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.