The Marriage Ultimatum

While driving this morning, I heard the song ‘Marry me’ by Falz featuring Poe and Yemi Alade which basically illustrates the desperation of most single women with a very catchy tune, of course Miss Gidi being Miss Gidi, it made me think about the whole ‘ultimatum’ and how most single women these days have a time frame with the expectation that when it elapses, their partners better be on one knee asking the famous question ‘Will you marry me?’

A while ago, I had the opportunity of having a conversation with a lady who was in a new relationship. Like most women who are in fairly new relationships, she talked about all the wonderful things this man had to offer and how she really liked him but then ended everything with the statement ‘with the way things are going, I’m sure he will propose in another six months’, and in my usual manner I had to ask the reason behind the ‘six months plan’ of which she answered ‘Ah! How much longer does he need? abeg I am not 21 for him to be wasting my time and I already told him I don’t have more than one year to give him’

It’s not news that most women (and some men as well)  are scared of being hurt, scared of being taken advantage of but most of all scared of the length of time they would spend in a relationship that would not end up in marriage. I once heard that the number of years you spend with someone before you marry them is a sunk cost and should not be considered when making future marriage decisions. If you don’t know, a sunk cost is defined as a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered, which basically means the six years you spend with a partner should not be the criteria for deciding whether or not to spend six more years with him/her, what’s done is done and there’s no going back. Although this example is unconventional, I am pretty sure some of you will never forget the definition of sunk costs for the rest of your lives (sunk cost is an accounting term by the way 🙂 )

The marriage ultimatum (either direct or indirect) is quite popular with the women, young ladies give their men a time frame, requiring them to propose or they walk away by a set time because they cannot afford to hang around with the hopes of getting married. Granted some men need the push and may be slow to consider marriage but should an ultimatum be given? Doesn’t that take away from the excitement/surprise of being proposed to? Or am I missing something here…

I remember when an acquaintance came to me with the wonderful news of her engagement and as expected I asked how he proposed of which she replied Miss Gidi, we’ve been together for a long time now and I told him to propose before December or it would be over, what else is he waiting for?. You can say she replied me in the typical Nigerian manner of replying a question with a question but it looked to me like even though she was ready, he was being pushed to be ready based on her ultimatum.

It’s obvious that the older a woman gets, the more impatient she becomes in a relationship and is often ready to skip the dating stage and run straight into marriage. This impatience usually begins once she has hit her late twenties and as expected the pressure from her family has been turned all the way up. I mean ‘older married friends’ have said statements to me like ‘at your age, one year is too long to date o, if after 3 months he is not talking marriage abeg move on’

Of course the timing of a relationship is relative, for some 3 months is enough while for others it’s too short, but my question is when is a marriage ultimatum important ? why should it be given? or is an ultimatum simply a sign of  desperation? 

By the way, the ‘engaged acquaintance’ is still single and the man is married to someone else

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Mz Gidi

Writer | Poet | Thinker | Creator -|

12 thoughts on “The Marriage Ultimatum”

  1. tricky one…but i think sometimes ultimatums are necessary.Relationships going on for 8-10 years or sometimes the lady just knows she’s ready and wants a serious commitment then ultimatums should be given instead of investing in a sunk cost why don’t you make new investments maybe that will yield some profits and be beneficial? Some guys need that “nudge” .I’m not saying give ultimatums whether you love him or not,make sure he’s the person you want to spend your life with not just because of the ring on your finger.And yes i do believe relationships should be enjoyed and not made tedious.

    With regards to your friend -i guess it just was’t meant to be


  2. I had a feeling that guy would bounce. From the tiny tiny I know of men… They cannot be made to do anything they don’t want to. Sooner or later he will bounce. I don’t believe in ultimatums. Talk about it on seriousness. Does he see marriage as the aim of your relationship? By the time you are in your late twenties early thirties or later if he doesn’t think marriage is on your mind then he is a joker/ loser. Babe bounce


  3. I think that after you get to a certain age, if you have been in a relationship for at least a year, a woman can bring up the subject of marriage. Not as an ultimatum per se, but to get a feel of what he’s thinking – marriage in a year, two, never? I feel like a man shouldn’t be coerced into getting proposing, because if things don’t work out at the end of the day, he can rightfully say, “Enh, you’re the one that kept pushing me.” Have a discussion, yes. Give an ultimatum, no. If he’s not moving along your line, then you’re free to leave.

