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To marry or not to marry? That is the question


The question 'To marry or not to marry?' has sparked countless discussions, both online and offline, among my circle of younger relatives, friends, and mentees. These informal conversations have unveiled a wide array of viewpoints. Some frame their thoughts in light of their career goals, while others consider the weight of societal expectations. A few highlight the fluid nature of modern relationships. Reflecting on these talks, I find myself pondering several questions. What is the essence of commitment? How does financial independence factor into the decision to marry? Does modern marriage hinge on finding meaningful connections? Clearly, young adults today are contemplating a diverse set of considerations regarding marriage.

 

Early marriage and 'tradwives'

Until recently, early marriages were commonplace. My mother had to leave school to marry, despite being a top student with a father who could support her education at any level and institution she chose. She attended an institute that trained young women in skills such as organising social events, preparing sophisticated cuisine, personal care, style, etiquette, and manners. The aim was to become adept wives, mothers, and hostesses—tradwives, or traditional wives. These institutes were similar to Swiss finishing schools, known for their focus on social graces and cultural education. Although the decision to remove my mother from school for marriage was paternalistic, she was somewhat more fortunate than many girls who were married off without any skills to support themselves or their families.

 

Evolving dynamics of marriage and women's rights

Even after more than fifty years, girls in some cultures remain voiceless and are coerced into early marriages against their wishes. This absence of choice is not confined to young girls and early marriages alone.  Many parents hold the expectation that their children will leave university with two achievements: an academic degree and a marital partner. Phrases like "Time is running out," "You are not getting any younger," and "Men prefer younger women" are constant refrains young women must endure daily. The pressure does not stop at the expectation of marriage itself. Additionally, the landscape becomes complicated due to blind dates, marriages arranged for economic purposes (to merge businesses), and political unions (to amass power). Placing social, financial, or political benefits above personal choice and happiness restricts personal growth, autonomy, and fair partnerships. This contrasts sharply with the fundamental principles of human rights.

 

Navigating modern love and choice

In my university days, a fellow resident juggled relationships with several partners each serving a distinct purpose. One was for social events and parties, another for practical support such as groceries, and a third viewed as a potential life partner, being a fellow student. She humorously referred to this as ' grazing the field.' More recently, a close friend mentioned she was 'evaluating' three potential partners, aiming to make the best choice for herself. I supported her, saying, "Way to go, girl."  

 

While this approach might raise eyebrows, I believe that if the intention is to genuinely understand and connect with potential partners, why should it be frowned upon? Moreover, it offers a chance to gain insights into different personalities, interests, and dynamics of relationships without the constraints of exclusivity or long-term commitment. In our fast-paced lives, not to mention the pressure of biological constraints, this approach seems practical. After all, it is common for men to explore their options without criticism.

 

Debating marriage

This post explores the complex question of 'To marry or not to marry?' within the context of heterosexual relationships, drawing upon informal yet insightful discussions with approximately 50 young people. While not rigorous research, these conversations reveal the depth and diversity of contemporary marital considerations.



 

So, why does the question "To marry or not to marry?" deserve its own post? Based on the discussions I have had, here are the reasons:


How is women's access to income influencing their views on marriage?

 

Women's financial independence: As more women join the workforce and earn independently, traditional views on marriage are being reshaped. With a paycheck in hand, women have more freedom in making life choices, reducing the pressure to marry for financial security. Marriage is no longer a must-do for survival, it is a choice driven by personal preference. 

 

Must women choose between career and marriage?

 

Career versus marriage: Women often face a stark choice between advancing their careers and meeting the expectations of marriage. Striking a balance between career goals and marital duties can lead to prioritising one over the other, with some choosing to focus on their professional life, which might result in delaying or even deciding against marriage.

 

Why are people increasingly questioning the stability of marriage?

 

Diminishing faith in marriage: The trend of couples marrying one day and divorcing the next has led to a decline in confidence in the institution of marriage. This pattern has greatly undermined faith in the enduring nature of marital ties, leading many to avoid the potential legal and emotional difficulties associated with it. As a result, commitment to marriage is now often met with scepticism, casting doubt on its significance and applicability in contemporary society.

 

Is marriage becoming transactional?

