Sunday, May 22, 2011

Marriage Is Not A Trophy

Recently I have gotten this impression from people, especially single ones acting like their friends are now married so they can't talk any longer or she's so lucky her life is complete now. 
I see why people may think this, as a child growing up in Nigeria, I was taught that you learned to cook and do other domestic things, and you finished school, so that eventually an eligible suitor will find you suitable for marriage (or you can become a nun).  It didn't matter if you found a job because your husband may want you to stay home (nothing wrong with this especially if it is what you want).
Because of this a number of young girls and guys found it sad when a young girl claimed not to know how to cook; you began to question what type of wife or mother she will be especially if hubby wants her at home? (I changed my mind after I saw good mothers that are not domestic); Then if you met a woman who had completed her education, and attained a great job, independence but without her husband or parent's help, she may be seen as a lady who has multiple sugar daddy's.  One example is my sister who is a pharmacist and is very independent, many men are intimidated by her success as a single woman, living by herself.  Some of her friends the hubby will not allow their wives near her because she must not be good for her not to have found a lifetime partner ...
So for women definitely it seems like once you get married you have cut out some of your issues.  For men, they are not truly men until they are married with children.  So whether a man is mentally prepared (as in I am ready to settle down and be a family man) at some point he is hassled to get married.  Once he starts making money either from being educationally or business trained, he begins to get those questions when will you settle down; and when his mother becomes scared that he may obtain some illness from the cheeks he is sleeping with (as if marriage will end her son's bad habits) or that she may bring home the cheeck she may not get along with, she runs off and finds him the good girl and tries to convince her son that she is the right one.  It is usually the well behaved neighborhood girl that greets her well and cooked her meals when she was ill; the girl that watched her son bring home the hoes when she was at work.  The men were always taught to select a woman with little to no baggage so that you will have children and she is less likely to cheat. And the women are thought that men have slept with a lot of women but he chose you to be his woman forever so forget those past flings.  Then they get married to their "trophy" and everyone stops working on their relationship, they show up at functions together and so is a message from Linda's blog:

Hello Linda,
I need a female perspective on an issue. I'm 37 and my wife is 35, we've been married 8 years and have 2 kids. We both have good jobs, home and a good life..on the surface that is.

Emotionally we have no connection. I feel her focus is the kids, the home, job, and friends in that order. She is a perfect mother to our kids and our home is amazing.

However we rarely have adult conversations, or spend alone time, and sex is 'ok', nothing wow! only go out to 'functions' and really live separate lives. I travel internationally for work, she travels for summer hols with the kids. There just isn't a connection between us. it's like we are 2 strangers who like each other and love our kids. if I went away for 3 months, I doubt I'd miss her, and vice versa.

For the kids sake divorce isn't on the table, but what happens when our kids are grown and i'm in my 50's? living alone in a big empty house with a woman I barely know???

I recently met someone who is vibrant, funny, intelligent, stunning, so so intelligent, that I fear I may cheat and it will be more than just far nothing has happened, but I can see the difference between my marriage and what could make me happy.

The question is, what's the best way to tell my wife she bores me? without coming across as a bastard? I need a female perspective from people who don't know both of us.

I am not claiming to be an expert on marriage but I hope to raise my children to think differently.  Marriage is hard work and you have to be mentally, emotionally ... ready for this lifetime commitment.  It is not enough for my son or daughter to finish school to feel ready for this process.  This young man in the above letter has reasons to be frustrated, but if you inquire he probably stopped courting his wife once they were married and vice versa. 
Once two become married, it is normal for us to become comfortable with each other; we all of a sudden relax and all of our annoying attributes becomes noticeable so that each day you choose to love and live with this person.  This is the reason why you are more in love with each other than the day you said I do or yes to a proposal.  After marriage, then the pressure becomes kids sometimes they throw in the man's face the other woman they suggested to him- "see Nkoli is so fertile, she is married with three kids, had it been you married her instead of Nenyenwa"
Many couples forget why they got married in the first place and allow too many people to inquire about their marriage.  Then you pop out the kids and you both have that pressure to maintain your job(s) since you now realize the pressure that comes with raising a family.
Before you know it everyone is doing their own thing as if marriage is a bunch of chores. 
Because of what me and my husband have seen and learned from engagement and marriage encounter weekends, we decided to wait one year before trying to have children.  It ended up being 3 beautiful years of good health where we expanded on our love, traveled, shared dreams, prayed together and sometimes reminisce on our 5 year courtship.  We are now expecting our first child and we have plans for date nights at least once a week; we both don't want too many children so that we can focus on raising them well in the way of God and that way we don't loose what we have.
We've both decided when intercourse in our marriage becomes boring, we will learn together and discuss what areas needs improvement.  We've also decided that we do not discuss our marital problems with the opposite colleagues at work, it is unnecessary and you never know that person's intention. 
We have also established that God comes first in our home, and then us, before anything else and when one feels that this order is altered then we talk about it.  We also agreed to always spend as much time in marriage retreats and whenever we need to talk to someone, we start with our pastor and if we feel we need more, then we both search for a christian based counselor (we are yet to need this). 
Like I said, I am not an expert in marriage but if your reasons for wanting to get married are not for your partner then don't torture yourselves.  Children and building a future maybe important but are secondary things that you both might want but never should come first in your marriage.
  That is why some of my cousins back home find their virgin wife and keep them at home with their beautiful children and goes off sleeping around with useless girls, spending money on them at hotels.  One of them told me my wife would not like to leave the kids and come to a hotel? have you asked her and she said no? then there was silence.  He has provided for his family, who cares whether he is with someone else and some women will actually say as long as he comes home to me I am not worried. 
So don't think you have it worst because you are single and distant yourself from your married friends because they've got the trophy that you don't have.  And married people don't get it in your head that you are better than the single person and it is because you did something right that you are married, because I am sure if you think hard you did not have a perfect life. It is not about whether you can find a husband, it is about whether you can keep your love going.  God bless you all!


