“Getting married is very much like going to a continental restaurant with friends. You order what you want, then when you see what the other fellow has, you wish you ordered that.” ~ Unknown ~
Two nights ago I had a very interesting heart to heart with my mum about relationships and marriage; that conversation inspired this post. I love that I have come of age and I can openly talk with her about anything and ours is not just a typical mother-daughter relationship, she is a very good friend too (anyway I digress). So I blew her mind away by confessing about the time I turned down a marriage proposal without her knowledge…
I almost got married once. I was 21 he was 35. The year was 2008 and I had just joined uni. We met in church. Rather, we met again in church for the second time after a very long while. First time we met I was 10 and he was one of my folk’s tenants then he moved away. First forward 11 years later… We met in church after the Sunday service just shortly after 1pm as the congregants were making small talk after the preaching. So guy X walks up to me looking dapper in a 3piece suit, cravat and all then introduced himself with that confidence that was borderline cocky the kind that is over confident you roll your eyes mentally. He looked familiar but I could not place where I knew him from. From the way he walked I could tell he was used to chics throwing themselves at him because he was of caramel complexion, but as we Kenyan folk call it – team light skin. I did not care for 2 reasons; one – am also team light skin and that has never mattered to me because I was teased about it all through high school, and two – I believe someone needs to bring more than just good looks to the table.
He complimented me, made me blush until my dimples showed by telling me how I had come to my own from the shy ten year old that he knew to a bubbly young lady and proceeded to invite me to his place the next Sunday for lunch. Now this is where them warning bells should have gone off because who invites a gal he’s just ‘met’ over to his place for just lunch? So young, naïve but bold Penny agreed to take him up on his lunch offer after we exchanged numbers. The deal was to call him once I got to his apartment block and he would come fetch me. All week I got endless texts ‘I hope we are on for Sunday dear’ and ‘I have loved you all my life dear’. Now this is where I should have deleted/ blocked his number but nope…Part of me was so intrigued how this would all pan out and so like a moth to a candle flame I drew nearer and nearer.
Come the material day, we went to church as usual and after turning down my mama’s amazing chapati for lunch because I was hurriedly ‘rushing to campus to complete a due assignment’ I proceeded to Mr. X’s. Now this next part is what blew my mummy’s mind away. Mr.X picked me from the agreed spot, and we got to his house… I should have taken the no tantalizing smells of peppered stew or well done ugali as another sign but anyway, I sat casually on the sofa. So Mr.X turns to me and requests to blind fold me with his tie. I agreed. Now there is something about blindfolds that heighten my senses but that’s a story for another day. I could hear him ruffling plastic bags on the coffee table and a silent door bang. He finally sat right next to me and took off the blind fold.
Right in front of me was a huge cake with pink and white frosting with the words ‘Will you marry me’ and next to the cake, was a gold watch and an engagement ring; a silver ring with a decent rock. I looked at the guy with a very puzzled look. Forget the me knowing him for all of one week aspect. Now if I was to accept the proposal in spite of it not being a proper one with him on a bended knee, his words threw me off. ‘Wambui, I want you to know that I want to marry you. I can afford to pay your university school fees and before you get to fourth year I will have bought you a car.’ My next reaction was a priceless one. I got up to my feet, told him that contrary to what he believed, my parents were more than capable of paying my school fees and that I wanted to buy my first car myself with my own money then I grabbed my back pack and left – never to be heard off from again.
In retrospect, how do you know that you are of age and you need to settle down? When is the right age to settle down and start a family? Is age a factor? Is maturity? How about promises of a brighter future? In light of everyone my age getting married, I came up with 3 things that guide you to know when you are not ready for marriage.
- You are not mentally ready to handle the responsibilities of being a wife or a husband and neither are you done exploring. At 21 all I wanted was to club hop between Molly’s in Westlands, Red Tape, Rezorous or Black diamond and finally wind up my night at Changez. We called it electric avenue. I had no business of being someone’s wife or being a home maker and even changing diapers. I wanted my dress short and my heels high (just like my standards) and dance to ‘live your life’ by T.I and sing along to ‘I kissed a girl’ by Katy Perry. If all you want to do is explore the club/night life then get that out of your system unapologetically. We all need to outgrow some stuff – just don’t drag someone along in a dead end relationship.
- You do not envision yourself with the person long term. Long term here involves putting the kids to bed at night, attending boring PTA meetings or at your child’s graduation. Granted a wedding is mad fun, but the reality of what lies ahead begins long before the caterers pack up their cutlery and the guests go home. This is the person you will be with during family functions, at special work events, when death strikes and you lose your best friend, or he loses his. Life happens, but if you do not in any way see yourself living your life beside this person, let them go!
- You are under pressure – you have attended numerous dowry payment ceremonies, engagement parties, your friends are having bridal showers, going to engagement photo shoots and uploading pictures on Instagram by the minute with #SheSaidyes #HarusiTunayo, your biological clock is ticking by the day and all you feel is pressured by the many hints relatives drop at family functions. I repeat, do not get married if you feel pressured mainly because everyone thinks its time you settled down. Would you rather feel awkward as a third wheel to a friend’s dinner party or feel awkward sitted next to your spouse whose guts you now cannot stand? A marriage is for life. Should be for life and at the very least, take time in selecting a life partner.
Am I ready for marriage you ask? I am readier now than I was at 21 simply because I now know who I am, what my values are, and what I want is someone who complements me not completes me.
1 Corinthians 7:1
It is good for a man not to marry; but since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband