Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pressure

Thursday, May 20, 2010
I've been thinking about this issue a lot over the last few weeks. I have a few young ladies around me who for some reason talk to me about relationships and meeting the right kind of men, and wanting to get married So more often than not I find myself dispersing advice or simply just stating things as I see it. Out of all the relationships I've ever had, the one with Bolaji has thought me the most. It shattered all my preconceived notions of how things should be and really just left me with my eyes wide open and also with a sense of just being yourself and letting everything fall in to place.

But recently I've just been thinking about all the pressures we face as young girls, as women, as wives, as mothers. The funny (or unfunny) thing about it is that it's mostly US women that do this to ourselves. Now how I feel may not be a popular opinion but it's one that has worked for me and God-willing will continue to do so. I'm still learning and open to learning as I move forward. However I'm thinking about the rules of engagement when it comes to the opposite sex that we give and judge ourselves on. I'm talking about things like don't have sex before marriage, don't co-habitate (such an ugly word!), don't call after the first date, make sure you know how to cook efo and egusi, call your mother-in-law and basically suck up to her, etc. I'm not saying these are not sound advices but please for the love of all things dear, STOP PRESSURING PEOPLE ON THESE POINTS.

I believe everyone will find their way. I believe in encouraging our younger sisters, daughters, nieces to be well-rounded, sound individuals. Encourage them to have confidence, to love their bodies, to be curious about the world, to explore, to be imaginative and creative, to be kind, to be warm-hearted and considerate, to be compassionate, to read their Bibles, to crave God and to know God, to be fun, to laugh often, to forgive a lot, then everything else in their lives will fall into place. And fall into place correctly.

Take for example cohabitation. I lived with Bolaji before getting married. If I were to be completely honest, I think it was a great decision for us. It was not a planned decision and you can read my post on Cohabiting to know my feelings on that, but all in all, it was a good experience. For Us. I am being frank here. I can't imagine how brides handle the process of actually getting married AND the difficulty of living in the same space with a spouse. These are two very tough times in a woman's life. Especially as Nigerians. When I first moved in with Bolaji, like seriously, we argued like cats and dogs. We were both frustrated with a lot of things and just learning how to be in each other's space. It was tough. Most of the time during that period I wasn't even sure I liked him, it was that bad. But then the rougher parts started getting smoother and smoother and before you know it we've completed melted into each other's space. I think to myself, as a newlywed just going through this, surely you would feel like "oh my God, what have I done?". For us, by the time we were actually physically getting married, it was just all about the vows made in front of God. That was beautiful to me. My wedding wasn't over the top or crazy, it was just simply Bolaji & I declaring to God our Creator and our closest family and friends that indeed we have selected each other in this journey. Now what I say to ladies when they ask me about this is I think this worked for Bolaji & I because we both KNEW this was our last stop. We are both extremely committed to each other and our relationship. We both don't believe that marriage "starts" at the altar, yes that is when it's publicized, but for us marriage started when we both stood in front of God and said thank you for giving me my partner, I'm going to cherish her/him, please strengthen us, hold us, and protect us. We did that long before we got married. Cohabiting so far, has not hindered me I feel because we were both highly committed to each other as life partners. If you BOTH are not that, then I would say don't do it. If you and your partner cannot kneel in front of God together and voice your commitment, then that person is NOT the one, yet. That's my experience.

I use this as just an example. Things work out differently for different people. I'd rather encourage people to be sound Christians, responsible, principled, and kind ladies, if you can be all these, then I trust your judgement on your situation. Many people imbibe all these societal pressures without even knowing how they themselves feel about them. It's almost like don't think about it, just do it. When I have a daughter I hope to teach her to love herself and to value herself, to love God and build a relationship with Him. That's it. I don't want to teach her directives. I want to teach her to make decisions that are right for HER.

23 comments:

Naijalines said...

Interesting post. More people need to hear this, particularly the bit about marriage not starting on the wedding day. It is an agreement between two people in the presence of God, to spend the rest of their lives together, and so co-habiting should be one of the choices available to the couple in question, when embarking on that journey. It definitely helps to know who and what one is committing to.

I like the fact that you stressed that this is an option when the couple have committed themselves to a future together.

Blowing Blessings Your Way said...

I couldn't have said it any better. There are so many rules and regulations that we all follow when it comes to relationships, etc. We all need to fall in love with who God created us to be and just be that! Ourselves! Everyone's relationship is different, what works for one couple may not work for you. It's sad because these pressures are very real. Kemi you did a great job breaking all down in this post!!!

