Articles

Marriage Is Not For Every Woman

I know exactly what I typed.

Yes, that’s exactly what I meant to type.

Now, before you feel a type of way, do note that I did not say “any” woman, because then, that would be another type of baloney.

It’s tiring, to say the least, the way we manage to connect even the most casual cords in a woman’s life to marriage and someone she may someday be joined with. What’s even more tiring is the way that has been made the only acceptable reality.

If you speak and your voice is a little too clear, you hear things like “is it someone like you that will find a husband?” If you’re a little too certain about the boundaries you have defined for your life, you’re reminded about how women must be willing to compromise and contort themselves into all sorts of shapes so they can find and keep husbands. I mean, you can’t even eat meat without some people taking jab at your home training or lack thereof.

You hear these things at home, at family gatherings, in the midst of aunties, and you see it entwined in the fabric of the society you live in. Soon enough, it becomes your belief; marriage is something that MUST happen.

And if that’s what you really want, then it’s okay.

But here is the thing: there are ladies who do not want that. They know it, too. They know that they would rather be in control of their time, emotions, and the people they share them with on this journey. They know that having children is not a thing that will change their lives for the better; they will be much happier being aunties to some little loves and spoiling them silly.

They know. Yet you insist they don’t.

And because of your insistence, coupled with the fact that these women are only just stringing together the beads of their identity, they succumb to societal pressure and drag someone else into a journey they never should have started.

These are women who would rather build their identity around a career and they would choose that over a husband and children every day and twice on Fridays. It’s okay if that makes absolutely no sense to you, but it is a decision we must remind ourselves to stay absolutely out of.

Call me crazy, but I also think some people have callings that make marriage a bad idea for them. These people have all-consuming passions that drive everything and supersede anything. They carry others and stand in some of the many gaps that exist in the world. They are the emergency workers of the world, the military personnel, and the quick response teams. Some people have to do these jobs, and yes, sometimes, it means they only sleep at home twice in one week.

I can hear the whispers of your argument; “but some people do these jobs, are super successful, AND are married.” All of that is true. And here is another set of women who are not interested in having it all. They want one, and that one is not a family. That must be okay.

Imagine an Oprah getting married. Perhaps she would still be this Oprah, perhaps she wouldn’t. What I do know is that by following the path that made sense to her, this woman who bore no child opened her heart, shared her resources and became a mother to so many. How is that not a life of impact?

Make no mistake; this is not a campaign against women getting married. What I am saying is this; perhaps if we weren’t so hell bent on shaping every woman into the model of wife and mother, we would be able to spare the world some avoidable hurt and unhappiness.

I create worlds with words. I think the universe is a canvass, and I want to paint it with the color of my dreams.

29 Comments

  • Haleemah

    This is a beautiful piece, that I think draws our attention to some details, especially the fact that some women are actually into certain professions, such as the ones you mentioned in here. Although, the society seems to have almost forgotten about such women, however I still believe that they also deserve to enjoy the bliss of marriage. The truth is they’re humans too, and some of them may also crave for that beautiful bond called family. Albeit, I understand the fact that some of them may have prioritized their jobs, even above any “external” commitment such as marriage, and some just don’t want such involvement as marriage, perhaps because they don’t want to hurt anyone or they don’t want anyone to hurt them or they just can’t seem to share, from the love they’ve already bestowed to their jobs. Yet, I won’t be wrong to say that some of them wouldn’t actually mind sharing some familial bond with some people, they’ve come to love. And of course, there are men who’ll also love them for who they are, who’ll understand their kind of job and still be happy, married to them. Basically, what i’m trying to say is, marriage may not be for “some selected few” after all, and even the “selected few” that choose to stay out of marriage, may just be yet to find their own kind of marriage after all.

    • Jade

      I understand you, Sis. Halimah. And I thank you for your contribution.

      However, I do not think you fully understand my perspective.

      There are billions of women who would be the happiest versions of themselves married and there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. As a society, we also have to realize that there is a less popular side of that coin; the ladies who do NOT want to get married EVER. This is not a decision they make because they have “yet to find their own kind of marriage”, and I think our insistence on that line of thought insults their intelligence. Imagine if those women said the women getting married only do so because that’s the only way they know how to exist; I imagine it would make you feel a type of way.

