Are we? A friend of mine posed this question on the Windows 98 of social media – Facebook. Her reward was an avalanche of ignorance, her wall was drowned in replies that questioned everything from her gender to whether she was a spy of the old regime.
Two things became clear to me. 1) People feel so strongly about marriage that questioning it irks them to verbal violence, and 2) it is 2016, the year of Harambee and we still haven’t learned to have an objective discussion without resorting to cowardly insults. Petty much?
So, are we? First, I looked up the definition of ‘obsessed’. Basically, an obsession is a persistent preoccupation with an idea, feeling or object, especially in a way that is not normal – kind of like most guys and the English Premier League or fanatics of the TV series ‘Game of Thrones’.
I then started to question if the obsession was actually with marriage? Because, no one ever really discusses marriage and the things that make or break it. All you’ll ever here is, “Did you hear? Person X had a helicopter at their wedding.”
You can’t put commitment on Instagram, and you can’t Snapchat compromise. Maybe we’re not obsessed with marriage. Maybe we’re obsessed with weddings, because they’re tangible. They can be seen and flashed in the faces of others to invoke envy. They can be flaunted.
Just ask yourself, how many weddings do you get invited to in August and December? Weddings are the new craze. Weddings are big business now and they’re huge attractions of buzz on social media. Photographers, bakers, caterers, tent and chair hire businesses all make serious money from weddings.
Has our worship at the altar of capitalism turned weddings into money-making opportunities and degraded the institution of marriage to a mere trend? Which leads me to ask: if most people spend their time planning and fussing over a wedding, what happens the day after? What happens after the honeymoon?
One of my closest friends’ cousin said something to me recently that is quite poignant. Her name is Sunday. She said the Namibian approach to marriage can be summed up in one scenario: “A couple drives home after their nuptials to find that there are no electricity units. They’re broke and they realise that they used all the candles for decorations at the wedding reception.”
Weddings have become a sport, a competition. Some people are even competing with people who are oblivious to it all. Everyone wants to slay and slay better than the rest, but ask yourself: do the rest really care? Do they even know you want to slay better than them?
Ask yourself this, do you really know this person? Do you really know yourself that well? They say that you should take a look at your last five relationships. That, my friend, is the real you. Scary isn’t it? Are you ready? Can and will your relationship still work after the wedding? Are you sure that the two of you can spend eternity together without stabbing each other in the back?
Humans are selfish, just in case you haven’t heard. Who decides where the two of you will live? What if you get a promotion and you have to relocate or – god forbid – move countries? Whose career will be sacrificed when the two of you start a family?
What if one of you develops a terminal illness? What if one bad investment ruins both of you financially? Those are the questions we don’t ask ourselves and maybe we should start asking them a lot more.
Are we obsessed with marriage? Yes. But not because most of my peers are getting married. It has nothing to do with my increasing collection of groomsmen suits, but because we’re socialised to still view marriage as an achievement.
Your marital status should not be the definition of success or failure in life. Don’t get me wrong, marriage should be celebrated. It’s a special moment, but it shouldn’t be elevated above real achievements, such as graduation, promotions, etc.
Marriage only requires a willing partner, or one who can foot the bill.
So, till next time, stay out of trouble.
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