This piece is a product of the too many failed marriages I have seen, heard of and intervene into. As if all these were not enough, last month I attended an event envisioned to inspire ladies in the creative industry in Nigeria, to focus on soaring high in their chosen career not minding the several challenges they are faced with on daily basis.
One of the panellists at the event, determined to clearly caution ladies, to stop sacrificing their dreams for marriages, which often fail, kind of rekindled my concern for this issue. According to her marriages are designed to fail in Africa as they are basically skewed to satisfy the men. As much as I hate to admit her claim that most marriages are failing in Africa, this assertion is not far from the truth.
So, what went wrong or what are we doing wrongly today, that has turned this sacred institution that primarily was designed by God for man to enjoy has now become the venture that is dreaded and endured by most people. Interestingly, our fathers whose marriages were essentially consummated by their parents, and who married more wives than we do today, seem to have had more stable and successful marriages when compared to ours.
Therefore, let’s re-examine this puzzle right from the beginning, what exactly is marriage? There are several definitions for the institution but for this piece let’s examine the following that I believe will do justice to our quest; marriage is said to be the socially recognized and approved union between individuals, who commit to one another with the expectation of a stable and lasting intimate relationship. It begins with a ceremony known as a wedding, which formally unites the marriage partners.
A marital relationship usually involves contract, either written or specified by tradition, which defines the partners’ rights and obligations to each other, to any children they may have, and to their relatives. In most contemporary industrialized societies, marriage is certified by the government. I consider it to also take the Bible’s perspective because as a Christian I believe it is the book of the origins. In Genesis chapter 3 verse 18 the Bible says;
And the LORD God said, it is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him.
In my opinion there is one important point that is prominent in all the definitions above and it is missing in most marriages we consummate today. The truth is if this point is given its rightful place in marriage it will significantly change the fortune of marriages going forward. Since marriage is a contractual relationship that involves rights and obligations, parties to the relationship should not be left in the dark about the terms and conditions. Everything should be laid bare on the table for the parties to see and be convinced that they are willing and capable to go into the relationship. Simply put marriage must be deliberately consummated nobody should be tricked or in any way made to involuntary marry. There is a popular saying that people performed best on assignments they enjoy and are convinced they should be on. Let’s cut to the chase no matter how spontaneous and skilful anybody is, nobody is not likely to perform optimally on an assignment the person is not convinced he or she should be on.