Why all this testing before marriage by Viola Okolie

Why all this testing before marriage by Viola Okolie

Dear Young Ladies,

You have not been pre-set or destined to spend the rest of your lives taking tests. Once in a little while, you can decide to live free and where better to live free than in the institution of marriage.
black wedding

This is not about an “angry, embittered woman trying hard to pass on her angst to the next generation”, this is about certain crazy things I see that force you into a life of ‘management’ as you proceed into a phase of life that is meant to be enjoyed and not endured. Marriage should be enjoyed. If you are enduring marriage because you feel you have failed one test or the other, then at this point I guess the best we can offer is the platitude that this is another test of life, hold on and you will soon pass the exam.

Maybe we are jumping the gun and talking marriage, instead of talking about courtship? That period when you try to get to know each other a little bit better, some of you put on your best behaviour and are forced to live that way the rest of your lives in order to keep up appearances, or “change” midway to the loud protest of the deceived spouse?

  • “She has changed. When we were courting, she used to walk into my house and make a beeline straight for the dirty kitchen where she will spend all night scrubbing plates, mopping floors, doing my dirty laundry etc. Now, she asks me to pick up after myself, nags non-stop about my sloppy attitude and insists on a nanny to do the dirty jobs”.
  • “She has changed, she now wants to party all night, when I met her she was virtually living in the church and was thinking of joining the convent.”
  • “She has changed; she never wants to party any longer. Always tries to drag me from one church meeting to the other, from one prayer house to the other and tries to spring surprise all night prayer sessions on me. When I met this girl, she was your regular party animal”.

You see, all these happens because you have been conditioned to think that there is some sort of “good girl” test you are supposed to pass and when you pass that test, it would usher you into a life of marital bliss. You will have the coveted gold band encircling your heart finger. Good on you.


But do you just want to marry, “anyhow anyhow”, “at all at all na im bad pass”?

Or do you want to marry someone who accepts you the way you are, warts and all?

I have heard the truly Nigerian myth of how the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I have also seen lots of Nigerian men who do not care either way. If you do NOT know how to cook, they would hardly notice as they would lap up whatever offerings you served up, no questions asked. They probably married you and not the Executive Mama Put.

I have also heard the curious Nigerian myth that a woman who cannot sweep, mop, wash clothes till she has whitlows on her ten fingers, pound “nyam” and all that other stuff should be confined to the dustbin of bad home training, one yard short of a wife material, etc. I have also seen loads of Nigerian men who ensure they roll up their sleeves and master the puzzle of house keeping with their wives, hire nannies and house-keepers whose salaries they both chip in a little bit towards and so forth.

You see: if you cannot break a fart in front of your intended because you are always cautious and conscious of him and that ring which you need on your finger by all means possible; If you cannot feel free to be your lazy old self around him; if you are always uptight – revising for the “test” which could turn out to be anything at any time, you will have a miserable courtship. And then, you will feel closeted into a miserable marriage where every day is spent trying to keep up appearances and fit into the mould and image you have already created.

What time then, would you have to be you?

Or else, let me frame it another way – why does the man not have to bother about being tested? He does whatever he likes, is free to be himself and reveal his real self to you, and you accept him exactly the way he is.

Does he beat you? Is he stingy? Dirty? Cowardly? Cannot boil an egg without burning down your estate? Is he a philanderer or perhaps an eternal drunk? Can he manage his books or is he miserable with his finances? Does not even have any finances to talk about or a source of livelihood?

Do you not think a man who possesses all of the “sterling qualities” listed above has failed the test without even trying? Why then do you overlook all that and insist through your broken teeth and black eyes that he is “your soulmate”?  That God has pre-destined for you two to meet so you can save him from himself? Why do you co-opt family and friends into fasting and praying with you for him to change even as you struggle to scrape together enough finances to host your wedding to the lout?

Permit me to ask once again, why shouldn’t the man be the one assuring everyone that even if you do not know what end of the broom to hold on to, he loves you just the way you are because you are his “soulmate”?

Why shouldn’t the men also experience the joys of having to take surprise, unscripted tests and fail at them? And have their stories bandied around as being two yards short of being a complete husband material?

Think about that next time you condition yourself to taking and passing tests in order to be with a man, or run down other women because they have “failed a test” that would have secured them the tiniest handcuff in the world.


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