      And that right there is it. We MUST give people a chance to build the lives they want to, as long as they are not hurting anyone, just trying to carve their own paths in the world.

  • Reez

    Amazing article, Jade. I remember talking about something similar a few weeks ago and the next reply I got was, “Coming from a married woman…” I’m so happy you wrote an article about this! I’ll share!

    • Jade

      Thank you, boo! What does you being married have to do with it – that somehow you’re trying to ‘block’ other ladies’ marital blessings? It would be funny if it wasn’t so nuts.

  • Haleemah

    This is a beautiful piece, that I think draws our attention to some details, especially the fact that some women are actually into certain professions, such as the ones you mentioned in here. Although, the society seems to have almost forgotten about such women, however I still believe that they also deserve to enjoy the bliss of marriage. The truth is, they’re humans too, and some of them may also crave for that beautiful bond called family. Albeit, I understand the fact that some of them may have prioritized their jobs, even above any “external” commitment such as marriage, and some just don’t want such involvement as marriage, perhaps because they don’t want to hurt anyone or they don’t want anyone to hurt them or they just can’t seem to share from the love they’ve already bestowed to their jobs. Yet I won’t be wrong to say that some of them wouldn’t actually mind sharing some familial bond with some people, they’ve come to love. And of course, there are men who’ll also love them for who they are, who’ll understand their kind of job and still be happy, married to them. Basically, what i’m trying to say is, marriage may not be for some “selected few” after all, because, even the “selected few” that choose to stay out of marriage, may just be yet to find their own kind of marriages after all.

    Meanwhile, well done sis!

  • Adam Muhammed

    Interesting post I must say. I was having similar discussion with a friend on this issue and my position has always been that: it is okay to make a choice either to focus on career or family or both. People should either float or sink with whichever choices they make. As much as it is good to respect the choice of a woman who doesn’t see the need to have a family but to build herself along the career line, we should also acknowledge the fact that some people do not fancy anything called career. They’ll rather give their life to the family /marriage/husband. Acknowledging that fact is not enough but to also respect the choice they have made. We must not see them as liabilities, uneducated, uncivilized, unfeministic or going through some form of slavery. It will amount to double standard to want to advocate for the need to respect the choices of those women who choose career over family but leave out those who choose the later over the former. This is not uncommon unless we don’t want to admit.

    On a further note, I was wondering why it is so hard or seems impossible to balance the two! Career and marriage/family. There’s an unverified statistics that that most women who have succeeded in their careers are either unmarried, separated or divorced. This boils down to the kind of partners every career person (who desires to marry) chooses to settle with. So many people do not have genuine/honest discussions about their careers when choosing partners and some that do, don’t look beyond their noses. They are only focused on coming together without any consideration of how supportive they’ll be in terms of balancing the two.

    (please pardon my uncoordinated opinion, really have a lot to say on this but….)

    • Jade

      Hi Adam,

      Your thoughts are not uncoordinated at all. Thank you for sharing them.

      I absolutely agree with you; we must respect both choices. We do have a lot to do on that end too, ensuring that those women who choose to be wives and mums are not vilified for the choices that they make.

      When I think about it, it feels like a kind of tide that slightly shifted. Young women have seen housewives end up with nothing after a husband dies or even be incapable of doing basic things while he’s alive, so I imagine it’s scary that a person would choose to make that choice. In that way, maybe the possible effect of the choice is the issue and not the choice itself?

      That difficulty in balancing also has a lot to do with society’s perception of who women should be, but that’s not even my focus here. My focus is that some women do not even want to balance, and that’s okay.

  • Haleemah

    You’ve made a good point sis. True, there are some women who’ve made the decision not to get married at all. And i’m not saying they’re on the wrong side or still searching to for the “right person,” I’m just saying that, marriage is no “big deal” that they can’t share in as well IF they want to. Perhaps, this is just another perspective.
    Once again, well done sis!.

