If you must fear, fear marriage
By RENEE MURREY
Published July 30, 2009
Gamophobia is a condition where one is insanely afraid of marriage, where as anuptaphobia is a condition of insane fear of staying single. One man’s meat is another’s poison, they say.
I have never been a fan of such big words; I wonder what we call the fear of big words. I guess another big word has been coined to describe that fear of big words.
I have been trying to decide which of the two evils is better. If I had to be one of the two, which one would I prefer?
By being gamophobic, what am I giving up? No, ‘giving up’ is not it, since that is not an option. Let’s just say, you “miss out” on first and foremost, a companion or husband. Children, may be, (since a woman can very well have children without having to be married), and the feeling of belonging that comes with the family. Married people understand this comfort of unity, oneness and sense of belonging, which is one of the beauties of family. It is the soothe that whenever something happens you will always have someone to share it with good, bad, or even ugly. Gamophobia blows all that away.
But compared to morbid fear of being single is gamophobia that bad after all?
Women who fear being single are easy prey for abusive men. There is no better catalyst for abuse than a man knowing that he will pretty much get away with anything. With this fear of being single comes the desperation to have someone in your life no matter what, good or bad.
We live in times when the economy has become so bad that if a lady does not have a job to support her, she better has a man to pay the bills. This in turn fuels silence in abusive relationships. After all, you do not bite the hand that feeds you, right? And yes, unhappiness cuts across nuptial lines. Women are unhappy whether married or single – single ones, because they haven’t “nailed” someone yet, and the married ones, because this isn’t just as rosy as it should be. At this rate, marriage is becoming more like a job. The applicant with the better curriculum vitae (read cash value) or fat wallet for crying out loud, gets the job. Unemployment has indeed affected all the institutions, but marriage institution has got more than its fair share of impact.
Both ways, we have very unhappy women, making do with their fortunes, or is it misfortunes? Working with what they have-what they can get. Gamophobic or otherwise, women are afraid.
In my opinion, a gamophobic does not have self–esteem issues. On the contrary, she believes so much in herself that, ironically, her immense strength forms the basis of her fear. An anuptaphobic, on the other hand, has such low self-esteem that she cannot imagine life without a ‘married’ tag to her status.
Men, open arms alone won’t cut it for every woman. Do the Swahili call it mkono mtupu haulambwi? Your pockets had better be loaded. With most relationships today, it’s all about the “Benjamins”. Forget the days when a woman would get married and be content with whatever the man had to his name, meagre or not. Today, men have become like a source of income. Many women are asking themselves whether by being with a man, she will have “plenty of nothing” or plenty of everything. You know what our preference is, of course.
With fear comes a challenge to conquer that very fear. Some face the challenge, others do not have the stomach for such “torture”. Those who face it get a chance at happiness, and those who do not, remain trapped. With all the man-driven problems of poverty, insecurity, unemployment, political uncertainty and numerous disappointments here and there, would anyone want to add more to the list?
This is what begs the question as why most women would rather suffer silently in marriage than pursue the joy of being single. Is it so bad to be single and free? Accept the fact that some marriages just can’t be saved – that is the cruel truth. Divorce in the African setting is scorned and almost taboo. Yet, it is one of the antidotes to a hostile marriage. Staying and hoping that things will eventually work out somehow is only postponing the problem. It is a mirage and the utmost folly of “love is blind.” That love better gets eyes.
We are going crazy as a society. Show me a happy woman, and I will show you a sane society.
I would rather women have no fear whatsoever. But, if you have to fear something, please fear marriage – only if you have to. But never, ever fear being single. When you are afraid of getting married, you feel whole. Your fear is…..can I call it…..external? The fear of being single however is internal. It has to do with you. You do not believe in yourself. You feel incomplete, and hence your need for complementary other. Extreme fear of marriage means, you bestow power on yourself (though in an excessive way).
Granted, both are serious conditions that need fixing. But, boy, don’t I wish more sisters suffered from gamophobia. If that were the case, we would have very few abusive relationships. We would have very powerful women who believe in their own capabilities, and therefore our men will reform. That will be our day of liberation!
A man, is a man, is a man, and is a man. He can smell your fear from miles away and be the beast he yearns to be with the slightest of chance; dictate, possess, and even own you. If you fear losing your man toe the line. Grant him all his wishes and even become his door mat. When you come crying, you will not lean on me.
Happy relationships have flourished mainly because of women. Put your foot down and demand to be respected baby. Demand even if deep inside you feel it is outrageous. Even the men acknowledge that if you want something, you have to ask for it. And if you want something, want it really bad, even if it is neither important nor urgent, just want it.
If your relationship is not working, neither party is happy. Try counselling, spiritual guidance, anything. If all those, and anything else, don’t work, change the locks if it is your house. If it is his, rent a lorry and move your stuff. That works!
In the long- run, it is not just about that single or married woman. It is not just about that woman afraid to be single or afraid to be married. It all comes down to the kind of society we want to see. By the choices we make, we mould future generations. The wayward child will come from a family with an abusive father; the well-behaved child will come from respectful successful family.
It is about time that the African woman woke up and smelled the very strong aroma of the brewing coffee.
Do not be afraid of being single. It is OK. Do not be afraid of getting married either. It is also OK. Marriage is a calling- just like priesthood is- and if it does not work for you, fine. Learn from priests who think that they have a calling to “chill”, only to realise that celibacy is not their thing. I digress. That is a story for another day.
All I am saying is this: Some things cannot be faked. With relationships, let fear not be a factor. Conquer your fears and get a chance at happiness.