“Women are like birds. At 16, they can fly without perching. At 26, they begin to look for a tree (husband) to perch on.The wise ones perch on any available tree, while the stupid ones look for Iroko (biggest) trees. At 36, they turn to any available tree, but then, their wings are too weak to make a good nest, and they may not be accepted by any tree”. This adage, although uncommon, has played itself out over and again in numerous lives; men and women alike. But the bulk rests on the women folk. A man can marry at any age, but a woman has her time (the biological clock); once that time begins to slip out of her hands, she naturally gets agitated and perplexed. If care is not taken, the question above suddenly becomes her regular song!
Recently, a marriage counselor likened a woman to a ripe fruit. According to her “the fruit is best eaten when its ripe, but if it gets over ripped, it loses its taste and the best that can be done to it is to discard it into the trash bin”. This is a brutal, no doubt.
Is this applicable to everywoman?This is the plight of Bella. She is pretty and ‘has the world in her pocket’ but she knows the four cards are not with her. How did she know? Well, she is still being called by her father’s name and she is still known as Miss instead of Mrs. This alone has been giving her concern night after night; she wet her pillows with tears asking the question in her heart. Oh Lord God, when will I wear my wedding gown? When will I be referred to as Mrs.? These rhetorical questions seem endless but she knows that the questions must be answered fast, before it becomes late.
As pathetic as Bella’s case is, one observes that numerous factors constitute this plight. Yes, it is a plight because it is a plight… I hope you understand. What on earth would prompt a man or a woman to ask this kind of question?
In this edition, the emphasis will rest on the woman. Hey, before you scream unfair, I promise to flash the beam light on the men folks in future edition. Meanwhile, relax and enjoy this.
There are a thousand and one reason why a woman could wake up one morning to ask this question. Lets start from here. When a woman gets to her nubile age, every man wants her, and she is nothing but a queen. But gradually, she just discovers she is outgrowing that age. The numerous bees around her who came to have a share of her honey have suddenly disappeared into thin air and no one desires to have her as “a wife material”. When this happens, this kind of question is natural. Lets forget the western life-style of a single woman and as single mother; the natural, well, permit me to say that, the divine law that cannot be changed has ordained it so. A woman must be under the roof of a man; from the cradle till her adulthood she is meant to be under the authority of her father. When she is matured and ripe for marriage, she comes under another authority, her husbands. This “under authority” syndrome is fortunately and unfortunately not for months, but for years; till deaths do you part, for better for worse. This junction cannot be distorted. This is the clear reason why a woman gets worried when she gets to a certain age and no suitor/man desires to have her as a wife.
Another reason for such question is a follow up on the above reason. Pressure, either from parents, friends, colleagues and others can lead to asking this question. If her parents continue to mount due and undue pressure on her; telling her they want grandchildren, then expect such question. And think of a situation where her colleagues in the office, her neighbours at home also join the “taunting” race, what do you expect? This question, of course!
Ridicule, hostility and jesting is not left out of these. If she is greeted, again, “ha, madam how are your children, how is your husband”. Of course, there is a problem. When people around her make statements to ridicule her knowingly, she will resort to this question. She would always be embarrassed, but what can she do?
Well, at other times, it could be the age of the woman. Anywhere in the world, especially, in our part of this world, when a woman clocks 40 without marriage, this question is obvious; because she knows she may not be as adorable as when she was in her days of “cheghe-cheghe” (sweet sixteen)
Although the holy bible clearly declared that everything God made was beautiful, still, we know some women are not endowed with physical beauty. This could be in looks and some men are swayed by looks, oh, beautiful face, lovely necks, a wonderful pair of legs, the list is endless. And for this reason a woman who is ugly and chimp-like in looks would always feel inadequate and incomplete. Her worries could lead her to patronize the likes of Modupe for body and facial enhancement, yet …
At other time, it could be a spiritual problem. In our part of Africa, some people shy away from some facts, but the spirit husband phenomenon have played and is still playing a crucial role in the life of most women who ask this kind of question. The woman observes that an invisible wall which, she cannot lay hands on, tend to separate men from her. Many who come around her for proposal suddenly disappear into thin air without any explanation. It could even be a curse in the family and questions could also be drawn from this angle.
The story was told of a young woman; her beauty was dazzling, she was gainfully employed and has everything a woman would ever desire. But clocking 40, she discovered no man was ready to ask for her hand in marriage. She felt it was normal. But somehow she came across a minister of God who told her to visit her village and find out from her father about the curse that was bestowed on the children. The lady initially bluffed off the sayings of the man. But on the second thought, she decided to travel home, during xmas season, out of curiosity. When she got to her home town, she went to see her late father’s brother and narrated for her ordeal to him.
Mysteriously, but fortunately for her, her uncle sat her down and affirmed the prophesy of the Minister. He told her that years before she was born, her father was a renowned Chief of the village also had slaves at his beck and call. According to him, one day, one of slaves who happened to be pregnant, gave birth to a baby. Few hours after the birth, the lady’s father ordered the slave to pound some yam for him to eat. Although, she was in pains, she went ahead to pound the yam for the man, but while pounding, she kept cursing the man and his generations after him, stressing that no one from that family would ever know peace or satisfaction in life. Few minutes after pounding the yam, the slave gave up the ghost together with her baby. The lady came back to Lagos and opened the can of worms for the man of God. After series of ministration, the curse was broken and a few months later, she happily got married.
Although many women would readily laugh and bluff at this kind of story, it actually happened and curse could make a woman ask this question. “ will I ever marry?
Frustration cannot be removed from the circle of this setting. Frustration from different angles can cause such questions. A frustrated woman is an unhappy dissatisfied and moody woman. This frustration could be economical, physical, mental, social or even spiritual, but frustration is really nerve breaking when it dawns on a woman. Frustrated woman finds herself asking this same question over and again but suddenly discovers that frustration ends when she is hooked to Mr. Right.
Being career-conscious and not being sensitive to the fact that one is a woman, also warrants something like this. Imagine a woman who spends the prime of her youth gathering degrees upon degrees. Before she knows what has befallen her, discovers that career has stolen her marriage away. This pathetic fact is common among intellectuals. Those women spend all their time at work and undergo one training and training upon another. An over career-conscious woman hardly settles down with a man. Rather, after much accumulation of different certificates, she suddenly ask herself “what have I done with my time”? But then, time and life is irrewindable, it’s gone forever.
Culture, the geographical area of an individual and ethinicism, constitutes a similar circumstance where a woman ask such questions. In some cultural societies, a younger one does not get married except after the older one. Some ethnic groups also practice something similar. But a woman who comes after four older women who areneither married nor engaged would be put in such a tight corner of confusion. She wants to respect her culture or ethnic beliefs but then at the expense of her joy.
Bride price is equally a factor. In some society, especially amongst the Igbo’s the cost of marrying a wife is quite beheading. A man’s head is literally chopped off simply because he wants a soul-mate, a help mate and a companion. Skyrocketing price of bride price clearly discourage men from going for women from such areas. Finally, the woman whose price tag is beyond reasonable compare suddenly gets to know that she is more than a wife material, infact, a sellable commodity.
“A promise is a debt”. This cliché is not applicable as this woman discovers that many suitors come her way but, they only “promise marriage”, her honey, share in but they hardly come back to complete what they started. Here, the problem is not that suitors are not coming but the annoying and irritating aspect of the issue is their inability to be honest, consistent and eventually tie the nuptial knot. The end result is a broken hearted woman whose constant sad song is … will I ever get married.