Last year, Lizzy Awoliyi, the online editor for Genevieve Magazine got married at 32. While many rejoiced with her and congratulated, some others mocked her for just getting at that age. Well the beautiful writer has just just shared this must read message:
I haven’t been able to write much because truth be told, it has been very difficult to focus on much else this year. I had my white destination wedding to plan. As weddings go, we had our challenges, least of all the Naira to Dollar exchange rate. But we thank the Lord, it was a glorious event and the honey moon was oodles of fun.
I’m back! Back to it, getting stuck right in. The day after my wedding, loads of online blogs took snippets of our pictures shared online and reposted on their platforms. Often times it’s difficult to catch every single comment and posts I’m tagged at especially on Instagram because I manage and switch between multiple accounts.
This one comment I did catch: It was something along the lines of me being an older bride at 32 and worshipping the ground my husband walks on because of this. This was evident to the commenter apparently from general demeanour. The commenter is implying in other words that I am very grateful to my husband for marrying me, for delivering me from the ‘shameful cultic life of being unmarried’ at 32 hence I supposedly worship the ground he walks on. My initial thoughts were these: why does any anonymous person care so much about what I’m doing with my personal relationship? Why does my narrative matter so much to such a person?
Without sounding like I’m flogging the marriage talk. I just have to reiterate: there is no ideal or ‘perfect’ age to get married. Although many marriage statistics show the older you are at marriage, the lower the chances of divorce. Something that is true based on the simple fact that if you take and bide your time before rushing into the life-long contract of marriage you wouldn’t be so eager to rush out. Having said that, you can marry at 36 and still be divorced at 40!
I thank God I come from a family that didn’t put unnecessary pressure on me to bring home a spouse; abi, shey I go marry myself ni? Scholars have long researched and tried to prove that youthful marriage is a strong predictor of divorce. Again another general truth based on the fact that if one marries too young the patience and wisdom needed to sustain marriage might not be present in either the husband or wife.
It is for you to be open to prospects, pray and it’s all by the Grace of God. I have friends not yet married; in fact what am I saying? I have aunties that have never married. Not everyone will get married, marriage isn’t for everyone. We need to STOP! We need to stop stigmatizing what we deem as �older brides”, as well as those not yet married. In the same token, if a woman wants to get married and have children at the ripe young age of 21, that is her personal choice and it affects only her. The best we can do is to be supportive. For me, healthy marriages are about finding a soul mate, and there is no time restraint on this.
Once we hit a certain age, the societal pressure is sickening. Women are made to feel that if they don’t hurry, they will wake up one day, older, single and there would be no more �good men” left, leaving them to start hunting for husbands. I never hunted down my husband. It was organic. It literally just happened. It was God’s timing.
Interestingly, many of my male friends have also been feeling the heat and pressure to be married at a certain age; so it’s not something that’s exclusive to women. Although the pressure can never be the same for men, because they don’t have their biological clock working against them.
So I want to say this: it is absolutely okay not to be married at 32; life is not a race abeg! It is never too late, not everyone has to have done everything at a certain age. Marriage is not a joke and we should all be encouraged to take our time and feel a genuine connection.
It greatly saddens me when I see what the marriage institution in Nigeria has turned into. It is now treated with disdain and a necessary phase just like the educational institution, with mother’s encouraging their daughters to ‘manage and marry him’. Just like a man or woman goes to university and graduate, marriage is now just a phase people pass through. You, my readers, will reply but it’s just a phase. Well it isn’t just a phase, it’s more than that. It is a union of two becoming one. It’s a holy sacrament that God holds in high esteem. Marriage is an illustration of Christ and the Church.
The age stigmata in Nigeria is making individuals desperate; so much so they marry when they are not ready to marry just to say oh, look at me, I’m married.
Rushing to make decisions on something as permanent as marriage gives a greater chance of regret later on. I know one cannot please the world. First they pressure you to marry, then even in my case when God makes it happen, there’s comments on how long it took to happen. Who is anyone to question the author of time? He makes everything perfect in his own time. I’m guessing I still have the societal pressures of ‘where’s the baby’ it’s been 1 year to look forward to? (Though according to some I’m already like 6 months gone!) Let’s ease off from the pressure. The pressures only lead to unhappy marriages, divorces, and unfulfilled individuals.
We have got to do better and accept that people can be happily married and can also be happily single. Please share the truth! Which is that: We do not need to marry to be truly happy. If you don’t get married before 30, it will not be too late. All the ‘good men’ will not finish. Successful women can have successful marriages.
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