The Pulse

Of loveless union

Ashenafi Zedebub

As the prominent French author Guy de Maupassant once  said “when two people love each other nothing is imperative and delightful to them than giving; to give always  – ones thoughts, ones life, ones body, and all that one has and feel the gift and to risk everything in order to be able to give more, more and still more.”

We have heard a great deal about the so-called marriage of convenience.  Much has been heard about marriages wherein material advantage remained as the chief consideration. We have also heard about “marriage articles” signed by and between a man and a woman, chiefly regarding the rights of property.

“Marriage of convenience” has always been denounced almost by each and every person.  A man and a woman in this type of union are denounced as greedy, selfish and what not. However, very many people, who happen to denounce others, find themselves in marriage of convenience, much to their surprise, without knowing it at all. A man tired of that boring loneliness all of a sudden decides to get married and simply goes out to look for an “ideal partner.” Then he lands on a path leading to “marriage of convenience.”

A firm owner searching for a qualified executive secretary, who in the mean time, could be his lover; a stationer or a grocer trying to find a nice looking girl, who shall take care of his shop and also keep the good boss monogamous; hotel owners seeking experienced house-keepers; bar operators going for cashiers, and so on and so forth. Here, one might argue that no financial advantage had been considered. This may be true as far as money comes in question. But what about labor being a substitute for cash?  When we talk about “marriage of convenience,” it should not by any means include money and exclude contribution in kind.

For instance, in our Ethiopian society, men of the early days were looking for a good maid, a good cook and, indeed, a good lover as well. Such preference is not to be considered as “an outdated” nowadays too. We still hear some news about men and, sometimes women, who look quite modern externally but still live in the style of the “good old days.”

I, myself, have witnessed countless complaints about food nowadays. One has even gone so far as to seek my advice by putting the question: “Supposing I get a new wife, don’t you think my complaints about food would be resolved?” Such question is really hard to deal with. Is he looking for a cook or a wife? It is of my opinion that love and life have their own value and should, therefore, not be mixed up with labor or wealth.

We all know that nobody on earth can be happy without good food and also nice clothing. It is also clear that no one would prefer a woman with no taste for delicious food and no interest in good house-keeping. Nevertheless, one should not think that it is a “guarantee for a happy marriage.” Although the modern age has ruled it out to a certain extent, men of the older generation usually looked for a “good mother” rather than to seek the best lover.

Eminent scholars of the modern age are of the opinion that with the fast growing educated men and women in our world today, “marriage of convenience “is slowly coming to an end – specially in the industrialized society. A woman in the modern age would by no means accept an offer with the prerequisite to serve a man as a cook or cleaner. She wants to be a “real wife with equal rights.” It is always nice to hear such good and promising news.  But unfortunately, such “good news” would not always be applicable in the developing world, where women are usually dependent on the husband’s wealth and income.

It is true that marriage, to a certain extent, is a matter of convenience. But it should, under no circumstances, be a financial partnership or anything connected with the advantage of rendering of service of one party to the other. First of all, love should exist to make the union happy and harmonious.  Needless to say, if there is no love, the marriage is loveless too. In this sense, a “marriage of convenience” is generally nothing, but a union filled with egoism, greediness and everything of systematic selfishness. This, of course, is very sad.

I have talked to several men and women, of whom I had the feeling of their tragic loveless union.  I deeply feel sorry for them, although I do not have a remedy for such a serious and deep-rooted problem. What about you?



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