Days after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan bared their souls in an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey, social media has been agog with different analysis of the interview.
Some people claim that Meghan is a manipulative woman who turned her husband against his family. Others claim that her husband is a weakling for speaking ill of his family because of a woman who might leave him tomorrow. I have read enough analysis on this matter to last me a lifeline. Some people say that Meghan should have known what she was getting into and stop playing the victim. I laugh.
But what I won’t forget in a hurry is how many Nigerian men on different social media platforms have taken this issue a notch higher by saying their wives are not part of their families because they are strangers and will remain strangers. These men claim that the women they married, who support them, take care of them, are strangers. These women who go to hell and back while having children with their husbands have been labelled strangers by men who should love and defend them.
According to these men, they will never speak against their families even if their family members are toxic, abusive and criminals. They said they won’t stop relating with their toxic and abusive family members even if their wives are suffering and being picked upon. These men expect to be worshipped by their wives’ families but they don’t extend the same courtesy to their wives because they see these women as outsiders who are not worthy of respect, privacy and protection. What a terrible mindset!
These revelations are not new to me. I just pity Nigerian women who give their all to husbands who still see them as strangers and won’t even lift a finger to defend them when the chips are down. When I tell these women to put themselves first and look out for their interests instead of living in the shadows of their husbands, they will call me a bitter woman and a home breaker. It is now clear when these women stand in the marriages they are willing to protect with their blood and lives.
I pity women who don’t have a voice of their own to state clearly what they want from relationships and marriages in this part of the world. I pity women who don’t have what it takes to stand up for themselves when they are being bullied, abused, insulted and humiliated by their matrimonial families. I feel for them. It must suck being married to a wimp and one who sees you as an outsider. It’s heartbreaking even.
Marriage is good. Marriage is sweet. It is the union between two people who love, respect and want to spend the rest of their lives together. This is a beautiful experience if both parties are mature enough to navigate the tough road called marriage. It is not child’s play. It is not an easy road. It takes wisdom, maturity, patience and strength to have a happy, fulfilling and long marital life.
The sad thing is that some people make preparations for wedding without equipping themselves for the journey of marriage itself. Marriage is a long journey that you can’t tell for certain what lies ahead of you and your partner. This is why it is not advisable to rush into marriage with an immature person. People should look before they leap when it comes to choosing their spouses.
The worst thing on earth after poverty and sickness is ending up in a bad marriage. Dealing with a bad spouse drains you emotionally, physically and mentally. It destroys your self esteem and robs you of peace. You become a shadow of yourself if you have the misfortune of marrying the wrong person. Living with an immature spouse is like living in hell. You find out that in most cases, you are on your own.
Relationships cannot be rushed to maturity. Take time to nurture your relationship, find out how your partners stand on important issues and be sure that your relationship has all the potential to get better and make you a better person as time goes on. Relationships and marriage are just like everything else in life – if you force them, if you rush them, it’s not going to go well.
You have to also consider your priorities in life before deciding on marriage. Make sure you are both on the same page about each other’s career goals, social issues as well as personal achievements and experiences. You don’t want to end up with a spouse who is jealous of your progress and doesn’t see anything wrong with stunting your career and business goals. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life with an immature spouse who throws tantrums instead of communicating with you when there are issues to settle.
Marriage comes with a lot of responsibilities and compromises, and subjecting yourself to all these negotiations may make you wonder a few years down the life if you have missed any opportunities and not built for yourself a life you deserved and wanted.
Rushing into marriage does not guarantee that the relationship will not fall apart. You don’t want to have regrets and wonder what things would have been like if you hadn’t rushed into settling down so quickly with your partner. If you marry an immature person, your marriage won’t last. This is not a curse.
If you are married, it’s generally assumed you will always have somebody – for better or worse to share your days with. But if you get married to someone who sees you as an outsider, can you count on that person for love, laughter and protection? Can you confide in that person and rely on them when things get tough? Can you confidently say that your spouse will have your back when challenges come?
There are certain things you have to reflect upon before getting married. One, reflect on the compatibility of you and your partner’s characteristics and personalities. You might have known each other well enough to a certain extent, but are you ready to stand beside your partner in his or her ugliest phase of emotions?
The challenge has toughened now that you need to explore the well hidden emotions from what may lead you into doubting if you are the one for each other. Oftentimes, our compassion for the other half fades when he or she reacts unexpectedly in times of crises. This is the reality of a relationship that you will face when you two do get into marriage.
Marriage is a life long commitment that comes with responsibilities, money, children, and routines which require maturity, hard work and compromise from both sides. Are both of you mature enough to deal with all that?
The house chores, the errands, the cooking, the education of your children, how you will raise your children are all part of marriage and no person, who isn’t mature enough, can handle all these things simultaneously. These things are not women’s responsibilities alone. So, men are you ready to be involved in your marriage a hundred percent and be a hands on parent with your children instead of claiming their mother should raise them?
Are you ready to stand by your wife if your family is disrespecting her or you will suddenly claim she’s an outsider and take sides with your oppressive family. Can you handle your family when they are intruding in your marital affairs or do you claim they can do whatever they want because blood is thicker than water?
Marriage is not just a union between you and your partner; it’s a union between both your families. This is especially true for this society, so you will have to be ready to face both positive and negative responses if your relationship is made official but what makes you mature is not allowing anyone disrespect your spouse even if they are family. That’s not fair.
We all go through highs and lows in the relationship with our own family, and being in a serious relationship means having yet another set of family. Being a part of your partner’s family is in some sense trickier than meeting them for the first time. Ask yourself: Am I ready to be a part of his or her family? Is my family ready to welcome him or her? Am I ready to stand by and defend my partner against all forms of attacks and abuse from my family?
Trust is essential in any relationship, and it applies in marriage as well. Being married means you will be sharing almost every aspect of life with your partner, which includes coming clean about your emotional baggage with your partner and vice versa. If your partner doesn’t trust you enough to see you as part of his family, you are heading for a lifetime of heartaches, tears and loneliness.
Ultimately, marriage is a decision that will last for you and your partner’s entire life. Take all the time you need to really think about it and ask yourselves if you are both physically and emotionally ready to take the next step in your relationship. You don’t want to end up with a man who sees you as a stranger and one who will allow his friends and family get away with abusing you. Don’t hurt yourself that way because of desperation.