Written by Oluwatosin Fatade

If you’re a single Nigerian and staring effortlessly at your late 20s, you most definitely have been told to get married whether you’re male or female; or you must have been asked to show the future spouse. The question that cannot but cross the minds of singles is “who made marriage compulsory?” Several young people are still trying to find themselves and you’re mouthing ‘marriage’? Please, take several seats. If only you knew how fond of solitude most youths are! Quite a lot of youths are getting married these days while still in their mid and late twenties, but a lot more are still close pals with singlehood and they’re loving it! Cultural, religious and medical factors have influenced the age of marriage for many, without any doubt.

It is common place to hear of seminars and programmes aimed at preparing people for marriage; there are things you should know before getting married or joining another person to your life. The rate of break ups and divorce stories around these days is probably another reason many youths will hang on to their solitude for as long as they can afford to. Some are satisfied with just procreation or sexual gratification, the rigours of having to go on a lifetime duty of having a roommate is quite scary! To snatch such out of the euphoria of their own company will be herculean, and that sadly is the state of many. Recent advancements haven’t helped at all, as there are more and more reasons to have solo fun without seeing another soul. There’s a lot that can easily be achieved from the comfort of your room while you’re yet alone, as long as there’s internet and electricity to stay charged. Social media has replaced meeting people physically in the lives of so many; in fact, there are friends who will communicate more with you on the phone than when you meet them in person.

I am yet to meet one person who doesn’t value friendship or who doesn’t want a close friend. Yes, we have different criteria in choosing, and different expectations of our friends; but we all seek another human who gets us, who is like-minded and who we can flow with easily. The commitments attached to having a friend isn’t as cumbersome as that of a spouse. For instance, you have little or no responsibilities to the family and relatives of a friend as opposed to a spouse.

It all just makes me wonder if there’s any truly celibate human in the world. If we all long hopelessly for perfect friends and loathe isolation so much despite loving solitude, why has the package of marriage turned out so unattractive? I opine that we as humans fear responsibility, wrong choices, hurts, heartbreaks and dangerous commitments. You couldn’t possibly just change rooms when you’re tired of your spouse like you’d do for a friend or roommate. Marriage is lifelong and it is scary to be stuck with the wrong person. I am yet to see someone who died of companionship.

So, before you declare yourself as totally uninterested in the institution of marriage, ask yourself salient questions. For how long will you enjoy your solitude? Would you totally be fine with yourself 30 years from now without a spouse and children? When you reach the peak of that career that you are presently chasing, will you be glad to retire home alone daily? Will you ever feel down when your friends have to leave you to attend to family issues? Ultimately, will you be fine all by yourself?

Marriage is not a thing to be rushed or pressured into, it is a beautiful thing if you’re in it with the right partner. Maybe we have too many stories of marriages-gone-wrong. I wish the few good and working ones, if any, would share their stories. Rather than follow the multitude to run away from this, why not find ways to make it work?

If you really want to have nothing to do with marriage, I don’t think it is a big deal; don’t be pressured into it. But be absolutely sure that is what you want!