If there is one thing that exhausts me on social media, it is the volume of opinions that are rammed down people’s throats as facts. There are so many opinions on social media these days that the thought of even logging onto facebook exhausts me. Even Twitter, my favourite social media app is becoming toxic by the day. And while Instagram is not that bad, I fail to understand the need to post pictures of my life so people can like them to feed my self-esteem.
Drained as I may be though, I am not one to sit around and leave people to believe erroneous opinions simply because I don’t want to be bothered. Nope… the thought of sitting around while people go on and on about how their opinions are facts is a bother on its own. Forget being a bother; it is a crime – one that relationship social media is constantly engaging in.
For some time now, I have seen people post all kinds of advice about relationships. A few days ago, a lady on Twitter posted what she called a “survival kit” for young wives. She went to highlight that she had been married for 13 years, had three kids and had survived the damage she faced in her marriage. She went on to indicate that women who are preparing for marriage should be prepared to be “really really damaged” because that was a rite of passage of some sort. The post had many retweets, many nods, many agreements and a few outliers like myself who just did not agree.
You see, growing up, marriage was never packaged as a good thing to have, yet it was communicated as something that must be desired. Mothers and aunties often said in my language, “ile oko, ile eko” meaning a husband’s house is like a school. Now, if you attended the same schools in Nigeria that I did, you’d understand why this was certainly not something to look forward to. Marriage was packaged as a war front where your only chance of survival as a woman was to surrender yourself to some form of education and societally acceptable behaviour that would not in any way bring reproach to your husband. Some aunties went as far as highlighting that men could do whatever they wanted in marriage and it is your duty as a woman to build your home, lest you be regarded as foolish. Unfortunately, a bible verse was even used to further drive the message home:
“The wise woman builds her house; but with her own hands, the foolish one tears hers down” – Proverbs 14:1
And so I spent most of my childhood watching women scurry around to save their homes so they would not be regarded as foolish. Women stopped talking to their friends because their husbands did not want them to have friends. Women stopped working because their husbands did not like their line of work. Many women looked and still look the other way whenever their husbands chased women with shorter skirts and longer weaves…“At least he is not bringing them home”, they said. And as they built, some of their husbands tore down, leaving these women in the endless cycle of building and restoring. But that is not the worst of it. The worst thing is these women became mentors. They became the council of advisors for many women. They taught and still teach many young women to prepare for bad marriages.
“After one year, you will see changes in him”
“Once you hit ten years, the marriage becomes really tough”
“The ups and downs get worse with time but you will be stronger because you will be used to him by then.”
Oh wow! Sign me up real quick for the forecasted suffering, will you?
I’m being sarcastic but many women do sign up. I remember seeing an advert for a book about getting rid of the other woman in your marriage and a young lady wrote a comment along the lines of “Where can I get a copy? I don’t have a man yet but I need to be prepared.”
Why are we constantly preparing for bad marriages? Why are we accepting the experiences of others as the status quo and hoping for their suffering to become our reality? Why are women romanticizing the idea of having a “survival kit” for a lifetime commitment like marriage? I have so many whys but you already get the gist. Women are constantly bending over backwards to reiterate the gloomy forecast of marriage, and do you know why?
Many women do not dare to demand better for themselves. I find in this social media age, that the more retweets an opinion has, the more likely it is to be regarded as fact. Many people out there believe that the reality of others is bound to be theirs so they buy into damaging opinions really quickly and begin to prepare for the gloomy days ahead. Many people believe that if X is giving marriage advice and has been married for 15 years, then that advice is the gospel. LOL. So let’s say I work as a cleaner at a bank for years, does that qualify me to give you advice on investments?
The fact that a person has been married for years does not mean they had a substantial relationship with their spouse. Heck, people are married for years and live like strangers in the same home. People are married for years in abusive relationships. People are married for years to other people who do not want to have sex with them or even touch their skin…. yet we tend to believe the duration is equal to positive experience? Nope, it is not. It will never be. And you need to start telling yourself that if you want to stop preparing for a bad marriage.
Instead of listening to the survival kit gang, the ‘I’ve been married for xx years’ gang or the ‘your man will cheat or change’ or whatever kind of evil they’ve been stewing in for years gang, take a deep breath and ask yourself what you really want. Do you want the status quo of pain and unnecessary education? Or do you want a marriage where the ups and downs do not include cheating, abuse and alienation?
Dare to demand better. Life on its own is tough. Rather than prepare for a bad marriage, be kind to yourself and aim for a good one. If you prepare for a bad marriage, anyone who proposes marriage will do. But if you dare to demand better for yourself, you might just be the exception to the status quo. XOXO.