 

Materialistic tendencies:  People are increasingly placing greater importance on financial wealth and material assets over core marital values such as companionship and mutual support. This shift towards materialism is making people cautious about committing to marriage, thereby challenging traditional principles and prompting a reevaluation of what constitutes a genuine partnership.

 

Who wants an apparently disempowered partner?

 

Perceived impact of women's empowerment: The empowerment of women and girls, although beneficial in many respects, has contributed to a perception of men becoming emasculated. The increased presence of women in traditionally male-dominated areas highlights a major shift in gender roles. This transformation in societal norms is affecting the dynamics of attraction, desirability, and partnership in relationships. Men lacking employment, income, or perceived power are deemed less attractive as marriage partners, illustrating the complex interplay between empowerment, financial independence, and the choice of a partner in today's society.

 

Intimidated by women’s success?

 

Men apprehensive of successful women: Women's career and financial achievements are reshaping traditional notions of male success and leadership. This dynamic can leave some men feeling daunted, causing them to hesitate in pursuing relationships with women who exhibit what are traditionally seen as "masculine" traits of success.

 

Seeking an equal partner or a ‘tradwife’?

 

Search for true partnership: An increasing number of women seek men to build a partnership of equals with, one that upholds shared values and responsibilities, mutual aspirations, respect, and an equal say in decision-making. Yet, there are men who still hold onto the idea of traditional 'tradwife' roles. This mismatch poses a significant obstacle to creating relationships that embody contemporary standards of partnership.

 

Does commitment to marriage lead to divorce?

 

Cohabitation versus marriage: Many couples now favour the flexibility of cohabitation, which offers many of the benefits of marriage without the formal commitment. This preference indicates a significant shift in how society views long-term relationships, favouring a more adaptable approach to commitment that does not necessarily involve marriage. This move suggests that for some, the formalities of marriage may complicate rather than solidify a partnership.

 

Does marriage lead to complacency or unveil the real you?

 

Growing wings and horns after the ring: Marriage often brings with it a sense of security that can catalyse three distinct changes in behaviour. Firstly, some women might become bolder, feeling they have "arrived" at a societal milestone. Secondly, this security might lead to taking aspects of the relationship for granted. Lastly, the permanence perceived in marriage might encourage showing one's true colours, as the need to maintain pretenses diminishes. Each of these potential shifts can significantly alter the dynamics established before marriage.

 

Are betrayals in marriage to be expected?

 

Infidelity concerns: The apprehension surrounding potential infidelity after marriage contribute to hesitations about commitment from both men and women. The risk of betrayal brings with it the possibility of emotional distress and complicated separations, eroding the foundational trust and commitment crucial to marriage. These concerns lead to deeper reflections on the role and significance of marriage in today's world.

 

Is marriage worth the headache and heartache?

 

Weighing gains and pains: For some, the decision to marry is about balancing the pros against the cons. The key question to consider is whether the benefits outweigh the potential emotional and practical challenges that marriage might bring. Ultimately, this choice is deeply personal, shaped by individual priorities and values.

 

What is in it for you beyond love?

 

The practicalities: For some, marriage is not just about emotional connection; its practical benefits are equally important. Considerations include the extent to which marriage could support one's career path, simplify the process of buying property, or lead to benefits such as citizenship, tax advantages, and access to certain government services. These practical considerations are key in the decision to marry, having a significant impact on both your financial situation and day-to-day life.

 

How are expectations of marriages changing?

 

Marriage redefined: The perception of marriage is shifting towards a focus on companionship. Today's couples place importance on strong emotional bonds, shared interests, and joint development towards mutual fulfillment. This change marks a departure from conventional beliefs, highlighting the significance of growing together within a partnership.

 

Is "fake it till you make it" a common pre-marriage strategy?

 

The gamble of authenticity: : Navigating the path to marriage can sometimes feel like a gamble, exchanging gold for what turns out to be glass or mere crystal. This uncertainty is especially pronounced in relationships formed in adulthood, where the full essence of a person and their genuine intentions can remain obscured. Without the foundation of a childhood connection, it may take years and shared experiences to truly uncover the depths of your partner's character.

 

Is the digital age curating our view of marriage?

