Nigerian women marrying later doesn’t seem to faze parents


Today I thought I’d talk about Nigerian parents and how they feel about getting their children (especially female children) married off. I’ve read the blogs of a couple of Naija women who say that their parents (especially their mothers) cannot wait for them to get married and it’s the first question they ask them when they talk on the phone. Some say that their parents and other family members constantly tell them that they are “praying for them”.

My parents are not as obvious about it, but I think they too pray regularly that my sister and I will find good men and settle down with them. I know my father’s prayers include the wish that the man be a Christian and be fair and responsible, while my mother’s prayer includes a “and let him be Yoruba or at least a Naija man, Amen!” (which is fine because I actually want to marry a Nigerian guy).

When it comes to actually telling me “Daughter, shouldn’t you be thinking about finding a man now?” or “Good Naija Girl, I want to be a grandmother and you’re my oldest child”, I don’t hear a thing. I think it’s because they know that I’m far more panicked concerned aware of my single status than they could possibly be. I took mammalian physiology in school, I know that six years from now, my fertility will be significantly reduced (sorry, is that TMI?) as I will have reached the dreaded age of THIRTY FIVE. You know, the age where everything reproductively goes downhill (lol). Whenever I mention this to friends they assure me that “Oh, don’t be silly! You’ll have plenty of kids by then!” or “Women are having children at age 55 abi 60 nowadays so this age 35 nonsense is silly.” Just because you can have a child at age 50 does not mean that this is the best thing to do. And really I would like to make sure that I minimize all possible risks with respect to complications in pregnancy, and being a younger mother is one of the best ways to do that.

So now that I have completely dissuaded any guy from dating me, let me get back on topic.

There are no guarantees in this life. No one can promise me that I’ll be married in 10 months or 10 years or at all. We all hope that we and all our friends find love and live happily ever after but this is the real world, not a fairytale where everything ends happily ever after. It’s this realization that made me want to buy my own place without waiting for Prince Charming to come and buy it with me because what if Prince Charming doesn’t exist? What if he’s running 10 years late (talk about Naija time!)? I refuse to continue to live under mummy and daddy’s roof until I’m 40, hoping that Mr. Charming will show up there.

I’m glad my parents aren’t pressuring us (my sister is two years younger than I) to marry. My father firmly believes that the right guy will come into my life if I pray for it to happen. I worry about the logistics of this but it can’t hurt to pray for a good man to come into my life, can it? I can’t deny I wish they were a little worried, to the point of finding me some candidates to date, but maybe I’m just being lazy.

Offhand, I know five Nigerian women age 25 and over in North America who are not yet married and are not feeling pressure from family to marry either (though they may have put pressure on themselves). Are Naija parents becoming more relaxed about this, or do they just spend more time talking to everyone but their daughters about their concern?

What do you think?


14 Responses to “Nigerian women marrying later doesn’t seem to faze parents”

  1. Once my dad and I were talking on the phone. I was at DSW (a shoe store) in VA and he was at home in BC. So we were talking about school and stuff and he said “Wow, you only have one more year.” (obviously, this was a year ago). Then he went on to tell me what I could do during this year. It went something like this:

    “All you have to do is work hard. Try to get the best marks and then you can look for a good job either there in the States or here in Canada. Of course, if you meet a boy, that would be good too.”

    There was silence for a good three seconds and then both of us burst out laughing. I was in the shoe store and he was at home. A good 2 minutes of laughter.

    But no, neither of my parents puts pressure on me or my brother (my sister and little brother are 23 and [almost] 21 respectively… no need for pressure there). I know that they would be happy for me to find a good, respectful Christian man and I know they both cannot wait for grandchildren (they will both be fabulous grandparents and I also cannot wait for that).

    And my mom’s prayers mirrors Auntie’s(!), “and let him be Igbo, or at least a Naija man, or at least African of some sort….

    No pressure, but it’s been mentioned and I know prayed for.

  2. my parents dont really stress me…but my aunties do

  3. looks like the trend is towards extended family members… With my uncle and aunt who are my second parents, i’ve had my wedding planned right infront of me…and i mean the whole thing, from how we can do the engagement at the back of the house to what pastor would marry me all this with me there not saying a word…and at that time sef i didn’t even have a man oh…

    members of my immediate family don’t even really talk about it, maybe behind my back, daddy s.chic may be talking to other relatives o, but not to me sha…he asked me one time a long time ago and that’s been it.

