Lately I have noticed a trend in people either stating that they do not believe in love. This is almost always followed by the declaration that they don’t even want to get married. Not so surprisingly, this point of view is actually more popular with women.
When asked why, it is always the same reason. Most parents in our generation have terrible marriages and only stay together to keep up appearances. In their hearts they are emotionally divorced, and their history is often plagued with all sorts of mishaps which are more often than not centered on the man cheating; a practice so rampant among Nigerian men that it has more or less been accepted as a cultural norm.
To compound this problem there is the string of heartbreaks most of us can relate with from past relationships. These disappointments in attempted love even though most of us aren’t even old enough to understand love at the time further shape our ideas of what love should be because we grew up watching movies ending happily ever after. With every disappointment we lose a gram of hope, until eventually we become complete cynics suffering from a philosophical condition I will term ‘love nihilism’. In this state we convince ourselves that we don’t want love and marriage is an overrated pipe-dream doomed to fail.
The truth of the reality is that regardless of your reason for shunning marriage, (and those of you that say you want a life partnership instead – please let us call a spade and spade and not an instrument of farming) there is still no more functional way of creating a family. Humans haven’t quite evolved to live in communes in this modern era. And then to add salt to injury, we all know behind every cynic there is an idealist. That is because you have to have an ideal idea before coming to the conclusion that it is unattainable to get cynical. So please, can we stop with the emotional unavailability and detachment. You will be surprised how many people miss great opportunities at romance simply because they are closed off to the idea that something good can actually happen to them.
Yes, love/marriage will not cure the human condition of loneliness for the rest of our days. In fact some days it will hurt us, depress us, and drive us as close to insanity as we can imagine. But there are other days where it can free us making our souls as light as feathers. Expecting a garden of roses without the thorns is just another way of saying we are deluded about what love and marriage is. From the few happy couples I have been lucky to meet, I can tell you that a lot of compromise, effort, and hard work have gone into that union. Expecting it to come easy or having the attitude of getting a new one every time the old breaks down will get us nowhere. Love is more than a just a feeling; it is also a choice, and we make this choice daily to stay or leave.
All in all, yes everything is not for everybody, and that includes marriage. But if you find yourself playing the role of cynic where deep down you hold a fantasy of marital bliss, ask yourself: Is it really worth it to live eternally hopelessly thinking that love will never find you? To constantly stay opposed to the idea of what could be because of what has been? At the end of it all our lives are but stories in the sands of time, destined to be washed by the howls of winds and roars of tides. This time is all we have, and only we can decide how our stories unfold. So tell me, what story do you really want for yourself?
P.S Who dares, wins…