This is the question burning a hole through my brain at 01:48 in the morning. This is unusual because mostly, what keeps me up are issues very far from the topic of marriage, it has been that way forever.
I was always the ambitious career girl with marriage (while I fantasize about that dream wedding) a goal that I never deemed necessary to my road to success, if it happens, I thought, good, if it doesn’t, also good, either way, my life is awesome.
I know, most of you are probably rolling your eyes at this idea, what person doesn’t want to be married after all?
I have nothing against marriage, it can be a very beautiful thing when two people who are ready and are willing to work at putting the other person’s needs before their own and grow together. It is even more beautiful when new life is produced from it. But then again, I do not believe that a woman or man is not complete or their life is of no value if they do not get married. I do not think that is the purpose of our existence.
I’ll admit, this is not a topic I was going to write about today, because I have never really thought about it this seriously before, I was going to post on the subject of protecting natural hair through African threading or finally post the short story that has been driving me mad trying to complete for months now. I write this particular post because yesterday, I was ambushed and grilled to a crust by a friend of my parents who has known me since I was 6 years old, I’ll refer to her as Aunty her as I always do.
Aunty knows I have been in a very stable relationship for 3 years this year in November and that this year in October, I turn the milestone year of 25! Wow time flies! She first demanded to know why I have not taken my boyfriend to her for “proper” introductions, then she went on to lament the fact that I was now of age and she did not like long ‘engagements’- I do not know where she got the idea that I was engaged- and finally demanded to know when he was “bringing tumbale”- a Zambian ritual where a man goes to make his intentions for marriage known to a woman’s family- and went on to ask why I’m dating if the end result isn’t marriage.
I was ill prepared for this. All I could do after unsuccessfully trying to get some words in was seat quietly and say ‘yes Aunty, I hear you Aunty’.
And I did, but that doesn’t mean I agree with her.
For me, this year has meant breaking new ground, working towards my goals, which also includes my relationship. So far it has been a year of learning, a year that I have been forced to beat a path to success, to fight for myself, for my money and now it seems, for my choices.
For her and a shocking amount of people I’ve come across, 25 for a woman means wedding bells, the “right” age to tie the knot and if I miss this window, I am expected to be a bitter old cat lady forever praying for a husband and once I miss the “right” age, the harder it will be for me to find someone willing to marry an “old woman”.
It is not the first time I am exposed to this line of thinking, it just did not bother me much before because I was not the direct target. I am aware I needed an intervention, I just thought the intervention I needed was one that would get me off my lazy bum and where the end result is me finding a clear path to my dreams because at the moment with recent events, it has felt pretty muddled.
Now, I realise that in a way, a path to marriage is one of my dreams, the big white wedding where I ride in on a white carriage led by 8 white horses, the honeymoon in greece, the 3 beautiful kids. Let’s face it, this is not happening where my life is right now. Yes I have a man but what about my fab wedding and honeymoon? That’s right, I am not ashamed to say that this is also a major contributing factor to my wanting to wait. I believe financial stability for both the man and woman is just as important as emotional and spiritual stability.
I personally believe my relationship will lead to marriage, it is something my boyfriend and I have talked about and have agreed to take our time on because we both feel we need to wait and work on our other goals first. But, even if I was not in a relationship, I doubt I’d be feeling all that panicked right now. I can not speak for how I will feel a year, 5 years or 10 years down the line, but I can speak for now. Where I am now is no accident and I personally have had no problem with being unmarried these 24 years I have been alive.
But say it never happens for me. Like I said, I do not know how I will feel in the future but I do know one thing, I have said these same words as a strong willed teen trying to find my voice in all the noise of adolescence, I remember saying at age 16 ‘I don’t know how I will feel at 25 but right now I know that I’d be okay either way’, it is 7 months to my 25th birthday and I still feel I’d be fine either way.
But why do I write this post?
I write this post because I am still that strong willed ambitious little girl with a strong drive and desire to be a woman of influence. Because I am still that girl always deliberately taking conscious steps towards my goals, always aware of my choices and their consequences, for example, a large number of my friends are mothers right now, all of them unplanned-at least as far as I know- and some of them got pregnant in their teen years.
My being 24 and childless is a conscious choice I made, I could have easily gone down that route too-again, I still am not speaking for the future- but I have made a choice to not go down that route chiefly because, it is something I want happening when or if I am married. It is all part of my elaborate grand plan.
Granted, a large number of the friends with children have now been married to the fathers of their children, which is wonderful. It still is not a choice I would pick. So simply put, I have the choice to get married now, I just choose not to and this is a decision I never thought I’d have to defend but one that I know I will standby. So now I ask? What is so wrong with that? What is so wrong with an unmarried woman? A woman who actually chooses to not be married? Why is this such a flawed way of thinking? Why should people be worried for us?