ADDRESSING THE DISMAL STATE OF THE MARRIAGE INSTITUTION

“Marriage is sacred in Africa and beyond,
because it solidifies relationship that enrich
communities and nations by bringing new life
and new hope.wobe

African cultures celebrates the
coming of the rains, the first harvest and the
birth of a child. Marriage is that cultural process
which ushers in new life. It is a cherished and
most celebrated rite of passage since the dawn
of African civilization”.
The above extract from a blog named ” African
Marriage” shows that, the importance of
marriage institution can not be over- emphasised,
as it has its roots and value in culture as well as
theology . However, the marriage institution is
somewhat in a state of dismal, as the rate of
negative outcomes of marriage such as; divorce,
single parenting,broken homes etc, have become
unimaginably high. This however, maybe
attributed to the fact that, nowadays, people
engage in the union for wrong reasons. A very
beautiful lady will tell you she can’t date an
averagely rich man, not to talk of the poor. Lots
of ladies do not end up getting married to
persons whom they are truly in love with, but
probably got married because “he is rich”. The
wealthy father will rather give out his daughter to
the son his rich friend (conserving the wealth.
Capitalist idea). Thereby resulting in “arranged
marriage”(A type of marital union where the
bride and groom are selected by a third party,
rather than by each other). Which has an history
of ending up in shambles. Lots of people are
desperate to get married and when they realize
some wrong things about their partner, they
ignore them, hoping to work things out after
marriage, which more often than not, never
happens.
Many couples have the problem of
incompatibility . There are quite lot of couples
who can not do things in common. Many can’t
stand the life style of their partner, but yet they
still engage in the union. Furthermore, many
marriage fail this days, as a result of unrealistic
expectations. It is unrealistic for anyone to
expect marriage to be “problem-free”. Unrealistic
expectation is a major cause of divorce. Many
couples become discouraged when they discover
that marriage is not what they have envisioned it
to be. Also, some people unrealistically expect to
get more out of marriage than they expect to get
more out of marriage than they have put into it.
Infidelity, is one of the most common and major
problem married couples face nowadays. As
participating in extramarital affair has become a
norm in this contemporary world. Thereby
constituting a greater percentage of divorce
cases. The point is, many couples have caught
their partners cheating several times, but still go
ahead with the marriage. This is wrong, as trust
is the foundation of any relationship. A
relationship without trust is just like a building
without foundation, it will collapse in no time!.
These and many more are the wrong reasons
why people go into the sacred union of marriage,
which inform the reason why marriage these
days has become more or less like dating, where
you can break up and make up as you deem fit.
On the receiving end however, are the children
of this kind of unfortunate interruption of the
union. As those children suffer mentally,
physically, and emotionally. Psychologists have
reported that children from divorced homes are
“more likely” to become divorced themselves.
They suffer what psychologists termed parental
absence, which according to Amato (2000) “is
usually the main cause of any effect on children.
This is because of the less of time, assistance
and affection provided by the non-custodial
parent”.Later in their life, they will be subjected
to the tension of choosing sides between
parents (Which is inevitable as they will never
leave the parent who stood by them in all
situations) Thereby making them go through
series of periods of depression.
As a student who studies sociology at the better
by far institution (Unilorin). And who has passed
through several series of social psychology
classes, most notably under the tutorledge of the
great lecturer himself Dr O.A Fawole.
Interpersonal attraction is a topic that I have
internalised, and as such, there are concepts
inherently embedded there in the topic that could
help couples out there in determining whether or
not they want to go into a relationship. To avoid
their marriage life being short lived. Essentially,
interpersonal personal attraction is the attraction
between people which leads to friendships and
romantic relationships (Dating, courting,
cohabitation and marriage). The following are the
concepts there in; Physical attractiveness,
Propinquity effect, Reciprocal likening as well as
Similarity and complementarity. All this are
factors which if on the positive side, a person
develops positive attitude towards another, which
makes them develop any relationship of their
desire. However, it is important to note that,
even after marriage, all these various factors
should still be up hold. This is demonstrated
below.
Propinquity: Rowland miller’s opinion on
propinquity is that “the more we see and interact
with a person, the more likely he or she is to
become our friend or sexual partner”. The twist
now is that after marriage, can u handle a
distance relationship?. Are you the type that
cherish attention, but u desire a man that works
in the united states and visits Nigeria once every
six months?. Physical attractiveness: are you
really attracted to your spouse to be? Are you
only interested in the union because of a
particular thing he or she posses(Probably
money)? What if he or she ceased to posses that
desired attribute? Will you be able to endure and
stay?.
Reciprocal likening :This can be explained as the
situation whereby the affection is not one-sided.
In other words, as you show your affection to an
individual, he or she reciprocates. This is what
makes you go into the relationship initially. There
is an assumption that people gets to love each
other more especially after marriage. You might
want to think twice before falling for that. As
yours might not be the case.
Similarity and Complementarity: Principles of
similarity and complementarity seem to be
contradictory on the surface (Posavac, 1971).
But “the importance of similarity and
complementarity may depend on the stage of the
relationship. Similarity seems to carry
considerable weight in initial attraction, while
complementarity assumes importance as the
relationship develops overtime. (Vinacke,
Shannon, Palazzo,Balsavage, et-al,1988).
Similarity emphasises the notion “birds of the
same feather flocks together”. It has to do with
what the couples have in common. Do you have
the same life style? Do you have simiilar goals
and objectives to achieve in life? Is your spouse
from a familiar ethnicity?. Of course its good to
practise exogammy. as it is sociological.
Because it makes you understand and appreciate
other people’s culture. But marriage and
sociology are two different things. The point is,
is the culture alien to you or is it the one you
yourself know you won’t be able to endure?.
Complementarity: In this context, simply put, is
the ability of partners to come together in order
to complement each other’s weaknesses. Are
you the temperamental type that wants to go
into a relationship with a person of the same
attitude? ( That’s lightening during bomb strike).
Are you bad with domestic chores, and you
notice your partner is bad as well?. A drunkard
going for a drunkard? Or are you a club girl who
met your gangster spouse at the club? Believe
me, you won’t last.
Conclusively, couples about to engage in
marriage should reflect on the above vividly. As
once you engage in the union, sooner or later
you become parents. However, the most
important characteristics of a good parent is to
put forth the interest of his or her child. Divorce
or separation is not only bad for the parent’s life
but also the life of the child. Remember,
marriage is meant to be enjoyed and not
endured. Have an healthy married life.
Written by:
ABIOYE ABDULAZEEZ OLUMIDE (A. K. A Hon
heyzed)

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