You Are Not ‘Marriage Material’

Puppy love

As a kid, I had a mild crush on a certain girl that I lived next door to. And by ‘mild crush’ I mean ‘severe obsessive infatuation’. I’d sit on the porch and watch for her when she came home and sit by the window in the morning to see her get in the car and go to school – pathetically smitten was I. One day I mentioned this to a friend who was slightly older and he told me that I should tell her something. So, after weeks of procrastination and internal debate, I told her to meet me behind a certain building that was under construction nearby. Heart beating, palm sweaty, behind a building, I struggled to get the words out. ‘I….I mean…uh…I…’ Deep breath, try again. ‘I really….uh….I…’ OK, maybe you’re saying it wrong. Find another way to say it. ‘Uh…well…do you like me cause I think I like you.’ Finally!

She replied ‘Was that a question?’
‘I guess so.’
‘Then yeah, I guess I do.’

Oh joy. I grinned with 50 teeth, pushing my ears so high up, I’m sure they were touching over my head. Then she pulled a sobering darkness that put an end to my intoxicating moment in the sun.

‘So what now?’


This story surfaced from the recesses of my mind as I read the debate on marriage last week: riveting stuff. I abstained from commenting because I had had that conversation before. Many times.

I had listened to woman after woman – the best of whom, by the way – sit across the table from me and denounce the whole concept of marriage as fundamentally flawed with a relentless deconstruction of matrimony; eroding it from a sanctum and divine union, to a cubicle and contractual agreement and sometimes to an indentured servitude and enslavement.

But at the same time, I’ve sat on the other side of that table and listened to testimonies of the beauty of marriage; witnessed the amazing feat of couples after decades of union comfortably orbiting around the same core, loving each other like they just met and working together like they’ve always known each other.

So I empathize with both sides. I also question both sides. One question, really: what is marriage?

You could read from the dictionary and lose points for not knowing; read from a Holy book and lose points for not understanding, or read from a website and lose points for not having an opinion. Or you could answer that question genuinely, from the heart: what is marriage to you?
Is it an agreement of convenience that unites like-minded individuals and/or ethnically homogeneous families under the pretenses of cultural/religious rite? Is it a holy union and religious duty that brings us closer to God? Is it a way to get laid, a way to get paid, or a way to get made into something more – a mere means to a less mere end? Is it a celebration of love, or a contractual legislation; a necessary biological imperative or a smart business/strategic move?

Wedding Rings

There is no right or wrong answer, but one needs to have an answer. And an educated one at that. You can’t hate or love something without knowing what it is. And you need to know what marriage is to you before being able to address the real issue at hand:

‘What is marriage material?’

How do you decide that you as a person are either fit or unfit for consumption consummation? Where does one begin denouncing something they haven’t bothered to understand? Who decided in the first place that one has to pre-qualify for marriage?

You see I have a theory – one of my better ones, at that.

My theory is that most people are kids sitting on their porches overwhelmed with emotion trying to find a way to get it out. Or coming home from school, waiting for their he/she to give them a sign. Most people clumsily fumble with relationships and get caught in webs of blissful romance or lustful infatuation that glaze their perceptions and skew their decisionmaking skills. Which is how most people end up behind a building asking questions they really have not thought through, nay comprehend the implications to. Or they don’t out of fear and fallacious reasoning.


What I’m saying is that I think most people are afraid to assess, let alone reassess, the meaning of marriage. We just accept it. As a result, I think most people don’t completely understand relationships. I’ll take that one step further and say that most people are scared to.

As well they should be. It’s some pretty heavy sh*t. All of it. Impacting several lives and lifetimes with each action and inaction is something worth having second thoughts about. Third even. Definitely something to dream about, but also worth a few nightmares here and there.

Because at the end of the day, until you can stand on your own 2 feet in front of pastor, Imam, spouse and/or attorney, fully aware, afraid and unfaltering, you are probably not marriage material. Until you can read someone’s stance on marriage without it impacting your own; you are more than likely not marriage material.