  • Lara

    I absolutely agree with this. Marriage, just like several things is not meant for everybody. The rate of divorce these days is alarming, tbh.
    Women going into marriage because they have been convinced that it’s the natural next step for them, only for them to get there and realize that, “hell no, I can’t do this shit”.
    And maybe it’s selfish that they gave chosen THEMSELVES over every other thing, I think that’s a good kind of selfish.
    We should be more interested in people actualizing their full potentials, not in determining the course of their lives by attacking marriage to it.
    Even at home, if I tell my mom I’ve been working all day, and that’s why x&x didn’t happen, naturally, I’m reminded that I can’t keep a home with such an attitude. Imagine my reaction these days. A small hint, plenty eye rolls.
    Thank you for writing this. As always, it was thought invoking.

    • Jade

      Just let Mama catch you rolling your eyes at her.

      That right there is the issue; the “Natural next step”. Our lives are not like games that must follow a particular sequence before they make sense, yet for so long, we have lived like that is the norm.

      It’s not, and about time we start having conversations about it.

  • Miss Maryene

    This is totally thought provoking, when I talk about stuffs like this at work and how marriage shouldn’t be the only aspiration for women in life, my colleagues look at me like I’m just a confused “human person” with comments like “Is too much books that’s doing you”.
    But I really don’t blame them. The society has thought them that marriage is the ultimate achievement and you have to twist yourself into all sorts of shape to achieve it.
    And that being unmarried as a woman makes you unworthy in a type of way. I think a lot of women will be happier and even more fulfilled without the title of being married. It doesn’t make them wrong. Or less.

    • Jade

      Is too much books that’s doing you? LMAO. That’s not a bad thing so go girl!

      There is more than one way to do this life thing; we neglect that truth so often.

  • Nana

    Sometime recently, a friend posted about women’s right to divorce on Facebook. He came from an Islamic point of view, and he finished with how, if marriage was compulsory, the Quran would have stipulated it so. Explicitly.

    Of course, it was a talk emanated from increase in domestic violence cases around the North.

    But this isn’t even what caught my attention. What did, however, was a friend of his who commented on said post.
    I’ll attempt to paraphrase.. Women should try to endure in marriages and stop thinking divorce is a way out, because God created women to nurture and hold the home. And a woman who isn’t married is a failure… Guy basically said, die in your marriage so you won’t be a failure.

    The problem really isn’t about marriage, or the lack thereof, it is this incessant need for society to dictate the autonomy, the very existence of the female and what she does with her life.

    You know, whichever way, women always get the short end of the stick.

    This is why this post is timely. Let women do what they want. Marry who they want. Refuse to marry. Bear children. Refuse to have children. Just leave the woman the hell alone. And let her decide what is best for her.

    “She will later regret it in life”
    “When she gets to forty or menopause, she will hate herself”

    Yes, yes, let her get there and hate herself. Let it be a consequence born out of her actions decided upon by her. Rather than end up old and unfulfilled over actions she knows she wouldn’t have taken safe for the pressure of society.

    Thankfully, some of us are born with a natural, “fuck-off syndrome”
    We will continue to do what we want and hope to God that girls and women out there draw inspiration from the little we do.

    P.S forgive my language o.

    • Jade

      Your P.S made me laugh out LOUD.

      Thank you for your very rich contribution, Nana.

      I still had that conversation about regrets just this morning. Many people regret different things in their older years; are we suddenly going to pretend that this is an isolated case?

      It is just shameful the many evils that have been visited on the world and its inhabitants in the guise of religion.

      We don’t all want the same thing. That’s the truth. Why are we so hell-bent on our standard being the standard?

      • Jewel

        I wish more people will learn to leave people alone with their life decisions. The best we can do is to give our own opinion, but we should learn how to not make people look bad or foolish when they do not take our advice.

        I love the part that says “Yes, yes, let her get there and hate herself. Let it be a consequence born out of her actions decided upon by her.” What is to say others are not regretting their own decisions. I am not 25 yet, and I regret a couple of decisions already. Regret is regret, even if it is the food you ate that is now causing stomach upset or the course you chose to study at the university or the job offer you did not take. The good thing is I am preparing myself to regret some more because it is unavoidable.

        One thing I like to tell people is that
        *THINK THINGS THROUGH DEEPLY AND CAREFULLY
        *OWN YOUR DECISIONS WITH YOUR “CHEST”
        This way, you can take your regret after a cup of chilled satisfaction.

