(By Thitu Kariba) Being single can get difficult at times, rather others can make it difficult. When a man or woman gets to a certain age, there are expectations in the area of relationships that others hold on them and marriage is one such area. I recall a time when my mother would ask me if there was any man in my life, or any future plans for children and family and all of that. Many times I would talk about my plans for books, magazines, and other media productions, and I could tell that she would have preferred that I leave that to my brothers and focus on the home or family or at least make that the priority.
In the African community, women have only just begun to break the limits of what they thought they could be, do or achieve. Each day we as women reach a new ground breaking level outside of the home, children and our husbands. We are more than wives, more than mothers and home makers. We are presidents, executives, doctors and even mechanics. Some women celebrate and encourage young girls to do all they can before they settle, but others frown upon young women living out life without a man, marriage or children.
There are times when I attend weddings and other events where I find some of the girls I knew who are now married with children and suddenly, my singlehood becomes the topic of discussion as though it were some disease that they held the cure to. I know that one’s husband, wife or marital status is something to be proud of. However, it is not to be compared with a title at work because it is not. Marriage is not a job description or position in a company but a place, a destination and one that is ordered and directed by God only.
For some, this is not a destination he has planned for them. While for others it is the first engagement right out of college and for others it’s the last after retirement. When you marry, you move out of your parent’s home and move in together and live under one roof. You are also called to leave and cleave. In most cases where we find marriages going south, you will find that a couple got married but never moved into the place of marriage. It calls for a mental, physical, emotional, spiritual, psychological, financial and even dietary shift. It can be compared to packing up and moving into a new place where a lot of preparation, adjustment and work is required in order to cope. It calls for a new mindset. What you did while you were single cannot apply here. The things of singlehood become the things you left behind, like your old apartment and furniture that could not go with your new house.
When one looks at marriage as a title and not a destination, they may treat it like a new job with benefits and housing while not understanding that you make the marriage and the marriage does not make you. Having the ring has nothing to do with submitting to your husband. Saying I do has nothing to do with loving your wife. It’s a school of thought, a state of mind, a transformation of heart, a reorganization of priorities and an ongoing affair. It is not an eight to five job and it is not predictable. In that your reward does not come through every end of the month and there is no specified end of the marriage. You do not get voted in or out and you do not apply for or resign from the position.
Marriage is a destination. You need a guide, a map, a survival kit, and fuel, etc. And just like in mountain climbing, once you get to the peak of one mountain, it’s time to climb another. Relationships are the journey one takes to reach the marriage destination and yes settle down, but not stop. It is a new place with new tasks and the best part of it is you get to do them with your best friend if you chose right. Marriage can be paradise or it can be hell. Either two destinations can be reached and it all depends on His perfect time, will, understanding and your willingness to go there. I have seen many boast about the title while the destination is pitiful. Work to reach the place not to get the title.