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Ramadan: Why women should pray harder in the last 10 days

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The reason ladies are the ones more likely to pray for a spouse or for a “good one” during these last ten days of Ramadan more than us single guys is very simple to understand. And it only requires you to put yourself in their shoes and look at the world from their standpoint.

1) Men are still generally the pursuers. Ladies generally wait for a man to seek for their hand in marriage for them to decide if they can marry him. It is easy to say girls are now relatively free to also pursue since their religion isn’t against it, but then that is oversimplified. There’s a culture that doesn’t loudly support that. And because it has been the norm that men are the pursuers since the beginning of courtship, with few exceptions, the guys themselves are generally not too comfortable with being asked out by a lady. It somehow makes them feel they’re being “emasculated”. Another important psychology related to that conditioning is that men prefer to chase – there’s pleasure they derive in pursuing. That’s why as as a “relationship counselor” (yes!), I advise girls to play hard-to-get deliberately even if they like a guy. It has powerful seductive powers. “Pleasure isn’t in the fulfilment, but in the pursuit.” – Caron de Beaumarchais.

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2) A lot of parents want their female children to get married the moment they reach certain ages. It varies among families, depending on factors, but the expectation for a lady to bring home a suitor is always higher than of men. A lady might decide to aspire for other things and not be too concerned about marriage but the truth is that we’re social beings who no matter how we try to say “it’s my life, it’s my rules”, we’ve parents whose concerns should matter even if they don’t communicate verbally, body language cues here and there will signal they want you to be where their society regards as the “best place” for a woman.

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It’s actually an innocent sentiment, since parents will think they want the best for you, not realising that they’re conditioned to want that type of best by the society. There’s also the larger society who continuously feel entitled see women that are unmarried at some certain age, “somehow”. The struggle is real.

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3) There’s stigma attached to divorced women. A man can marry the wrong woman and divorce her and marry another without anybody raising an eyebrow, but it’s not the case with women. “Ta fito” is the language they often use. And language isn’t just an embodiment of words; it’s also that of a people’s values, beliefs and worldviews. “Ta fito” is just two words but has heavy negative undertones, subconsciously. Besides men can choose not to divorce a wife, they can simply sideline her and marry another, subjecting her to listening to their giggling every night. A woman can’t make the same choice, for obvious reasons. She’ll either have to stay or leave. So why won’t she pray for a good spouse? Whatever way she defines “good.”

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There are probably other reasons to explain this, such as biological factors (women reach menopause at some age before men, and marriage and children are 5&6 dominantly) etc. But I decided to situate this keenly within Hausa/
Fulani northern Nigerian context because it’s the place I know best. I also understand that when it comes to gender issues between men and women in society, it’s never a case of black-and-white or good and bad. Faaaar from that. I strongly believe that society has a way of favouring and disfavouring everybody within specific contexts and perspectives.

So whenever we look at patriarchy and its deeply rooted impacts, we can easily see how it heavily disfavours and oppresses women in ways we can survive far better if it doesn’t. Many of the unfair choices some parents and husbands and men make against women are influenced by troubling cultural prejudices and biases we’re reluctant to confront as a society. But I strongly believe humans continuously evolve and we have the ability to reform ourselves for the better.
May we marry the right spouses.

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