This post concerns a very interesting question, one I have asked myself countless times over the years – what if I actually never get married? It’s a possibility that I try not to think about, but in moments of reflection I admit to myself that some of my viewpoints are so unusual or non-conformist, that it’s something that I at least have to be aware of.
It is also really crucial to think of this from my perspective as a woman, for this reason: because women are supposed to submit to their husbands, and will often follow them around the world (that at least is what I would do), sometimes as a woman it’s hard to know whether to throw everything into your own dreams – or whether to hold off just in case I have to uproot everything to follow Mr HugWug when he finally shows up!
I find it hard to respect the idea of seeming to abandon your own life for the sake of attracting a husband. That is, putting all your efforts into the quest for a husband who meets all your criteria, or ticks all the boxes. I also hate the idea of defining myself primarily by my husband – what job he does for a living, his status in life. Hello, I too am a human being, I too have initiative, I too am perfectly capable of achieving great things in my own right and in my own name. Therefore, it is not (only) about Tosin the wife of…., but Tosin in her own right. One of my male friends “jokingly” told me that I want to be a man. Well, if this is what it means to want to be a man, that is, to have ambitions beyond marriage, then clearly, yes, I want to be a man – just a female one!
OK, so having said that I don’t respect the idea of dropping everything to find a mate as early as possible, I definitely understand why women do this. OK, I may not be able to speak for all women, but if I were ever to adopt such behaviour, it would be so that I knew where I was in life, so that I would not have to run the risk of making big investments into big dreams, then having to walk away from dream as well as investments to follow my husband.
I have sometimes thought to myself – “maybe that is what I should be doing”. Maybe I should be spending my time focusing on getting a husband. But this is always the thought that stops me – what if he does not show up at all, or does not show up early? So what, am I going to spend the next few years dancing around in vain, and have nothing to show for my life? And then what, do you just accept the first feasible guy that shows up? I suspect that many women do this. This is why I suspect there is often such an air of victory when a woman can a) find a guy (seemingly – any half-decent guy) then b) convince him to marry her. However, I am not many women. For me, this is just not a justifiable use of time. I really need to have something to show for my time and for my life. And let us not be deceived, this finding a husband business takes full-time effort – like finding a job. You always have to look a thousand percent (so that he’ll understand that this is who you always are, that you are not going to start looking bad after marriage); you have to communicate to him that you’d be an ideal wife; that you’d be demure, wise, that he would be the undisputed boss of the family. Some of these things take single minded effort. Yes, I would love to walk around in glamorous high heels all the time, like beautiful women always do on Hollywood posters. However I know that it would take me 20 times longer to get anywhere than if I were wearing my trusty trainers. So, this would be fine if finding a husband was my only goal in life. However, if I happened to cultivate any other goals, and specifically any goals with time constraints, that might require me to walk fast, or even run once in a while, then clearly high heels are not the most practical footwear option.
Also, I would love to be able to invest financially into what it takes to always look good. That is, the clothes, the jewellery, the makeup, the perfume, the hairstyles (as a Black woman – the hairstyles, the hairstyles, the hairstyles, the hairstyles….) However, when I am trying to build a business, I have conflicting demands on my money: I need to pay my webhosting fees, domain registration fees, and registration fees for loads of other things – even though I definitely make the most of freebies! Well Tosin, you should put your husband first. Well if he was here in my life, as my husband, then yes, I would definitely put him first. However, when he is nowhere to be seen, even though I’m diligently scanning the horizon, then, you know what – I find that I am tempted to put my own real dreams ahead of a “maybe” husband.
However, this does not really answer the question “What if I never get married?” I guess this breaks into two parts: “Aah, I might never get married – so let me make the most of my life from right now”- as with all of the above – then secondly, “what will my life look like if I never get married?” It is my dream for my life that no matter what, I want to be the best I can be. I want to excel in life. I want to “reach for the stars”. Actually, even though I do want so badly to find and marry an excellent guy, the path to achieving my personal dreams is clearer if I considered myself without a spouse. Sorry, I know that I’m not supposed to say that, but let’s be blunt, it’s true! I don’t have to submit to anyone in terms of obeying my husband. I don’t have to submit in terms of giving up my own agenda for anyone else’s. I don’t have to think of my goals in conflict with anyone else’s. I don’t have to potentially uproot myself for the sake of someone else’s dream. So, by the grace of God, I am determined that if I don’t get married, my life has to be great.
Ironically, this just means that I have even higher standards for any potential marriage. If my life has to be excellent by myself, then it has to be even greater when joined to someone else’s – or why would I bother? So yeah, I often rate guys and think “Actually, I think I could achieve better by myself!”
However, I have to admit that there is a nagging suspicion at the back of my mind – is this way of thinking about life and marriage totally self-centred – rating a marriage in terms of how it fits into my goals? I should be thinking about the will of God, and what He wants, and what will glorify Him – even if there is no shining glory for me, but just hard work, and patient support of my husband, who might not receive any glory either. To be fair to myself, it is not about glory in terms of being visible and acclaimed, but it is about being great, however that might manifest.
So ultimately the question is “Is it right to be determined to be great?” Can it ever be self-centred to insist that your life must manifest greatness, and to reject would-be spouses who do not look like they would contribute to that…..?
Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.
(I believe that there are other ways to lay down your life other than to actually physically die)
Photo of couple by BPorbs on Pixabay