By Ezinwanne Onwuka
Marriage is like a besiege castle; those who are on the outside wish to get in; and those who are on the inside wish to get out.- Arabian Proverb.
In recent times, the sanctity of marriage has seemed to have disappeared. After vowing in front of family and friends to never separate unless parted by death, people still find it easier to break the special bond between them and their partner rather than find solutions to mend the broken pieces.
With that broken bond comes divorce, the dissolution of a marriage, the complete opposite of what was promise on that ‘special day.’
In the past, marriage was considered as an ideal, today marriage is increasingly optional. To a greater extent than ever before, individuals can choose whether to form a family on their own, in a cohabiting relationship, or in a marriage. And, infact, many people are opting not to marry at all and instead cohabitate or engage in casual sex.
The increase in divorce rate are reasons many people afraid to get married. Nowadays, most people get married for convention’s sake. As time goes, they become discouraged, disheartened and disappointed. Or just bored. Then, they bail out.
All love stories end with a wedding, but where once we presumed the lovers faded away into a happy ever after, now they just fade away.
It wouldn’t be an understatement to state that divorce has become socially accepted, due to the fact that so many people in society are divorcing; hence, it has become a norm.
Why has this become so? You may ask. The decreasing marriage rates are due to a number of factors. These includes the following:
Women’s financial independence
Centuries ago, a woman would marry a man chiefly to become financially dependent on him. That has changed in recent times. Women no longer want to compromise and can easily survive (and actually flourish) without getting married. Even men no longer have to depend on a ‘wife’ for housekeeping activities. A man or woman can be the earner or the housekeeper, or both and those choosing to be both may not have to rely on marriage.
Independence versus compromise
Admittedly, marriage is a compromise. It’s about one compromise after another. As one grows and/or matures, one feels the need to become more and more independent. Forget adults now, even children have become quite independent and refuses to compromise. In such a scenario, getting married seems less and less appealing.
Let’s face it, one of the major reasons why people get married is to have sex. Actually, there are many conservative societies where there’s no chance for sex unless you get married. However, that is changing in an era of open relationships where more and more people of both sexes are open to the idea of sex outside marriage.
Moreover, masturbation and sex toys are becoming less of a taboo and the amount of pornography available is rising exponentially. In other words, sex is no longer reserved exclusively for married couples. It is for this very reason that most people are retreating from marriage in the 21st century.
Changing relationship culture
While sex has been taken care of, today the concept of having a boyfriend or girlfriend or a sex partner is much more acceptable than it was decades ago. Cohabitation has become prevalent. This kind of a relationship is much more hassle-free and hence quite appealing.This result in redundant marriages.
Notwithstanding the paradigm shift in marriage orchestrated by the 21st century, the fact still remains that the best way to love someone is in the context of a lifelong commitment.
We all know marriages that have failed, or have descended into abuse or despair. But, despite the failures, marriage remains the best way to realise the aspiration of lifelong love.