Early this morning I came upon a post on Facebook by a Friend whose parents died earlier this year, within months of each other after many years together as husband and wife. He attested to the great love that existed between them while they lived.
Another contributor to the post related an account where his mother died a few days after his father was buried. He said she’d been so heartbroken and distraught and appeared to be unable to contemplate, imagine or even live life without her beloved husband. These ones too had been married for decades and were well advanced in age before their demise.
Such stories make you wonder what it is that has gone wrong with the kind of shortlived marriages we contract today, or better still what LOVE in this day and age represents. Given, what we saw in ‘Titanic’ was make believe but recent events have also shown scenes like that replayed over and over again, for instance in an attack (by an enraged gunman) at a cinema some place in the US several months back it was reported that a few guys pushed their girlfriends (not even wives) out of harms way, taking bullet(s) and dying in their stead.
From the aforementioned it will be erroneous to generalize therefore that we no longer have the kind of enduring love that our forebears had towards members of the opposite sex. However, one might not be totally wrong to insinuate that such kind of expression of love is fast going extinct in our time, as they are not as widespread as they used to be.
Things are quite different now, and love has taken on a new interpretation because of the materiality that has overtaken our ways. Nothing now goes for nothing, hence there’s no free launch anywhere. There must always be a give, well atleast in most cases.
Because everything now goes for a price, and indeed to the highest bidder, there’s hardly any depth in feelings of love anymore, and people relate to each other based on what is in it for them. Most times, we often carry this attitude onto our serious mutual relationships and then onward to marriage.
Most marriages today are contracted based on several other variables and determinants besides love or the appreciation of the person of the one’s partner. Unfortunately, most of these variables are peripheral and bereft of depth, such that once they cease to be (as they are wont to) the marriage begins to totter.
It is true that one is attracted to the opposite sex initially by physical attributes, before much else, but what ideally should sustain that relationship beyond infatuation to love enough to make two willing people to consider marriage is non-tangible and immaterial.
Even in situations where the bride and groom were either bethrothed or had their marriage arranged as was in the past or presently as in some cultures today, the couples grew into each other (where the arrangement worked) by appreciating the non tangibles and immaterial attributes each of them possessed.
Marriages that are built on purely the physical and tangible will stand no chance of survival (in the true sense of it) when that which binds the union is purely physical and material except the parties see their union as such and even at that will only survive till such a time as they’ve agreed upon.
Unfortunately, many people go into marriages with only the tangibles uppermost on their agenda, hoping to reap the rewards that accompany marriages built on those infallible non-tangibles. It is therefore not unusual and not unexpected that today’s marriages have sooner become separations and divorces than the bride had thrown her wedding ‘bouquet’ to the next most willing, single and searching female at the wedding reception.
Many others who haven’t yet divorced can barely stand each other’s presence when they are together in the home. This is the period when every other thing but building their marriage takes centre stage in their lives. Even when they ‘manage’ to have sex, it is with either party having sex with another (person he/she is seeing or fantasizes about) in their mind and probably just to fulfill all righteousness.
And when the stresses as often they would come, strike at the heart of the marriage, the faulty foundation simply gives following the lines of the pre-existing cracks that their lack of understanding of what is required, as well as the perseverance that’s key to making a success of it, it simply crumbles regardless of the length of time from when the union was contracted and when it was disbanded.
Third Party interference also affects marriages, as when two people marry, they bring in the baggage of family and friends as well as close acquaintances from their individual lives. The level with which they allow these people to influence their marriage determines to a large extent the direction the marriage will take. It must be noted that most times third party ‘advisers’ do not necessarily come with the mindset to cause trouble or destabilize the marriage, but in the main act to secure what they consider to be in their ‘persons’ best interest even when it will in the long run negatively impact on their person’s marriage and eventually hurting the same one they sought to protect. Some other times, third party people have ulterior motives, hence it behoves on the couple to sieve advice and any other in such manner before deciding to act on them when they are freely offered or solicited.
Marriages thrive on Compromises and even though one shouldn’t be deluded into thinking that marriage should simply make a drunk tow the path of sobriety, it shouldn’t be out of place to expect some adjustment in behaviour for the married in the like of toning down to outright stoppage of some indiscretions, excesses and other untoward habits that the one may have been known for prior to getting hitched. Sometimes, reluctance to drop such wantoness may be a source of the development of a faultline, even when such behaviours or acts are done in secret without the knowledge of one’s spouse.
There will be challenges in marriage, but a united couple will be able to work through them if and when they see themselves as partners in progress. Some marriages experience several initial months and years of what might be described as an ‘EXTENDED HONEYMOON’, while for many others they experience the short end of the stick almost as they walk out of the wedding hall, for varying periods as well.
These challenges range from the physical to the non material, and may include financial instability, environmental events (both physical and social) and in many traditional societies like Africa the issue of delayed conception, infertility and the likes.
The pressure newly-wedded couples face to procreate in traditional societies is so much and the air of expectation so thick that it can be sliced with a knife. Couples who find themselves in this situation, require more than the normal thick skin most marriages require to stem the tide of opposition to their union. They are the cynosure of all eyes, and every of their activity and inactivity is freely interpreted to mean or be in response to one thing or the other, related to the drive to have kids of their own. Many marriages have been shattered owing to childlessness and relationships between the families involved irreparably shattered. It is also the harbinger to negatives such as infidelity and the likes, not like that is the sole reason for such anyway.
I am beginning to bore you, so I will round up by saying that we’d all like to marry our friend, our lover and spouse, the one we think are replacements for our missing rib (in the case of the man), the father or mother to our future kids and all, and live in the warm comfort that our better halves will loves us for who we are and us them, TILL DEATH DO US PART, and maybe like the cases I cited earlier on, to live together for so long that the absence of one warrants the exit of the other, to join the beloved in the hereafter, but such will require some effort and some work by the parties involved to bring to fruition.