HOW TO STOP BEING OPINIONATED: BE SUBMISSIVE OR BE LONELY
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One of the very things I realised at a not-so-early stage of my life is the similarities between the words submission and opinionated, in patriarchy dictionary. It is because of this revelation that I am very wary of the word opinionated when used by a man in a relationship context.
Most of the time when a man says that a woman is opinionated, it doesn’t mean that she is dogmatic or close-minded in her opinions, it simply means that she’s vocal, assertive and has a strong sense of self. So when patriarchy declares you “guilty” of being opinionated, it also means that you greatly lack the ability to be submissive, thereby falling short of the glory of patriarchy.
Sometime during the week, I read a post that expressly inferred that there is a relationship between being alone, loneliness and being opinionated. More like, one of the adverse effects/repercussions for people who are “opinionated” is ending up alone and lonely. While I have no doubt that being opinionated in this context is same as stated above, I have a problem with what I have come to call the demonization of aloneness – this toxic narrative that being alone is such a bad thing, and to be alone is to be lonely.Most of the time when a man says that a woman is opinionated, it simply means she's vocal, assertive and has a strong sense of self, rather than being a patriarchy princess. Click To Tweet
Asides the fact that it is a common knowledge that people can be married and still be lonely, how did we get to this point where we think that to be alone is inherently despicable? If you ask me, I think it’s because we believe no one in their right senses can CHOOSE to be alone (without a man/unmarried), and it makes sense why we are always quick to ascribe a woman’s singleness, especially at certain ages, to having a personality problem. I mean, if she is really “marriageable” (definitely, not age now), she wouldn’t be single, or would she?
I think marriage is a very very beautiful thing, but this very idea that marriage is the fullness of wholeness, thriving and expression, and women cannot really choose to be alone (stay unmarried) is actually why someone would look at you and be so convinced that you aren’t genuinely happy because you don’t have a man. Worse, they are so sure that to be single for a long time is surely misery masking itself as joy, and to be reallllllllyyyy single, in the sense of you not seeing anyone at all, or worse, your relationships are not working out, is definitely because you have a personality problem.
Few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend this Sunday School Service on the topic marriage and divorce, and I had a question. I wanted to know if unmarried women have a place in the Church, and if not, why? As I expected, the answer to the question was No! and the why was more culturally glaring than biblical, and it made me understand more, why unmarried women get the most invites to church love meets and hangouts.
It is because the goal is not to have one woman left unmarried in the Church at the end of the day. We are so sure that everybody wants to be married. In fact, everybody should be married. But no, everybody doesn’t want to be married, and I think the moment we begin to understand that, the less we begin to think that a woman being unmarried is because she’s so independent, “opinionated,” unyielding, etc. Hey! Some people are just not about that life. PERIODT! Why are we trying to get everyone married?
Why do we find it so hard to believe, accept and respect the fact that a woman just doesn’t want to be married? On some days when I’m really pressed, I really wanna ask the Church if we are so sure that Paul truly chose to be unmarried for the kingdom’s sake, or it’s because no woman really wanted him ‘cos he has a personality issue that we just can’t deduce just by reading his epistles to the churches? (or maybe we can deduce it. I mean, now that I’m thinking about some Bible verses, it’s sort of starting to make sense lol).Being alone is not a repercussion of bad personality or toxic behaviour, it is also as wholesome as we often present marriage to be. Click To Tweet
The issue is that, most of the time when it comes to the sisters, we always seem to have the scenarios figured out. Are you sure you are not having all these man problems because you’re so choosy, so independent ‘cos men like to feel needed? Are you sure you respect him enough, cos men like to have their ego stroked? Like I’m so tired.
Why do unmarried men have a very wholesome place in the church, but unmarried women don’t? I don’t even think the answer is far-fetched. I mean, asides the fact that most of the disciples were unmarried (I know what you’re gonna tell me, they did it for the kingdom’s sake, even though there was no place where Jesus commanded them to/ or yeah, they followed Christ’s example lol), a man could be 47 and unmarried in the Church, and nobody would think he has a personality problem… or worse, maybe he’s narcissistic.
See, I have no problem with the disciples choice to be unmarried and have no kids, I mean there could be many reasons for that asides doing it for the kingdom’s sake – it probably just didn’t occur to them, maybe it occurred to them but they just didn’t want it (they probably don’t want anything distracting their walk with Christ/ministry), or maybe the decision is also an expression of their understanding of Matthew 16:24. Didn’t they think of their parents? If nobody gave birth to them, will they even think of following Christ in the first place? I mean, why isn’t that so selfish though?
See, regardless of the faint sarcasm, I believe that whatever their reason(s) might have been, it’s very valid, and I think the same applies and should apply to when a woman decides to stay unmarried. Being alone is not a repercussion of bad personality or toxic behaviour, it is also as wholesome as we often present marriage to be.
Can we for once acknowledge the slightest fact that there are people who actually do not want to be married, and it’s not a decision borne out of fear or trauma that needs to be healed or worked on? And most importantly, that it is more than okay for them to change their minds if and when they want to?
Marriage is a very beautiful thing, but it is not the fullness of wholeness, thriving or expression.Ibukunwrites.