With the way Nigerians talk about marriage and the importance of getting married, you’ll think that they share dollars along with your marriage certificate at the registry.
For many unmarried Nigerians, pressure from society and their parents to get married hits an all-time high once they hit the 30-year mark. Nigerian women in this demographic can especially relate to this.
These 8 women* are damning the societal consequences for one reason or the other and have chosen not to get married.“I think I decided I didn’t want to get married when I was 19. By that age, my mum was on her third Uncle Tade. He didn’t really marry her officially but he had introduced her to his family and was considered to be his wife for over a decade. But when Uncle Tade died, the real wife came out and my mum was cast aside as an asewo who had tried to snatch someone’s husband but didn’t succeed. Ten years on my mind still hasn’t changed. I’ve been in a couple of relationships but nothing ever too serious. My dad is dead and my mum knows of my sentiments about marriage she seems fine with it maybe because she has three other married daughters and half a dozen grandkids.” – Sope, 29 “I was raised by a single mum. My dad upped and left when she got pregnant with me so she never got married. And to be honest I can’t say that she was missing out on anything. My mum is the sweetest, most wholesome woman you can ever meet who is currently living her baby girl life traveling around the world. She has 7 sisters who from every indication seem very unhappily married. Recently one left her husband’s house because unknown to the rest of the family, he had been using her as a punching bag for years. So I look at my aunts and I look at my mum and it’s just hard to convince me that marriage is sweet. I can’t say with an absolute certainty that I’ll never ever get married but right now in my life o, I don’t think so.” – Sike, 27 “To be honest ehn marriage just doesn’t seem fun for the average Nigerian woman. Every small thing the man is the head and you are the neck. So it’s my responsibility to cook, sweep, raise the kids ki ni kan ki ni kan and nobody has time for that abeg. This younger generation of Nigerian men swear they are different but I’ve had a boyfriend who said he was a feminist tell me so I can’t come and be stocking his fridge with cooked food as his girlfriend 3 months into the relationship. Imagine being with that kind of person for years. Abeg I no do it’s not by force.” – Kemi, 26 “After coming out of a 9-year relationship with someone who I thought I was going to marry and live the rest of my life with, marriage has been the furthest thing on my mind. The relationship came to an end because I realised I just wasn’t in love with him anymore and I was tired of pretending to be. So when I think about marriage I think about the fact that 9 years down the line something like this might happen and I must tell you breaking up a relationship is way easier to handle than divorces. Given my age most people’s questions for me have been if not now then when. But I’m just not programmed that way. I sha know I don’t want it now, maybe when I turn 50 and God willing I’ll find a husband then. But even at that 50, I’m not sure.” – Ose, 33 “Once I finished Uni at 23, the only thing I was hearing from all my family members was marriage marriage marriage marriage. Every single day, I’ll wake up to a phone call of my mum asking me when will I marry and go to bed after a phone call from my aunt asking me so you still don’t have boyfriend. I was fed up and frankly way too young in my opinion to be dealing with it. One day it came up at an informal family meeting and I just said see ehn you people this marriage thing o me I’m not doing. Everyone laughed because they thought it was a joke, I was actually joking in the moment now that I think about it. But I gave it some thought and the whole thing just seemed very stressful. I was reading an article about cohabiting recently and I even heard that Oprah and her bobo are not even married. I think that sounds more like something I’d like to sign up for. Cohabiting sounds like two equal partners living together, marriage sounds like the woman is about to enter a life of servitude. I only serve a living God abeg.” – Amaka,29
Are you a single Nigerian woman? What are your thoughts on this? Have you already picked out your wedding dress and planned the Bella Naija photo rollout or are you indifferent about marriage? Let us know.
*Names have been changed because we don’t anyone to get disowned but ages are real.