Marriage: Are all adults cut out for it?


‘When are you getting married?’ ‘If you are dating, why not tie the knot?’ These are just some of the lines many unmarried people are subjected to, especially as they approach their 30s. Pressure to get married from family and friends, even general culture, gets intense with every discussion or get-together. This pressure sometimes drives some into hasty actions because ‘it’s not good to be single’ as they’ve often been told.  

Marriage, a legally and socially sanctioned union, usually between a man and a woman, is something many people tend to take as an achievement, or accomplishment, but everyone is entitled to the choices they make in their own lives.

In an article by Sadhguru, a well-known Indian yoga guru, on marriage and its necessity, he explains that the word “marriage” might have acquired a very negative aura around it in certain parts of the world now because there is a sense of juvenile freedom. Young people in some societies perceive marriage as a bad thing. When you are young, you are against it, because your physical body is in a certain mode. Marriage looks like bondage and a chain. You want to do things in a certain way. But slowly, when the body weakens, once again you wish there was someone with you in a committed way.

The debate

If you are married, you know the pressure of marriage begins sometime in your mid-20s and peaks in your 30s. You all must have undergone this pressure from your family, relatives, friends and sometimes even random associations who don’t leave an opportunity to tell you how ‘this is the best time to marry’ or how ‘you should not wait any longer’. And sometimes the pressure gets so difficult to handle, it can lead to anxiety and even depression. But why do we have a timeline to marry at all?, the article “Peer pressure of getting married and how to handle it” states.  

Sandra Kalungi, a university student, concurs with aforementioned article and believes that no one should be pressured when it comes to this because when they are ready, they will share their plans.

“Marriage or starting a family is something many people wish for and put in their daily prayers. Every parent wants to see their child happy, and create their own family. But people plan differently, I don’t think anyone should be concerned with when someone else will get married or if at all they will.”

In Frank Ntarindwa’s view, marriage is important in our lives. “To a larger extent marriage should be the end goal, but caution is required because marriage is another side of life, when rushed into it might make you regret a lot of things. I believe in taking time to think about it before rushing into it.”

Many people get surprised when they meet an unmarried adult, or one who doesn’t have children. Worse even, such adults tend to get questioned or even pitied for their choice of lifestyle. But contrary to popular belief that every grown up has to get married, there are men and women who are not meant for marriage, or so it seems.

Contrary to Ntarindwa’s view, Joselyne Dusabeyezu disagrees with marriage being the end goal, instead, hers is to be happy with herself, and based on her own observation, people get it wrong and that’s why they are not happy in their marriages.

Even though as a believer she still considers marriage as something God created which has to be respected, it is a call for many but not all.

Renata Uwamariya, a grandmother of five and mother of three, says marriage is a necessity.

“In our generation, marriage was a necessity, especially for women, because a woman was defined by her marital status. Her life was directed towards marriage because she was meant to serve and care for her family. If you were an adult woman without a husband they would say in Kinyarwanda ‘yaragumiwe’ (loosely translated as failing to find a husband) and it would be a shame to the family. Generations are changing and customs, but I still think marriage should be a necessity,” she shares.

“Marriage is a good thing, forming a family is a good thing too, even the Bible says it, but this is something that is planned for and given time, rather than rushed into because many get pressured into thinking about marriage and they end up going into it without thinking, and it results in many regrets,” says Eddy Shema.

“I am not saying marriage is wrong. Do you want it? That is the question. Each individual should consider this for himself or herself, not by the social norm,” Sadhguru noted.

WebMD’s article “Marriage is not for everyone” offers reasons some people choose to remain single. “If you lean toward wanting to be single, you might find certain benefits in that life choice:

“You are being true to you. Whether you want to be single for now or for always, it’s essential to your happiness that you do what is right for you. You may struggle to know your own heart, but that is a struggle worth having.

“You have more time to devote to family and friends. Without having to devote yourself to a partner, you will have more time for other relationships. But whether you work to have closer relationships with family and friends or a partner, it is important to nurture a support system—to share experiences with, celebrate the ups with, and help you through the downs of life.

“Life has less obligations and responsibilities. Even with family and friends who may require your attention, you are likely freer to do what you want without a partner. Committing to share your life with someone else means, in part, that you take on the responsibility of being supportive of them, as well as agreeing to coordinate your plans, interests, and life activities. And if they struggle, you are agreeing to help lighten their load.

“You have more time to devote to work, interests, and hobbies—guilt-free. You might appreciate not having to curtail your passions in order to accommodate a relationship. But beware: You risk diving so far into them that you may wake up one day to discover you are lonely. So be sure to pay attention to your social needs and respond to them by connecting with friends and family.

“You can engage in self-exploration and personal development. This might be a life path in itself. Or you might decide to pursue personal healing and growth for a time, preparing yourself for healthier relationships in the future.”

Source: TheNewtimes