Unmarried and taking my time

Whenever someone says ‘life is tough’ I smile and wish I could tell them it’s not tough till they have lived to Meghan Markle’s age in some parts of this world without a husband or a wife. Why is it always so important for someone to ask another why they are not married? Is that not supposed to be a personal choice? And well, while some of your close people like mother, father or a sister can ask or joke about it, what gives a stranger, neighbour or an acquaintance the right to ask a question so personal? You’ll be surprised how often this intrusive line of questioning happens at work, in church, family gatherings, on the streets, everywhere. Consider the following scenarios.

Jackie Lumbasi

In the first case, you meet a person who needs help and because it’s within your means, you choose to lend a hand. A little bit into the conversation, something hits them and they realise you don’t have a ring so they go on and sheepishly ask, ‘why’? Because you’re single, all of a sudden you may find yourself perceived as a loser by the same person who only moments ago was on his knees asking for help.

Then there is that group that will come borrowing money and you the single person is always expected to have cash. As soon as you say you don’t have they ask what you do with your money. Where is it written that unmarried people cannot and should not be broke? One could be unmarried but it does not mean they don’t have bills to pay or family to take care of. In fact, you should sympathise with single people because they have nobody to share the costs with.

And just when I thought it is only females that suffer, I meet a 26-year-old man who is under pressure from friends and relatives to find himself someone and propose. Holy goodness let us allow people to ripen! 26 could seem old but you have no idea what other areas need to ‘grow’ before a man or woman allows another into their life. Another friend of mine has just made eight months since he finalised his divorce and is already being told by relatives to ‘make things happen fast’. One cannot even be allowed to get over one relationship before they get into another. Why the need to rush people? Clearly, it does not matter how able and organised one is in other areas, if the marriage box is not ticked, questions will be asked.

When it comes to dating, an unmarried person is not expected to reject advances from the opposite sex. Once you are unmarried and not in any form of relationship, you are viewed as public property. It is worse when you are in the limelight because everyone assumes they know you, yet they have no clue. As a society, we need to allow people to make marriage decisions at their own time, when they are sure it is the right thing to do and with the right person. We are currently seeing a lot of separation and divorces and some of the reasons may include people getting married to run away from that unmarried status that denied them a promotion or salary raise, others getting married to avoid a ‘naked’ ring finger and the nagging questions that follow.

At the end of the day, society has caused many to get married for the wrong reasons. Could we please allow each other some space to live our lives the way we want, especially if it does not infringe on your human rights? A person’s unmarried status does not.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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