Before you marry . . .

Marry

Bongiwe Nkomazana
I am not a fashion guru but I know a trend when I see it. One of the very current trends is posting an “I said yes” picture on social media to let the whole world know that finally, you have gotten the ring.

The struggle of getting a ring is real on the streets and it seems to be a bug that is affecting women more than it does men.

Back then, it was easy to be content with being a wife because you needed the financial support of a husband while he needed to be taken care of by his wife. The roles and reasons of marriage were very clear. But nowadays, a significant number of women are independent. They pay their own bills and can buy themselves whatever they need as and when they want it.

So the big question is why do we feel the hurry to get hitched? It is human nature. We have been built to need human companionship. It has been said all the money in the world cannot buy you happiness (I beg to differ) but this saying alludes to the fact that if you are lonely you cannot enjoy the other blessings you have in your life.

You need to have a life partner with whom you can enjoy the pleasures of life while you face its unpleasantries as well as a unit. This is fair enough, keeping in mind that nature calls at different times of our lives.

For others it will be at 20 years of age and for some of us the urge will kick in later. Either way, a lot of thought should go into deciding whether it is time to jump the broom or wait a while.

Getting married should be done at your own accord, when you are ready. I say this because I have recently realised what a huge commitment marriage is.

It is unlike a relationship where you can take a break from your boyfriend after a fight. It is serious business and you have to face your spouse despite whatever unforgivable act they did and try to find a way around it. You lay next to him whether he snores, drools or stinks. You have to be ready for that ugly mess to become part of your life.

The mistake that we millennial women make is that we ride on the hype of marriage being a fairytale, a happily ever after. We look at a wedding and picture the beauty of that event as the beauty of marriage. The truth is that marriage comes after the wedding and it is a lot of work.

Married people report higher cases of stress, high blood pressure and depression mainly because of all the responsibilities their union comes with. Do not get me wrong, marriage is a good thing but it is not for the weak and only you alone will be in that marriage, no church elders nor aunties or moms to hold your hand, just you. So you have to make a decision that is right for you and only you.

Be aware of the sacrifices you have to make. For you to be considered as a good wife, you are told to let go of certain things and people. Who knows how these things and people have made you who you are.

I have always wondered if young men get that pep talk from their elders telling them how to act as a husband and how to sacrifice basically everything they did before just to be seen as an ideal son-in-law.

That procedure is standard for soon to be brides. You are grilled on how to be the best version of a daughter-in-law with no consideration of whether you like doeks or you love cooking. Importance is put on pleasing a man and not once in that session is reference made to your happiness.

For example, young ladies are told that it is normal for a man to cheat and they should be strong. So basically you should sacrifice your common sense and pride and allow your husband to make “mistakes”.

The only reference I have is to me so I will refer a lot to how I feel. I have never imagined myself moving from my father’s compound straight into a marital home; to move straight from your father’s rules to a husband’s rules.

It is an obligation to cook and clean in your father’s house and you are diving into the same obligation of cooking and cleaning for a husband. At what point am I accountable to myself?

Everyone should experience independence at some point in their lives. It is liberating and you get to learn who you are as an independent individual. After experiencing this, I believe a woman is in a better position to do a lot more sacrificing.

Another thing you should be aware of before you run down the aisle is that your true identity might be lost. It is not just “my” life anymore; it becomes “our” life. It is a lot to have to give up your surname for someone else’s and you are told that whatever you do is a reflection of your husband.

So, for example, if you are a writer you have to put extra thought into the topic you write about because you do not want to embarrass your husband. Is it me or is that just too much pressure on a woman. To be called Mrs X in itself introduces your husband before it introduces you. We already know there is a Mr X and that he is into women like you.

It would be wise to tick all of the crazy things that you have always wanted to do off your bucket list before taking someone’s surname. The last thing you want is to regret not doing them and resenting your marriage for being an obstacle between you and your crazy goals.

If you want to dye your hair pink or be in a dance group, do it before you have in-laws. Get into a marriage only if you have shifted your mind off all the things single people have the liberty of doing because you will not be one of them after marriage because your actions uphold your husband’s reputation.
However, always remember who you are individually so that you do not lose that once you are married, whenever that will be.

Society puts a lot of pressure on us to be wives when we reach a certain age but who says we all want to be wives then or even at all? We need to hurry and find a man and have children before our eggs dry out or before the future grandparents die. People do not realise how many young women have settled for the first man to come along due to this pressure.

Ladies, before any sort of “I do”, get to know the man in subject.

Be aware of his religious beliefs; know how he reacts when he is angry. Find out if he respects his mother and if he is a good communicator. Never ignore the red flags and think that marriage will change a man. It will not.

A man who disrespects you when you are dating and things are exciting will not respect you when he sees you every day and things are routine. The biggest mistake is to ignore our intuition because our vision board states that we should settle down this year.

Rather date long than marry briefly. Take the time to know your boyfriend and make a clear decision of whether he is indeed your future husband or a waste of your precious time.

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