The unmarried 30
My name is Maryanne James, I am a 32 years old, I live in Ogudu and I work with one of the big banks in Nigeria. For the most part of my life, I have been very independent. I never liked to depend or ask anything of anyone. I always wanted to get through things myself and have it my own way.
I remember one particular incident during my growing up days, I was given a homework to make a table cloth in my Home-economics class. Despite the fact that my mother was a fashion designer and she had offered to help and teach me how to go about it, I insisted that she didn’t have to worry and I could get it done all by myself. As I entered into my room I could hear my mum scream behind me ‘whatever you do, make sure you don’t pierce your hand with the needle’. Ignoring the commanding voice I went in to begin my homework, funny thing was that I wasn’t afraid of anything, I just knew I could pull this off on my own. It wasn’t long soon as I started sewing that I let out a loud scream, I had pierced my middle finger with the needle and the pain I felt was sickening. My mum rushed into the room, picked me up quickly and gave me first aid but not after she had given me the ‘I told you so’ look.
Did I mention that I am from a strong Christian family, I never missed church on Sundays and I wasn’t allowed to keep too many friends. My life was pretty much evolved around parents, church and school. Apart from the few friends I made at school, I spent most of my time alone. During my university days I maintained my alone status, few friends and a lover of my books. I tried as much as I could to be the best and live a life pleasing to my parents. Even though I grew up in a Christian home following rules, I never really found Christ for myself. Because I was an only child, the attention and focus was choking but i was a very patience child because I soon grew up to adjust and bear all the choking attention.
I had my life planned out, I would be out of university at the age of 23, done with masters at 25 and married at 26. It was an absolutely perfect plan, all I had to do was do everything I could to bring my plans to fulfillment.
But unfortunately here I was sitting alone in my living room, January 1, 2014, the year and day I clocked 30 and the same year I made all of my life’s mistakes. I had graduated and even gotten my masters degree, all those plans had nicely fallen into place except for the marriage plan of course. Where I come from it is more like a curse for you to be that old and unmarried. The several naggings of my mother definitely proved that. I have had to move out of the house to my own apartment for peace. I remembered the day I got a car, she said to me ‘you are buying a car, that’s just the end, that Is it, you don’t have plans of getting married, you will drive all the men away with your car and you will be left with nothing! Nothing! Nothing! I got married at the age of 25, 25years old Maryanne, what are you waiting for?’ I could feel the frustration in her voice and that was the day I decided to leave the house before she pushes me to the wall.
These times were the worse moments of my life, in church, at work, people would always give me the old and unmarried glance. I felt like the whole world was watching me. I was 30, working, nice home and what more I was a virgin.
So on January 1, 2014 I decided that I was going to get married that year no matter what. I started going out more and putting myself out. One bright day in the month of March, I was at the Ikeja shopping mall when this strong, tall, charming, hot guy walked into the Samsung show room where I had spent the last thirty minutes searching for a new mobile phone. I swallowed my saliva, my head and heart started working together to produce some kind of love chemicals that got me thinking about this man as my perfect match. He was adorable and it seemed that on this particular day fate the world was working hard to make my marriage dream come true. As I made way to the counter to pay for my choice of phone, He was right behind me, as though he wanted to get my attention. Once I was done paying, I looked bad and saw him pay for the Samsung galaxy Pouch he had picked. I made my way slowly out of the show room, when I say slowly, I mean slower than baby steps so that whatever happens, he would catch up with me if he wanted to. As he made his way out, his shoulders brushed mine and my new phone fell, my mind didn’t even go to the phone, I was fascinated by the rush of desire that swam in my body as his shoulders met mine. It was the sound of his deep, sensual voice that brought me back to life ‘I’m sorry about that, here please’. For the first time that day, our eyes locked, we spoke for a few minutes, exchanged blackberry pins and he walked me out of the showroom. Once he was out of sight, I had to find the closest bathroom to physically rejoice and thank the world for working so tirelessly to fulfill my dreams.
All the way home, I was hoping to receive a ping. As much as I hated the vibrations of pings on my phone, I was really looking forward to this one. I was supposed to give my friend Jade the old phone since I got a new Samsung but I begged her to allow me hold on to it for a few days. At exactly 7:00pm, I received a message on my BBM, ‘The exciting thing about meeting and getting to know someone for the first time, is that you never know, they could end up being the one' It’s Jaiye. I replied with a smiley face and the rest as they say is history.
We grew so close and everyday seemed like a dream. My desire was finally coming true, this is the year I get married. When I told my mother about him, she was overjoyed, all she wanted to know was when we were getting married. She had invested so much in other people’s aso ebi that she looked forward to receiving the investment of others as well.
Fast forward to July, our love grew stronger and stronger, I was enjoying the best year of my life. I would move from unmarried 30 to married 30, I couldn’t have been happier. Jaiye had taken me to his house and introduced me to his parents. I remember that day that his parents excused themselves to have a word with him and it seemed heated because I could hear shouts from the distance. But all doubts soon disappeared when we got back into the car and Jaiye said Our introduction was set for August and soon the wedding date will be announced. Jaiye was a real man, he loved me hopelessly, it was like I had his button before I said it, it was done. Ours was truly a story of love at first sight. He was the love of my life and would do anything to keep him close.
