Wednesday 5 April 2017


The pressure has begun; in earnest.

‘Ramat, when is your wedding? When will you settle down? When are we coming to eat your own cake?’

These are the questions I keep getting from family, ‘friends’ and acquaintances. In their view, I am no longer a young ‘girl’ and this means that I should be married now, settled into my role as wife and eventually, mother. I shouldn’t be traipsing about in the name of ‘chasing career’. In fact, I was told that I shouldn’t chase career at the expense of marriage and motherhood.

All of this however, is not surprising. If I am being truthful to myself, I would admit that it is kind of expected. I have written about this one too many times to not expect that I would be at the receiving end as I get older. But expecting it doesn’t make it any less maddening. It always amazes me how my decision to get married (or not) affects people so much so that they think I need an intervention. Usually, when asked these questions, I have three answers depending on who you are.

1.     To family, I say I do not want to rush into an institution like marriage until I am willing to go all the way and until I have found someone whose entire being and essence, including all the horrible (HORRIBLE) parts, are things I can handle for the rest of my life.

2.     I tell ‘friends’ that I may not get married and get a kick out of watching their expressions as they digest what I said; and

3.     If an acquaintance has the effrontery to ask when I am getting married, I look at them pointedly and ask how it affects their lives. Like seriously, how does it?!

While my true answer is a combination of all these, it isn’t the whole story. I grew up witnessing only unhappy marriages. Some of them bore their cross, others left. In all these, the children suffered the consequences of their parents’ poor marriages. Even the homes I thought were happy had their problems and were sometimes just a façade. So, I really don’t want to be married at all if it means not ensuring my children grow up in a safe, loving and majorly happy environment. I also don’t consider marriage the achievement-for-women most people think it is. In my view, it isn’t an achievement, a goal or something to aspire to. I view it as a part of my life and not the whole. But more than anything, I see the level of unhappiness in marriages and I want to hold off as long as I can; that is if I do. Have you also noticed that the people who are always clamouring for your wedding are usually the ones with the saddest marriages? Misery they say…

Anyway, my family always tells me that just because something didn’t work for others doesn’t mean it wouldn’t work for me. I agree with that completely. I may just be the one who gets a happy marriage (*scoffs). What are the odds of that happening? I believe that marriage is full time work and until I am sure I am ready to make the sacrifices necessary to make that work, work…I am not going to fret or oblige anyone by jumping the broom.

When I say this, I am always told that time is not on my side: that when I am ready, I may not get the type of man I want, and age doesn’t flatter a woman. I must admit that in some regard, they are right. As I have grown older, the pool of men who used to ‘toast’ me have greatly reduced. It reduces further when the ones left hear I am a feminist. It reduces even further when they hear I am keeping my name (*laughing my head off) but in all, they are proving me, not my family or friends, right. I will age and lose my beauty. Should my ‘husband’ who fell in love with my youth be expected to stay when that happens? What prevents him from chasing a younger girl when I am no longer fresh and peng? I won’t stop being a feminist – contrary to what most people think would happen – so it is better the guy runs away before he even gets started. And I will always be Ramatu Ada Ochekliye. If he doesn’t get it, why do I need to be married to him anyway?

So, I have come to the conclusion that people will always bug me about getting married until I do. Even at that, they won’t stop. The next thing will be when I give birth to my first child…and the next…and the next. That is their prerogative; as inappropriate as it is. However, as I am living my life for me and would be held accountable for all my decisions, I would do what I want with it! Thank you very much!

Now…to the very stubborn people who cannot take a cue even if it slaps them in face with its tentacles, let me lay it out plainly to you. If you do not have a happy marriage, don’t ever ask me when I am going to get married. If per chance you do, I promised I will use the knowledge of your unhappy marriage to clap back at you. It would go something like this; ‘Awww…I am sure you are SO happy in your marriage that is why your husband is sleeping with undergrads at the university he works’ or ‘I am inspired by your marriage. Knowing how bored your wife is with you makes me want to marry as quickly as possible’. So the caveat here is, if want to ask about how soon I am getting married, make sure your relationship can pass through my fire. Or better still, mind your business! Thank you!

PS: Dear family, I was not talking to you oh! You can ask me anytime you want. (No be now I wan die.)

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