This is merely an observation; and just a few teeny weeny questions.
Just a few. Promise!!
I apologise in advance for any discomfort this article may cause you.
In the United Kingdom one in every three marriages between 1995 and 2010 ended in divorce.
In Australia nearly every third of marriages end in divorce.
The divorce rate in North America is 54.8%.
According to findthedata.org the divorce rate in Nigeria for 35 to 39 year olds in 1986 was 0.6%. In 2003 it was 1.6%.
Whilst this is a much lower percentage than those of our brothers and sisters in Europe and the U.S, we need to bear in mind that in Nigeria we tend to ‘separate’ and not divorce. It is quite possible that the ‘separation’ rate in Nigeria is just as high as the ‘divorce’ rates in Europe and the U.S.
Yes yes yes I know, I’m going through a divorce so it’s all too likely that I’m purposefully focusing on negative statistics.
I can assure you that I am not.
I very much believe in marriage, and to be perfectly honest I am looking forward to finding the right person to spend my middle and latter years with. Unfortunately the days of being able to use the word ‘young’ when referring to my dear self, officially waved an endearing but finite goodbye when I turned 40 earlier this year.
Statistics do not lie.
So what has gone wrong?
There are some who believe (as they do with most things) that marriages are under attack from the devil. This is quite possible.
Some are of the view that today’s generation (yep – you and I ) can’t even spell commitment let alone abide by it. This is also true, and quite possibly a legitimate reason for the increase in failed marriages.
Others are of the view that today’s generation simply refuses to put up with some of the unacceptable behaviours and actions that were prevalent in previous generations. Also possible.
Some blame the media.
I love blaming the media; such an easy target. Whenever in doubt blame the media!
However during the past few months I have sensed a more radical line of thought.
This rather controversial view is of the opinion that the institution of marriage has been hampered by the very fact that man has turned it into an ‘institution’. In other words man has indoctrinated and institutionalised something that was supposed to be a lot more simple, natural and straightforward.
Is there anywhere in the bible that portrays a man and a woman getting married in a church building? I’ve searched and searched and searched but I can’t find any reference to a couple going into a church building and being directed to say ‘I do’ as well as being required to sign marriage documents.
Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me that by our own volition we (mankind) have created an institution (or shall I say ‘system’) by which to maintain control, and then turned around and claimed that it is God’s will and God’s doing.
Is it God’s will for us to get married in church buildings? Who knows! But the bible certainly doesn’t give us any suggestions that it is.
Is it God’s will for us to sign documents? Again, who knows! But I’m yet to find anything in the bible that suggests or implies that this is what God wants.
I can sense the agitated sighs of “and so what Segs! What’s your point?”
Please tarry with me a little while longer.
Is it possible that as a result of an innate desire for systematic orderliness and accountability, mankind has more or less wrenched out the necessary ingredients for sustained relationships? Ie love, friendship and freedom.
In other words due to the subtle, subconscious, but inherent pressures that accompany the words ‘I do’, have we unknowingly created a ‘system’ that is basically destined to fail?
Again, please pardon me if I’m way off track here but it seems to me that in biblical times it was merely a simple act of two families meeting, and the payment of a dowry.
Have we over-complicated matters?
Further still, has the excitement of the church wedding become so fevered that we have become blind to the fact that marriage is so much more than the wedding day????
We Nigerians love the wedding day. In fact I often wonder whether the wedding day is about the couple getting married or the parents!!!
Has it merely become an opportunity for people to display their wealth?
The attitude seems to be one of ‘Sod the couple! They can sort themselves out later. This is our chance to show how well we’ve done. Let’s celebrate in style.’
No no no, I’m not having a go at parents. Anyone and everyone is entitled to celebrate their children’s wedding day in whatever manner they like.
I’m simply asking this question.
“Is it possible that man’s determined efforts to establish and build a thriving institution have in fact resulted in the unfortunate demise of authentic relationships?”