Anonymous said...

ooooo I hope not to get a debate started and Kemi I have been following your blog for a while now and I love it, I admire your honesty really I do but this co-hibiting I'm totally against it. Have you noticed that the things that are widely accepted in society today such as pre-marital sex, co-hibiting, same sex marriages etc is why divorce rates are so high, have also lead to the increase in broken homes, the rise in sexually-transmiited dieases? Its also what Christ Himself prohesised as being the end-times signs "that many people will wonder from the faith and turn to their own ways." The fact that you say your a christian is why I'm even commenting, even if you and your partner weren't having sex it IS assumed that when a man and a woman live together they ARE having sex! So to tell a young person or a person with a weaker faith that co-hibiting is ok, you are infact making yourself a stumbling block which the Bible clearly tells us not to be. When your co-hibiting what does your testimony of Christ say? Give a girl pearls at 10 what does she have to look forward to when shes 16? If your co-hibiting what do you have to look forward to once married, the excitement that is crucial for newly-weds won't be there if your discovering that your spouse talks in his sleep or leaves the toliet seat up before your married. Everyone has their own definition of marriage but to God who actually instituted marriage, you are not married until you are married. Look at what Jesus said said to the Samaritan woman in John 4:15-18. I had my own definition of marriage when I was having sex with my boyfriend until I looked in the Bible and read that fornicators will not inherit the Kingdom of God and should live in fearful expectation of going to hell. At the time I was having sex with my boyfriend I thought it was ok, afterall I still woke up every morning with my arms still attached to my body, it wasn't until two and a half years later that the consequences caught up with me.
You mentioned that you and now-hubby chose to remain ceibrate until married but my dear if you were already "married" then why didn't you have sex afterall the marriage bed is undefiled. You say instead of people advising others not to have pre-marital sex or co-hibit or whatever they should be encouraged to read their Bibles, to crave God and love Him but if you read your Bible, loved God (God's definition of love for Him is obeying His commands- John 14:21-24)and craved Him then you would do things His way and not the way you think is best or in the way that pleases your flesh. I have read your much earlier post on co-hibiting and you yourself even noted why it was wrong so I believe that abstraining from pre-marital sex and being advised against co-hibiting is the advice that needs to be dished out, it is what people especially young people need to hear. I believe that so many marriages would not be as they are today (the broken, unhappy ones that is) if the truth had been known to them prior to marriage about fornicating and co-hibiting.
If your not a christian then fine but if you are then what is normal to everyone else cannot be normal for you.
Boi that was a long one, lol but thats my 2-cents on the topic.

:)

Anonymous said...

I agree with you Kemi. Everyone needs to do what's right for them as a couple. Every relationship is different, and every situation is different. We need to stop forcing "morality and virtuosity" down women's throats (especially since we don't do the same for our men), and instead acknowledge that everyone's life is different.

Miss Natural said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Miss Natural said...

This post made me go back to the beginning of your blog and read every single post from last to first and I have picked up a few things along the way. Your post about having a clear idea of what you want in a man and making yourself conform to those ideals, the myth of perfection in your spouse and the blessing of single life (enjoy it while it lasts)...suffice to say this post just added a lot of beneficial ideas. There really is no hard and fast rule to the marriage/ courtship process. Its a time that ultimately one has to carry God along and be in agreement with your partner because if two people are not in agreement talkless about excluding God, nothing can stand.

Kemi said...

@Anon1, thanks for stopping by and your comments. I understand you have your point of views but I don't agree with you.

I just want to make two little tiny weeny comments, my marriage is not about toilet seats up or down or dishes or no dishes or talking in sleep. Bolaji and I are life partners. That's why we are married. We chose each other to go through this life together. And also, I don't know why there are lots of divorces, if I were to guess though I'd say it's people going into it with too much expectations of the other spouse and of themselves and putting too much pressure on the marriage on what its supposed to be or not be and then being disappointed.

@Everyone I'm glad you also see even if it's just a bit of my point of view as well. Thanks.

Pea said...

Hello.

The first thing I would like to ask is, who are you trying to convince with this post? Your readers, or yourself? I could be wrong, but your defense of cohabiting seems to be coming out of conviction.

Secondly, you are mixing up very different things in your argument in order to give yourself credibility, but I can see through it. "Don't have sex before marriage" is not on the same level as "Don't call after the first date," for the simple reason that one is spoken about in the Bible, and one isn't. "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but adulterers and fornicators God will judge." Hebrews 13:4. "Flee fornication... you are not your own... you were bought with a price." (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).

