The un­canny pres­sure on sin­gles to marry

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT - By Ruby Leo

Whether you are a boy or a girl, once you reach the age of 18, there comes the mount­ing pres­sure on you to marry and start a fam­ily.

“I was a happy child, run­ning around with­out a care in the world, then sud­denly I turned six­teen and my friends started get­ting mar­ried,” said Hal­ima Sa’ad, adding: “The pres­sure be­gan to mount, suit­ors started turn­ing up, with their fam­i­lies bring­ing pro­posal upon pro­posal.

“It be­came the only topic of dis­cus­sion in the house. Who I would choose to set­tle down with? I was chock­ing from the pres­sure, ev­ery­one wanted me to choose some­one they liked, so the mar­riage fes­tive will be­gin. But the more they tried to help me make a choice, the more con­fused I be­came.

“At the end of the day, I asked them to give me a lit­tle time. But in truth, I wanted to go to the univer­sity, get a de­gree and be­come a doc­tor, not get mar­ried and have chil­dren. But my mother said I can get mar­ried and go to school at the same time.”

Sim­i­larly, Ifeoma Nnaji, an un­mar­ried 35 years old lady, said she has not known any peace since she turned 30 years and her younger sis­ter got mar­ried.

She re­calls her mother ask­ing her: “What is wrong with you, why don’t you want to set­tle down? You are too choosy, pick a man for God sake, if you don’t, you will grow into an old hag and live your days alone.”

Ifeoma added that on some oc­ca­sions, her mother spoke to her in soft words, ask­ing her to give her grand chil­dren. She said: “My mother used to say that she was inch­ing closer to her grave and so am I. There­fore, I should please bring a man home for her sake.”

“But what makes any­one think I don’t want to marry? Will I go and pick just any­one to marry? It hurts me to see my friends with their chil­dren but I can­not marry my­self.”

The pres­sure does not af­fect only the women, how­ever, as men also get their fair share of it from their fam­i­lies and friends alike, es­pe­cially when they are sin­gle among mar­ried peers.

Ah­madu Aliyu, 36, says that though he is old enough to marry, he is yet to find a suit­able part­ner, one that will un­der­stand him, love and make him happy.

He said: “As a man, I can­not af­ford to make a mis­take, it’s not like I don’t want to marry, but most of my friends who are mar­ried are not hav­ing the best of time, their lives were bet­ter when they were sin­gle.

“The only dif­fer­ence is that now they have some­one to cook their meals, do their laun­dry and have their chil­dren, but most of them are not happy be­cause they mar­ried for the wrong rea­sons.”

Micheal Eze, a civil ser­vant, also above 30 years, said that “ever since I started work­ing, my mum has not al­lowed me to rest, but no amount of pres­sure will make me rush into mar­riage,” adding: “I will not give in to pres­sure, I am scared of mak­ing a mis­take, it’s a mat­ter of my en­tire life. What if, in or­der to please my mother, I marry a witch and she ends up turn­ing my life up­side turn, then my fam­ily will be­gin to blame me un­nec­es­sar­ily.”

Madam Grace Wil­liams, 60 years old and a mother of seven chil­dren-four girls and three boys, said her two girls and two boys are mar­ried.

Asked why moth­ers put pres­sure on their chil­dren to set­tle down, Grace said: “Ev­ery par­ent has the in­ter­est of his or her child at heart, no right think­ing par­ent will not want the hap­pi­ness of her child, to see the child well set­tled be­fore they leave the world.

“I guess for most peo­ple it’s be­cause they want to see their grand­chil­dren and also to know that their chil­dren are mar­ried into the right fam­ily.

“I got mar­ried at the age of 18, but to­day I have a daugh­ter that is above 40 years still un­mar­ried, liv­ing alone and from what I can see, she is not even in a hurry to tie the knots with any­one. But what do I do than to pray for her to find some­one she can spend the rest of her life with.”

Madam Wil­liams says that she does not sub­scribe to par­ents choos­ing part­ners for their chil­dren or pres­sur­ing them to marry when they are not ready be­cause in most cases, such mar­riages end in di­vorce.

“As a par­ent you can only ad­vise and pray. Once you have trained your child well, the rest is in their hands of the Almighty God, be­cause the per­son in ques­tion is an adult.

But Alfa Olushola Bakari has a dif­fer­ent opin­ion. He said: “God gave you chil­dren to train them and en­sure that they grow in the right way, I will per­son­ally choose spouses for my daugh­ters, and in­sha Al­lahu I have many, and I will scru­ti­nise the wives my boys bring home.”

“As it is now, I don’t want over-aged chil­dren roam­ing around my house, con­sti­tut­ing them­selves as nui­sance, be­cause they can’t start their own fam­i­lies and be re­spon­si­ble. Once I no­ticed that they have started ma­tur­ing, I start look­ing for part­ners for them from good fam­i­lies.”

But Ha­jiya Limi ar­gued that chil­dren should be al­lowed to choose their part­ners, adding, how­ever, that par­ents can guide them to make the right de­ci­sions.

“But pres­sur­ing them is not good. I read in the pa­pers that a young banker com­mit­ted sui­cide af­ter she was dumped by her fi­ancé for some­one else, the same thing re­peated it­self a few months later when a boy also did the same thing.”

“I have been mar­ried for many years now and I mar­ried my friend, and no one forced us to marry, when we were ready we went to meet our par­ents and told them our de­ci­sions.

“Par­ents and peers should not push any­one into mar­riage be­cause it takes ma­tu­rity and love to run a home. If one makes a wrong choice then the home will be­come a liv­ing hell, and lives will be ru­ined. How­ever, chil­dren should con­sider the feel­ings of their par­ents and not wait a life time to pick a part­ner.”

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