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Let’s accord cohabitation official status

By By SILAS NYANCHWANI | September 6th 2013


There are several ways people end up in marriage. It can happen by accident, especially when a man impregnates a woman and marriage is the best way out of it. Two helpless adults also can be hooked up (my least favourite route). Sometimes it is the experimental starter marriage that starts with small-time cohabitation that often ends in marriage.

You don’t need an MBA to know that cohabitation is the most popular route to marriage. It starts innocently, mostly initiated by women under the tacit approval of the sexually starved man. Women suffer a specific form of amnesia when they are in a bachelor’s home. No cure has been discovered to help them remember their hairbands, combs, and a pair of shoes or the undergarments that can fill up your house before you can finish a wink.

When a woman meets a man of her dreams, her wifely instincts are turned on. She can cook well. She can wash his clothes, press them neat and scrub his rusty toilet without mumbling. I have never understood just what happens after marriage.  Given the free sex and attendant services that her presence brings, no man can be misanthropic enough to chase her away. So the man lets her stay as long as she meets the minimal criteria for a wife (this differs from man to man).

And so, two adults start cohabiting. Cohabitation is a marriage in Nirvana. It is like an academy where people learn each other. Everyone acts like an adult. There are no kids or pressing responsibilities to foul anyone’s mood. No mother-in-law or father-in-law dropping by. No one is dragging anyone to slow family gatherings where a man’s sisters come along with stinking attitudes. Everyone generally keeps his or her part of the bargain. Perfect.

As long as the man does not rush things and the woman does not dare control the man, individuals can cohabit for years.

While it makes people complacent and lazy, often it is the only option that individuals have. And it is healthy. It encourages monogamy, sometimes faithfulness. And if individuals click so well, marriage is the end result. But cohabitation is generally frowned upon by our social institutions; family, church and even the government.

Why? Some say, it can delay marriage and waste the most productive years of the individuals, more so women, who stand to ruin their biological capital. Some say, it is against Christian or even Muslim doctrines. It is a form of outright fornication, which is forbidden by the two. But the whole idea needs some renewed thinking.

Cohabitation gives young adults a chance to test their abilities whether they can eke it out in marriage. Marriage is not for everyone. No wonder the divorce rates will be soaring in the future. Cohabitation offers emotional, financial and psychological support for the young adults in these austere times and can help combat promiscuity, to an extent.

Those who opt to cohabit should be supported by the society and even the government rather than being frowned upon. When filing forms, the options you have to date are single, married, widowed, divorced and nothing in between for trials. It is definitive, yet nowadays nothing is ever cast in stone.

 Honest individuals like me, are often left chuckling when filling a form, and now you have to indicate that you are single, even when you have been staying with someone for two years. It startles you. Let’s start thinking of how we can accord cohabitation some form of status. The shorter periods equally count in our lives.


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