As females we have that relative, friend, neighbour or colleague that has turned themselves to your life clock with the ‘you know you are almost 30, won’t you get married?’ question. Some even literally remind you of your ticking clock. Don’t get it twisted, I am not anti-marriage, in fact I am in love with the concept of marriage. I only begin to have a problem when people make it the prerequisite for a complete woman, worse of all when they attach a timeline to it.
Some months ago, I had consulted a number of folks for advice on what to do upon completion of my M.Sc. I highlighted a couple of options, one of which included going for a Ph.D., shared my thoughts and ultimately tried collating my findings.
A reasonable number of the advice I got all had a thing in common: the marriage factor. “Girl you are almost 30, hope you know”? One of them said looking at me like I had just made a profane statement. Questions like “Don’t you want to settle down?” topped the chart.
For those who don’t understand it means “don’t you want to get married?” Some folks with less niceness went ahead to say I was being deceived by my small stature and the most illogical of all was that men would run away from me if I have a Ph.D. before getting a husband. I was shocked …ehen, ordinary advice that I came to seek this people are insulting me…
Before I get into details let me clear your curiosity, I am not particularly young and you won’t call me old; I was not born at the time when one naira could make a pot of soup.
With all these advice and insult coated suggestions I got, I began to think of how much the society pressures young ladies into underachieving to make them fit for a husband. I went on thinking about the unaccounted number of to-be great women who have adjusted their lives and plans to accommodate these innuendos of the society. Recently, an acquaintance of mine even mentioned that she had to terminate her plans for further studies because her mother-in-law to be thought it was a threat to her son. In the woman’s words, “shey this one wey sabi book like this go hear word so?” I didn’t understand this at that time, and it will still beat my imagination till tomorrow.
How does making your life and the life of those around you better make you less fit for a man? Why would you even have to consider spending a second let alone a lifetime with a man who is intimidated by your success? Why would you as a man let the society decide what category of woman you get married to? If you love your partner, their progress will be key to you and you both define the standards of your relationships that are pleasant and acceptable to both of you and not robbing the society of great minds.
The hard truth is that not everyone will have their career goals achieved by age 30, male or female. There is no straight and fast rule for accomplishing your goal in life, so why set a universal (or maybe national) age limit for marriage? When anyone is ready to marry let them go for it.
Ladies, don’t let any one stop you from achieving your dreams and don’t lower your standard to accommodate anyone. The person you get married to and the time you wish is your call to make. If you have a goal and you want to achieve it, go! Go! Go! Girl! If you need to get married along the path to self-discovery, do it, because you want to… no reason other than that is good enough.
Men, (hopefully you are still reading) don’t give in to the prejudice that women with higher degrees are not submissive. I bet you want a woman who can support you and you can boast of. If she thinks a higher degree is needful for the improvement of her career, rather than stop her, support her.
Not-so-dear society, please be nice; times have changed, let people be, let the woman be whatever she wants to be and let the man marry whoever he finds suitable. Just let them be!
Originally published on BellaNaija