If you ask any married person how their marriage is doing you will hear statements like “we are doing great!” or “we compliment each other” or “we are in a good place”. Few people ever admit to the challenges that marriage brings.
Perhaps it is the fear of being seen as a failure or the need to portray an image of perfection to the world. However is any marriage perfect? Can any two people no matter how similar claim that their marriage is always hunky dory?
The irony of it is you will hear sometime later that the couple you thought was “perfect” eventually broke up and went their separate ways. What happened? “They looked so happy together”. Really?
The thing about marriage is you cannot even comment about it as a married person because you draw some speculation and criticism about your own marriage. “Why is he asking about this?” “Is his marriage ok?”
Globally the rate of marriage is on the decline. Some may argue that it is a rich country or western phenomenon but even poor countries have experienced a steep decline in marriages.
On the other hand the global rate of divorce is on the rise with the US for instance recording a 53% rate in 2013. The introduction of gay and lesbian marriage has also added a new dimension to these figures.
Marriage is not for the feint hearted. It is for people with immense inner strength. Strength to endure all the challenges and hardships it can bring. But unfortunately few realise that before they jump in head first.
I say this not to scare those waiting for their own marriages to materialise or those living in their “perfect” marriages but I say it with much experience and research to back it up. Sometimes you may think being married is a dream come true but some have found themselves in a genuine nightmare.
Tradition and religion would have you believe that there is no greater prize or privilege than to be married but try and tell that to the thousands of women who have been battered or killed by their husbands. Try and tell that to the men who have found out years down the line that the children they took care of for years as their own belong to another man.
The list of scenarios is endless but some people have been scarred seriously by marriage and they will never do it again. Some have been brave and remarried again and again and again still hoping to find their soul mate. Some have opted for the single life and who can blame them? Millions of couples globally are cohabiting and getting on with life without the complexities of a legally binding contract. Breaking up is easier in these relationships. It is easier to move on. No strings attached unless you have children.
However some of these couples are ridiculed by families and friends for this and some are eventually convinced to tie the knot against their better judgement. The singleton is a big target for this victimisation as they are made to feel inferior or inadequate for not being married. Especially in third world cultures and especially those in their 30’s. Some, especially women end up so desperate for a marriage that they marry the next person that greets them, literally. Just to satisfy their families and their peers.
However as people, particularly women become more empowered and educated they do not necessarily see marriage as their ultimate destination. They have other things going for them. They are making money and they’re enjoying their independence. Statistically most women nowadays get married in their 30’s. Some even older and others never and they are not panicking about it.
Some women have become single unmarried mothers and there is no shame in it nowadays. Religious and traditional values appear to have been sidelined for a more relaxed and accepting approach to things. Some single mothers eventually get married and go on to live normal and happy lives. It is not the end of the world for them.
They say “there is a thin line between love and hate”. That is true particularly in marriage. When the marriage has come to an end particularly when there has been infidelity things can get quite messy. Even family members on either side become enemies overnight. If there are children involved, many of them are quite traumatised when their parents split up. Custody battles and splitting of assets can take it’s toll on the children. Some have been known to bear grudges with one or both of their parents when this happens. In extreme cases some develop psychological problems.
It is however not all bad in marriage. A good marriage can be a source of strength and inspiration for yourself and for others. A good marriage stands the test of time and trials. However a really good marriage is rare and even those that are in one have to work really hard to make it work. It is a lot of compromise, commitment and dedication. Having said that people can change. The woman you married 10 years ago my not be the same woman you see today and vice versa. It is wise for everyone to realise and accept that things can change even in a good marriage and you may have no control over how that change manifests itself.
The Roddy Chasewater Show.