Contemporary Issues in Marriage
By Ezinwanne Onwuka
Marriage is neither an ambiguous nor an equivocal term. It is a word loosely thrown about. Traditionally, it is defined as the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband and wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.
In other words, it is a formal union and social and legal contract between two individuals that unite their lives legally, economically, and emotionally. Marriage is the process by which two people make their relationship public, official and permanent.
Questions such as what is the essence of marriage? Why do people marry? What is the purpose of marriage? etc. have gotten answers which range from the need for companionship to procreation to sexual intimacy. It is likely that you share this same view(s) as well.
However, the idea of holy matrimony has been attacked by some tidal issues which, I believe, should force us to reevaluate our ideas as it relates to the institution.
In today’s world, two unmarried partners could live together. This has become the norm for young people in a relationship. The claim is that companionship strengthen relationships. And it is true. Additionally, many married men and women seek for companionship outside the four walls of their home.
The big question now is: Is companionship the reason for marriage if it can be gotten outside marriage? Also, if married couples seek companionship outside the home, could it be that it is a delusion to think that marriage offers companionship?
The second argument for marriage rests on procreation, that is, the reproduction of children.
This argument is also flawed when we consider the fact that nowadays people have babies outside wedlock. I am not really talking about young women becoming pregnant and giving birth as a result of rape. I am concerned about people willingly consenting to having babies without signing a marriage contract. Someone once told me that he is not interested in getting married.
According to him, whenever he is ready to have a child, he would find a lady and pay her to get pregnant for him and deliver the child. After the child is delivered and nurtured to a certain stage, they will part ways and he will raise his child. Seeing that there are men and women who think in this direction (and yes, there are many of them!), is procreation still a viable reason for marriage in this age?
Sexual intimacy has also been proffered as a reason people decide to go into marriage. Well, we are not ignorant of the fact that in our 21st century, liberal sex can be gotten frequently just by being in an amorous relationship with someone. My bad, you can actually have sex with any random person. Sometimes, you could get yourself involved in multiple relationships just to have sex as many times as you deem fit. Let me not forget to mention that some married couples even have sex outside wedlock. Now, let me ask. I am curious to know. Do you seriously still think that sexual intimacy is the reason people decide to marry?
Furthermore, we understand marriage to be strictly between two persons of the opposite sex – a man and a woman. However, it seems it is no longer the case. All around the world, men are getting married to men and women are getting married to women. The advocacy for same sex marriage gathers momentum each day. “Love is love” the campaign echoes. In the light of this, does the loopsided definition of marriage as the relationship between a man and a woman to raise a family still right? Dont you think a more embracing definition should be offered that would incorporate marriage between same sex?
Ezinwanne Onwuka writes from Cross River state, Nigeria. She is a Corp Member serving in Cross River state. She writes informative, creative and research-driven contents on topics about life, politics, religion and more. You can reach her on [email protected] and +2348164505628.