30’s And Pressured For Marriage? Dear Lady…

Image of a 30+ single lady in a wedding dress wishing to be married

…the more my 20’s are flying by, the more I have found myself thinking about what my 30’s would be like. Would I be living the baby- girl life, eating fresh fruit on a balcony in Greece wearing a bikini with a glass of champagne in hand overlooking the ocean…

Dear Single Lady,

The one who has got man-issues, I am writing to you today. Yeah, if you are confused about the choice of a life partner, overwhelmed by the number of proposals, or if you are hitched to a non-committer, and or disturbed by what seem like a wilderness experience or drought of suitors or if you just can’t make up your mind— I have penned this heart-felt letter to you.

And that’s not all, if the pressure to get married gives you sleepless nights, best bet you are in my thoughts too. I have bumped around here for a while, had some classic experiences, but guess what, love and relationships was designed to be a whole lot simpler than we’ve made it. Today, I don’t wanna rant, I just want to try and connect to the soul of that woman who have got questions and can’t seem to figure out how this love and marriage thing is supposed to work. Please settle comfortable and grab a glass of water or communion, I will be giving a toast to you later on in this post and you gotta be ready to gimme the glass clicks.

Two ladies raising their glass to give a toast gif

Okay, time to be honest; writing about marriage and the emotions that comes with it is a difficult one for me, and that is because it makes me a little uncomfortable, I’m not so much a fan of the topic but today, I have chosen to go the 4-1-1 on this romance business. Good for you if you are shocked, but let’s just say I’m at the point in my life where I am not worried about being misunderstood. I stopped trying to explain myself out of erratic conclusions. You see, for most part of my life, I  tried to keep up with the commandments –—  the clean slate-y, the lets-walk-on-eggshells- so-we- don’t-mislead– other- people etcetra. But now, nah, ain’t nobody got time for disputations.

I recently told a younger lady “See, I love that you follow me closely and it is flattering that you chose me as a role model, but please don’t disrespect the sacrifice of Jesus walking this earth and hanging on that cross. He showed us how to live, and if Jesus isn’t enough role model for you, then I don’t know who can be.” Let’s all just be humans, who desperately need God.

Okay.

Back to our talk on singleness.

Yas, most of us want the best life but occasionally get slammed with the sense of underachievement when it seem that life is passing us by. You might have experienced this play out for instance as a little kid who wished her parents were rich enough to fly her around the world like the neighbours did their kids, or when you had to wait a longer time than your friends to get admission into the university. Or maybe at graduation, landing your dream job, walking down the aisle, or procreating. There are certain feelings of inadequacies that comes to test our mental strength, at one time or the other.

Today, I want to talk about marriage, the aspirations to be married, and the big 3 and the 0 fevers for ladies. Yikes, the pressure is real! And this pressure most of the time isn’t even about whether you will get married or not, it is about when to do it.

My Story…

To a lot of women, 30 sound like a curse. Society almost made us believe so, and if I’ll be honest, the more my 20’s are flying by, the more I have found myself thinking about what my 30s would be like. Would I be living the baby- girl life, eating fresh fruit on a balcony in Greece wearing a bikini with a glass of champagne in hand overlooking the ocean and drawing inspiration from the ambience to write my second book? Or would I be responding to never-ending questions from my children right there in the cinema at the basement of our home while telling them “Mummy is busy honey, ask your father”?

Both make for interesting scenarios but I should say this—-I wasn’t always fascinated about the thoughts of marriage. As a little girl, I never once dreamed of my wedding day. Instead, I dreamed of being on stage—accepting awards for writing, broadcasting, influencing my world, etc. In my early 20’s, I couldn’t imagined being married. As I crossed over to mid-20’s, everyone tried to help me ‘feel’ emotions about marriage. But the more they tried hard, the more I would sit down to consider it, and each time, I was more convinced I didn’t like to be married. Until Jesus!

Let the church say, AMEN!

Here was my reason back then— I got bored easily with dating. I warned potential suitors not to fall too hard before they got too close. Routinely mushy talks were a bore, and love relationships were totally enervating (notice I write in past tense). To answer your unspoken questions— I’d never been heartbroken; I was never abused as a child; my parents have been married for over 30 years and they’ve had a wonderful marriage full of the usual ups and downs. The explanation was— everybody else wanted company and intimacy, but at that time, I was happiest when I was alone. In situations when I met wonderful individuals whose company rivalled my solitude, I found myself choosing my peace when faced with options. 

Some of my weird takes were a major reason I often talked myself out of writing about marriage, love, and relationships. I even once concluded that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t understand what others were feeling, and because of this, I had zero opinions on love matters.

But I do understand. I talk to a few of my friends about how, on occasions, I crave to be held and rocked to sleep in intimate settings, and that I look forward to permanently having someone on my team with whom I could conquer the world. So maybe I do understand the feeling of wanting to be married. And because two truths can coexist, there are other days when I struggle with the idea of waking up to someone else in my space and in my face, demanding the right to my time and attention.

