Weddings bells have been ringing more than usual lately. It definitely seems like 2017 is a year made for weddings. You know at least two people who are getting married in a matter of weeks or months. You most likely know more than two people who are about to get married. And you might be feeling a bit left out or alone, even though you’re in a stable relationship. You shouldn’t feel that way because everything good happens in its time. Marriage isn’t something you should rush into without being sure of your feelings, your emotions and choice in a life partner.
Let me tell you a short story. This happened to a friend.
“Winnie served as a Youth Corps member in Bayelsa state, Nigeria in 2014 where she met DJ. DJ was one of the numerous Youth Corps members just like her who had come to serve their Motherland but they were just friends. Nothing more, nothing less.
After the compulsory one year Youth Service, Winnie moves back to Lagos and gets on with her life. 2 years pass and then she gets a call from DJ, who currently lives in Delta state. DJ who says he’d be in Lagos and would love to meet her. Winnie says OK but that she’d be coming from work. DJ offers to wait for her at a well-known junction in Egbeda, Lagos. When she gets there, she discovers him with his bags and is surprised. They greet each other and decide to have an early dinner at a restaurant.
After eating, she discovers that he didn’t come to Lagos on business but came to see her. Then he says,
“Winnie, if I ask you to marry me, will you marry me?”
In surprise and shock, she begins to laugh and asks if he is serious. He says yes and affirms that is why he came”.
If you were Winnie, what would you do?
“Winnie leaves the restaurant after telling him she would think about it and goes home. DJ, meanwhile stays in Lagos for a month after that day but she refuses to have any contact with him. When she finally picks up his call, she says she still needs time to think about it.
Winnie, before DJ’s first call, had been and still is in a relationship with Tony, whom she’s been dating since she left college. Tony is settled, handsome and caring but he seems not ready to propose to her. They also fight about the littlest things. Fights that mean he doesn’t call or check up on her for days. When she calls, he doesn’t pick up. When he calls back, he says “are you ready to apologize now?” even when she doesn’t do anything wrong.
Winnie feels her clock is ticking. She’s attended 7 weddings and been a bridesmaid at 6 of those weddings in the last 2 years. She believes that Tony is taking too much time to make up his mind and that she needs to get married before she’s permanently booked on the ‘spinster shelf’.
This is why she tells DJ she’d think about his marriage proposal although she is not attracted to DJ in any way romantic.
Then Mike comes into the picture. Mike is funny, built, dresses well, and believes in fairy-tales. He seems like the perfect guy. Mike works with Winnie and has been asking her out for a year but because Winnie is dating Tony, she says no but that doesn’t deter him from sending her flowers and love notes.
A week after DJ’s unexpected proposal, Mike tells her he wants to speak with her and that it’s a matter of life and death. Winnie, worried that he’s sick or something, gets in his car and he drives her to the Island. He parks and they get down at a popular restaurant in Lekki. He escorts her into the restaurant, to a table for two. Perfect lights, perfect music, perfect dinner.
Mike begins to tell her of how much he appreciates her and how happy he’s been since he met her. And then says those words that almost every lady longs to hear;
“Will you marry me?”
Winnie wonders if she offended her ancestors or someone pretty old in her village. Every other guy apart from her boyfriend has proposed marriage to her but her boyfriend hasn’t”.
What would you do if you were Winnie?
Some would most likely be tempted to accept the proposal, others not so much, and some others would definitely accept the proposal.
The truth is marriage proposals, talk more of marriage as an institution itself, aren’t something ladies should accept from every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there. Why, you may ask? Simply because marriage is a decision that when you make, you can’t escape from. Why, you may ask? Because marriage was never originally designed to have an exit clause. It is a kind of college that you shouldn’t graduate from once you’re in it.
Maybe if we all understood marriage as an institution better and as a contract with no escape clause, we would have lesser divorce rates. Maybe if we all understood that marriage proposals should not be accepted out of pity, lust, stupidity or any other reason that we usually end up regretting.
How sure should you be before you accept a marriage proposal? My advice to you is VERY SURE.
As a lady, your future is very important and should be well-secured. Just because he proposed to you in a public place with a very public expectation of you saying yes doesn’t mean that saying yes is the right answer. I may sound pessimistic to you but let’s face the facts.
Marriage is a serious and lifetime choice that should be carefully thought about. You need to be extremely sure that when you say yes, you mean it for as long as you both shall live. You should mean your yes with all your heart, your soul, and your mind. There should be no iota of doubt in you that he or she is right for you.
Don’t ever jump into marriage. I mean, what’s the rush? Anybody gonna take a whip or cane to your butt? Duh. Take your time and chill. You may be in love with the person who has proposed but there should be a period of waiting…especially if you’re newly in love. Don’t be too eager to say yes. Because Tom proposed to you today doesn’t mean you should say yes today!
FYI, there are some questions you need to ask yourself, especially when you know your guy is planning to propose to you. Let’s call it a kind of checklist that may help you make a clearheaded decision concerning your choice of a life partner.
Why do I want to get married?
This is a very important question that you need to ask yourself. Are you planning on getting married because all your friends are married or getting married and you don’t want to feel left out of the race? Or you feel you’ve been a bridesmaid at too many weddings? Trust me, life is not a competition at all. Different seasons for different people. Different paints and brushes for different paintings.
You should always understand the reasons you want to say yes to his marriage proposal. It shouldn’t just be because of superficial reasons like his looks, his carriage, and his money. You should check for deeper traits that you will enjoy and love about him for the rest of your life.
Also, you must understand the reasons why your partner wants to get married. Are his reasons supernal or superficial?
How do we handle conflicts?
The way you both handle issues that crop up now will determine how you handle issues after you’re married. People don’t change after marriage and that’s a fact. We are who we are and will always be who we are. We can learn new habits, attitudes and traits but who we are is inborn.
Do you both handle issues like kids? After a conflict, do you ignore each other or sort things out immediately? Like New York city-based relationship therapist Jean Fitzpatrick says, “The key to a marriage-ready relationship isn’t a lack of conflict. Partners who can speak gently to each other rather than fly off the handle will be the most effective at sorting out typical disagreements over money, sex, and chores,” he explains. “Couples who don’t manage conflict effectively end up in destructive arguments, or they begin to avoid each other and the relationship goes stale.”
Does marriage mean the same thing to both of us?
An article on brides.com says, “When you picture marriage, what do you see? And does your vision match your partner’s? “If one partner thinks children should be raised by a stay-at-home mom and the other looks forward to being a two-career couple, you have some talking to do,” says Fitzpatrick. Or, “if one likes to be alone [together] most of the time while the other wants to socialize regularly, you’ll need to find compromise.”
OK. Let’s say you go ahead and accept his proposal. There are some things, as a woman, that you shouldn’t do. An article written by Ann, The Wife Syndrome, here on the blog may help you understand what we’re talking about a bit better.