Marriage should be about more than raising children

By - Jan 1st 1970

The ultimate test of functional maturity in a person is to be able to sire a young one to continue not only their lineage but also to further the existence of their species and race. Continuity seems to be the ultimate reason why we all exist. Isn’t it interesting that among humans marriage is treated with so much regard?

A marriage that does not produce babies is frowned upon and arguably treated as a failure with points of failure being sought from both within and without. If the fault is with the woman, the man will be encouraged to find another wife. If the man is the one unable to sire, the woman will be pushed by society to find an alternative man to help her finish her purpose to mother nature.

The argument that companionship is the driving force behind the marriage institution is a flimsy agenda that has failed to gain traction so far amongst many Africans. Maybe, this is because we place so much premium on children. The fact is, society here needs children.

It is for this reason that same-sex marriages have not found residence acceptance among us. While we may be repulsed by the idea of a man kissing another man or a woman pleasuring another, it is the ultimate product of that companionship that does not sit well in our minds. How does another man pop out babies when they lack the requisite tunnels of passage? Two women in a relationship have no means to achieve a pregnancy whatsoever even if there was unending bliss, laughter, and love under the roof they share.

Burden of reproduction

Among some foreign cultures, it has become largely accepted that the same gender can pair up and focus on being happy without the burden of reproduction. In those far-flung societies, even heterosexual marriages are under no pressure to procreate. Glamorous church weddings can be held with a firm focus on buying a cute dog to complete the family. The couple could agree from the outset to acquire another dog later in the future if fortunes allow. Their decisions could be informed by the fact that life has become too expensive with the pressure of the population increasing. Dog food is more affordable than human nutrition and the cost of education is exorbitantly high for the average citizen.

But our society is yet to hit that level of saturation. Africa, for example, still has large masses of vacant land for farming to feed its population. Industrialisation is still largely rudimentary and the level of pollution has not hit a crisis stage to warrant any policies restricting human reproduction. However, we are still limited in terms of robust pension policies, health insurance coverage for old age, and convenient housing for the aged making the final stages of life almost fully reliant on one’s own children. 

It is therefore understandable why marriage is still a highly celebrated landmark amongst us and news of childbirth is applauded even more than monetary conquest or academic achievements. A barren woman is still rebuked while a man unable to sire is the ultimate source of shame to his people and himself bearing that a man in the eyes of the society should be able to conquer all valleys and hills to deliver a win.

The only time our society appreciates companionship is when people age and lose their reproductive agility.

In that case, life is viewed with an independent lens not tied to its ability to create younger ones because it already did in the prime stage. At this stage one is allowed to retire with honour, spend the twilight years talking to each other endlessly.

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