ANALYSIS OF MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE 9
Analysisof Marriage and Divorce
Analysisof Marriage and Divorce
Theinstitution of marriage has been one of the most fundamental to thehealth and wealth of any country. Indeed, it would be possible todetermine how wealthy or well a country is simply by examining thestability of the institution of marriage. Of course, it is wellacknowledged that marriages in different societies are made indifferent ways, with the choice of partners being made using varyingtechniques. Nevertheless, it is noteworthy that there have beenchanges with regard to the ideas of different individuals regardingthe institution of marriage and how it should be crafted. Further, itis worth noting that there are variations regarding the ideas andopinions on the place of divorce among other aspects pertaining tomarriage. Needless to say, the rates of divorce have been on the risein the recent times. This may be a reflection of changing values andideas pertaining to marriage. This, however, does not negate the factthat there are quite a number of successful marriages of people fromdifferent generations. This is the case for my parents who have beenmarried for the last 30 years. Of course, there have been instanceswhere they quarreled and came close to fighting. It is amazing thatthey have been together for all that time in spite of theirdifferences both in opinions and the ways of doing things. Of coursethe main question would revolve around what would be different or howthey have managed such a feat in the same world where divorce casesare on the rise. While there may be varying ideas, it is evident thatthe key to success in their marriage is a shared set of values thatguide their actions and decisions.
Forthis paper, I interviewed my own parents regarding their ideas andopinions pertaining to marriage. What came out clearly was thesynchronized nature of their responses to the extent that they seemedto have more or less similar ideas. Indeed, it would be difficult todetermine who exactly is giving which response.
Thechoice of a marriage partner seemed to be extremely a difficult oneto make in the case of my parents. As much as my father acknowledgedthat first impressions determined whether or not he would call anyonefor a date, it is noted that only characteristics that are observedover some period of time would determine whether he would settle downwith somebody. Nevertheless, mum and dad had certain characteristicsthat they looked for in the people with whom they interacted and whohad the minutest chance of becoming their marriage partners. It wasevident that for both of them, honesty and openness topped the listeven as they had other filler likes and preferences. Dad wasparticularly concerned about mum’s honesty, respect and how shetreated him both in private and in public. This is quiteunderstandable considering that he comes from a generation in which ahusband is the head of the family, in which case respect isparamount. This, of course, did not mean that she had to be afraid ofhim rather he was extremely open with regard to what he wanted. Ishould imagine that he also found her beauty and non-pretending traitattractive, just as did her capacity to interact with differentpeople. In his words, her care about almost every little thing gavehim the idea that she was also beautiful at heart, and I was provenright. On the same note, there was pressure from the two sides thatthey should not get married to individuals from particular ethnicgroups as a result of certain attitudes regarding their behaviors andcultures.
Growingup in the 80s, it was common for marriage partners to be matched upor set up by their parents or friends. In the case of my parents,they met at a reception dinner for some of their mutual friends’wedding. Dad suspects that the groom and bride had specificallyrequested that the two be set up in the same table so as to increasethe chances of meeting and maybe creating something more. He saysthat they hit it off and within the first five minutes, he was surethat this was a woman that he would want to know better and possiblyspend the rest of his life with. He got to make good this promisearound six months later in a small wedding at their backyard. Ofparticular note is the fact that both were sure about what theywanted, but it was expected that dad would lead the way in makinggood his promise to marry her. They got married at an extremely youngage of 23, with both of them making fundamental sacrifices for thesake of the union. In the case of dad, he had to decline a reallyimportant post that would have involved relocation with the entirefamily to another country, simply because he wanted to get marriedand at least be with his new bride mother in the formative years.
Asstated, mum cemented the idea of getting married to dad after heproposed. This may have been prompted by the fact that she may havebeen disappointed in the past and knew too well that a lot of peoplecannot be trusted to make good their promises. This underlines thefundamental role that past relationships plays in determining thecourse of future ones. Nevertheless, the aspect that suffered themost was her career especially after the birth of her kids as shecould not have managed to travel to the different places that herwork would have necessitated. Further, she could not take some workpromotion especially in instances where it came with additionalresponsibilities.
Oneof the most comparable opinions regarded their opinions pertaining tothe purpose of marriage. Companionship and the need to safeguard theexistence and survival of the society via multiplication were some ofthe primary reasons. On the same note, marriage serves the purpose ofprotection, where the man must protect the wife, while the wife wouldprotect the home’s interests. The two would then protect theirchildren so as to raise well-founded and behaved children. I waspretty surprised that mum would be open to admit to feeling lonelyeven when she had friends, given the fact that she used to teach usto enjoy our own company most of the time so as to reduce ourdependence on others.
