The Marriage For People By David Oluwasegun
Wait! Yes, you. I know you are here to see the band in preparation for Saturday’s life time event. I know you have paid Bella Naija to make a picture noise of your event, but let me steal a minute of your time. Sorry for my audacity- I know it is none of my business, but just let me preach this sermon and discharge the moral burden on me. I can see the bride to-be staring at me- she just want me to make a statement that would indicate that the marriage should not be contracted and I’ll smell as great as a roasted meat. Easy, lady, no sane man will do that and the last time I checked, I am still okay up there. I know a diamond encrusted ring is what the bride wants, the wedding gown was designed by Pnina Tornai and was bought at the exclusive Kleinfeld in New York. I also know that the groom will order for four pairs of classy Italian shoes- changing from one to another every four hours… It is all good, but may I ask this begging question? How did you get here? How was the decision to marry in six days time reached?
The above question is the reason for this piece- to attempt correcting an anomaly that is parading itself as an acceptable social convention. In disguise, it has managed to cross the historic border from generations to generations- breaking homes more than building it. Making mothers with the mental disposition of toddlers and fathers whose level of responsibility is not beyond that of a class 5 class captain- fetching chalks and dusters. Then we cry foul- children lacking compass of good attitude are on the loose, born children of anger unleashing e-terror on the social media, youths are lacking in the intellectual credential to be leaders. We blame them all, but can a sick convention birth an outcome that is hale? So, I write.
There is a dangerous trend that is selling very fast- than ‘galas’ and ‘lacasera’ sell in a setting filled with job searching graduates. It leaves young men pushed and unfulfilled, ladies helpless and frustrated and the society at large wanton. Individuals make a family, family makes a home and homes make a community. Then, it is right to hold that the larger society or nation is sick not because of the government perse but because we are all sick. Yes, all of us- though for different purposes and varying degrees. Let me address one of these dangerous norms- the marriage for people.
In recent time, I have observed the drastic growth in the penchant for marriage- mostly common among ladies. It started from my observation on my social media pages on free weekends- Facebook, BBM et al. Wait, I am not against marriage as an institution and I do not intend to do a review of who or who should not get married, but I want to address the purpose. On one occasion, a female friend updated the wedding picture of her friend. That was not her first time and it is not uncommon for people to do that. But there was an event this time- in less than 3 minutes, another mutual friend updated her pm with the dp of my good friend, the PM read ‘this girl has felicitated with millions of her friends who became brides, abeg guys, pick her too now, she is aging.’ It was a joke- an expensive and insensitive one. Such may not pull a strand of hair from some of us, we know some people’s fingers are faster than their brains, but it did not go down well with my friend. She removed the picture she used immediately and an exchange of harsh remarks started on PMs. I would not step in, but I watched and observed.
I think that like my other friend that made that insensitive remark, most, if not all of us are misguided in orientations and philosophy about marriage, what it stands for and what it should achieve. It is beyond hooking up with someone at a certain age, sex, making babies or whatever. But here we are, at a cross road- confused and forcing that philosophy on others. So, when a lady is not married or engaged between 23 to 27, she is in trouble. Why? Forget whatever social basis or inclinations on the ground of religion. It is not about the right age, but the right time. I have observed that love, whatever meaning we give it does not solely sustain relationship. Same goes with money, look, friendship or whatever. The moral believe that a lady or a guy should be married at a certain age in itself expresses our moral decadence- that we lack the understanding and basic principle of living and letting live. Marriage is not just about love, sex, money, accomplishments or making babies- all those can be gotten outside marriage. Though, I am not saying sex or baby should come to play outside the institution but it is just an expression of the truth.
A lady or guy could say that she wants happiness in a man before she can marry him or that he wants fulfilment in a woman, who are we to define happiness or fulfilment for them? For God sake, marriage is about the two people involved, not even the in-laws or ever meddling friends. The danger in the argument of ‘right’ age for marriage is this- it mistakes age for exposure and maturity but that is a not well conceived one. For me, even at 19, if you are convinced that it is the right time to go into it and you have what it takes, I support it. But will you tell me that at 30 or even more, a person who is not mentally prepared or feels the right time has not come should get married? Majority of the marriages contracted today are done for the people- marriage for the people- people are talking, they are asking you why all your friends are married but you are not, they are asking why your two younger sisters are married and you don’t even have a boyfriend, they whisper something each time you walk by because you are 31 and you don’t have a fiancée. Then, to stop them from talking and kill the shame, you said that most important YES to the man or woman who is not even it. Congratulations, you just married for the people. I hope the people will bear the consequence with you and know how painful wearing that shoes can be? Youths, marry for your own purpose and conviction, not public opinion.
So, thanks for the time my dear brother and sister. May you not marry for people on Saturday. May I have a copy of the invitation card?
David Oluwasegun is a Nigerian