Our society seemingly holds marriage in high esteem, a view highly reinforced by religious edicts and establishments.
Think about this. In the early 1990s, not many women were patronising the drinking places.
Now, there is nothing strange about sights of women clubbing. When you visit pubs in the famous Upper and Lower Biwi in Lilongwe, female clubbers sometimes outnumber men.
Some literally patrol and line up for transactional sex at Bwandilo at night.
Are these women taking to the altar?
Whether there is any wrong in their shenanigans depends on one’s perspective, but it is a subject for another day.
There is no consensus on these matters nowadays.
But what sort of men and women will the younger generation marry? I groan.
Have these women not yet found rightful suitors?
Surely, time has to come when they will need to marry.
It is said that every dog has its day’.
By the way, there are also many women-headed families raising children.
This is common in low-income households.
Why is it then that men who sired these children are nowhere in the picture?
It appears our laws are weak to force men to take responsibility and that the marriage concept is no longer binding.
This serves nobody’s interests.
What we all see is a litany of abandoned kids roaming the streets, begging and scratching cars as if they are orphans.
They do not go to school. They have no time to learn good morals and no opportunity to bond with their families.
These children may not appreciate the need for the institution of marriage in their adulthood.
Their hardship will only spiral out of control.
But what is it really in marriage?
Surely, it is not about bonding, inculcating morals in children and living happily ever and all the goodies espoused.
Apart from the painstaking and laborious preparations, the cost and the time spent, the show-off and the crowds that witness lovebirds walk to the altar, there is something about marriage that defies reality.
We need to redefine the marriage philosophy.
Observe. As some people want in, others want out. There is pressure at the door of ‘marriage’. As a multitude drag and hurry their unwilling partners to the altar—kicking, banging and crying—many others are struggling to ‘break free’.
There are heartbreaks and scars all over.
Some loitering children, divorce lawsuits and domestic violence speak volumes about marriage breakdowns.
The fact that many find themselves in failed marriages confirms that our society has over the centuries looked down upon those who are single either by choice or some misfortune.
As a result, some people, especially ladies, are under intense pressure to marry for fear of stigma.
They think they have limited time to take a Tommy to the altar regardless of whether he is the ultimate choice or below their taste.
To a certain degree, even a lady in her prime yearns for a Mr Right of Nigeria film star Ramsey Noah’s calibre and mould.
But in real life, there are more Mr Ibus in stock—jokers ready to whisk one to the altar on a click of phone keys.
The choice gets narrower as age catches up.
Once the issue of marriage bonding is achieved, legally or otherwise, there is relief, supposedly. The desires of the ever-judging society are quenched, but the ultimate price is paid by the one harbouring unsatisfied heart desires.
Fairy tale, isn’t?
The monster, big, hairy and frightening, is simply awakened. The escape route is narrow or slams shut the day one marries the wrong partner. n