    I was talking to one of my older brothers about it one time and at my age, the guy was still telling me…take your time, don’t rush…u have all the time…

    meanwhile, my aunt is strongly against my doing a PHD because i don’t have husband yet…lol…hmmm…

  4. 4 moi

    Hmm, my parents are not pressuring me directly but according to my auntie, they are concerned but unable to voice it to me. I agree with pressure coming from the external family. I have heard ” i am praying for you” so many times i want to drop kick someone!!!
    I think our parents are afraid of putting us under pressure, they may have seen various marriages fail due to external pressure to get hitched and they don’t want that to happen. I love them for not constantly mentioning it, but it is the look in their eyes, the sound of their voice(mentioning how funmi just got married) that pricks at my heart–Like i am robbing them of something….

  5. 5 Oya

    My parents don’t really stress me about it but I know my mom already has my wedding cake picked out.

  6. …seems to me more parents do the worrying in their ‘minds i’ and would rather hope (& pray) for their kids to find the right person. The 2nd parents (aunties & uncles) seem to do the (physical) worrying.

  7. GNG How body?

    I really dont feel its about it being Nigerian parents, I just think its just what is expected when u reach a certain age. And if they dont expect it, you personally hv it in mind to get married @ sm point in time.
    That doesn’t mean 1 should put ones life on hold until 1 gets married / finds prince charming. I believe as u do ur thing n walk this life d man will come, there is no need waiting, keep moving.

    I had serious pressure 4rm all my family members to start dating, n I didn’t want to at that time. But along came Mr n things fell in2 place, then am like oya am getting married n every1 is shocked n saying dont u want to wait a year. LOL

  8. 8 GoodNaijaGirl

    @ Ruth – it will be so interesting to see how we turn out and who we end up marrying!

    @pink-satin – I don’t even think my aunties in Naija think of me, sadly…I could use their prayers!

    – lol your aunt and uncle are funny! I hope you interrupt them from time to time and point out the obvious lack of groom! I have another friend whose parents are cautioning her against more education for the same reason!

    @moi – your comment really touched me…I wonder if my parents feel the same way, especially “the sound of their voice(mentioning how funmi just got married) that pricks at my heart–Like i am robbing them of something….”

    @Oya – oooh, tell her to make the cake now…I’ll help you eat it!

    @Rethots – or maybe the parents are just more sensitive about expressing their feelings? Maybe not.

    @Oluwadee – body dey in cloth…how are you? I hear you on not putting your life on hold to wait for Prince Charming but it’s so hard to forget those words “And they lived happily ever after”, as if life begins after the wedding.

    And how did you meet Mr. Right? Oh, you just like to be difficult jare…when they want you to date you won’t, and now that they want you to wait to marry, you go off and do it kia kia!

  9. 9 stbloke

    okay i wanted to comment, but it was sounding like women’s forum. Advice? U all move to Naija, get a good job (with ur foreign degrees, dat shldnt b difficult), and i gaurantee u’d b hooked in 18months… i ve enough successful, responsible and good looking friends to go round…. seriously! lol i still didnt comment

  10. 10 moi

    Lol@ know i have considered that! I am giving myself another year, if not, Lagos here i come oh!

  11. gng
    you are becoming quite a prolific blogger.
    i leave here for one week and come back, and there is an epistle to read.

    I’m 32. My grandma came over to spend time with my folks in Lagos and I was in town sometime last year.
    ‘tobenna’ she says…
    ‘mama ogini?’ I answer
    In igbo she goes on to say how her husband found her when she was 16.
    at that point i knew where she was heading
    ‘bla bla bla’
    ‘when, and if i come back to ‘ragos’, i want to hear that you are married oh’
    since i know she doesn’t like ‘ragos’, i don’t expect to see her soon.
    ‘yes ma’, I reply.

    my parents had never told me anything about marriage and all of a sudden, that opened up the floodgate. thats all i hear these days.

    whats the catch?

    I’m a guy!
    i am allowed to groove until i’m ready…. am i not?
    oh, well, i don’t stay in one place long enough to even consider her words
    until now
    i think i’m finally ready
    whether she’ll accept my mobile self is another thing
    wait a minute, maybe she can tour with me?
    sigh. wishful thinking

  12. My father is actually not pressuring me. He says i have all the time in the world. lol. I guess he wants me to stand fully on my feet, even though i am already standing on my feet. He has told me to take my time. lol.

  13. 13 Monnica

    Hie, its not onlyin Nigeria but mos african countries,I get the pressure too from my aunts and people from church and society and not my parents.

    My elder sis went home and said mama is praying for you to get a good dude for marriage.
    even if you so want to get married, can you force a guy?

  14. (frantically waving) me!me!me! Nigerian girl with lots of pressure. Checking in.
    Except it’s not from my parents but from my gbeborun (sp) aunties and uncles…My parents have 3 other daughters to worry about and to them 3 out of 4 aint bad.

    I’m different, and they’ve accepted it.
    Speaking of buying houses, my youngest sister just bought a house on her own and one of my mother’s aunties asked “well who’s going to marry her now”
    (shaking my head) What a dayum shame!!

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