Marriage: An antiquated convention of the past

by Vista Kalipa

With the growing number in engagements and a big line-up ofweddings, I couldn’t help but wonder if this new phenomenon was anew trend. Is it something that people feel should happen becausethey’ve spent a certain amount of time together or is it becausethey just want to?

We know from history that in the earlier years, girls – justlike Tennessee William’s Laura Wingfield – were raised and moldedto look and carry themselves in a manner that potential gentlemencallers would find appealing.

Also, girls of the Victorian era were raised with the sameprinciples. Their future was predetermined by their parents beforethey even knew it. They grew up with the realization that they areto be Mrs. So-and-so someday, whether they wanted to or not.

Are girls today growing up with the same mindset?

Hopefully not, but we often hear people include marriage intheir ten-year plans as if it’s something they MUST do. Once again,I can’t help but wonder, is this the road that’s paved for them? Togrow up, have a career, marry some guy and have children?

Actually, it’s not even just girls now. Some young men also growup with the same notion and include it their ten-year plan aswell.

Does marriage still have the same value today as it did backthen? Are those married today in those marriages because they choseto or because society taught them that’s the way to go? Iwonder.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to people getting married. Ithink a union of two souls is one of the greatest things this worldhas to offer. My parents recently celebrated 20 years of marriageand I think that’s absolutely fabulous. I admire them for that.

However, I’m still worried and concerned that people are simplygetting married today because they feel that they have to. I amworried that they feel the pressure from others and feel that they,too, should do it because their friends got married last year. Arepeople doing it for love or conformity?

In her shocking article written in 1910, Emma Goldman said thatlove and marriage have nothing in common.

“No doubt, some marriages have been the result of love. Nothowever, because love could assert itself only in marriage; muchrather is it because few people can completely outgrow aconvention,” she said.

“Marriage is primarily an economic arrangement, an insurancepact. It differs from the ordinary life-insurance agreement only inthat it is more binding, more exacting.”

Although she may be talking about marriage in the twentiethcentury, I find some of what she’s talking about playing out intoday’s society.

We see people getting married to people because of their bankaccounts and we have heard some of our peers talking about marryingsomeone rich so they can afford the things they want. That’sdefinitely an economic arrangement.

Numbers of these random marriages hit the roof last year as manyyoung men were sent off to war. People got married in haste becausethey wanted, “to have his name and be the first to know, ifanything happens,” some claimed. And some, although not outwardlyvoiced, married them for possible insurance benefits. That’swithout doubt an insurance pact.

Are these the reasons why marriages fail today? Is it becausepeople are marrying for the wrong reasons?

We know that some of them fail because people feel that it was arushed decision. They were not ready for it, but they get marriedanyway because they felt the pressure. Some marriages fail becausepeople come to the realization that they’ve lost their ownidentities and espoused to be someone they aren’t.

In some nations, women lose their identities completely andbecome part of their husband’s “property.” In some African nations,women drop their first and last name and take up their husband’slast name and get a new first name given to them by their mother-inlaw. Should that be what marriage is about?

Now that we are in the twenty-first century, I hope people beginto evaluate the reasons why they are getting married before jumpinginto the decision. I hope they also realize that it is notsomething they MUST do because they’ve spent the last six yearstogether.

Most of all, I hope they do it because they WANT to do it.