As the thought of marriage takes on an extraordinary reality, the questions and questionings start to crowd my already crowded brain. More and more people in Nigeria like their western counterparts, are taking the option of divorce, nevertheless, it is not an alternative for me. Marriage is for keeps. Then again, I doubt anyone really goes into marriage with a plan to get divorced after a couple of years.
So if marriage is for keeps, then I have to search myself…make sure I am not making an irreversible mistake. Are there signs to watch out for before I finally say “I do?” can anyone ever completely be a hundred percent certain? My dad always says that as you make your bed so you must lie on it. I am not sure I completely agree, however I do believe that certain things need to be considered before two people decide to get married. Like their respective value systems; if a man who places value on family marries a woman who places value on money, there is going to be a problem eventually. I also think there should be mutual respect. The ultimate for me is love; but I am aware that a lot of people get married for other reasons and fall in love along the way. It does not always happen instantly.
One thing which keeps bothering me though is whether I have what it takes to make a good wife. The average Nigerian man used to believe a woman would have to have the qualities of a doormat to make an ideal wife. I think expectations are a little higher these days. I am not by any standard a doormat. I have also been called stubborn and mule headed. Patience is not one of my virtues. Some years ago, for no reason I can think of, my grandma called me and decided to talk to me about patience in a woman. She said it was a woman who mostly held the home together therefore a woman had to be patient. I am trying but I suppose I still have a lot to learn. I don’t want to lose my sense of myself as an individual…I do not want to wake up 10 years after and wonder where the woman I struggled so hard to become went.
I read this article by Nina Chen and she raised these questions to consider before saying “I do”:
- Why am I getting married?
- Why am I choosing to share my life with this person?
- Is this the right time? What has brought me to this point in my life?
- Are there concerns or support for my welfare from my parents, friends and coworkers? How do I feel about their apprehension?
- Is this a good choice for me? Have I compromised my values and beliefs because I think things will be better if I’m married?
- What is my level of commitment? What changes do I expect to experience after the wedding?
- Will I be able to discuss problems and options with my partner? How do we manage conflict together?
- Will we communicate openly to reach a compromise or agreement without involving violence or put-downs?
- What are our future goals and dreams? How many children do we want? How will the roles and responsibilities be divided?
- How much money will we save each month? Who will handle our money?
- What kind of marriage relationship do I want? How happy am I in this relationship?
So many questions to consider! You think you are utterly ready for a step and when the time comes to take that step, you discover that you are not so ready after all. I wish I could be absolutely certain that this step I am about to take will turn out right but that takes out the adventure from it and what is life if not a great adventure? I know that life does not come with any guarantees so I am determined to take the good with the bad, dwelling more on the good than the bad.