Giventhe number of years that they have been married, it is understandablethat there must have been numerous conflicts. However, it was clearthat their conflict resolution was primarily based on communication,openness and honesty about the situation. On the same note, thesimilarity in their values played a crucial role in enabling this. Asmum put it, it is imperative that the couple allows the contentiousissue to lie a bit before even talking about it. Once the couple getsan opportunity to talk about it, being open about their feelingswithout belittling the other people’s ideas would be imperative.More often than not, conflict resolution will involve a trade-off anda compromise, in which case you must determine what exactly what youcan give up and what you can never let go. As much as having similarvalues enhanced the likelihood that the conflict would be resolved,this would not necessarily imply having similar likes andpreferences, rather it means that when it comes to the driving force,the two people would have similar interests and things that you wouldfind fundamental, which, obviously, makes it easier to resolveconflicts. Of course, there are instances that the parties have to beallowed some credit or space to explore other aspects even when theother party does not agree. For instance, one may want to invest insomething but the other does not agree even if effort is made to tryconvincing him or her. Getting married does not mean losing oneselfbut instead becoming strong both together and individually. However,they were both against the idea of divorce especially in instanceswhere there were kids as such separation would have detrimentaleffects on the lives of the children. Indeed, my mum underlines thefact that parents can never be replaced especially in instances wherethey are the biological parents. Nevertheless, such a scenario shouldbe welcome in instances where its continued existence is detrimentalto the children themselves, for instance, in situations where oneparent is subjecting the kids to physical and emotional torture.
However,ideas to the contrary are expressed by my friend Mary and her fiancéeKelvin, who are just about to tie their knot in December. Mary isevidently not of the idea that it would be imperative that anindividual is married before getting children. As much as sheacknowledges the sanctity of the marriage institution, she opinesthat there is no need to stay in a marriage that adds no value to herlife in terms of financial security and emotional wellbeing. In fact,she is of the idea that whether or not children are involved, itshould be no surprise if a woman moves out of her home if someconditions are not met. In her own words, “if a man cannot hold onto the God-given duty of providing for his family and safeguardingthe lifestyle that they deserve” then it should be no brainer thata woman will leave him and take her children with her. Does she thinkthat children would have undesirable experiences as a result of theseparation or divorce? She does not think so. In her words “Iwas brought up by a divorced mother and I turned out just fine”.Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth in my opinion.Indeed, she is known to have been extremely deviant in school. In heradult life, she usually withdraws and isolates herself from familyand friends preferring to keep her own company. There have beenunconfirmed rumors that she often blames herself for the divorcebetween her parents and is not only violent but is prone to suicidalthoughts. In her workplace she is known to be extremely combative andit is rarely possible to amicably resolve conflicts with her as shewill never be open to options other than the ones that she has sether mind on. As much as she knows that marriage would offercompanionship and emotional advantages, she is open to other optionssuch as having a man just for siring children without necessarilygetting married.
However,she shares similar ideas with my mother regarding the causes for theincreasing or high rate of divorce in the society. Indeed, it wasnoteworthy that the declining role of men in the society plays acrucial role not to mention the fact that a large number of peopleare not clear with regard to why they are getting married. Thedeclining role of men as providers may have upset the balance,thereby making it impossible for conflicts to be resolved. Further,couples spend less time with each other as a result of the increasingresponsibilities. It is often easy to lose sight of what reallymatters when you are simply focused on other issues. The two werequick to underline the notion that their union has remained simplybecause they we come from a generation that believes that one shouldrepair broken things rather than throw them away. In essence,tolerance is always the key. It is surprising that Mary would talk ofthe declining role of men in marriage and yet still hold onto theidea that men are not that fundamental to the sustenance of amarriage institution or the lives of the kids.
Theidea of marriage always comes with different implications fordifferent people. It is, however, noteworthy, that the success of anymarriage is based on the level of communication, as well as thevalues on which the individuals based their union. As much as it issaid that opposites will always attract, a lasting union would bebased on the synchronicity of values (Munroe,2003).People would only agree and have similar goals if they have similarvalues. Of particular note is the fact that married people do nothave to always agree on all issues as that would mean that one ofthem is not having an independent mind (Hagin,2001).Nevertheless, allowing each of them to have a life of his or her ownin which he or she can thrive or make mistakes would be imperative.The question, however, would be how much one would have to sacrificefor the sake of family or even for personal development (Munroe,2003).More often than not, unions would last in instances where the partiesinvolved are tolerant to the weaknesses of each other. There willalways be surprises or things that an individual did not see whenthey were dating. Indeed, it is well acknowledged that “courtingbirds have well combed feathers”(Rosberg&Rosberg, 2002).In a large number of instances, individuals will be on their bestbehaviors when courting only for their true nature to come out whenthey get married. Of course, it is well understood that there is noway that individuals can hide their true nature for long. It goeswithout saying that such unions that are based on pretense would notlast for long as it is likely that the individuals would not have thecapacity to tolerate some of the behaviors (Phillips,1991).This would only mean that the time to make the marriage work would beduring courtship or dating, as it is at that time when theindividuals would be forming the basis or foundation on which theirmarriage will be built (Jasper,2001).On the same note, it is well acknowledged that there is no perfect orideal amount of time by which individuals would get to know eachother or date. In instances where individuals are pretty open andhonest about themselves, it would be easy to know whether a marriagewould work based on the synchronicity of their values in both thelong-term and the short-term.
Hagin,K. E. (2001). Marriage,divorce & remarriage.Tulsa, OK: Kenneth Hagin Ministries.
Jasper,M. C. (2001). Marriageand divorce.Dobbs Ferry, N.Y: Oceana Publications.
Munroe,M. (2003). Single,married, separated, and life after divorce.Shippensburg, PA: Destiny Image.
Phillips,R. (1991). Untyingthe knot: A short history of divorce.Cambridge [U.K.: Cambridge University Press.
Rosberg,G., & Rosberg, B. (2002). Divorceproof your marriage.Wheaton, Ill: Tyndale House Publishers.