Shrugs gif

Are you in your 30s and feeling some kind of way about it? I have a few guesses.

Are you feeling the heat ’cause it’s not the norm to stay single until you find that forever person? Or perhaps you’re looking around and seeing all your peeps tying the knot, and it’s got you feeling some type of pressure. Is it your nosy aunties who can’t stop asking when you’re going to make it official? Or it’s your family who’s got their own ideas about who’s the right match for you? Or maybe you’re one of those who do not vibe with the solo life.

My letter to women in their 30s

Dear single lady,

I’ve been meaning to talk to you for a long time, and I’ve finally worked up the nerve to do it.  I have many things to say and lots of questions for you, but chief among them would be: “Are you in love with yourself and your purpose?” I know it sounds like something straight out of those cheesy self-help books, but I am genuinely concerned about your understanding of purpose and our time here on earth.

On some days, we seem to forget that our time here on earth is limited and is a preparation for eternity. We get carried away with earthly expectations and societal idiosyncrasies—

“I want to have this by 30”

“I gotta achieve that before hitting my 40s”. 

Cool, there is nothing wrong with setting timelines, goals or being ambitious; in fact, it drives us to take charge of our destinies and put in some diligence.

Wait a sec, how many of us had those grand plans? Like, graduate by 19, snag two master’s degrees by 25, tie the knot right after, scoop up a PhD by 28, pop out twins… and then, bam, the good times roll. Ha! Anybody out there? Come close, let us laugh together.

Some of you aimed to be married by 25, then make the Forbes list by 30. You know, that “30 under 30” vibe… Come closer too, join in the laugh.

But for real, people get these things done, and at pretty younger ages too. The timeline works for some, but for others, it’s a whole different story.

To quote Lao Tzu, “Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her”. Self-love has a profound impact on how we see ourselves and the choices we make. For without it, you drastically decrease your ability to be successful at anything.

Maybe if you take some time to focus on your purpose, which is beyond marriage and the timelines for anything at all, you will find fulfilment.

Your feelings are valid, but let’s be real—there’s something truly soothing about being in love and at peace with yourself. ‘Cause if we’re not careful, when our timelines don’t pan out, we are led down a stressful, disappointing, and unhappy life where we easily lose our self-confidence and start doubting ourselves and our purpose.

Maybe you are thinking “Sewa, you don’t understand. People who aren’t as good as I am are all married”. Yeah, I hear you loud and clear. Maybe you’re just sick and tired of being sick and tired. And let me tell you I know, marriage is not a reward for good behaviour. It’s time to start living, sis. So, here’s the plan: over the next few days, weeks, and months, I want you to shift your focus away from those pesky timelines that are stressing you out and onto something that lights you up.

Maybe it is time to do the work and make the changes you’ve been putting off. You can’t keep living unhappily beyond today, sis. Nope, not happening. What do you have in your hands right now? Whatever it is, develop it. You’ve got the power to create, just like your Father. So go ahead and make it happen. Nothing’s passed you by.

Let me share with you some stories I found online:

Melanie, 35, Bradenton, FL

I felt a self-imposed pressure to get married because all of my college friends were marrying their college boyfriends. I had always done everything “right” — good student, went to a great university, played college and professional soccer, and always “won” at everything I did. I pressured myself and my college boyfriend to get married at 27, and we were divorced by 30. I don’t quite understand why we impose this pressure, but society and societal norms do play a role in relationships.

Bimbo Akintola, 50, Nigeria.

I guess these questions arise because of the country we live in and the kind of people we are. It’s also something I think we need to look at critically, because it seems we are creating more trouble for people, as marriages are now crashing within six months or even less. This is partly because the society puts a lot of pressure on people to get married. Shouldn’t we take a step backward and ask ourselves what we are doing wrong.

It’s not about how soon, but how well? I think it’s time we realized that marriage is such a serious thing. Shouldn’t we allow people make their choices by themselves, without pressure?

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I could go on and on and share stories of women who have refused to let the timelines run them down and out. And NO, I didn’t share those stories up there to make you think “Oh, it could have been worse”. I shared it to help us understand that there are women like you and me who have chosen to take back the joy the enemy tried to steal from them. Societal pressure should never make you settle for a life of misery and unhappiness.

And even when society says you can’t be single, queen-ing and happy, you need to stand up to it and tell it otherwise. Snatch that crown and position it right where it belongs — on your pretty royal head.

Dear single lady, instead of brooding and hurting, raise your glass high to my toast for you today…

To new beginnings of intentional joy… cheers to your singleness. *raise glass*

To doing away with mixed emotions or depression over simple things that would happen anyway… cheers!!!

To maturity of the mind and celebrations of true love, Cheers!!!

To the future that awaits you, with the right one! Cheers!!!!

Today, I’m sending love to every woman out there who feels like she is measured by impossible standards.

Please break out and choose God’s peace.