I’m a Nigerian-American young woman. In the eyes of many aunties and uncles, I should either have a boyfriend or be in the midst of eligible suitors. The pressure for [Nigerian-American] young women to settle down with the “right man” and start a family is immense. Now that I’m older, I’ve become more and more aware of the effects of this pressure. I see my peers taking more time to get ready for class or work, becoming makeup gurus, strutting sexier styles on the weekends, showing up to church much more glamorous than before (lol!), amongst many other signs. These things can be attributed to young women coming into their own and just trying to have a good time with friends, but I also believe that they attest to my theory of the ticking [marriage] time bomb bestowed upon us by our older peers.
Because of this pressure, countless young women become obsessed with finding the perfect man: The God-fearing, focused, confident, handsome young man of her dreams that she can one day start a family with. It’s a wonderful dream that is surely attainable–but if finding Mr. Right is the primary focus of a girl’s life then how can she herself become eligible for him?
The Answer: Focus on Yourself First.
Even if Mr. Right comes your way, will he see you as Mrs. Right if you’re only worried about makeup, the perfect outfit, and looking good from the outside? Doubt it. We as young women need to be more proactive about our own lives and become ready for Mr. Right when he comes along (and vice versa). To my readers advocating for gender equality, I can assure you that this is not a call for princesses in distress to wait on Prince Charmings of the world, but rather a call to action for all young women to be independent before committing to a lifetime union. Men can also follow these steps to becoming a “Mr. Right.” Here are some steps we can take to bettering ourselves:
1. Be sure that you can take care of yourself. This refers to hygienic matters, financial matters, and more. Make sure you can cook (this is a big one for African families, and in many other cultures. Can’t cook = noooo hubby haha). If you still sleep in until 4pm and then sit at home watching Netflix until 4am the next morning, doing this for days at a time…..get your life!! I’m definitely an advocate for taking personal days, but doing this for 4 or 5 days in a row is not a sufficient use of your time. Work hard now, and have plenty of time to play later in life.
2. Be sure that you are focus-driven. No one wants to be with someone that does not push themselves. If you cannot push yourself, how can you expect a relationship to take you to new heights? Get your education, secure internships, create a career path and make a 5- or 10-year life plan. Be goal-oriented.
3. Be spiritually grounded. Be firmly rooted in the Word of the Lord. You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s real. If God is not at the center of your life, and eventually your relationship, then how can it prosper?
4. Be sure that you can perform domestic duties. This may seem old-fashioned, but be able to take care of your living space, whether it’s living at home with your parents, in your own apartment, or in your college dorm. Yes, men are just as capable of cleaning and cooking as women, but be sure that you can hold your own.
These are not the end-all be-alls of relationship advice, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve learned from family and friends.