Monthly Archives: March 2015
This topic raises awareness of a newly-identified serious problem trending in social media and elsewhere about the younger generation and marriage. This blog post raises more questions than answers but sets the stage for discussion. Please take a few minutes to read it and give us your feedback if possible. Identifying and acknowledging the problem is halfway to the solution.
These days, many factors are militating against the institution of marriage. For the already-existing unions, Infidelity and Related Sins, (which I call I&RS), seem to be the number one problem threatening the stability of the family. The high and ever rising divorce rate is frustrating couples and discouraging young people from taking a leap of faith into the great institution called ‘ marriage’.
Now, a new concern has been brought to our attention: On a global level, a growing number of eligible women cannot find their soul mates these days and on time too. Most of them have worked very hard preparing themselves for a great married life. They are highly educated, hardworking, professional, sociable, responsible, attractive, kind, healthy, positive, and the list goes on. Still, only very few of them are lucky to get a marriage proposal. As they get older, some of the realistic ones have even lowered their standards and expectations about their future soul mates–still no luck!
By medical tradition and definition, an older mother is defined as a woman pregnant at age 35 or over. To make matters worse, medical professionals are warning young women about the danger of having babies after 35 years of age, pointing out health implications, which include: infertility, chronic illnesses, birth defects, and complications with pregnancy. Also depression and other emotional problems seem higher in this age group.
If “Mr Right” does not show up, what will she do after age 35? This is a million dollar question for anyone and everyone who cares about this anxious group of young women.
Globally, as women’s emancipation increases, the incidence of this problem seems to rise also. Many women are now enjoying financial independence and freedom, but to my greatest dismay, this improvement seems to have created some sort of social isolation. Traditionally, men are used to being the providers, decision makers, and controllers of this institution of marriage. Most men are not prepared to see these roles change, though they need financial and other contributions of their wives.
In less-developed societies, women in this category face more challenges. As the economic status of women improves, that of men somehow diminishes, partially due to the high unemployment rate, limited opportunities, decreased ambition, and misplaced priorities associated with some men of the younger generation. All these may lead to role reversal. As these more industrious women take up more family burdens in addition to the burden of pregnancy and child care, some men tend to relinquish their own responsibilities and some even abandon their families for an easier and freer lifestyle. Many of them claim that some of those women are too smart, too bossy, too loud and bold, and disrespectful and self-centered, making marriage less attractive and more of a burden for some men already stuck in it. Therefore, many younger men have become reluctant to commit to any relationship, no matter how reasonable or financially stable their potential wives seem to be. This fear is real with most young men in every society and is causing this unwanted ripple effect felt mostly by single women.
In the western world, women have been boldly addressing the challenge. Many are getting married to men who are younger, less educated, and less financially stable than themselves. This is the reality of our modern society today.
On the other hand, in a traditional society like mine, (African), where expectations and requirements for marriage are still dictated by culture, religion, and economic status, this challenge seems tougher. What choices does a woman in this age category have if Mr Right fails to show up as her biological clock keeps ticking non-stop? Can our society tolerate such women settling down with younger or less suitable men? Will culture and religion accept such women if they choose to have babies and raise family out of wedlock, even if the women are equal to the task economically and otherwise? These are serious questions that require honest and practical answers if the problem will be resolved.
These women who could be our daughters, sisters, neighbors, or friends and need our help as a society. What changes are we prepared to make in order to address or accommodate the needs of this growing category?
It is the time to encourage dialogue on this and other related issues and realities of our modern time. If we fail to adjust some of our cultural, religious, social, and economic expectations, we may be setting the stage for the young people to fail, rebel, or revolt against society. The male counterparts of these women do not have this time-sensitive pressure. Men can have babies at any age with women even much younger. Therefore, they are not in a hurry to start a family, especially when they see what some of their friends and relatives are going through in marriage.
This is my advice to all concerned: I understand that it is very hard to be the best one can with so many problems and challenges, but at the same time, our best characteristics are formed at difficult times. Therefore, as early as possible, the youth must be taught the importance of conscience, integrity, and discipline.
Our school curriculum should include courses on the development of relationship skills, to be taken as seriously as math and science. Developing and improving Emotional Intelligence (instead of focusing on IQ alone), should be the goal of every educational program.
Let us encourage our young men to be more hardworking, more honest with relationships, and willing to commit when possible. For our young women, humility, respect, and trust are vital qualities to cultivate for lasting relationships. Let us as society realign our values to enable future couples honor marriage and guide the next generation with love and integrity. We should discourage all triggers of family dysfunction and make marriage more attractive, fulfilling, and rewarding. This is a call for action to all.
Please we welcome suggestions and solutions.
Dr. Mother Love