What is the ideal age for a lady to get married? (3)

...Expectedly, the police held her in the women’s section of the Abidjan prison for nearly a year before the women rights groups prevailed on the then President,  Henri Konan Bedie to free her, at least until her trial. Fanta’s case then galvanized women’s rights activists to press the government to publicize a 30 year-old law that outlaws early and forced marriage.

What then is the ideal age for marriage? Mrs Alaba Ajayi, a lecturer at the school of Nursing, Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos says that, “Considering the social, physical and environmental developments that affect our daughters, it is better for them to wed between age twenty-five to twenty-seven so that within the first ten years, they can have their babies.

Citing several examples from her wealth of experience in teaching and counseling, she noted that, “From the day of wedding, a lady usually plans for two to three children. The fourth often comes as a mistake. It is therefore better to have them early and save towards their upkeep. No parent will want to see the kids less comfortable than they are, so we want to give them the best.

“Moreover, from age thirty-five, there will be series of hormonal changes, which makes childbearing more complicated; hence it is better to have them early than to have them late (although, nowadays, newly wedded ladies opt for some time to settle down and adjust to marital life before having children, hence they wait for some 1-2years).”

Mrs Ajayi went on to talk about some cultural demands, which also affect the time of marriage.     "African culture expects a lady, immediately after education, to get wedded, have children and raise a home. Africans, particularly believe that procreation is the only useful thing about a women (although Biblically, it is the last) and since they uphold that it is more honourable to wed before having children, most parents want to give their daughters out in good time, at least before she gets impregnated by just any man.

Moreover, men too may not want to go for big girls (those who are over-aged) because they believe such will be uncontrollable and incorrigible.   Every parent wants to belong to a class hence a mother finds it difficult to concede to the level of those who are comfortable to see girls unmarried when they are past age thirty. This sometimes makes some parents, especially mother to resort to matchmaking. "No parent wants her daughter to be a single parent.” “It is a make-up if ever they accept it”, Mrs. Ajayi stressed.

Lending weight to this, Mr James Adeyemi admits that, “If a lady graduates and does not wed within the first three years, parents get extremely worried. In fact, to be thirty-five and still single is believed to be abnormal. Many see it as a sign that there is a fundamental problem, hence every lady does all she knows to get hooked by "Mr. Right" as soon as possible.

Suffice it to say however that this undue societal pressure often pushes girls into healthy relationship, which more often than not makes the marriage to hit the walls and crumble within months or years. This of course explains in increased rate of divorce, separation and single parenting that we see all around us today.

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