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With the high rates of divorce these days, I wonder why people are still excited about getting married. As a man, you have to promise to love this one woman every single day until either of you die! You cannot even look at another woman without feeling guilty. Touching another woman is completely unacceptable for married men in so many cultures, and even those cultures that allow you to marry a second wife do not tell you that you are getting into more woman trouble when you do that. For the sake of peace, you often have to do what she wants. Not to mention the complete change to your interior décor that they call the ‘woman’s touch’! You have to listen to all her talking and appear interested in her hobbies, just to get the title of ‘good husband’. Even her annoying friends become your friends, or else they say you are controlling and don’t want her to have a social life. Having children is a completely different ball game. Although the children can be cute at times - as her husband, you have to try and be a good father. The days of lounging on a Saturday morning or staying out late soon fly out the window, because you have to help give them breakfast and put them to bed. When she is on maternity leave and you still have to go to work, you don’t get enough sleep because you have to show concern when the child cries at night. The worst part is that women think differently about money, yet you have to discuss and even share your money with her. If she has no source of income, she feels no guilt in spending yours as the ‘provider’, yet you do not get to put your feet up after work for fear of being called an unhelpful husband. Her family become your family, no matter how needy or difficult they are. You have to care about her dreams and need for reassurance, as if you haven’t got enough things to do! Even in sickness and old age when she is not much to look at, you still have to be there for her and probably do things you never imagined you would do for another human being. As a woman, you start by taking a ring that was probably not your first choice, but you have to pretend to like because he chose it ‘carefully’. If he manages to do a proper marriage proposal, you hope that it is more romantic than embarrassing. You promise to love and honour him above all others, even though you know at least two men who are more sensible than he is. You have to listen to all his insecurities and make him feel like he is doing well, even when you know he could do so much better. You move into his house and have all the work of making it a home. After which you have to try to get rid of the useless friends and encourage the good friendships, because he thinks everyone is his friend. If you are lucky enough to buy a house together, you probably have to do most of the organising, prompting and cleaning, because he does not see any problem with the way things are. His mind works so differently to yours, yet you have to find a way to enjoy being intimate with him and avoid lusting after other men. Sleeping with another man is completely unacceptable, for the rest of your life, even if the man is your ex or your teen crush from TV. When you finally have children with this husband, all the house work seems to fall on you as the mother, because he does not always see what needs to be done. The children make you so happy, but can drive you up the wall on the days that they want only Mummy to do things like changing nappies and feeding, which means that you get no rest, but have to smile and be hospitable when his mother visits. His family becomes your family, no matter how needy or difficult they are. His surname becomes your name, unless you have a secure husband who does not mind being different. You have to remind him to call his own mother because he is so engrossed in his new life, which you do not want to be blamed for. No one sees the effort you put in to keep him happy, functional and successful, but if he ever gets depressed, unfaithful or poor, blame comes to the wife. The clean house and well trained children are yours both, but a messy house and unruly children seem to be your fault, as the wife. Why then does anyone still get married after considering all this? Could it be that it is better to have someone to share life with, even if it means not having things go your way all the time? It must feel good to have someone who makes your happiness their priority and finds fulfilment in building a family with you, forsaking all others. No one knows the future, but you are willing to stick with this one through thick and thin, hoping that he/she does not turn you into a divorcee. It cannot be about the ‘in love’ feeling, because that comes and goes. There is something truly beautiful about the unconditional love in a good marriage that makes a spouse make sure the crying babies do not disturb the other’s sleep, so they can rest well before work. The kind of love that makes a tired spouse clean the house because it is their home together, and not just one person’s responsibility. The kind of love that makes you control your desires, tongue and emotions, so you can treat them right. The kind of love that makes the spouse a priority over parents, friends, children and siblings; and gives money, time and attention to the spouse freely, without resentment. There is no guarantee that your spouse will continue to give this kind of love, so it is best only to get into marriage when you yourself are ready to commit to giving this kind of unconditional love to your partner, for life, for better or worse.

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