If you have an African Mother or Aunt or Grandmother and you happen to be female, chances are, the minute they discover that you have boyfriend, which you have been dating for longer than six months, then the “when are you getting married” side comment is thrown in between that last bite of supper.
To add to this, then there is the random Facebook post about how women should have their babies by 35 since the odds of becoming pregnant after this age diminish. Therefore, even if marriage is not top of mind for some women, we live in a society that says that a boyfriend equals marriage, and marriage equals babies.
Sooner than later, a woman in a relationship is bound to ask herself how long she should wait until that equation comes to fruition.
Before I share my thoughts on this matter, I opened up this question to my social media followers, and here is a summary of their main points:
Self-Awareness & Self-Discovery
Many respondents suggested that until one fully considers what makes them tick, what kind of a lover are they likely to make as well as what they value in a partner, one should not even contemplate holy matrimony.
I have to say I totally agree with this since you can’t attract a great partner until you become the greatness you seek, and you won’t be able recognize a great person unless you have experienced that greatness within.
Women older than 30 were particularly vocal about this one. They felt that those older than 30 had enough time to explore life and discover what they really want out of it and that anyone you date in your 30s is either a prospective spouse or a placeholder lover.
All About the Dough
Another major deciding factor was the financial position of both partners, particularly the man. By now we should all know that if a man does not feel that he is in a position to take care of his family, the chances of him going on bended knee are slim.
In addition, because we now live in a world where dual income is increasingly needed to maintain a happy household, women also felt that they should be in a position to contribute to the well-being of the family.
These days, financial stability means something additional to women: traveling the world, changing one’s hair as often as she likes, and building “wealth” all before saying, “I do.”
And while I agree with everything stated above, I doubt whether some of the remarks stated come from the heart or the brain.
For example, I asked one girl (who had responded by saying that getting married should be based more on readiness rather than timing) whether she was willing to wait 10 years, considering that she had just turned 30.
She then sang a different tune.
My uncle dated his wife for eight years, and by the time he recited his vows in front of a minister, there were skid marks on the isle. I remember my sister-in-law, then-girlfriend saying something quite profound:
“Everything has a life cycle, even relationships. We have reached a stage whereby we either exit or start a new chapter, which is another new life cycle on its own.”
As much as women are conditioned from birth that love equals babies, there is another dimension that is often ignored when it comes to this matter: there comes a point when you want to build a life with someone and you want to know if the other person is committed to building this life with you.
Depending on how you are raised, there are some things that you only foresee in marriage, such as babies, buying property together, and making joint financial decisions. I see nothing wrong with this kind of thinking, especially if both partners have openly communicated that they believe and value the institution.
And in case you are wondering what my philosophy is on getting the ring, I believe that those older than 30 should not wait for more than 2 years for their significant others to surprise them with a 2.5 carat ring (hint, hint).
I just had to, my better half also reads my posts ☺!