‘Go and marry’: Pressuring Singles into Lifetime Bondage.

Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

‘Go and marry’ is what you hear from those who want to sometimes bachelor-shame or spinster-shame or single-shame you if you are a single man or woman. It is a popular way of coercing others into getting married in Nigeria by their peers or family members. It is common to hear this when some persons want to just make you rethink the reasons behind your singlehood.

There is basically a reason or two why some persons engage in this single-shaming around their friends, acquaintances and family members but the problem is not understanding that there is a time for everything and everything in this case covers even activities that surround choosing a life partner and ‘settling down’ as we say in Nigeria a lot.

In Nigeria, getting married sometimes seem like a competition for some and for some others, it is about either saving their faces from some form of shame after they have maybe got a lady pregnant and then they accept the woman and the baby or it is that attempt to do what others are doing by bandwagoning.

The reasons why people marry these days in Nigeria are not far from some of the aforementioned. The reasons too are not exclusive as some others have reasons why they marry their spouses which could range from gold-digging to wanting to please their family members and peers or even competing with their friends, contemporaries or even younger family friends getting married before them and all whatnots.

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I can’t recall the number of times I have been coerced into getting married with the ‘go and marry’ mantra. In the past, I would just feel pressured to do what the mantra was saying but not anymore. To those who said such things, they are jokingly telling you to go get married but they don’t know there is more to marriage than just finding someone to marry and then having babies and all those. It’s always easy to tell others to do what one hasn’t done anyway and I kind of understand why some of my friends have said I should go and get married. All the same, it is funny to me.

These days, when someone comes to me with the ‘go and marry’ mantra, I go all sarcastic and sometimes ballistic on them. Sometimes I just ask them to offer me some six million naira then watch me get married the following weekend and they keep quiet. Sometimes I go way above that sum and they just keep mum. I don’t know why they do so. Some of the time, they have to even tell me I don’t need all that money just to get married but I tell them I really need such sums because there is the marriage to fully focus on after the wedding and so, the money would be put to good use and they need not worry how I spend the money.

It is definitely easy to ask people or suggest that people go get married but it is most difficult to give them some form of support after they have been ‘trapped’ by the words we have said to them. I am no party to coercing people into getting into something they are not ready for. Even when they seem ready, the decision will always rest with them and not with those of us who will count as onlookers when they face the rough tides of marriage. It is best to let people decide how their lives will move forward and not dictate to them because some persons have ended up getting into marital commitments too early or even with the wrong people just because of what we said to them.

Even though we assume in Nigeria most of the time that everyone should get married at some point, let us also know that some persons will remain single not because they do not find potential spouses to get married to but because they have their personal reasons why they can’t get married. Some persons will become priests, nuns or monks who will have no reason to get married. Some persons will not marry based on their idea of sexuality and it is their choice.

Since our choices define who we are, it is best to let people decide what will be of benefit to them and not pressuring them into commitments they would rather pass for a while or even throughout their lifetime. Some persons have lost their lives after losing their freedom to decide what they want for their lives and I will never encourage such.

Photo by JD Mason on Unsplash

In Nigeria, getting married and staying married quite comfortably rests a lot on a number of factors but which is mainly anchored on financial stability to cater for immediate family needs and other external needs. It is also important to have jobs or businesses that bring in the funds to run the house or else, it won’t be funny being broke and beggarly at the same time. Even for married folks, if you do not have the available resources to raise a child or two, there is basically no need to procreate and then bring into the world innocent children who would suffer for your inconsideration of their own needs. It is better to make all these plans right before taking people to the marital table where you need your own special cutlery to dine.

Marriage is serious business except you want to go in and come out as you choose and almost immediately like walking through a door into a room and out again. It is best to prepare to a certain level even when it is not perfect and be sure to have some form of stability before getting into that commitment of a lifetime.

The Nigerian economy too doesn’t help you in any way and it is always best to tailor your needs along with the finance you have so you do not go bankrupt or even become beggarly. I won’t support a large wedding and a poor marriage. A poor wedding and a large, successful marriage suits me better.

Parents, friends and acquaintances have a lot to do in this situation and I expect that they reduce the pressure on the young shoulders of those they love so much so they do not both go into depression and in some other extreme case, commit suicide or even have failed marriages. We either have our loved ones happy and alive or we have them go away from us. The choice is ours.

As we keep hearing the national anthem of the ‘go and marry’ pressure group, it is important to stay focused and do the needful when we are convinced we should. Late marriage doesn’t stop a successful marriage; it is rushing into it without a plan that will lead to a failed marriage.

Singles — bachelors and spinsters — keep making the best efforts you can muster and do not relent. The time will come and it should be the right time. You won’t regret your decisions if you do so without some pressure from everyone around you. When it is your time, it will surely happen. The end will surely justify the means.

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