Ever since I entered my twenties one topic has popped up with increasingly disturbing frequency: Marriage.
I’m at that point where former classmates, friends, cousins, etc are getting hitched left, right and centre and now no matter how lighthearted the gist I’m having with ANYBODY is, eight out ten times the topic gets raised.
I recall a conversation I had with one of my homeboys in early 2011 and his opinion on the matter was pretty straightforward; he wasn’t interested in getting married because he didn’t want “stress” but he didn’t mind “siring” a few children “around”, so long he didn’t have to marry their mothers. We had a good laugh about it. I haven’t asked him if he still holds the same view.
Fast forward three years – within which I have had a number of uncomfortable conversations on the topic – and a few weeks ago I found myself having the same conversation with another former classmate. I asked him why there’s so much focus or pressure if you will on young people on the issue, did one even have to get married? What was wrong with deciding to remain single? I could imagine his gasp just before he typed his reply over BBM. “It’s tradition” he said.
We went on to say many things afterwards but that reply hit me in the gut over a number of reasons which I will promptly lay out.
Tradition. “Tradition” dictates you HAVE to get married, should you stay single beyond a certain age (especially for the ladies) and people begin to think you’ve got “home problems”. If God helps you and you do get married, you’ve got to start reproducing immediately, like pronto. Irrespective of whether you are ready for a child or not or whether you even want children or not. (I haven’t even entered into the drama behind having male kids). For many marriages, “tradition” skewered reasoning and logical proper planning.
Since we are still on the topic of tradition, can we HONESTLY claim or as warri people will say can we say with our “church minds” that it’s traditional to have kids out of wedlock? Of course it happens but it’s frowned upon. I’ve lived in about five states since I was a kid and I don’t remember where in any of these communities it was a “tradition”.
Having said all that, why is my generation full of baby mamas and papas? Why are guys eschewing the idea of wives for “partners”? The same applies to the ladies. It indicates to me a growing faithlessness in the institution of marriage what with rising divorce rates and the increased influence of “civilisation” on the actual need to “recognise” the union of man and woman (I’m being gender specific on purpose).
Or is it just plain laziness, because staying in a marriage and remaining faithful once the honeymoon phase has passed requires actual work?
What about the kids raised in these splintered homes? Being a father is so much more than providing a child support pay check at the end of the month and popping in to say hi every now and then.
In the interest of full disclosure I will lay out a few of my own convictions so you know where I’m coming from:
First of all in my opinion, marriage is something to NEVER be pressured into especially if you’re not ready for it, guy or girl. There’s nothing wrong with remaining single for as long as you want to or even for the rest of your life if it’s what you want, after all there is a BIG difference between being alone and being lonely. (For those folks who will inevitably quote the Bible at me read up 1 Cor 7 especially verses 1:8).
Secondly, I’m old school on this so let me say I’m completely with the Bible on premarital sex, and waiting till you’re married before having kids and having kids with your wife and she alone, that is if you want kids.
I’m neither a marriage expert nor a psychologist, I’m just pointing out what I see; and while I’m not forcing my beliefs on anyone, the Bible’s point of view makes so much more sense to me and if we really think about it, even tradition will agree.
I’ll really love to hear from you guys. Hit me up @arielugorji and/or the comment box below. Cheers