Further, until you’ve found someone that complements and understands your perspective on relationships and marriage, you probably have no business even considering being marriage material. Because compatibility tests are between two people; not a person and a concept. Which is how people who hate the world still have friends. People who hate/love/are uncertain about marriage can still find a pairing.

And until one can fully accept their position in the game, they probably shouldn’t play it.

It’s that humility and powerlessness that most are afraid to submit to. This is probably how the concept of ‘marriage material’ even came to exist. It’s really just a round-a-bout way of saying ‘readiness’; that most people are too afraid to admit lacking.

But that’s just a theory, mine at that. And we all really should have one, at least a vague idea, before beginning raising our voices for or against our readiness or willingness to marry; let alone slipping jewelry on anybody’s finger.

Think first. Act second. Regret never. Be merry. Live long.

19 thoughts on “You Are Not ‘Marriage Material’

  1. “Until you can read someone’s stance on marriage without it impacting your own; you are more than likely not marriage material.”

    Amen to that.

    For my part, I’m a romantic. I would marry him because I love him and I want to wake up next to him every day forever.

    But i’ve been on my own so long that I am deathly afraid of having to pool ‘our’ money and ‘discuss’ how ‘we’ should spend it. Call me shallow, but that’s some scary ish right there. And don’t even think about joint accounts…

  2. “Further, until you’ve found someone that complements and understands your perspective on relationships and marriage, you probably have no business even considering being marriage material”

    Amen to that.

    If your definition of marriage lies within the institutions and certificates and this is what you fight, instead of the people and their reasons for choosing to be married…

    Just my lame addition.

    Excellent post!

  3. Great post! Clap.Clap!

    The good thing about both posts as much as they’re from different perspectives is that they’re thought provoking. Which I hope in the long run will help end our generation’s casual attitude towards marriage.

    Since the first marriage post I’ve been asking my married friends loads of questions in the hope of getting different views and understand what being married is all about. I’ve gotten some very interesting answers and hopefully will write a post on it.

    But what I’m getting is for majority of them, marriage isn’t what they had envisioned. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, only that no matter how much you prepare for it, or have your 10 reasons on why you want to get married, once you’re in you’ll have to be flexible and ready to adapt to a lot.

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  5. Couldnt agree more —- i cosign on marriage material is not a decision between a person and notion- but between two people who decide that both are ‘marriageable’ to the other— and what is marriage? I will tell you when i get there- i have no idea what it is–

  6. This has to be the best post I have read in a loooong time!!!
    You Mr icon should change careers and become a relationship counsellor 🙂
    If one is not ready to share then they should not think of marrying…

  7. @icon *chinese show of respect* @gitts so true. Marriage is what you (both) want it to be. Former divocee now married again, am not even 30. Life…..i love it

  8. Think first. Act second. Regret never. Be merry. Live long.

    Amen to that. iCon you did it again 😉

    This post should replace one of those soapy relationship articles in the weekend paper cos its real talk. All in favor….??? Off course they should not plagiarize hehe

  9. Food for thought right there…this is the line that caught my attentoin “It’s that humility and powerlessness that most are afraid to submit to.” I think way too many people would rather pretend to be stong rather than vulnerable(in love!)n miss out on the joy that is life,that is love,that is marriage :)Great piece thanx for sharin!!

  10. I do not understand why people have all of a sudden decided marriage has a standard. Marriage is not a standard it’s about the conclusive yet progressive agreement that two people will make that they believe will take them to the next. The reason for marriage varies between people but it is not cast on stone. I believe we need to stop being selfish because it is about what you know you can sacrifice in order to be with this individual for life and not neccessarily about what you’ll get. There should be progression for you as an individual and your relationship grow at the same rate…! Remember marraige is where you will lay yourself bare before your partner and be honest with yourself and them about your strengths and your weakness. Not because you have more money, clever etc than the person…just humility and accept to walk with a person just as they are because we cannot change people only they and their good Saviour can!

  11. Truth is the only reason marriage is so difficult nowadays is because we are so difficult. And it is not just the women who have changed, the men have changed too.

    We live in the ‘me’ generation. My time, my money, my space, my body, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine!

    So many of us are also getting married at a mature age and we have a difficult time having to consult or account to another person.

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