GIRLS SHOULD “ASPIRE” TO MARRIAGE?!

It may seem like an outdated notion that is no longer prevalent – especially with all these pesky feminists that never seem to shut up about it* – but unfortunately, that’s not so. It might seem like this happens mainly among some ethnic (Non-European-American) circles, nonetheless, it is something that bothers me tremendously as a girl. Period.

I may not know exactly how to put it into words, but I’ll try a number of illustrations and maybe you will understand what I mean. For instance, there is this unfortunate running joke about how when a Nigerian girl graduates from university her parents throw her a graduation party, which they then hope would turn into an engagement party also.

As a girl (especially one from an African household with an involved mother), you’re taught from a very young age how to keep a home and keep yourself, and prepare yourself for what will definitely come in the future – marriage to a husband whom you’ll have to keep appeased and interested. Now, it’s all fine and dandy to learn these home keeping skills, so I am not about to go on a feminist rant about it – relax.

But, what does bother me is when you sense that some people (some parents, as well as girls sometimes) see marriage as the end all be all, the ultimate life accomplishment, the reward of being a good and Godly girl, the supreme aspiration, and the happy ending every accomplished girl should have.

Now, I’ll step away from Africans for a bit and widen the scope here. Think about how many Rom-coms and animated movies you’ve seen where the main female character (or maybe even her pathetic side-kick) was rewarded with a “nice” husband in the end. This idea is pounded into our heads over and over, and subconsciously, most people begin to feel that it’s just the way it has to be.

For instance, the recent Disney movie Frozen, ended with the older sister regaining control over her magnificent powers, and her Kingdom as well. Yet, a lot of people have expressed some discontent, and hope that there will be a second movie where she gets a husband and with that, her “happily-ever-after.” Because, regaining an understanding and manageable relationship with her sister, her kingdom, her powers, and her pet snow man, apparently is not accomplishment enough, or a good enough reason to be happy.

So, let’s reconsider – yes, this notion is prevalent, what it is not is relevant. It sometimes makes girls and young women feel like rapidly wilting flowers that have only just bloomed: So, if you don’t get married within this five-to-six-year gap, you’re either a child bride, or an old maid!

I know I may sound cynical at this point, so let me just set something straight. Of course, I do hope to get married down the line, but it is NOT my ultimate ambition, nor should it be! I have hopes and big dreams that I feel should be encouraged and supported just as much as if I were not a woman – and these aspirations shouldn’t always be planned around or limited by the expectation to be married at a certain time (which is something I find happens a lot).

I know quite a few brilliant women who have given up, or put their careers on hold indefinitely just to make that marriage deadline, and it kinda hurts to watch. It is especially painful when the husbands of aforementioned women are then encouraged and supported to go on and have long-lasting careers (sometimes not even as brilliant as she would have had -_-).

What really troubles me – and perhaps encourages this idea – is when a married woman is accorded more respect and reverence than her equally accomplished (except for marriage, I suppose) unmarried peers. As an active member of an African and Christian circle of friends, I have seen this happen a lot more than I would like to admit – it should not be happening at all in my opinion!

Yes, to be married is something to be desired (if it is a happy one), but it should not be something you pine over and plan every minute of your present and future life around – unless of course you’re already married, then you should definitely give it your all!

But, for those of us young ‘uns who are not “hitched”, just remember this – Marriage is a gift, not a reward. It’s a gift from God to find and stay with someone who He’s destined for you to be with.

*I do consider myself a feminist, and this sentence was intended to have a wry sarcasm – just FYI, before anyone says anything harsh.
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8 thoughts on “GIRLS SHOULD “ASPIRE” TO MARRIAGE?!

  1. This is so true and well written. This reminds me of my high school graduation party. My dad announces to every person in the room that every man must go through him if they want to get to me. Yes, it was very awkward and embarrassing… *sigh* Nigerian culture. Anyways, I just laughed it off and returned to my lovely plate of jellof rice 🙂

    1. LMBO about the jollof! But, yeah, it’s definitely little things like that – It was a joke, but it had some very serious connotations, and it’s all part of the conditioning. And you were graduating high school for crying out loud! LOL! so sad at the same time!

  2. I’m so guilty of thinking that of the characters in Frozen and Brave. I feel like I need to deprogram now, lol.

  3. It’s funny, that people really felt that about frozen. I was more mad at how she was portrayed as being so angry and insensitive lol it’s true though, it’s okay for a man to become established career wise and then get a wife but women on the similar timeline are always worried about. It’s like okay great your a doctor or lawyer but where’s your husband. I’m even guilty of worrying or being concerned for women of “age” or beyond age.

  4. I absolutely LOVE this! As I’m about to graduate, the aunts are hinting at marriage and I’m like I want my NEXT degree! If he comes, he comes. There is so much to the life of a woman than marriage. The sky is the limit! Marriage should be considered one of the milestones along side getting a degree, publishing a paper and the like.

  5. Marriage isn’t an end, it’s a beginning. :-/ People have wrong opinions in a lot of different ways. I always looked at it like this: for me, I have two life goals which are really one; the second one is subject to the first.

    1) to do the utmost to preach the Gospel and bring God glory in everything I do
    2) to find that one woman who can come with me on the adventure, and who in being a husband to, I would fulfill my first and highest ministry in serving like Christ serves us.

    To get there–marriage and evangelism–I have the following objectives, which are SOLELY means to an end (the end described above)

    * have the financial security to live that lifestyle without undue financial burden or limitation
    * attain the necessary career to provide that financial security
    * complete the education required in order to qualify for that career (DONE(…?))

    That’s it. My whole point of going to school all my life has been to get a job, my whole point of working is to be financially secure, and my whole point in being financially secure is to devote my life wholeheartedly into loving my wife and working with her to lift high the name of Jesus to a dark and broken world.

    Marriage is not an end, it’s the beginning. After that, my whole life opens up. Until then, it’s a waiting game as I strive to get my objectives completed as quickly as possible, and in the meantime becoming as godly of a man as the Lord gives me grace to be, the better to love my wife self-sacrificially.

    Marriage is an inevitability, then, to me, but not as something to check off, as an accomplishment or something I’m owed, but indeed as a gift and as an opportunity to serve God greater than I can living by myself and thinking to myself. It’s one of the reasons I blog. It’s to reflect back the wisdom I’ve learned from God, to others. I can’t keep it to myself. And I await the day when I can finally be satisfied, pouring myself into the woman God determines to enable to love a man like me.

    🙂

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