So I clocked 28 last April and will be 30 in 22months. I am not yet 30 but that does not mean that the pressure isn’t there. It is absolutely there but for some reasons I cannot explain, I do not let the pressure get to me. How do I that? If I knew then it would not be for some reasons I cannot explain. LOL
Sometimes, I sit and wonder why I am not bothered and I am super proud of who I have become. But because you are not me and cannot be me, I will try to share tips on how I handle the pressure to get married. Feeling pressured to get married and start a family is not just an African thing but a widespread occurrence that we all put ourselves. When we talk about the pressure, we tend to look at the outside, the society or family members but we must realise that we are all part of this pressure.
Once a lady crosses 25, every tom, dick and harry begins to feel they have earned the right to examine and cross examine her personal space, likewise, men for when they cross 30. I get the question from my family, friends, bosses, colleagues, strangers, etc. and I sincerely cannot tell you I have one type of answer for everybody. Never! The answer you get depends on my mood which is directly but sometimes inversely proportional to your importance in my life.
Recently, my co-host on HeartMatters (listen in on 96.1FM – Lagos Traffic Radio – 10pm, Sundays) took the pressure a notch higher by constantly talking about it on air and making some form of unsolicited prayers for single ladies to find the right man and settle. Sometimes, I say ‘amen’ while other times, I move on to something else. He now mentions it with every greeting that comes his way from me. However, in my head, I kinda feel sorry for him. Now, my feeling sorry is not to say that he is demented, but simply feeling sorry for the fact that getting married is not even a priority right now and his prayers and wish of eating party jollof rice on top my matter may not be possible anything soon. But then, I can afford to buy him nice pepper shrimped jollof rice whenever he wants to have it.
You see how insane I have become on the subject?
I love love. I love relationships. I love marriage. And I will do it when I feel it is right or I meet the right person. So before then, here are few things you should know to help you handle the pressure.
You should know that you are not married and own it. You are not married, you are not divorced, you are not a widow/widower neither are you are criminal. You are simply unmarried – single! Kapish! Now, imagine me getting angry at someone saying ‘Elsie is a lady’, does that make sense to you? No, because I am a lady.
Look at it from an angle of concern
Agreed that some of these good intention questioners are just plain silly amebos trying to make jest of you or get inside gist but also note that most of them are genuine from their own myopic thinking. Think of it as their own way of showing you they care and simply ignore them. Some of these people will have thick balls and they will ask you why you are being ‘rude and disrespectful’, if you are like me, ignore them again or dig into your tolerance bag and tell them ‘your being married or not is not their business’ but in a very friendly, polite but firm manner. They always get it. Trust me.
Know what you want.
It is easy to be bothered by mere words when you do not have conviction. Why are you single? Do you think your being single is a disease or a curse? For me it is a blessing. I know what I want. I want to be with someone I love, someone who gets me and has my back rather than getting married because people are getting married. And if I don’t find that someone in this lifetime, I am happy to give me all the love I have. It is not a crime and it is not a must. So why are you single? If you think your being single is your fault then what are you doing to remedy the situation. You cannot kill yourself because you are single rather it is an opportunity to better yourself and be better positioned for when the right man or woman comes along. It is not a time to feel pity for your existence or waste your years. Knowing what you want and why you are single will always be different for different people. Own it, work on it, live it and be proud of who you are. Do not sway under pressure.
It is not a Race.
Nothing in life is a race, not even marriage. Do your own make I do my own. It is about what makes you happy and what you are comfortable with. Marrying the wrong person can have a toll on your life. You are better off taking your time and going at a pace you are comfortable with. You have to understand that your friends, family and other people around you cannot make this particular choice for you. Because you know what? You alone will bear the consequences of this decision. Forget about family name preservation and whatever crap they tell you. It is your life. They may have good intention but you have to do what is best for you in the long term. You cannot rush into marriage, take your time.
Stay away from people who do not respect your decisions
If your friends really like you, they must respect your decision. If you are surrounded with friends who will always tell you ‘ah, do quick, you don’t have time again’, then you need to change the people you hang around. Nobody should be with people who are trying to get them to do something they are not ready to do.