By Eden Sahle
As exhausting as wedding ceremonies can sometimes be, with all the gymnastics couples have to pass through for society to recognise them as married individuals, it is always exciting to see people make such important decisions. There is not a year that passes by that I do not get invited by a friend, colleague or relative that ties the knot.
Alas, there is an unfortunate likelihood that the marriage is not taking place because the couple have fallen head over heels with each other. It is not uncommon to hear guests gossip in hushed voices that what they are attending is, in fact, a shotgun wedding, where a couple get hitched to avoid embarrassment from an unplanned marriage.
The phenomenon has become so widespread that men about to be married have openly confided in me that it is indeed a shotgun marriage.
A few weeks back I had a meeting with a client who wanted a long-term business deal. He is in his forties and boasts a PhD. After our business meeting, he began talking about his personal life and mentioned that he recently got married, which I was quick to congratulate.
But I was quickly cut off by his laughter before he revealed that he was getting married at gunpoint. Noticing my confusion, he clarified saying that he married only because she was carrying his child. I was shocked at the cold expression of a decision that fundamentally affects the life of a child and that of his wife.
What has become rare these days is the culture of love, respect, faithfulness, purpose in life and responsibility. A casual lifestyle that regards love with little interest makes people shallow, not to mention prone to catching sexually transmitted diseases (STD) caused by bacteria, viruses and pathogens that are sometimes incurable. Most of these infections are asymptomatic causing infertility, stillbirth, pregnancy complications, mother-to-child transmission, septic arthritis, rheumatic heart disease, rectal cancers and serious reproductive health problems to both men and women.
Globally, more than a million STDs are acquired every day, while an estimated 357 million new infections are recorded, according to the World Health Organization. WHO admits that bringing behavioural change remains a complex challenge but considers it the primary solution.
Neuropsychologists say that breaking up from a sexual relationship is much more emotionally painful and harder to forget than one that did not involve intimacy. These “bonding” phenomena narrow our selection to one person.
The experts say when the relationship with this one person with whom an intimate relationship started does not work out, the person’s ability to bond with another becomes almost impossible. This emotional trauma forces individuals to create sexual connections that are fleeting. Instead of dealing with the underlying psychological issues, individuals seek emotional fulfillment.
Behind the lack of respect for marriage is the eagerness to enjoy some of its benefits but the resistance to accept the responsibilities that come with it. Those who are married for a long time associate their success in marriage to respect and commitment. Experts suggest the lack of these two ingredients of marriage will make relationships unstable.
Emphasis has been put on the wrong things and not on self-discipline. And it seems that we are paying the price not only as part of a society with individuals that may have undiagnosed emotional and psychological issues but losing productive human power to preventable diseases.
Self-control seems to be a dwindling virtue in our society today. Cheating in a relationship is not uncommon, which can lead to dangerous behaviour that destroys partners’ lives and those of their families.
Self-discipline and the ability to create healthy habits before and after marriage is one of life’s most valuable skills. If nothing else, the economic consequences of poor health can be substantial and expensive, especially for a developing country such as Ethiopia.
Often it takes a while to be validated, but once a person knows that our word, character and steadfastness have withstood the test of temptations, a firm, lasting relationship can be established and maintained. Our values should not blow around in the breeze as a result of transient desires and what others require of us.
Chastity before marriage can save us from worrying about preventable diseases, allowing us to freely and rationally evaluate romantic relationships that can eventually end in marriage. It has been pointed out time after time that choosing the right time for intimate relationships makes people physically healthier, successful, financially stable and content.
Originally posted at Addis Fortune
By Eden Sahle
Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology PLC. She has studied Law and International Economic Law. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.