By Bunmi Sofola
It’s the dream of most women to get married to a man whose chemistry works well with hers. She’s dreamt of the magic of her wedding day for years. And now the day is here, would she be stepping into her worst nightmare?
“As I walked down the aisle towards the man I was about to marry,” recalled 36-year-old Rolake an IT consultant, “I could see my mother on our side of the church earmarked for the bride’s family wearing earring matching expensive aso- ebi designed for my wedding. A sea of faces smiled at me, wishing me luck and dancing as if they were as much responsible as my immediate family for this spectacular wedding.
“All I felt were huge palpitations in my heart. I felt I could be somewhere else but this church where everyone had come to wish me joy in my marriage. The dreadful truth was that even though I was about to make my vows, I knew I didn’t love this man ahead of me at the alter in spite of the fact that moments from now, I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life.
Yet I walked down that aisle, with the people who love me most in the pews either side of me. I knew that I no longer wanted to marry Joseph, the groom waiting for me. I just felt too embarrassed to admit I had cold feet.
“Planning the wedding had taken over our lives to such an extent that I had lost sight of what really mattered. But to call the whole thing off would have meant losing face. It was no surprise that the marriage crashed with a depressing inevitability.”
Rolake now has a new man in her life but marriage is the furtherest thing from her mind. Instead, she agreed to move in with him and see how things pan out. Franka, a well-renowned wedding planner said; “With weddings becoming grander and more expensive each year, it seems that a growing number of brides-to-be feel compelled to go ahead with their big day, through guilt or financial obligation, even when they know for certain the union is going to end in divorce.
Tellingly, as wedding costs escalate, so do divorce statistics – it’s been discovered that the more people spend on their wedding and engagement, the more likely they are to end the marriage.
“It’s a fact that half of couples getting married accept considerable financial help from their parents to cover the cost. Little wonder a doubting bride might feel she has no choice but to suppress her worries and simply say: ‘I do’.
For Rolake, calling off the wedding would have meant throwing away the millions of Naira her and her fiance had saved towards the wedding and letting down her family who had also provided a chunk of the expenses. Her grandmother had also made a generous
contribution. “I couldn’t have lived with the guilt of my grandmother losing her money. In the end, it seemed easier to swallow all my doubts and go ahead with it anyway. In the weeks running up to my wedding, I had endless worries about whether I should be going
through with it, yet I couldn’t confide in anyone. It was embarrassing to admit I was getting cold feet for no other reason than that during the two years of planning and arranging this wedding, I had lost sight of why I was doing it, and had fallen out of love with my fiance.
“Now, of course, I realise that wedding wasn’t about making a life- long commitment to someone I wanted to grow old with – it was about making real that picture – perfect day I had imagined for myself since childhood. ‘While keeping up with my friends who’d all got
married before me, my ex-husband was my first serious boyfriend. We had been together since I was 19. By the time our wedding day came, I just didn’t feel able to voice my reservations, as so much time, effort and money had been invested in the day … “
Franka, the wedding planner says she can sometimes spot a marriage that is unlikely to last as early as the initial phone call. “It can be as simple as the tone of her voice – launching straight into: `I want this, I want that,’ as though she’s determinedly pulling off a huge social event, rather than arranging a really special day. Weddings have become synonymous with a huge show, with the ceremony itself only a small part of an enormous event.
I routinely plan weddings where the costs run to millions of Naira. Often, the parents are paying a huge chunk, if not all. Imagine being a bride and starting to wobble as the big day approaches. All this money and effort that’s being spent on her, all those people who are emotionally and financially invested in that perfect day.
“The pressure to go ahead, however uneasy she might be starting to feel, is enormous. The guilt she might feel at the idea of saying: ‘Actually, folks, stop everything, I’ve changed my mind,’ would be horrendous. Competitive parents can get as carried away as the bride. The bride will want everything Instagram-perfect, while her parents will be making their own statement to the friends they have invited. The pressure to match what their peers have laid on could be huge.
“I have seen brides go into melt-down on their wedding morning, turning seemingly small details into huge issues. One girl broke down in hysterics when she realised napkins no longer appeared an exact match to the flowers on the tables under the marquee lights.
She was distraught. But, actually, I think the real issue was that she’d spent so long planning the perfect day and now it has arrived she was worrying about whether she wantedthe life coming after it. The wedding she’s dreamed of since she was a little girl had turned into a runaway train, and it hit her that it was too late to jump off.”
According to relationship psychologist Jo Hemmings: “It is human nature to ignore that nagging voice of doubt, because to listen to it is so emotionally challenging. The pressure, the expenses, knowing that people who care about them have emotionally invested in their happiness and want to share a day of joy with them can make pulling out impossible to imagine. It can also seem easier and even cheaper to ignore the doubts, get married anyway and then quietly get divorced afterwards. “
Getting It Right By The Nose! (Humour)
A blind man went into a cocktail bar and said to the barman, “can you let me smell the empty glass of the person who just left?” Puzzled, the barman handed him the glass and the blind man sniffed it saying, “I’ll have the same, please. That’s two shots of vodka, a dash of lemonade, twist of lime and three drops of cherry brandy.” The barman was amazed that the blind man had described the drink so perfectly. The following week, he came again and went through the same ritual. He smelled the empty glass next to him and ordered exactly the same. “May I have one shot of brandy, one shot of Martini, four drops of pure orange juice, a touch of soda and two ice cubes.”
“Clever little bugger,” thought the barman to himself. When the blind man appeared a few days later, the barman decided to have some fun. He found his wife Maureen in the office and asked to rub the glass round her bum. Then he took the glass to the blind man
for him to smell. “Well, I don’t believe it!” exclaimed the blind man. “How long has Maureen been working here?”