Tori dey, marriage by force by fire! You’d think in 2017 women would have evolved past the belief that being called Mrs. is an achievement. Unfortunately, women, especially African women, still believe that being married is the piece that completes the life achievement puzzle. Some cultures implicitly teach young girls that without a husband, a woman is incomplete.
The other day I was discussing marriage issues with women of African origin I counsel in Hamburg. While I shared my experience being married for 7 years, it was appalling to listen to my fellow females recount stories of how societal beliefs pressurize single ladies into wanting marriage at all cost. You would think that women living this side of the globe with graduate and post-graduate degrees would think otherwise. Here are some statements made during our counseling session:
“If a woman does not marry by the age of 30 or latest 35, it may be too late for her because no man will want an old woman”
“Marriage is the direct ticket to fulfillment for any woman”.
“I think every girl wants people to come celebrate her own knock door, which girl wouldn’t love that”
“It is even more difficult to have a man an African man in Europe, so the early I get one hooked the better”.
“True happiness comes when a lady is settled down”
“Marriage is the finish line in every young girl’s race”.
“They say marriage is hard, but I’ll rather be married and respected than remain single and be considered an ‘ashawo‘ (translated: harlot)“.
“If God doesn’t give my own husband this year, I will take matters into my own hands, I must get my own man by force, by fire”
The examples quoted here are in no way representative of all what was said during our session. Nevertheless, it also warmed by heart to listen to two voices of reason among the group. One participant had the following to say:
“Marriage can be great, but it’s not everything.
Personally, I think marriage can be blissful and full of joy. But this bliss, joy or happiness depends on the person you are married to and what he/she brings to the marriage institution. Plus, anyone marrying to find joy and happiness is marrying for the wrong reasons.
Not everybody is meant to be married or not everyone will marry. So those who choose to remain single should not be judged. And no, women do not have an expiry date after which they are no longer weddable. Marry when you feel mature enough to do so or when you feel the time is right and when you are sure you have found the right partner. Whether that’s at 25 or at 50.
Friends, what’s your take on this? Do you think the (African) society pressurizes girls into marrying by force? What advice would you give any girl who is pressured into marrying just because society says she’s old enough or it might be too late? Please share your views with us.
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