Twenty-one and Married

A struggle to fight for your love

Twenty-one and Married
Details from S + K's Wedding — Karimah Gheddai

Yep, twenty one and married indeed. When I decided I wanted to get married, it seemed as if everyone had an opinion. Like literally. There were some like “finally, girl you getting old,” while others were like,” you have your whole life ahead of you.” It was a never-ending discussion until the day of the wedding.

The first person to know I wanted to get married was my mom. The woman thought I grew three heads all of a sudden. “Married and you not even done with school, are you mad.” Of course, all of this was in Fulani. She could not wait to tell my father of the life-ending decision that his favorite child has decided. I was two semesters away from graduating with my bachelor’s, and under no exceptions was I going to throw that away (I was the first to graduate in my family, and it was as if the whole family was graduating, pressure much). Failure was not an option. This discussion happened in September, and they informed me that they would think about it. Which meant, do not bother us about it again and continue with school.

Fast forward to November-December; I brought up my decision again. This time I was very persistent and informed them that I even knew who I wanted to get married. Boy, did they lose it then! My father brought a whole educated family friend to my house. This man was supposed to inform me about the importance of education and how I was possibly ruining my life. I have heard about the importance of being educated all my life. My father even went on to tell me; I am putting my family to shame, simply because I was not getting married on their “schedule.” I was a whole year ahead. What a shame?

Around January, after a lot of crying and convincing. My parents gave me the okay, which felt like forever. They met my now-husband. Afterward, they shared my decision with the rest of the family. That brought world war III to my front door. Family members were calling left and right, sharing their opinion. Changing my mom’s decision left and right as well. I would leave the house with her saying “yes” to me getting married and come back home to her, saying, ” it is not happening.” It was a never-ending back and forth.

Family members were telling me things such as:

  • Why are you rushing to get married, these men got you going crazy
  • He is a pretty boy, are you sure he can be trusted
  • He not even from our village
  • Watch you get married, get pregnant and never finish school
  • Finish school first, you can always get married later
  • All your friends are not even getting married
  • Man can not be trusted, but with education, you can conquer it all
  • All the Fulani reasons not to get married.

What is destined to be will be? They even tried to scare my husband away (we laugh about this now). Every family member he met kept telling him,” my daughter will finish school.” It was more of a threat to him. Eventually, after all the back and forth and all the unneeded opinion, all the questions answered from how we know each other to my husband’s whole background history, I finally got married. Fulani parents are worst than the FBI. They went back generations to the point that they found out, my grandfather and my husband’s grandfather were once neighbors. Like seriously, worst than the FBI.

I never regretted getting married. Apart of me thinks, it was destiny pulling me to what it is meant to be because a few months later, my mother passed away. I decided to get married because of religious reasons (completing my deen), and I also wanted to settle down. I was tired of drama with guys and tired of entertaining men (not how it sounds). But for some reason, when you are at the age of getting married in the Fulani community, every Fulani man wants to marry you. The majority of them are lying and stringing you along, and some are already married and want a side chick.

My advice to anyone out there is if you feel you are ready to get married and you found the one you want. Then fight for what is destined, to you. Now imagine if I had to listen to everyone and did not get married. My mother would not have been there for my wedding, and it would have been the biggest regret of my life. Go for what you want because who knows you more than yourself? NO ONE!

marriage
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Aissatou Barry
See all posts by Aissatou Barry