You fornicated and are busy promoting it instead of repenting. You might not see the fruits of it right away, but especially with your attitude, they are coming soon.

You say things worked - FOR YOU. Unfortunately, two things... how long have you been married? A very short time. And... God is no respector of persons. Nobody's case is unique. Everybody must live up to the same standard whether they have been evicted from their house or they live in a mansion.

Nobody will find their own way. Jesus Christ is the WAY, the truth and the life. Any other way, whether Bolaji's or whoevers, is therefore a LIE and leads to one place - hell.

The link to this post was sent to me as a Christian's blog. If you are not a Christian, well and good, you are living according to the only standard you know. If you are walking around calling yourself a Christian, please consider verses like Matthew 7:21-23, Luke 6:46, John 14:15.

All the positive, "supportive" comments on this blog are confirmation of Paul's words in 2 Timothy 4:3-4 "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. Italics mine.

Girlfriend, wake up and repent. Two people you cannot fool: yourself, but even when you fool yourself, you cannot fool your God. He can see through the fa├žade. There is no point calling yourself His disciple if you are going to walk around badmouthing His precepts as "pressure." Again, I am assuming that you are a Christian, this is the impression that was given to me when I got the link to this blog. Your fruits determine which side of the fence you are on (Galatians 5:18-23). Fig trees don't bear thorns.

Blessings.

Anonymous said...

Kemi, at the end of the day you and B are extremely happy! The people that know you in real life know and say so. Don't let people who have never met you get to you.

Kemi said...

@Pea, thanks for your comments. Another quick comment to yours, this blog is not a religious blog and I never linked myself to any Christian websites. This blog is just to chronicle my experiences in my relationship with my boyfriend turned fiancee turned husband :-)

Myne Whitman said...

I love your blog and I love that you're real. However, on this I think you're doing the exact thing you're accusing others on by trying to preach YOUR way. I can understand why Anon and Pea are up in arms, you can not push Co-habitation on one hand and then end with Christian principles, they cannot honestly go together.

I agree however that we should stop putting pressure on ourselves as women and work out our relationships as it suits us. Thanks for sharing.

Kemi said...

@Myne, thanks for your comment. I have read and re-read my post. I actually wasn't preaching anything. I just share my experiences. This blog is just to share experiences, the real experiences. And if I were indeed preaching anything, it'd be that we shouldn't pressurize our young women and we should encourage them to be sound individuals able to make sound decisions. I didn't say do as I do, I said do what YOU think is right for you. I feel like people wanted me to say DO THIS, DO THAT. period. I understand this. But I didn't and I'm not going to.

If you were to ask me, Kemi, "is this how you really feel right now" I would answer yes. Could I come two months from now and say "ok, I felt this way but this is now how I feel and this is why?" yes. I could also come back in two months and say yes, I still feel it worked out for me. But that's life. We experience things, we grow, we evolve. It's an human experience that's shared. As for the religion angle (which this post is not), fortunately no one here can make me (adjudge me) a Christian or NOT make me a Christian.

Halima said...

I agree with Pea totally. the point you have to make Kemi is if you a re a christian loving Christ and want to keep his commandments, if you are it should be easy to say premarital sex is against God because he says So rather than feel "judged" by his commandments or see it as "pressure" or want to be free of the yoke or him. it's like "chritsins" of now adays want the 'blessings of Christ' without having Christ himself [imposible]

and i tell you this is the way to Hell- that broad road to hell i tell you!. all through this post you talk about loving God, reading bible being a christian, and then u then preach things that are against Christ and what he says, if you didn't say anything to do with God this will be a post i would dismiss as someones opinion. but Don't claim to Love and follow Christ if you will not only not keep his commandments but encourage others to go astray from it. Thats what the devil is known For- leading people away from Christ don't be like him.

my post might be harsh and as you read it now, your indignation might be rising up saying things like "she dosnet know me" "who does she think she is" etc. but please remember its cause of love i write this-love for other Christians and others who will read this and then think its ok to live in the same house as someone they are not married to- if you were in such a Big commitment for marriage before u got married why not get married? you would've gone through the same process anyway- or were u just 'test driving' your marriage and planning to split up if cohabitation doesn't work out? and if you were not planning on spiting up why not just get married in the first place?
and what about the temptation to have sex when living under the same roof and disobey God?

what testimony does cohabitation give to the world about Christ? anyone ANYONE knowing u living in the same house with a man will say you're sleeping with him even if you aren't and by doing such you have sullied Christ's name. If you have decided to do such a thing its according to your conscience, but Telling everyone not to be Yoked or feel pressured by Godly standards is not the way to Go- especially if you say you claim Christ.

