“Never marry someone out of pity. Never marry because you’re being pressured to. Marry someone you truly love, when you feel the time is right” are the words of my deceased grandmother whenever she had the chance to advise me on the subject of marriage.
Sometimes, women are pressured by society to marry someone they have nothing more than respect and friendly feelings for. This could be attributed to the fact that the woman may be ageing and has not had any serious relationship yet. Or perhaps she might have been in many unsuccessful relationships. A woman who is over the age of 30 is sometimes considered as a “leftover woman” by society.
In some cultures, marriage is still highly regarded as a symbol of social status, which to a large extent causes a woman to get married for the wrong reasons.
This is a woman who probably wants to listen to her heart when it comes to choosing a life partner but her heart keeps making wrong decisions which has forced her not to believe in herself. She is therefore left under the mercy of society which includes her friends, family, neighbours, community etc. At this point, whatever society may decide for her is what she may take as the gospel truth.
In a scenario where she meets a man who falls in love with her, a man who is very caring and responsible but this woman doesn’t feel anything for him, what would you suggest she does?
1. Should she give him a chance to see if she would eventually fall for him?
2. What if she tries giving him that chance but still doesn’t feel emotional or physical attraction towards him?
3. Do you think she should say “no” and continue to wait or search for someone?
4. Or is there a chance that she would love him back after they are married?
Since we are also a part of the society, let’s deliberate on this and come up with a concrete solution. Some people will say “no, she shouldn’t marry him” holding on to their belief that marriage should only be based on love.
On the other side of the coin, some will say “Yes, she should go ahead and marry him because, a good man is not easy to come by.” Even if she doesn’t love him, society will say, “at least he’ll take care of her, besides, she can learn to love him after marriage”
Others will even give example dating back in the 18th, 19th and even 20th century saying “our grandmothers did not marry people they love, they learned to love after they had been betrothed to their men or after their marriages had been arranged by their families and even with that, they didn’t have any problems in their marriages”.
Obviously, society is right to an extent in the sense that, in previous times, suitors would troop in to feast their eyes on young women who were being initiated into adulthood to select their prospective wives. The women at this point are sensitised to love any man that comes their way even though they may not know them well enough, but the marriages still worked.
The Big Question
My question is, can those days be compared to the 21st century? What if nothing changes after marriage?
This is an indication that a lot of women in our contemporary society end up marrying people they don’t love just to prevent societal backlash due to their age, or the fear of being lonely, probably to have kids or to have financial security.
To a large extent, the main reason why a woman would be in this dilemma is because she doesn’t know if she would ever meet the man her heart desires. She may feel that if her chance of marrying this man who has come into her life slips by, she may never meet someone else in due time.
The Way Out
In my humble opinion, when you agree to marry someone, you should be doing it because you genuinely and sincerely want to marry him and want to spend the rest of your life with him. This is where maturity comes to play.
You shouldn’t consider marriage because you are afraid of being without a companion, your inability to locate your dream man, or not having anyone to provide for you financially. To do so would be to make a decision from a fear-based, unstable mind-set, and negative thinking.
Note: Don’t be pressured by society to take a decision you may regret someday. Remember, you are solely responsible for your life, let no one decide for you how you should live it. Marriage is not a “game” to try your hands on, it is a serious business, it can either make or unmake you.
This article was authored by Sutherland Dombo, author of In My Parents’ Shoes