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I knew the questions were coming and I was beginning to feel the pressure weigh on me like heavy winter coat around my shoulders.
I expected all of it so I was prepared. I was going to be the best man at my twin brother’s wedding in Accra, so there was no escaping this.
“When are you getting married?”, “Why are you waiting so long?”, “When is your wedding coming up?”, “Haven’t you found a wife yet?”
I honestly don’t mind these questions. I don’t agree with the pressure they generate, but I don’t mind them. Our culture values marriage and I do too. You can’t always get mad when the questions come your way. At a wedding, a relative asks you one of those question not knowing that ten other people asked the same question within the last hour.
I’m not going to lie, the pressure got to me on the weekend of the wedding festivities. I’ve become pretty skillful at deflecting, joking, and wiggling my way out when the questions come but all the tactics and maneuvers I’ve used over the years didn’t work this time around. The pressure got to me.
Weddings give everyone a free pass to direct their friendly fire at you. I am used to the same relatives and friends pushing the issue. I have figured out how to handle each and every one of them. However, I didn’t expect the drivers of the bridal party to readily offer their readiness at my wedding. I didn’t expect the food servers to ask why I wasn’t married. I didn’t expect the strangers at the ceremony to question me about my marital status. This time, everyone had a powerful weapon at their disposal.
“Kakra is married, hurry up and get married too.”
“Kakra is married. We are waiting for you”
I felt the pressure when my sister talked about the curious questions her friends had asked her during the reception. My twin brother has been married a little over 10 years and he has three lovely kids. He had what most refer to as a blessing wedding. As such, my sister’s friends were puzzled when they came to the wedding because they thought it was my wedding!
I don’t blame them. They are my sister’s mates from secondary school and they know the family very well. They know all my siblings are married and that I’m the only not hitched. They questioned why Kakra instead of Panyin is getting married. Kakra is already married so what is going on here? Why is Kakra not the best man at Panyin’s wedding instead?
My pressure got worse each time I looked over at my dad’s table during the wedding reception. Sitting firmly next to my dad is a woman my dad had “found” for me to marry. A few weeks earlier, he sent me pictures of this woman and her contact information and declared, “I have found you a wife.” My dad is doing what he believes is best for me. He has found me a wife out of love and I don’t blame him. I just said thank you and moved right along :).
The pressure got to me when most of the questions centered around who I was dating. Some asked for a name or where she was. My single status made the responses to this question very uncomfortable. I cannot lie to my aunties and uncles and other relatives. I did not volunteer that I was single but I did not have a name to produce either.
Anyone who has been in my situation knows there are no great solutions on how to take the pressure. There are only coping mechanisms and mine were not enough especially when I have the best man role at my twin brother’s wedding.
When you pose the question to an unmarried person with a why and a when, you present my bachelor status as a problem, and that is not okay. It’s okay to ask how my search for a partner is going. It’s okay to ask about my relationship status. It’s okay to state that you are praying for me to find a good wife. All these are okay and I will respond with the following if your curiosity about my marriage status is not centered around the why and the when.
1. I believe strongly in the institution of marriage.
2. I am not proud or happy about my single and unmarried status.
3. My plan is not to perform a hard search for a partner. Rather, I want to perform a smart search.
4. I have made enough mistakes in relationships and I am trying to avoid another one by not settling for just anyone.
5. I have not dated in a long time because I want the next person I date to be my partner for life.
One good thing did come out of all that pressure, though. I picked up a new coping mechanism. I’ve always prayed to God to direct me to a good person with whom I can settle. Although I have not used God’s work as a response to the questions, someone left with these parting words, “It’s okay, God will do it.” Her statement had a soothing and healing effect on me. I decided to use that as a response the next time someone asked why I wasn’t married. Maybe the same soothing effect will make the dialogue very short.
I didn’t have to wait long. “It’s okay, God will do it”, I responded to another concerned citizen. She responded with “Yes, He Will.” It was a short conversation and I walked away with a smile.
I had only taken three steps when I heard the same woman’s voice.
“But you know you are not getting any younger.”
Author: Kwadjo Panyin
Kwadjo Panyin is a Ghanaian born relationship and lifestyle blogger located in Los Angeles, California. He holds three degrees; a Bachelors degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey, an MBA from Franklin University in Ohio and a Masters of Science degree from Northern Kentucky University in Kentucky. Kwadjo is a business professional who blogs for fun. His articles are about the challenges of dating and relationship anomalies. Writing, blogging, world travel, and photography are his favorite hobbies.