The New Marriage of Convenience

Let’s face one simple truth: Many married couples in this 21st century generation do not love each other

A marriage of convenience has always been a measure taken by the individuals involved to avoid the development of unpleasant situations or strengthen certain family ties. Of course, most of these marriages hit the rocks even before the voyage begins, however the ‘convenience’ keeps them together, making them appear strong and formidable. These days, the cracks are more visible; (thank goodness for social media, how else will we know whose husband refused to add her on facebook?)

Do you remember that thing called love? The one that gives you butterflies in your tummy and makes you giddy with happiness when you see your spouse? Yeah, that factor is becoming extinct.

Age is fast becoming a deciding factor where marriage is concerned. The older you get, whether you are male or female, the harder it is for you to sit around and tell people you are waiting for someone you love. Love? Hello? Mr. X is a good, tall and handsome tongues-speaking usher, and Miss Z wears knee-length skirts, has no bad friends and sings in the choir. What more could you be looking for? With society hammering all these good qualities of Mr. X and Miss Z in your head, you subconsciously start to settle for the new idea of convenience rather than love. In other words, these days, the preaching of a person’s good character is enough to rope an unsuspecting party into a marriage of convenience. I have fallen prey to these conversations, and three weeks into the relationship, I extracted myself and hit the reset button. Yes, he was a very good guy, he spoke in tongues and he was an usher in church but that was by no means enough to overshadow the fact that I felt absolutely nothing.

“That he or she is a good person, does not mean the relationship or marriage will be successful”

Of course, sermons of a person’s great character are not the only openings for a marriage of convenience. Many of us get roped in by the idea of marriage being an achievement we must attain by a certain age, lest the world ask us what we have been doing with our lives. The basic factor of attraction is all we need to seal the deal but we forget that attraction wears off, while love sticks like glue. I’ve heard men say about their brides-to be “she’s not wow! But she’s not bad looking either”, “she’s a good woman, with a good job, what more could I possibly need?” and of course there is a lot of this reiterated on the female end of things: “He loves me a lot so I’ll manage. The koko na to marry”, “How many women can boast of a guy who does everything to please them? I don’t really fancy him but he wants to kill himself for me, biko na husband material be that! What more could a girl want?” Yes, what more could a person possibly need besides a non-robotic marriage, passion with your spouse, the willingness of both parties to make sacrifices and compromises, and the need to feel loved everyday?

No wonder many eyes wander after marriage, and lots of feet are found where they shouldn’t be. No wonder it becomes a boring old routine after a while! No wonder some people who are married tend to look unhappy compared to their single counterparts. In the words of a woman who has been married for 10 years, “I felt since he loved me more than I loved him, our marriage will survive. Now I met someone who I genuinely love at work, and I’m scared to leave it all behind.” This is the story of many married folks- wondering why on earth they chose to walk down the aisle in the first place. No wonder some of them cry at their weddings! It is not necessarily about affection, more like “why on earth am I standing here?

We end up in marriages of convenience because we tend to consider availability, rather than compatibility. Men are more prone to this error, as they tend to settle for the closest female when they feel they have reached marriageable age, and ought to catch up with their colleagues.

“The new marriage of convenience is simply about people who are itching to seal the deal, with anyone even if they hardly know or love that person!”

The new marriage of convenience strengthens nothing and no one. Both parties end up exhausted, leading separate lives under the same roof and having coitus just to wade off the winter cold, or simply satisfy chemical alterations in the brain that tell them “YOU NEED TO HAVE SEX”. The new marriage of convenience ends up with battered couples who tell you “marriage is so much work; I miss being single”. I thought the whole point of marriage was to find someone who will not make you feel like being single again? I may be wrong…what do I know?

I am not a fan of this new wave of ‘convenient marriages’. I find it creepy when a man well into his thirties meets me and starts proposing marriage five minutes later (Yeah, men get desperate too! The life of a spinster is more flowery than that of a bachelor in some ways). I find it weird when people get married but are unwilling to make sacrifices for their spouse or even give their spouse any form of support. I detest it when marriage seems like nothing more than a job description with duties and expectations outlined in an invisible contract that is often used to assess the efforts of a spouse.

I may sound like a helpless romantic but I believe love should be a key factor, and I’m not talking about the friendship type of love, or platonic love as you may call it (don’t get me started on that ‘marry your best friend’ sermon). Being friends is not enough; you should have the ‘hots’ for each other in a very passionate kind of way, because after being all friendly, kind and sweet, you need to have crazy sex and enjoy it with the person you marry. If you are not having sex, you might as well start plotting your exit strategy (not a fan of divorce, just saying).

“There are way too many mediocre things in life, love should not be one of them”

2 thoughts on “The New Marriage of Convenience

  1. I adore that last quote you put in and agree wholeheartedly. I married for love, I married a wonderful man who supports everything I am as well as everything I am not. I think there have always been marriages of convenience. I mean, arranged marriages? Fathers basically selling their daughters into loveless marriages? People marry for money or power. It’s sad. “Till death do us part” has become meaningless because divorce has become a convenience. It’s like fight or flight, it’s easier to just run away than face your marital problems and put the work in that’s necessary to evolve as a couple. People will make their own choices, but I will never regret marrying for true love.

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