While we were growing, marriage was always the ultimate goal. Growing up around grandparents who were seemingly more excited about the idea of kids than your parents, was always a thrill for many of us; barring the occasional ‘lix’. Strangely enough though, many of us can relate to growing in a single parent household, but this was never the same for our grandparents. For whatever the reason was, breaking up within their generation didn’t seem like an option. Regardless of outside kids, abuse, both physical and verbal, your grandparents remained together for a stretch of years and made what they had work. Where did our parents get this divorce syndrome from? Nobody knows. And we cannot, as we do with this generation, blame the music or movie industry for this sweeping change, for in our parents’ time (Assuming you are as old as I am), the music was golden and the acting, awe-inspiring. Our parents’ seemingly departure from the culture of sticking with your spouse through thick and thin remains a mystery, but our notions and idea about being married one remained the same.
Disney ensured that all girls’ ideas of a marriage and a wedding remained intact as we grew older. Though from a single parent household, girls always dream of one day being ‘swept off their feet’ by a handsome, well-built prince charming, who would ensure that her life would be lived ‘happily ever after’. These notions of marriage and relationship, though utopic, strangely existed within girls more than in men’s mental framework, even though it conflicted with what was right around us. Reality conflicted with these dreamy wishes we had. All we really wanted however, was a life different from that of our parents, but as the same or better than our grandparents. Quite frankly, our notions of marriage that we developed was even quite contrary to the realities of the institution of marriage itself.
While the institution of marriage basically allows the State to recognise a union of two people, Divorce basically is the legal recognition of the separation of two people that was once bound by the union of marriage. In short, the two sit on opposing poles. If you marry someone and wish to no longer be with them, you cannot just walk away, and live by yourself; well you actually can, let me rephrase. You can, but without the legal documentation of a separation from the union between you and someone formed by marriage, the State will still recognise you as married to that person and as such, would ‘block’ any attempt by you to marry someone else. In some cases, leaving the jurisdiction doesn’t not suffice for a divorce and the new State involved would not recognise an attempt by you to marry there.
As we got older, another ideology was formed. Marriage was an old people thing. Old in this case became wildly subjective. The ages of 19-31 were termed as young. Some even call it the ‘hoe’ phase. This phase, made popular by the young folks and some celebrities, was the phase where persons of those ages are encouraged to date, explore, travel, and ‘find themselves’. Commitment was not for those ages because we are encouraged to have fun, whatever that means. In my opinion, it is an evil justification for people who are living recklessly and want no one to judge them or ‘pull them up’. Some people openly rebel against this ideology and others embrace it. More embraced it and marriage among youthful persons became a thing of the past.
Then came the subsequent ideology, young people do not believe in marriage. As is presented above, young people did take the other route, Marriage became secondary. But is that true? Did young people stop believing in the institution of marriage? What has lent support to these claims? In a recent poll by yours truly, it indicated that young people are really, not afraid of marriage. On Facebook, 30% of the persons taking the poll said they were afraid of marriage as compared to those taking the poll on Instagram, which came in at a whopping 19%. Just last year alone, a year hit by a global pandemic, we were taken aback by just how many marriages they usually have in a year. Matter of fact, the notions of big weddings are no longer a thing. It is clear that when persons want to marry someone, they would go above and beyond to ensure the end goal is accomplished.
Last year, I saw no weddings, literally none, that involved persons over the ages of 40 years. That is huge since I have over 5000 friends and 389 followers just on Facebook alone, and over 1000 followers on Instagram. A profile that consists of all kinds of famous Guyanese personalities that share amazing products. Photographers etc all shared the wedding photos they took of couples that enjoyed a special day. Over 20 weddings, all involved persons under the ages of 30. In just my marriage, the oldest person is 26 years old, my wife, 21 years of age. The latest wedding, Osrick and Breanna, a son of Linden as well, the oldest person is 25 years old or younger; young people are getting married. And they are doing so in droves as well. I can safely say, based on what I saw in the past year, that 2 in 3 marriages locally involve a couple who both are below 30 years old.
But here is another position – young people are so afraid of failure, they partake not, in things which they know for certain they cannot guarantee ‘success’ 100%. This idea, though driven somewhat by a music industry and Hollywood that pushes this utopian idea of life, bars persons from the institution. Because they cannot guarantee that someone would be with them forever, regardless of their differences in the union, persons rather just not go through with marriage. In sociology, we call this ‘risk consciousness’. Also, there is an obvious stigma attached to persons who are divorced, especially women. If your spouse cheats on you, you can walk away almost unscathed by the fact. Though your esteem might be down a bit by the ordeal, you can get back on your feet with little to no stigma attached. In marriages, if you are cheated on, it would appear that you are just not enough. Persons look down on you and even openly laugh at your shame. Eventually, after the divorce, that stigma remains, perhaps even after you tell your side of the story too. The last thing I want to mention about why young people are so afraid of marriage, is the fact that so many married couples are out having extra-marital affairs (and these oftentimes include young girls). The young girls seeing this directly, are encouraged not to get married for seeing how the woman’s husband (s) are going after them. And not wanting that to befall them, opts to stay single throughout or until that notion changes. But it is not that they are afraid of marriage, they are mostly afraid of the divorce that ensues. The reasons for the divorce along with the stigma attached. In short, It’s the Divorce for them!
Did I mention that 81% of persons taking the polls said they were afraid of Divorce on Instagram as compared to 70% on the Facebook polls?