#Opinion: For better for worse – How mediocre is the institution of marriage today

Ezinne Osuagwu

I always believed in happily ever-afters when I was younger, I’d see my parents watch TV at night and talk late into the night, I deeply craved that kind of friendship with someone. That was when I was younger. I am barely into my twenties and the smokescreen has cleared and as I grow older and wiser, I see more clearly, unfortunately I don’t like what I see.

About 80% of my friends are married – fact! About 50% of that number couldn’t, at the time of this review, tell me exactly what is/was that drew them to their spouses. I remember when I’ll break a plate in the kitchen, and my mum will scream from the parlour (Typical Nigerian mum) “Ezinne ! Break those plates o, that’s how you’ll do it in your husband’s house!!!” I was barely 13 at the time and the woes of married life were already being drummed into me.

I’m older now, I talk to my friends, and I listen to their rants. A “guy” beats one of them up and she forgives him, the other got married to a guy who hangs up on her when he’s angry, and she’ll call incessantly to apologise for being too astute for his taste; another won’t wear a sleeveless blouse because her new hubby won’t like it, and all this boils down to what we were told: Marriage is about compromise.

When I asked a few friends of mine, the relationship between their parents after so many years, the common answer is that they are still together because of the kids; they are practically divorced flatmates merely tolerating the stench of their breaths for a lifetime of misery for the sake of public opinion: “what would people say about us?”

The only happily ever after I see in my future is one that sees me very happy whether I’m single or married. It’s pictured in a relationship based on mutual respect and friendship. Marriage has never and would never be the basis for happiness. And if you’re unhappy in a relationship then why in the name of the little black dress would you want to let it graduate to marriage?

Why would you remain bitter in a relationship that has wiped you clean of every trace of identity that you have, such that your life and your being rotates around your husband. I cannot for the life of me fathom why a woman who is barely 25 will jump with her eyes wide shut into a marriage with a guy that cannot even afford his own funeral if he dies this minute.

We have names for everything these days, and I think they call this one feminism, but my dear I call it common sense. We are so easy to say that divorces are so rampant these days, why won’t it, when the institution of marriage has been bastardised? Repeatedly! Such that people only get married to answer MRS as if it is a certificate that exempts you from hell.

I am only 23, If I get married today and realise there has been a mistake in my choice for a husband, even though I intend to be married once in this life time; I will not be complacent.  I refuse to be a punching bag, I refuse to be a door mat, and I refuse to be unhappy, forever is too long for that.

Before you jump into the mystery that is marriage, remember who you are, and remember that you do not have to completely lose yourself to keep a man, remember that your feelings count too, remember that he should, at least, be thankful that you agreed to adopt his own family as your own and move in with him into his personal space to be his companion and not his slave. Remember that if you respect him he’ll respect you and vice versa. But finally remember that even though it is a man’s world, you have a choice in it.

Happenings Media