Sunday, 2 July 2017

Nkem Edem: On Becoming the ‘Lord of the Ring’

Nigerians are awesome, especially when it comes to giving nicknames, coining slangs and making memes. In fact, at this point, I feel like we have a name for every possible situation or circumstance one could ever find oneself in. The funny part is that these names or phrases always make sense.

In Nigeria, “Lord of the Ring” – a title which hints at the 1954 book series written by J.R.R. Tolkien- is an alias for someone (most times, a girl) who has been engaged for far too long.

I only heard about the “lord of the ring’ phrase two days ago. I had run into a crystal set eagle (alumni of Covenant University) that I had not seen since graduation. She had added some body weight (like most of us have) and looked like she was settled in life. And while exchanging pleasantries, I made a comment: “Sure you have kids and all now”. This would not have been an issue had she not given me a weird look that made me feel really awkward. To be honest, I don’t know why I made the remark. I am not one to comment on things I am not sure of, and I do not even like asking such questions as: Are you married? Has he asked you to marry him? Do you have a baby yet? Do you have a car? How much do you earn? But, this particular aunty was engaged the same year we graduated. My impression was that they got married right after and moved on with life as most people do. I mean, it had been 8 solid years! She was even wearing a ring. I believe anyone would have made same assumptions as I did. Unfortunately, she replied and let me know that she and her fiancĂ© were still engaged. He had traveled out to get a better life for them and they would get married eventually e.t.c.

Of course, I did not make any further comments…but I was shocked. It was incredible. I called my bestie later in the day to give him the gist and he said “Ah! That one has become Lord of the Ring oh!” Apparently, when people go from asking when you and a fiancĂ© will get marry to asking if you will ever get married…you, the one proposed to, are a lord of the ring. There is no official time specification as to when you can become a lord of the ring, but I would like to think that you have earned the title if after one year of engagement, you are still unmarried. Sure, most of the things that are worth achieving in life require a measure of delay in gratification but I don’t believe engagements fall under that category of achievements.

Having had a number of friends get engaged and eventually married in the last couple of years, I have come to understand that sometimes, people are not able to get married immediately after the proposal for several reasons: they need the extra time for wedding planning; they have family or religious issues to sort out, or one person has to finish school first.
Other times, it is because the bride-to-be wants a particular month or date for the wedding, or she wants to stretch the engagement period for as long as possible so she can thoroughly enjoy the perks that come with it – showing off the ring, posting pre-wedding pictures and events on social media, recounting the proposal to a enthralled audience, e.t.c These reasons are to an extent reasonable.

What I find baffling and perplexing are situations where people justify a long engagement for the sake of building the relationship or as a way to see if the marriage will work. I find it ridiculous. The question I ask is this: if you knew you were not ready, you still had doubts or you felt like you and the person were mismatched in timeline and expectations…why did you propose? Why get engaged? If you’re putting a ring on it, then you should be ready for the wedding bells. Do not engage someone with a ring, when you are not in a place to get married within a short period of time. Marriage is a leap of faith, make up your mind do it and actually do it. The length of your courtship or engagement most of the time will have no effect on how the marriage turns out.

Some people get married after two months of dating and stay married forever; others date for years, get engaged for even longer, yet they get divorced after just two months of marriage…and it has nothing to do with the weird phenomenon of long-standing relationships falling apart after making it legal.

Waiting for the perfect job, or waiting to make the right amount of money or have the right house in the right neighborhood may never happen. Nothing you do during the engagement period can prepare you for all the challenges that may come with the actual marriage. Instead, a long engagement will put a long of strain on the couple, especially the lord of the ring, and because a rise of avoidable tensions that may eventually kill the relationship.

Bottom line: Do not get engaged and make someone a lord of the ring when you are not ready. Also, if you are a Lord of the ring…you may want to rethink your situation.

Are you currently in long engagement? Why or why not?

About Nkem Ndem
Nkem Ndem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for online writing(web content and blog) and editing, screenwriting, ghost writing, copy proofreading and reviews. She has since worked with Jumia, SpiceTV Africa, and Bella Naija. Check out her Instagram: @kem_dem, twitter: @ndemv and snapchat:@ndemv. Email: [email protected]

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