        • Jade

          Own your decisions with your chest. Yes yes.

          I was speaking with a friend earlier and told her many of us will regret different things in latter years. I hope they are things we can live with.

          What everyone deserves is the right to make these choices as long as they are not infringing on the rights of others.

          Marriage is one path. There are others, and it’s okay if we would not ever think of choosing them.

  • A Girl

    I keep saying this. Let people make their decisions.

    Personally, I look forward to having a family and that’s my decision. It should be respected because it’s my life and it’s MINE to make.

    Same way another lady making a decision to not want that life should also be respected. She gets to make that decision. Yep! She does.

    Let’s keep the same energy. I’m sure it wont sit well if someone walked up to you and said “Oh, you must be pretty unfulfilled getting married and raising a family when you could have gotten up to this and that”. Yep. It won’t.

    So quit doing exactly that to people who decide not to take the marriage route. You’re not getting paid to decipher if another person is fulfilled or not. Face ya front, Mr./Madam.

    Being female shouldn’t automatically define that you must be a wife and mother.

    Find your truth and speak it.

    • Jade

      Let’s keep the same energy! That’s it.

      And realize that sometimes, people just don’t want what we want and that’s really really okay.

  • Ndi

    Beautiful Piece Omolara…really beautiful
    i think the major challenge is the society we live in, most people just automatically feel that after NYSC, the next phase in your life is for you to get married, forgetting that marriage is the only instituition you get a certificate for even before you begin.

    Everyone and i repeat EVERYONE (male or female) should be allowed to make the decision of whether or not he/she wants to actually be a part of this thing called marriage. On the long run, these people that force others to get married or see marriage as a life goal would never be there when things begin to go south.

    We all have reasons we want to get married, and if i decide today that i don’t want to anymore or that i don’t think i am ready enough for it be SO BE IT. Marriage is actually not meant for everyone . The pressure is even so much on the females…after NYSC laidis, they have started with the “when are you bringing husband home speech” and every lil thing u do just begins to lead to “se bo se maa se nile oko e niyen” and in my mind i am screaming MIND YOU DAMN BUSINESS (picture that in your head Lara).

    Marriage does not mean you are maximizing your potential mbok. Just look at the divorce rates lately na it is damn alarming. People should be allowed to be ready for this marriage thing oooooooooooo. Their joy will nor spoil o. Thaink u

    keep it up with the write-up love
    I am proud of you

    • Jade

      I have a headache, Ndifreke-abasi. I am not going to picture you screaming. 😭😭.

      Honestly, it seems so simple, that I wonder why we have made it hard.

      No one said marriage is bad; I think two people choosing to share their lives is a truly beautiful thing. And there it is; they made a choice.

      Who is any of us to say that’s the only viable choice? That’s really my question.

      There is more than one way to do life, and as long as people are not infringing on the rights of others, they have the right to choose any of life’s numerous paths.

      Thank you, hon.

    • Onyinye

      Honestly, you spoke the truth. Society has made it seem like every woman should be married. So much pressure. When you are married, next question is when are you having children? I’ve a child now, peeps are asking ‘when are you having more children?’ People would rather bug you about marriage and kids than ask about your dreams and goals and how they can help you reach them. It’s upsetting!!

      • Jade

        Welcome to Nigeria, where it’s never enough. There is a next even after the next. LOL!

        Even marriage can be a goal, a beautiful one too. But it’s not for every woman, and that’s really what I’m making a case for.

  • Abdulhakeem

    Awesome and keen discussion. The society does not so well in shaping people to what are believed to be right. Some things are neither right or wrong, but just on their own, turning.

    Everyone deserves the freedom to decide for themselves in as much as the decisions do not adversely affect others. After all, everybody will and should be responsible for their actions and inactions.

    Be that as it may, few comments are off-track, giving unneeded reasons from keeping away from marriage as if it was not enough “not just be uninterested in marriage.”

    This is my opinion, please don’t bother. Lol.

    • Jade

      Your second paragraph is really the crux of this article; it is not that one is better than the other but that there is one OR the other and women should be free to choose what side of the divide they want to fall on.

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