on marriage and mating


An interesting blog by Minna Salami, "So, When Are you Getting Married?" over on Nigerians Talk.

"...In real life, the picture-perfect marriage does not exist for me. Although I respect matrimony as a spiritual acknowledgment of companionship, I just can’t fool myself into believing in the Cinderella myth. In a recent interview, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie pointed out that ‘marriage as an institution isn’t set up to benefit women’. I sympathize with her, it is for this same reason that I see life as an empowered woman and life as a married woman as conflicting. Hence, I like to think that should I get married some day, my marriage vows and my general attitude towards the legal union will be tailor-made to suit a lifestyle where my partner and I start off on equal terms."

I wholeheartedly agree and co-sign this. As much as I detest blogging about relationships (and believe me, I won't dwell long), I was struck, on Mother's Day, by how little resemblance I bear to my now dearly departed mother. When I was a kid, as much as I loved her, I watched her care for me and my three sisters; all the cousins, aunts and uncles that came to live with us; and my father; and figured it was a pretty raw deal. I fashioned myself and my behavior to be as non-matronly as possible--played sports as a teen, shaved my hair into a boyish fro in college, and am now, quite possibly, the most assertive person (male or female) in my entire office.

And now, when I look at mothers, wives and matrons with their children and church hats and spectacles, I cannot see myself reflected back at all.

To try and understand why this is, why there seems to be a disconnect with this part of my biology, I look back on my childhood to the women I loved and cherished: the ones trapped in life-long loveless marriages; those beaten into submission; and the others that got divorces and became fearless single mothers. And I don't wonder that I'm somewhat noncommittal when it comes to the issue of marriage and mating.

All of this to say that the notion I entertained as a little girl, that I would one day (quite magically) be married, has somewhat faded. Where I do find examples of egalitarian unions among my peers, I hold them up as beacons of hope. But with few exceptions, I DO NOT find these examples among my parents' generation. And these are the lessons branded most indelibly into my psyche.

I think if my mother were still alive, she would probably ask me when I was getting married and having kids (she always told me to be more nurturing). Left to my own devices, however, I will just wait and see. Perhaps I will never marry. Perhaps I will elope tomorrow and move to a commune.

But I think the models we have from our parents are not helping matters. (I might also add that Chimamanda is happily married to a wonderful Cross Riverian. I met him at her book signing last fall.)

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  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly..........

    btw, I had no idea Chimamanda was married

  2. Thanks for the referral to my article, it means a lot to me as I dig your writing

    You know, your mum's soul must be smiling proudly at you. I believe it's the wisdom of the soul namely, that is able to non-judgmentally observe first and only then, feel.
    Your feelings about the disconnect to marriage are a result of soul observance.

    Thankfully, our generation (assuming we are around the same age group) can boast many more egalitarian unions. These are indeed beacons of hope. Although that said, the prospect of a commune is not better nor worse than the prospect of a marriage for me either, that's the beauty of life aye!

    I second Chic Therapy in not knowing Chimamanda was married, another source of hope it seems :)

  3. @ChicTherapy @MsAfropolitan: I third that. She has seemingly not only navigated the choppy waters of publishing, but relationships as well! In awe of everything. :)


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