    BUT WAIT – if you’re engaged and the engagement is going on forever and ever without a clear wedding date set, give your ultimatum by all means. It happened to someone I know – she got engaged before me, and she’s single right now cos dude kept pushing the introduction forward.


  4. This one is kinda tricky.
    This is why i recommend that people become friends before they date/ get into a relationship or if yours was a “love at first sight” kinda thing, find time to invest in friendship. This period of friendship, if your eyes are “open” lets you know the kind of person he/she is and what thoughts they have towards you. If a guy wants to settle down with you, he will always find a way to say it to you.
    Then in a situation where a lady is advanced in age (whatever that means), whilst the rite of friendship will not be sacrificed, the guy has to be considerate. If you do not have plans of settling down, please let the lady go.. but Ladies never ever give an ultimatum.. it will only work if the guy is the one that wants you so bad ( but then, if he wants you so bad, it would never get to the point that you would even consider talking about marriage). in most cases, ultimatums backfire and make women appear desperate and calculating… not a good look. But then, its an unfair world.. men will continue to trade up to younger women, would sleep with the girl and not settle down with her.. would do all sorts.. its life and its just what it is.


  5. I feel that women wouldn’t be pushed into thinking about a marriage ultimatum if this society didn’t feel like marriage is the be all and end all of a woman’s existence. Why ridicule or pity a woman in her late 20s/ early 30s because she’s not married? Is a woman less of a woman because she’s not a Mrs? I mean, i’m not even 22 yet and people have already started hinting that I should be on the lookout for ‘my husband’!!

    I totally understand that there are guys who take the piss in relationships and will steal 6 years of a woman’s life and then say he’s not planning to marry in the next 5 years just for the comfort of a relationship. What people don’t seem to realise is that they put so much emphasis on women alone getting married and not the guys they’re getting married to. So at 25 the average Lagosian woman is looking for her tall dark and loaded (tall and dark isn’t even necessary) guy whereas the average 25-35 Lagosian man is still hitting the club and drinking with his ‘goons’ looking for a light skinned babe for the night.

    I do agree with chianugo above, friendship is key, and the dating stage should be fully utilised to find out all these things before you get into a serious relationship to avoid time wasters, if someone is your friend they’re more likely to tell you which stage they’re at in life. At the end of the day, if you give an ultimatum to someone who isn’t ready and they hastily agree, you’re probably both going to be unhappy in the not too distant future. That’s when all the ‘playing away games’ starts and ain’t nobody got time for that.

    Such a long post! i’m sorry!!!! But this is defintiely something i’m passionate about.




  6. Colossal waste of time ultimatums are. From the beginning state your end goal to a man. There is no crime in declaring you want a life partner, no one can fault you for that.
    Women need to stop hiding and playing coy. The feeling of wasting time comes from.hoping the guy will do the right thing at the right time and then he doesnt. Dont start any relationship on a lets see where this is going tip, if you want a partner, start dating on” i am looking for my partner p”. Let the guy know your expectations, many guys will remove themselves from the situation early as opposed to.later if they have no such intentions towards you.


  7. Wow! Loved reading the comments. Well I am married and know people who got married by giving ultimatums. Today, they regret it. No be byforce to marry oh! If only they realise it’s hardwork keeping it together they won’t rush into it. As my mama always says in Igbo, ‘ you will see what other women see in marriage ‘. You enjoy marriage when it is agreed by both parties and the hardwork won’t be tedious seeing that you do it for someone you love


  8. Marriage and the word “ultimatum” like ; the Montagues and Capulets, oil and water, toothpaste and orange juice, Taylor Sift and relationships (I’m sure we get the idea 😛 ) do not mix!!!!
    As everyone mentioned, you do it and you regret it or end up being single.

    I’m all for being friends etc but before “taking it serious” with someone be sure you can see your future self with the said person, research(mine of course) has shown that ultimatums are borne out of frustration, “time dey go” syndrome and “you cannot just waste my time” virus! 🙂


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