Tola Sarumi: Marri-age (30 Days, 30 Voices)

Can women be given the same social and emotional lebensraum to attain these same pre-marital necessities before the pressure starts bearing down?

Last Saturday, I was summoned to the Sarumi family house, to see my mother, Iya Sa, who has this rather tired habit of calling me in a panic, ‘Tola, see me unfailingly tomorrow’. My heart skipped several beats. I wondered what could have prompted such a call.

It was close to 8pm and Iya Sa was dressed in a lace voile or is it voile lace, buba and Iro. ‘Because of you, I’m late for my afternoon party. Wait for me in the sitting room, I’m coming’. I sat there, ready. She returned with her gele in place, and a pamphlet in her hand.

‘Oya, kaa kini yii si ita kin gbo’ (read this out loud so I can hear it). I swallowed and read slowly ‘Marriage; Biola weds Dotun , what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.’

So, you see what I am wearing, abi? Another aso-ebi. Tola, tell me, when am I going to choose your own Aso-ebi, ehn’? I’m tired of spending money; I want people to spend for me as well.’

I laughed. I know I shouldn’t have but the look on my mother’s face was so serious. She looked pained over what I consider to be a matter beyond my control. ‘Ma, don’t worry, I’m working on it, hmmn? Yes, I know it’s not funny’.

I would ideally like to have children in a stable, loving relationship. If that means marriage, then count me in. But it is not something that excites me or that I’ve spent too much time dreaming about. I know women, successful, good-looking, self sufficient women who feel less than for this same reason. Some man had not declared them his ‘missing rib’. On that, there seems to be a lot of Naija men walking around with missing ribs sha, and we all know the state of our health care system, you people should take it easy o.

I do wonder if men get pressured in the same way though. I was speaking to good friend of mine, a man, about this. He’s been in what I consider to be a stable relationship for some years now. He made it clear that there are prerequisites he needs to tick off before even thinking about marriage, and he has that luxury, he’s a man!

Can women be given the same social and emotional lebensraum to attain these same pre-marital necessities before the pressure starts bearing down?

But since we are usually perpetrators, the town criers who beat the gong incessantly on this issue, let me ask, how many of us are really happy and fulfilled in our unions? I’ve observed these couples, aunties and uncles who come to family house,  the uncles sit comfortably, relaxed in their pose, sipping beer and arguing about Naija politics, the women retreat to the dining room or kitchen to console each other on one matter or the other, usually a husband’s infidelity or over bearing in-laws. Yet, if you happen to be the unfortunate one to walk pass, they won’t miss a beat ‘ah Tola, our husband nko? It’s getting late o, shey you know’?

I’m not anti-marriage, I’m pro happiness. The world is changing, priorities are different, the freedom to do as our parents did or to carve our own path must be cherished.

As Iya Sa left for her ‘afternoon party’ at 8:45pm, she took the pamphlet and put a hyphen in between the i and the a at the head of the paper, ‘you are now of marri-age Tola, help yourself.’

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Tola Sarumi is a Risk and AML Consultant in the Financial Industry. She writes on topical issues and other things that take her fancy. Follow her on twitter – @Afrovii

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30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.