Bachelors And Marriage-Phobia —Isaac Asabor


Marriage, no doubt, is the oldest human institution ordained by God. It is absolutely natural for any bachelor or spinster to get married whenever it is auspicious to do so. In the book of Genesis, God established marriage as a permanent union between a man and a woman.

However, in the recent times it appears many of our bachelors are shying away from marriage or suffering from what I would in this context refer to as “Marriage-phobia.”

There is a growing belief that some bachelors may not drink from the “fountain of matrimony” that is literarily overflowing with sweet and bitter water. The reason for this belief is not far-fetched when many obstacles that seemingly lie on their road to marriage are taken into consideration.

Observers say that many usually give surprisingly simple reasons for their somewhat endless romance with bachelorhood. Reasons given, in most cases, cut across joblessness, state of the economy, not being in the right frame of mind to face matrimonial problems, not knowing whether to marry either Bimbo, Ngozi or Zainab and pursuing one career or the other. Some bachelors give the flimsy excuse that they have not found the “Miss Right” of their dreams.

The history of marriage, particularly as it concerns Africans, is as old as the history of man himself. This fact goes to reveal that in African tradition, marriage cannot be ignored with lame-duck excuses. Any typical African adult male who is not married, say at the age of 40, is seen as a “sick man” or not being responsible. When a man is not married at 40, he may be bombarded by mockers with insincere greetings , such as, “how’s madam”? “How are the children?” or “How’s the family?” All these manner of greetings are apparently indirect ways of telling the bachelor that it is about time he got married.

Given the importance attached to marriage in Africa, one may ask: what does the economy have to offer to sustain a happy marital life? One may not be totally wrong to say “nothing”. Many prospective bachelors are roaming the streets in search of job with their academic and professional certificates tucked away for safety in their various homes.

The majority of today’s bachelors cannot buy the cheapest cosmetic for their girlfriends, not to talk of baby food and dresses when they are eventually married. It is hard to believe that the marriage which some of us contracted with relative ease has now become the nightmare of many bachelors of today. This situation may not be easily extricated from the fact that a great percentage of our bachelors are jobless, and therefore not economically empowered to face the challenges of marriage.

The relevance of this article may not be appreciated except one agrees with the view that the increase in the number of spinsters is contributing to a situation where more ladies are going into prostitution on the one hand, while the upsurge in bachelors’ population is deceptively making some men to see themselves as “young” and thus behaving irresponsibly toward the opposite sex in total defiance of the elaborate global campaign against the scourge of HIV/AIDS.

Let it be known that the law of demand and supply equally plays a prominent role in the choice of partners. If a father wants his daughter to be married to a suitor from a particular “special class”, they should not forget that others equally have the right to wish same for their daughters. Why can’t we allow love to determine who marries who in a heterogeneous society? To me, the issue of who marries who should be left to the unfailing power of love. If marriages are built on love factor, divorce would not be a regular feature in marriages contracted between spouses from royal, presidential and clerical backgrounds.

In 2010, some soft sell magazines reported the story of an armed robber who confessed that he got into robbery to enable him meet up with the financial need of his proposed wedding. You may criticise his action, but the truth remains that the societal expectations on various issues are getting astronomically high. Ceremonies like burial, naming, birthday and you name it are by each passing day becoming ostentatious and unnecessarily demanding. Can’t get our values right?

A few months ago, a relation obliged me the perusal of a traditional wedding list. I must confess that what I saw in the list rendered me speechless. Included in the list are small sized generator set and other electronic gadgets one would not think of making a marriage list years ago. Are we commercialising pre-conditions for marriage thereby putting our young ones in trouble? Little wonder many of our young ones of marriage age are seemingly afraid of tying the nuptial knots.

Many young girls are endlessly searching for “Mr. Right”, oblivious of the fact that menopause draws nearer by the day. Women are now more concerned about material wealth of a man but not the affectionate and emotional wealth at the disposal of any prospective bachelor. Ask them why, they would reply that affection will not put food on the table.

Laughable enough, many spinsters do not know that wealth hardly sustains any matrimonial contract. The most important binding and sustaining clause in matrimonial contract is MUTUAL TRUST (emphasis mine).

Also, it is commonplace to see a spinster having more than one suitor at the same time. At a popular eatery, she would tell one of them, “I love you.” At a red light district, she would predictably be saying to another, “Honey, you are the only one I know.” Then to another man, the dark and lonely night would be punctured with “I will die for you.” Having seen how promiscuous some spinsters are, it has become difficult for some discerning bachelors to just pick some of today’s spinsters and say “Yes, I do” before a sanctified altar and a solemn gathering in a church or mosque. To many a bachelor, that would be an arrant hypocrisy. The matrimonial atmosphere is not as conducive as it was in the days of our parents. Statistics on divorce cases glaringly validate the fact that the rate of divorce in our today’s society is almost surpassing the rate of wedding. Simply put, as people are divorcing, people are wedding.

Besides, the rate at which some married ones among us have trumpeted the problems that are inherent in matrimony to the hearing of some of these bachelors is arguably making some of them to cringe and suffer from the emerging sickness called “marriage-phobia”. Some of us have exaggerated the problems that many bachelors now dread marriage as if it is a plague.

However, it is time many of the so-called “big guys” and “big babes” took the plunge into the matrimonial ocean and confront “marriage-phobia.” After all, Dr. Wayne Dyer says “The fears you don’t face control you. The fears you face, you move beyond.” It is about time our marriageable young ones confronted all the foregoing problems and face their matrimonial future with bravado. Marriage is good. God always releases his blessings through it because He is the one that instituted it. It pleases Him when His children contract marriage.

•Asabor wrote from Lagos.

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