Less and less couples in today’s society marry. The majority of young couples today choose then to live free of charge. Except from societies still unconditionally attached to their religion, marriage may look less important nowadays. What are the reasons behind marriage? Wouldn’t concubinage be easier?
Marriage is a contractbefore being a big party with variety of guests, nice outfits, and delicious food. Marriage is in fact a contract lagally uniting two person (sometimes religiously) It thus includes a variety of duties and rights that both spouses owe to themselves and to each other. Naturally, the dream immediately disappear this is unfortunately the problem. Hence, in the past, ” We are married, let’s then love each other “ had all its meaning and spouses relied much more on the institution than love. Since the 18th century, things changed to the indissoluble alliance “Since we love each other, let’s get married”. Marriage is then based on love. However with the changes in the 70’s, mentalities and moral values have completely changed the landscape. The saying ” they married and lived happily ever after “changed to “If we love each other, why should we get married ? Consequently, young people are not necessarily expected to engage in marriage. Each person can then live his/her love as he/she wishes. The motives for marriage are no longer considered. There is almost no more enthusiasm for this solemn and eternal act. Young people, from building a family to the fear of engagement, are developing new forms of relationship. Together, but not really together; in love but doubtful, because we ignore if it’s the right person, we then enjoy a relationship unaware of the outcome, the implications. The serious-light contrast then becomes the engine of this new form of relationship. One is serious when it comes to sexual and emotional privacy but without any long term promise. We want children but not necessarily a legalized relationship to consecrate and protect their arrival.
Related content: Social pressures in Africa: Do we get married to please or to be happy?
Fear of engagement
A number of factors account for this reluctance of young people to marry. The risk of stopping a more eventful life, for example, could be mentioned. Actually, considering that youth is a stage where ”love affairs are allowed” and where we want to taste everything, we are sometimes afraid of stopping these habits after marriage. So, we still prefer concubinage, without any obligation towards the other person. he fear of not being responsible, the expenses related to marriage and life standards, the cost of the dowry in an African context, lack of a reliable job, fear of failure, immaturity, fear of losing one’s freedom are the reasons behind the reluctance of young people to engage in marriage. While it, is also common to see couples after few years of marriage divorced. This influences the reluctance of young people on the subject. The problems of infidelity, incompatibility, financial instability in some couples; reasons of many divorces as well as the non-commitment to each other through marriage. But yes! Marriage is not always a rosy picture! Marriage is not always the mad love; or the ”I love you” on the pillows with whole days to make love. But also the difficulties, the complaints, disagreements, misunderstandings and sometimes the lies, the desire to do well and fail. All these parameters lead to the question: why get married and then maybe get divorced? However, even if marriage is a quite relative commitment today, given the legal devices allowing easy and quick divorce, it remains the most protective status for the spouses. It is a transformation of an intimate decision into a social engagement. Admittedly, marriage is no longer fashionable and everything pushes us today not to believe in it anymore. Even if the numbers are not clear, many marriages today end in divorce after five years… If love today may seem short-lived, it has nothing to do with marriage. It even seems that married couples last the longest.
French translation of ” Vie de couple :De quoi les jeunes ont-ils vraiment peur dans le mariage ? ”, Eliane FATCHINA by Salima ALAGBE