I will marry her Sir,
At your request;
But if there be no great love in the beginning,
Yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance,
When we are married.
— Shakespeare, The Merry Wives of Windsor 1, 1
AS you can glean from that quote, the man agrees to get married, take unto himself a bride, tie the knot, but with conditions applied. He fears that there may be no great love in the beginning, but that heaven will fix it after they get to know each other after the nuptials.
He hopes for the best, and truth be told, many if not most men enter marriage with some degree of trepidation, fear and anxiety. Frankly, a man sees it perhaps as a loss, for he's giving up so much, while women see it as a gain. It was a wise person who said, "Women's dreams come true when they get married, but men's dreams are shattered."
She gets what she wants — the security, the name, the social standing, the children. But what does the man get, what's in it for him, what great deal has he brokered because he got married? Hasn't he lost his freedom, his friends, his ability to do what he wants to do, when he wants; his desire to indulge in his old habits? And yet, men still marry and rush headlong into it too. Why do men marry? We'll find out right after these letters.
'Single mothers by destiny' was a sensitive and pragmatic look at the plight of many young girls and women who find themselves trapped in a situation and don't know why. I myself am a victim, even though my daughter is a blessing to me. I had her when I was 15 and had to drop out of school to raise her. What bad luck I thought. But on reflection it was not bad luck but fate. After all, my mother is barely 14 years older than I am, so how could she guide me in the right way? It has been hard for me as it was for her. I will do my best to stop the cycle so that my daughter can have a chance in life.
Stop sympathising with those girls who want to be women, and who have babies while still in their teens. They knew exactly what they were doing. Girls today are more aware and exposed than those of the past. They have access to all sorts of methods to prevent pregnancy, yet they choose to ignore them and have babies. It is their badge of honour, and they wear it proudly.
It is indeed ironic that those young girls have babies at the drop of a hat and face such hardship, while other women who have the means and money cannot have children. Who is better off, the teenager with a baby that she struggles with, or the grown woman with the house, car, husband and no child? Life is really confusing and the Lord does give us so many challenges. Good article, Tony. It touched me.
So in spite of all the pitfalls and obstacles placed in the path of marriage, men still take the plunge. Let's face it, in spite of all the letters you've seen and opinions shared, women deep down want to get married...even once. They secretly tell me. It makes them whole, validates their existence, gives them respectability.
Men though, that's another matter. Here are some quotes from men regarding marriage. "Marriage is like having a Playboy magazine with the same centrefold every month for years."
"You have two choices in life, you can stay single and be miserable, or get married and wish you were dead."
"Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence."
"If it wasn't for marriage and wives, men would go through life thinking they had no faults at all."
"If you want your wife to listen and pay strict attention to every word you say...talk in your sleep."
"A man is incomplete until he is married...then he is finished."
"A little boy asked his father, "Daddy, how much does it cost to get married?" Father replied, "I don't know son, I'm still paying."
Ah boy, so many jokes and cynical comments about marriage, all said by men, and yet, men still get married, even look forward to the day when they can share their lives with someone special. Is all that macho talk about the ills of marriage just that, man-talk to mask the anxiety and fears that they all feel before they take that quantum leap? The stark reality is, there is an equal number of men who get married as there are women. No woman stands alone at the altar. So why is the man there beside her if he didn't want it too? Maybe women have the same fears, but keep them bottled up inside, never revealing them to the world.
I got some answers surprisingly from a movie showing at Carib Cinema titled Hall Pass. At first I thought that it would be just another comedic farce, and indeed, it was funny. But beneath the humour was a fabric of truth that addressed the problems that many marriages encounter. For some reason, after a few years of marriage, couples settle into a routine, at least the wives do, but the men still have the wanderlust in their eyes...and loins.
Even while walking and talking to their wives, the men still look at other women passing by. That applies to most men, even though you wouldn't admit it to your spouses. As long as you look and don't touch, it's okay, you may think, plus you're allowed to even fool yourself about it too. Just like my good friend who got married a few months ago who I caught looking at another woman, so I said, "But you just got married, you should stop looking now...and don't cheat either." His reply, "Hey, it's not cheating if you tell your wife about it."
We had a good laugh, but we both knew that it was all big chat. That man loves his wife to the ground and would never cheat on her, but he was a bachelor for so long that he still has to maintain the illusion of being single and macho. So the men ogle and lust and act as if they were still bachelors. The wives in the movie got fed up and said, "Our husbands think that if we weren't around, they could get all those girls who they're looking at. So let's give them a hall pass."
A hall pass is freedom to do whatever you want for one week with no consequences. Many men would love a hall pass. But the irony is, having gotten it, they don't know what to do with it. For even though they're full of big chat, many men want to get married, stay married and love being married.
One reason why they marry is to get off the streets. Yes, the street can be a dangerous place, and marriage offers a safety net, a familiar place, somewhere to go where it's warm and secure. Hey, that sounds like women's view of marriage, but clearly, men also share it, even though they don't admit it. Usually though, it's the men who have been on the streets for a long time and finally got tired of running up and down who subscribe to this.
Not to be confused with men who simply got tired. They're different, and don't usually make good husbands anyway, as all they want is a woman to take care of them. But a man who realises that women come and women go, but a wife who really loves and cares is a blessing, is ready to settle down. That's another reason why men marry.
Another reason is food. Simple as you take it, the old saying about the way to a man's heart is through his stomach is true. After years of fast food and expensive dinner dates with meaningless women, many men yearn for a wife who can cook a decent meal for him. I have heard this countless times, "KFC, Island Grill and such are nice, but nothing can beat a good home-cooked meal from a wife." It's not just the food, but it's an expression of love and caring why she cooks for her man.
Then men also get married for sex, but that's a wrong reason, for a line from the movie Hall Pass says, "Between the hours of 10:00 pm and 6:00 am, wives have a right to fake everything." They fake being asleep, fake being tired, fake headaches, and if the man insists on having his way, she fakes enjoyment too. So sex isn't a good reason, but men still think that it is. "What a woman sexy, I must get married to her and live in bliss forever." He's in for a rude awakening as neither will she be awake or rude with him...if you catch my drift.
Men also get married for companionship, someone who will listen to him and share. Success is meaningless if there's no one to share it with, and a man can't share his life with one-night stands or meaningless affairs... so he gets married. "Honey, I'm home."
"So how was your day? Come tell me all about it." How sweet those words can sound. So as you can see, it's not only women who want to get married, but men do too. If that wasn't the case, more women than men would get married, and like I said, there is an equal number standing at the altar. And if you check it out, more men remarry than women, even when they get much older. But all that being said, there's more to come after the marriage has gone a few years. After the marriage...what? Look out for it. More time.
Footnote: How come serious crime and murder have gone down by over 42 per cent yet the press is not making a big deal of it as when it was high? How come I bought a wall clock for $1,000, but the replacement motor costs $1,500? Plus there are clocks costing $300 and they have the same type motor. Couldn't I just buy three of those and take out the motors? Go figure. How come 'Jamaican' ginger tea is packaged here but produced in Taiwan? Yet our ginger is ranked among the best in the world. On a positive note, I must say that one of my simple pleasures is back, as Devon House once again has an oven and pastry shop with patties and bread pudding and other stuff that are out of this world. I understand that it's taken over by Mother's and the fare, service and ambiance are exquisite. Those little European-type sidewalk tables are a welcome addition. My Saturday afternoons are once again complete.