Naijamum in L. said...

Insightful and honest.
Totally agree that marriage is not a trophy. The expectations are often realistic and people forget that it takes hard work to maintain a happy marriage.
Women especially are made to feel that this is the ultimate prize. It definitely is not.
Please read my old post on women's expectations:

Rhapsody B. said...

Marriage is a relationship like any other, it takes work, committment a willingness to forgiven each others humanness and acceptance of each other as is. Many go to school to become educated to get a great job, they train to be good at their job and continue to do professional development to ensure they can climb the ladder of success. They work at developing other skills and go back to school to elevate their changes and opportunities to earn better income, yet when it comes to relationships/marriage they don't do the work, they sit by and expect everydthing to come up roses. The proverbial happily ever after. They never work at maintaining, learning and growing together. They have agendas, uncommunicated expectations and become resentful and disillusioned when things don't work. They then begin the blame game each refusing to take accountability for their actions.

Marriage is work, each person have to work at growing together, understanding each other, learning to speak without offending and listen without defending.

P.E.T. Projects said...

The earlier singles start understanding the need to be happy as individuals first, the better for them!

Marriage wont bring fulfillment if you go into it with a lorry load of baggage(unsolved issues)

I have also learnt from observing married friends/mentors that marriages need to be worked at else they'll fail in no time.

Sisi Yemmie ™ said...

Truly marriage is not a trophy!

Yankeenaijababe said...

Wow, great insightful post, I love that you shared about couples thinking they have it all because they are now married and what couples need to do to keep their relationship alive. Even the struggles of raising kids, wow!!!

Congrats on your first baby, love that you and the hubby got some me time to yourself before bring baby home. I think am loving your approach, myself and the hubby want to enjoy our lives first, then baby can come next.

Every couple should discuss problems with their pastor or parents knowing our parents always want the best for us. Keep up the good work, keep sharing more about love and marriage, I sure love reading knowing it's very helpful.

Nenyenwa said...

@Naijamum thanks for your comment- i'll definitely check it out your post
@ Rhapsody, I definitely agree- nice analogy, marriage is like a school that never ends; just when you get your associates degree, then you work harder to get your bachelors, and then a Masters ... It is a much fun school for me :)
@ P.E.T definitely
thanks sisi and Yankeenaijababe

natural nigerian said...

This has always been a contentious issue.

We need a paradigm shift. I am a believer in the fact that not everyone should be married. Some people just don't have the maturity necessary for the task.

I almost feel sorry for the man and his wife. They both agreed for reasons best known to them to be trapped in a loveless marriage.

A friend of mine claimed that his long time girlfriend who he has spent the last 2 years trying to break up with - without sucess because she would dissolve into tears and remind him how she was there when he was struggling and insists that he now OWES her marriage - just one day bought a wedding gown and started looking at bridal magazines without a proposal from him. Rather than taking to his heels and running for the hills (like any sane person would do), he stuck it out and now they have gone through a traditional marriage ceremony and are planning a white wedding in the fall. This is a girl that he claims he is not even sexually attracted to anymore. Any takers on how their story will end?

I would like to see people begin to realise that marriage is not the answer to everything. You must live your life like it is golden and everything good will added. Pursue your career, volunteer at a shelter, learn a new language, take classes at the cordon things for YOU. So that if/when you meet someone that you want to spend the rest of your life with, he/she will meet you busy and with a full life. You will then be able to swing with a lot of things he/she is interested in. Any man that wants a "moldable" female is not looking for a wife. He wants a stooge to bear his children and keep his house.

Long comment. Ndo!

Mena UkodoisReady said...

Thanks for this blog!

Myne Whitman said...

This is an amazing post, I wish so many people will read it. I also like the comments from Rhapsody and Natural Nigerian. God help us all.

Nenyenwa said...

Thank you Natural Nigeria for your wonderful comment and yes marriage is not for everyone. I feel sorry for that girl and even more sorry for the guy.
Thanks Ms. Whitman- I am honored that you stopped by again
Thanks Mena for stopping by

Chizy K said...

ur so right, pple get carried away with d glamour n forget this is reality
lovely post

Naijamum in L. said...

Hope you are well?
I have tagged you - (The Bag Meme)
Pls visit my blog to know more

Amazing Thots! said...

This is absolutely insightful. Indeed marriage is a "harder" work definately not a TROPHY. We need to keep working at it to make a success story of it. Thanks for sharing this sistah.

N.I.L (Naijamum in London) said...

Hope you are okay
I'm sure you've had the baby now. I hope all is well with you and the baby
I tried sending you an email but it bounced back
Do take care

Rhapsody B. said...

just came by to say a quick hello, hope all is well with you and your family. Take care...


J.M said...

beautiful post