They call it a sacred institution. These days a bit of its sacredness seems to have gone amiss. I don’t think it should. For, as much as some believe hunger will kill the world, I think it’s rather the collapse of marriage’s procreative function which would cause the human annihilation. Marriage’s sweetness or sourness affects the world’s wellbeing. Its bitterness would progressively kill the world.
I am talking about it because I think it needs to be talked about. The provocation came from a 22-year old university student young man’s view about it expressed at a mother’s day function I just attended. Asked about him getting married, his provoking response was: ‘Its’ stressful.’ I couldn’t help myself but rudely interrupt the conversation by asking him what he would know about ‘stressful marriage’ at his age. Calmly, mother, whose day we were celebrating sat next to son without uttering a word.
Proceeding, I advised the young man that marriage is about the extent to which one is selfish. I tried, and I think I succeeded, by convincing him that the union is more about how much a party is willing to give and take. We all love to receive but not all of us love to give. The idea was that if he were willing to unselfishly give there wouldn’t be that much of stress because he wouldn’t feel the pain of loss for not receiving.
If he would think the more you give the more your blessing, he wouldn’t work himself to the stressful levels he thought was marriage. And, if he would cultivate the spirit of giving, he was likely to attract some reciprocation. Giving without expecting to receive is the extra human attribute that would make marriage blossom. That is extra human because to continue to give without receiving doesn’t seem normal.
Later, I read what I thought was the real answer to a blissful marriage. First, find your bliss and bring it to the marriage. That start should lead to a good finish. This is how the non-royal who just married a royal put it. ‘Life is about putting others’ needs above your own fears.’ That was Meghan Markle, now Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex, quoting a mentor. She advocates ‘not a woman to lunch but a woman to work.’
In her own words, she is quoted thus: ‘Yes, make sure you are safe and never, ever put yourself in a compromising situation, but once that is checked off the list, I think it’s really important for us to remember that someone needs us, and that your act of giving/helping/doing can truly become an act of grace … .’
I hadn’t read that to have used it to explain my point about avoiding ‘stressful marriage’ to the young man. But I think it would have helped and probably equip him better, assuming he would take all that in good faith which he appeared to want to. Solid point coming from someone who had experienced it and was in a good position to analyse and form opinion about it. The woman herself had married before and no one could fault her for ignorance. Those her words should positively contribute towards achieving a less stressful marriage.
Preacherpeople and counsellors of the yet to marry, and even the married, should benefit from those words. I am sure they would realise the importance of taking out the ‘obey’ like Meghan’s vow. For all the weddings I have attended, the preachers make it seem like everything is about the ‘obey.’ So maybe because economically independent wives are not seen to be overtly and committed to obeying, it has become stressful to the married commander men.
Looking back, I believe whatever the young man would have taken from the conversation about marriage being stressful or not would have been more enduring if the conversation had included an unmarried woman with fears similar to that of the young man’s ‘stressful’ marriage. His definition of stressful would have had greater clarity with an unmarried woman also expressing her fears.
Brother royal wedding preacher almost allowed his antics to drown his not many words powerful preaching. Love is everything and ‘enter into marriage unselfishly.’ However, not addressed was trickily distinguishing love from infatuation and ‘honam akonnɔ’ lusting (love of the flesh). It is the missing piece in curing marriage phobia. Accurately discerned, it becomes the fillip beginning of the stress-contained marriage.
But just hear a WhatsApp quote: ‘No one can misunderstand a husband better than his wife.’ That sounds better advice for the young man. His speak-not mother spoke not a word throughout the conversation. It keeps me wondering. I pray she wasn’t thinking the talkative old man knew little about marriage. If she did, that would be something else. It could hurt.
By Kwasi Ansu-Kyeremeh