Pros and cons of the institution of marriage today

MATHATISI SEBUSI

MASERU - Ever since Lineo Molemo was a little girl the idea of marriage has never been her cup of tea. Whenever she was asked to pray for her heart’s desires as a teenage girl, her aspirations always revolved around her career and family, whereas marriage topped the wishlist of most of her peers. After enrolling at tertiary school, she could already imagine the kind of life she would live; a life where her parents would not lack anything while her career blossomed without any man to answer to.

She, however, admits that as a Christian she was aware that marriage is created by God for a purpose but she also believed that there is no harm in living alone since she believed her family was enough to make her happy. According to her, her family is well taken care of and her career is blossoming just the way she wanted but her view has since shifted. Now a single, independent 36-year-old woman, she now longs for marriage; the same marriage she rejected several times when many men came forward with proposals.

While in her younger years she believed she would not need any man, she now believes marriage is the ultimate destiny for women in order to secure a sense of belonging. “We all want to belong somewhere as women and make our parents proud because even if they do not put pressure on us about marriage, it is obvious that every parent expects their child to get married.

“I used to think I was complete, just by myself and that I do not need a man but I was wrong or maybe I was just in denial. I would be much happier to have my own family full of love and happiness,” she says. She further notes raising children in a family with both parents is every girl’s dream. According to her, since God had a reason for creating marriage, she believes choosing to stay unmarried just because one feels that she does not need a man or woman in their life is more like defying God’s plan which is to marry and have children.

It is not only girls that are not educated that see marriage as an achievement but almost every girl, she states. Marriage, she adds, is an achievement to commitment not necessarily to material gain. She acknowledges, however, that there are still exceptions where people get into marriage because of material gain, and because of pressure from families and the community they live in.

Moreover, that now that she has matured, experience has made her perceive marriage as a blessing and a beautiful thing, despite the challenges the institution suffers due to exposure to current lifestyles that highlight its negatives. She further notes social pressure does not really make it any easier for girls; culture and parents’ expectations about a girl child play a powerful role in forcing girls into getting married.

“Seeing girls my age and those younger than me getting married and being given attention and more respect by family and the community more than me just because they are married is a practice that hurts and pressurises one to fight for marriage so they too can be respected and given the same attention.“Sometimes one even forgets that they do not have someone they are prepared to live with for the rest of their lives and end up marrying any man who offers to marry them only to divorce after a short time,” she said.

On the other hand, Lerato Mochesane, a single lady in her twenties, sees marriage as a platform to abuse women and make them feel inferior. This, she says, is because of cultural norms that expect women to be humble and not back chat men and they are not expected to make decisions on their own even if these are about their own future. Mochesane notes that from the very beginning, a woman is encouraged to respect and abide by a man and be inferior for as long as she is married.

She adds that marriage has also become a platform where children are raised lacking humbleness and believing that abuse and arrogance are a way of life. As much as she also believes that marriage is a blessing, abuse and oppression of women have made her question the importance of marriage. It is wise not to get married because of social pressure, material desire or because one had a child out of wedlock, but rather only marry because one is ready to and is sure to face every challenge that comes with marriage.

“Getting into a marriage life which is normally surrounded by abuse not only threatens the future of the country but also puts lives at risk and taints the lives of future leaders who would be raised by abusive parents, which will make them unable to distinguish good from the bad,” she adds.Marriage on its own cannot bring one happiness or recognition but girls need to learn to work hard for themselves and stop getting married for the wrong reasons, she advises.

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