I'm British in London(Nigerian Ethically) where everyone is sleeping with everyone and living together, but even i know that i am not meant to follow the worlds standards but Christ.

Mat 7: 21“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

http://marriage.about.com/od/cohabitation/qt/cohabfacts.htm

Kemi said...

@Halima thanks for stopping by and thank you for your comments!

Halima said...

Hello Kemi, ive read your other notes and although i definitely feel i spoke the truth, i feel i might've been harsh in explaining my point, please email me here michelle_top@hotmail.com so we can talk :)

Reverence said...

I really enjoyed reading this. I liked the last paragraph best. Those are the exact same principles i want to teach my daughter.

uloms said...

Oooh Kemi, this your post sounds like a lot of justification we christians do for co-habitating. I don hear this your side of the story tire. I'll use myself as an example. My situation was very similar to yours when I got married. I too was looking for job, accomodation and the likes. So, my hubby asked me to move in with him. We consulted with our pastor who advised to go and do court marriage and he will bless us that way our conscience will be clear before God and man. We went to court the following week with him by our side blessing our marriage. My parents raised hell bcos our wedding was slated for the following year. We rode out the storm with them fighting all the way but at least we did the right thing in a very complicated situation. My dear una no do the right thing and don't even justify it. Me sef, I moved in a week before the court marriage and I would not open my mouth to justify it or tell anyone that cohabitating is such an ugly word. It is not right before God and man. I read your previous post on the issue and I totally understood where you were coming from and didn't judge you. But this post is leaving an ugly taste in my mouth. Just leave that topic, joh. You're married and that's good. Just thank God for grace and mercy and sin no more. Just bcos it worked out for you in your own eyes doesn't make it right. But anyway, you guys got married traditionally after moving in so I guess you were fine for a bit.
Speaking of pressure, I think you and Bolaji put yourself under pressure by waiting until the white wedding to consumate your marriage. Either of your marriages would have sufficed and you can do the do and not have to explain nothing. So, really you need to preach that to yourself. Had you settled after the trad you would have been free. Anyway, I've said a mouthful. All the best in your marriage.

Anonymous said...

I think there needs to be a re-introduction of Christ:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YNJ5oi1cw2I

2Ruby2Red said...

gosh people are so harsh. Quite un-christian like if you ask me, a lot of comments came off as barking. The point is this is her view, she justifies it for her (not you or anyone else). There is no hard or fast rule, being christian ultimately boils down to your relationship with you and your God, he knows each persons heart and intention.

Naijalines said...

@ 2Ruby2Red
Ditto.

I am soooo tired of the fire and brimstone brigade. Each to his own.

@ Kemi
Olorun ni kan lo mo eni to n'sin.
(Only God knows who truly worships him)

Please continue to share your thoughts.
And I admire you for the way you have responded to comments here.

Niki said...

Ummm, people are so harsh or do you mean God is so harsh? Afterall these people didn't write the Bible and yeah I like what you said "Only God knows who truly worships him" and as its been stated already He (God that is) has said how He determines those who truly worship Him.
The truth is always harsh, to some even offensive but at the end of the day the truth is the truth. Funny when you think about it cos Jesus was offensive to alot of people whilst He was on earth...seems like He still is.

Gosh. So christians are meant to smile, keep quiet and hug people into hell in the name of "christianity" so as not to hurt your feelings? Did y'all mama's do smile and keep quiet when y'all were blatantly being disobedient?

As said already...the truth is always harsh, to some even offensive.

Perfectly Human said...

I like your diplomacy in responding to the comments on here. I can just imagine you REFUSING to get riled up while reading the responses.
Good job!

angelsbeauty said...

looks like a sensitive topic was addressed here..
my two cents - the way i read the bible, cohabiting and sex before marriage dont go and the way I as an individual choose to live my christian life.. i don't believe in them either.

something i keep saying is this sin is sin.. from co-habiting to sex before marriage to lying to picking up a pen on the floor in high school (stealing) etc.. all na sin... no sin is bigger than the other.. except if i remember correctly blasphemy against the holy spirit (correct me if i am wrong).

so pointing fingers and saying o co-habiting is this or that.. sex before marriage is that... how about point to everyone on the road and say you lieddddd or your stole??

I get this blog did not address the whole lying and stealing bit but.. christianity is between and individual and his or her God.. only God knows those who truly serve him.. and only him can judge..

all i can say is for me i try to repent every day.. even things i do that are sins that i do not realise.. i just repent because it is only by God's grace that we are truly free.

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