marriage is beautiful when you get it right but if you do not get it right, it can mess up your life and kill you. Yes, take it from a veteran. Marriage can kill you if you get in the wrong one.

Have you heard of spouses getting infected with HIV by their partners? Have you heard of cases of hypertension, heart attacks and mental illness caused by the stress from a spouse? Have you heard of cases of spousal killings or spouses getting killed and eliminated by the other man or woman that their husbands or wife is cheating with? The list is endless yet many go into it without a thought of what could go wrong.

Furthermore, most married people are never honest about what they are going though in their marriages. I know a lot of women who flaunt their wedding ring and carry on with the “my husband” liturgy. “My husband did this for me. My husband can never cheat on me. My husband provides all my needs. My husband is a saint and angel rolled into one. My husband this, my husband that”. The truth is that they are just covering up for the husband and hiding the real situation at home and when these other young desperate women see and hear this. they believe that marriage is paradise. Statistically, it is proven that 80 percent of couples are together today for the sake of the children or because their religion forbids divorce and they have sworn to stay together until death. So even if the man is beating the woman every day and the woman is an incurable adulteress, they both suffer in silence.

The church does not help much. Many marriage counseling in church are only Bible-based. They do not address issues such as challenges with in-laws, money, sexual satisfaction, pregnancy and child rearing, balancing career and family life etc. During my marriage counseling, all I heard was: be patient, be tolerant, be patient be tolerant. And I wondered why I should be patient and tolerant all the time when marriage is supposed to be happily ever after? I was patient, tolerant and a very obedient door-mat and yet I suffered. Education before marriage should include going for the Social Welfare marriage counseling so that man and woman will know the reality of what they are signing up for.

Society today is evolving. Many women today are choosing not to marry. Indeed these women are weighing their options, asking themselves deep and soul-searching questions concerning marriage. Marriage entails a lot of self-sacrifice and it can be self-effacing. Some bad marriage can take away your self-esteem and destroy your career while good ones add value to your life. In any case, you may be required to give up a lot of your freedom and what you would ordinarily like to do with your life.

When the children come, your needs must take the back burner. Most women would rather not go through the pains of child birth but would have to in order to prove that they are real fruitful women. Personally, I see child birth as a process that no woman should embark upon until she is fully ready to take full and complete responsibility of taking care and providing for another human being. When women understand these implications, some decide to remain childless

In the Western world, women are choosing not to marry or are choosing to get a divorce for     myriad reasons. According to Lellie Scott In an Article published on the site ABC NEWS, titled “Single women choosing ‘freedom, independence’ over relationships with men”  .She says and I quote: “Is relationship holding you back?” Fewer people in Australia are getting married and more are getting divorced. And women in particular seem to be finding the positives in experiencing life’s adventures solo.

A study released earlier this year in the Journal of Women’s Health which involved 80,000 women showed overall they became healthier when divorcing or separating from their husbands. Signs of improved health included a decrease in BMI, waist size and diastolic blood pressure, as well as better eating and greater physical activity. Other research also shows women are happier than men being single, such as a survey of 3,500 Australians in 2014 that found 76 per cent of women reported being satisfied with single life as opposed to 67 per cent of men. Just last month, an Italian woman “married herself” in front of 70 loved ones, saying her happiness did not depend on finding a man. “Each of us must first of all love ourselves,” she was quoted as saying.

I did not say this O!, that is why I am quoting. Similarly, a lot of women are choosing not to have children in the Western world. According to  Olivia Peter in an article published on the site Independent, titled “Childless Women are on the Rise, latest Study reveal”, he says and I quote: Over in the choice camp, there’s a slew of reasons why women are actively choosing not to have kids, as illustrated in a recent Reddit thread. For an increasing number, it’s a matter of being environmentally conscious (reproduction was demonized as one of the most dangerous things we can do to the planet in a recent study). For others, it boils down to putting their career first. And for some, it’s simply the seduction of nonconformism.

We can also refer to the Catholic Church where the Nuns, the reverend fathers and sisters and the monks do not get married. I can only say very little about this but I understand that this is to help them stay committed to their vows.

In the final analysis, we can say that marriage is truly not for every woman. However, is it is solely the decision of the woman to marry or not to marry. Putting into consideration her spirituality and religion, her society and her life and her readiness to embrace solitude or loneliness, sometimes childlessness, in other to have freedom, independence and many a times to escape from a very traumatizing marriage.

Categories: Column

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