A letter to a lovelorn reader

If you are a guy under 30 and you want to get married, I will give you guy-advice: please save yourself – and that poor girl – a lot of heartache. It won’t work. In your mid 20s you imagine you have life figured out – after all, you now have a degree in something, you have a fairly stable occupation and then there is a girl you like. PHOTO/FILE

A reader sends me an email. He met a girl, a good girl, and he wants to marry her. They are excited. They feel like soul mates, that kind of fairytale.

“Just a small wedding,” he wrote, “nothing fancy, just family and friends.” But I hear a “but” in his words, it’s unwritten, this “but”, but I can still read it between his enthused paragraphs that smell of roses and chocolate.

At the end of the email he asks me what I think. Me, a total stranger. What does he want – a wedding present?

I email him and ask him about himself. He writes back with a small bio. Turns out he’s 24 years old. I email him back: Don’t get married, my friend. Then I give him six reasons why. He hasn’t written back.

I picture this guy, working in a bank as a trainee-something. Doing his time in the trenches. What do banks pay those kids, what, 45K? Then he meets this girl. Most likely she’s, what, 22 years old?

HOW THE COOKIE CRUMBLES

They probably meet in campus. Or in church. Or they grew up together. Now they have found love. (Now that we found love what are we gonna doooo, with iiit? Remember that song by Heavy D?) This is it.

It’s them against the world. They will be together forever. Happy, happy, happy! It breaks my heart. Truly does.

If you are reading this and you are a guy under 30 and you want to get married, I will give you guy-advice: please save yourself – and that poor girl – a lot of heartache. It won’t work. In your mid 20s you imagine you have life figured out – after all, you now have a degree in something, you have a fairly stable occupation and then there is a girl you like.

OK, here is how this cookie crumbles. First, romantic love is fickle. It’s dust off a magician’s palms. What is it that Benjamin Disraeli said?

That the magic of first love is in our ignorance that it can ever end. It will end. You are 24 now? By age 34 (if you hang on that long) you will be bored out of your skull.

In fact, you will be bored by 30 when your boyhood is shedding off quickly and your manhood is taking form and you are getting this new eyesight.

It’s not that you chose the wrong spouse, but that you made a decision at the wrong time of your life.

And please don’t seek advice from much older folk, guys our parents’ age, about this. They will give you dated advice; that you should get married now, that it will stabilise you, that you two will “grow together.”

It’s not useful advice because, with all due respect, our fathers got married at such tender ages and most of them really weren’t the happiest of guys (neither were our mothers). They all looked trapped.

But let’s examine those reasons they will likely give you. Getting married at 25 will stabilise you? You don’t need stability at 25, my friend.

When do you plan to be unstable? At 25 you are built to be in post-teenage turmoil. You are meant to look and feel slightly directions-less in terms of what you want in a relationship.

Get it out of your system because all those chaps who were stable at 25 (and I know quite a few) are now completely destabilised in their late 30’s because they stifled a sneeze back then and now it’s all coming out. So, sneeze.

THICK SKIN

They say that you will “grow together”. Well, nobody really grows together. Not even twins. People grow together towards the same goals, but as individuals they grow apart.

People change. Your woman at 31 will be a totally different woman, and so will you, by Jove! You will wake up one morning and find a stranger in your bed.

My advice? Wait. Waiting never killed anyone. You won’t believe this, but if she can’t wait with you, you will find someone better.

In fact, don’t take dating too seriously. Have fun, man. Act your age. At 24 you shouldn’t be thinking about the marriage and children. You should be working on getting your foot through doors, and meeting numerous girls. This won’t make you understand women better but it will thicken your skin.

If you take my advice, you will get to 30 years of age and look back at this moment and thank your stars you didn’t rush, because you will be in a different space of maturity.

A good space to make marriage decisions. But if you still think that you really want to marry her, then please save this article and read it in another 10 years, then mail me (Inshallah) and tell me that you made a great decision. I will buy you a belated wedding present.

Jackson Biko

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