There was only one issue though, Jaiye had been talking about us getting intimate. I had kept myself for my one true love and hoped that nothing will break me until the wedding night. I told Jaiye that it is against our Christian values. Funny thing is I was the one very particular about church, Jaiye would only come along once in a while, He wasn’t much of a churchy guy but I loved him and I was ready to wave all that aside, I just wasn’t sure if I wanted to throw my virginity away just yet. At thirty that was all I had going for me. But the more I thought about it, the more willing I became. I could here my mums voice nudging me not to miss this opportunity and get the marriage done as quickly as possible.
A week to our introduction, Jaiye invited me to His friends party which was happening at a club in Ikeja. I told him I didn’t want to go because he knows that I don’t like such gatherings. He said it wasn’t a big deal that it is just the venue for the party and it doesn’t mean much. I agreed and we went to the party at about 7:00pm. I wasn’t feeling very comfortable with the whole setting but I kept calm. Music blaring, people dancing, alcohol oozing, there was only much I could take. When it was 9:00pm I told Jaiye it was time to leave and then he convinced me to stay that he would drop me at home, I had never tasted alcohol until that night but I was sane enough to take just a little and not overdo it.
I have never depended on someone the way I depended on Jaiye. His words and thoughts mattered to me, he became my standard. When it was 11:00pm, Jaiye took me to a room upstairs and asked me to please stay that he would be back soon, since I didn’t like the noise and all. I was very furious and told him my mind, he begged and cuddled me and my worries were over, he held me in such a tight embrace and I felt comfort again, I didn’t want to let go. We stayed glued to each other for minutes and soon his hands began to drop from my back and found its way to other parts of my body. I wanted him to stop but I couldn’t make him stop because I enjoyed every moment of it. Soon we were on the bed, I told him to stop, but he said we would be married in a couple of months, I am the one you would be married to so it doesn’t make any difference and that was the end. In less than twenty minutes we were done, I had lost my virginity and was lying next to my husband to be. I should have been angry but I wasn’t, I loved him so much that even our sins drew me closer to him. I only wanted him to be happy. I felt privileged to have him in my life and I wasn’t going to let him go. He hugged me tight and assured me that it was all going to be okay and so I drifted to sleep in his arms.
The next morning, we were intimate again. I was having more fun than I imagined and I thought to myself he will be my husband so no big deal. Right there beside me he sent a message to my phone saying ‘I will hold your heart more tenderly than my own’. He then whispered in my ears, ‘I am already preparing my wedding vows’ and then I smiled. He dropped me off at home and told me he had to leave for Port Harcourt but would be back in few days. We hugged so tightly that we didn’t want to let each other go. I was going to miss him so much, couldn’t bear the thought of staying days without him.
But Unfortunately, That was the last I heard of Jaiye. Jaiye tore my world apart, I was lost. Thirty years of waiting and wandering have all been wasted. I cried for many weeks, I called but he wouldn’t pick up, I searched everywhere but he was nowhere to be found, people kept lying to me about his whereabouts. For many weeks I couldn’t get a hold of him. Finally, It was Jaiyes sister who was gracious enough to tell me that Jaiye lives in Port Harcourt and is married with three children, that she didn’t even know we were in a relationship because what he told her was that I was a colleague who came with him from Port Harcourt on work duties. My whole life was shattered. I thought of the many things I could do, I thought of going to Port Harcourt but somehow I just knew it wasn’t worth it, I cursed Jaiye, I cursed the day I met him.
Months passed and I was still a shadow of myself, I stopped going to church, I stopped going out, I just lived alone, stayed away from men and carried my shame like a badge. But sometime in June 2015, I woke up with the urge to be better, I prayed to God and asked him to help me. I went to church prayed for forgiveness and spoke to a counsellor. It was hard but I did all I could to get back on my feet again. To let go of the hate and all that I had lost. For the first time in my life I said the prayer of salvation, and then I started to live truly in the knowledge of Christ. I had never really experienced a relationship with Christ, I only just walked in the path my parents led. Soon I started to see the light in God’s word. I was more dedicated to the things of God and I started to find happiness in life.
This is year 2016, I am 32 and still single. I am looking to enter into a relationship soon but just waiting for Gods leading, what’s different now is that I am ready, full of knowledge. No one will take my body except I give it. I know that in the frustration of being thirty I have lost my virginity, but because God has given me a clean slate, I am willing to start over again. I will no longer make the mistake of the thirties, I will not listen to the voices pushing me to do things I would rather not do. I will wait for Gods time and do what makes God happy.
‘And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.’
You maybe thirty now and unmarried. Please don’t make the mistake of the thirties, marriage is not about the age, its about finding and fulfilling Gods purpose in marriage. I don’t know when I will be getting married but whenever it is I know that the best of God is what will come to me. I will do the work but God will do the working out.