 

The digital influence: The internet undeniably shapes contemporary relationships, influencing everything from how couples meet to the way they communicate and sustain their bond. While digital platforms open up novel opportunities to connect with potential life partners, they also present unique challenges around privacy, trust, and the genuineness of online identities. Striking the right balance in this digital terrain is key, leveraging its advantages while staying alert to potential drawbacks.

 

Concluding reflections at NITE TANZARN IntellectNest

As we conclude our exploration of the nuanced question "To marry or not to marry?" it becomes evident that the equation extends well beyond mere emotional connections. Our discussions have shed light on the evolving landscape of marriage, influenced by shifts in societal norms, personal ambitions, and the digital age's impact on relational dynamics.

 

Discussions with young people point to a collective reassessment of what marriage traditionally represents. There is a growing preference for partnerships based on equality, shared growth, and mutual fulfilment. It appears that marriage is increasingly viewed not just as a societal milestone but as a considered choice, heavily influenced by its implications for personal autonomy and financial independence.

 

Navigating these transformative times underscores the importance of finding a partner whose values resonate with our own, emphasising the need for open communication and mutual understanding. The decision to marry—or not—is profoundly personal, devoid of a universal directive. Yet, the importance of approaching this choice with an informed, introspective, and authentic stance remains constant.

 

In summary, the concept of marriage is undeniably undergoing a redefinition, mirroring the broader societal transformations. Our challenge lies in comprehending these shifts, adapting to them, and making decisions that best align with our individual life visions and partnership expectations. The path towards or away from marriage is distinctly personal, enriched by our unique experiences, societal interactions, and the pursuit of a partnership that truly reflects our individual essence and aspirations.

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28 Comments


Guest
Feb 06

In Congo, a man married to a woman because of her wealth. And after the marriage, he attempted to kill the woman and collect all her properties. The woman was very intelligent than the man. Her house was monitored with camera that no one cannot see.

So the case went to court and the marriage is declared null and void.


Rev Fr Francis Xavier Angkosaala Mafr, Archdiocese of Dar es salaam, Tanzania

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Thank you for sharing this alarming story from the Congo (DRC), Rev Fr Francis Xavier Angkosaala. It serves as a stark reminder of the crucial importance of genuine intentions and mutual respect in marriage. The woman's foresight in securing her safety with hidden cameras was incredibly wise. This incident underscores the need for vigilance and the protection of personal well-being in marital relationships. It's a powerful testament to the strength and intelligence of individuals facing deceit and betrayal.

Cheers,

Nite

#NITETANZARNIntellectNest

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Guest
Feb 06

I celebrated a marriage between an American man and a Canadian lady. During the session for preparation for marriage I asked the lady what attracted her to this man? She said because he likes to go to the restaurant and for dinner or lunch. The man told me because the lady was very rich he will not work hard anymore but he will enjoy life everyday.

Rev Fr Francis Xavier Angkosaala Mafr, Archdiocese of Dar es salaam, Tanzania

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Thank you, Rev Fr Francis Xavier Angkosaala, for sharing such a fascinating story from the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam. It certainly sheds light on the diverse motivations that can lead people to marriage, ranging from lifestyle preferences to financial considerations. This story enriches our discussion by highlighting the complexity of reasons behind personal decisions like marriage. It's a reminder of the unique journeys we all embark on in our relationships.

Cheers,

Nite

#NITETANZARNIntellectNest

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Guest
Feb 05

I don't believe that marriage today is about love but it's rather a social status for many people

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It's an intriguing perspective that marriage is viewed by some more as a marker of social status than an expression of love. This highlights the diversity in motivations and expectations surrounding marriage in contemporary society. Thanks for sharing your viewpoint; it adds an important dimension to the discussion.

Cheers,

Nite

#NITETANZARNIntellectNest

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Guest
Feb 05

Thanks for the deep analysis. GBU👊🏾

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I'm glad you appreciated the analysis. Thank you for your kind words and support. Wishing you all the best as well!

Cheers,

Nite

#NITETANZARNIntellectNest

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Guest
Feb 05

My quick answer is love driven by several factors. Money, family, culture, faith etc

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Your concise answer touches on the multifaceted nature of love and the decision to marry, influenced by money, family, culture, faith, and more. It's a reminder that these decisions are deeply personal, shaped by a variety of significant factors. Appreciate your sharing this insight.

Cheers,

Nite

#NITETANZARNIntellectNest

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