Our marriage of convenience

CHARLES and Diana had one – the documentaries show that he had his true love, Camila, and Diana, chosen as a more appropriate wife, was the woman he married out of convenience. She would bear his heirs and continue the royal bloodline.

And it's a practice that spans every social class, whereby we marry, not out of love or even affection sometimes, but for what else we can get from the relationship.

Many marriages either start as or evolve into marriages of convenience; couples will tell you that there are so many other things that are more important than love or lust, like financial stability, well-bred children, combining assets, building a brand, or appeasing family members.

"If you think back on it, you'll realise that even in the Bible this was practised a lot – in the story of Elkanah and Hannah, for example, the beloved wife was barren, so it was up to the second wife, Penninah, with the fruitful womb to multiply," said Counsellor David Anderson. "So marriages of convenience aren't a novel concept at all."

And in Jamaica it's no different, as these readers will tell you, love is far down the list of reasons why they got together and have stayed with their partners.

Leslie, 50:

Years ago it was more of a business arrangement so I could remain in the US, even though we were good friends and not strangers. The fact that we had such a close friendship made it easier, and when he said he wanted children, it was no problem for me. I wasn't in love or anything like that, it was more of a very good friendship with this man who was willing to help me out. Not once have we discussed divorce or separating, and when I decided that I wanted to move back to Jamaica, he was also more than willing to pack up the life that he knew and come with me and the kids.

Kenny, 30:

I did it for the increased pay and benefits in the army, plus our parents were both pushing us to get serious. She was this girl I grew up with in church and I liked her enough, I guess, but I still think I was too young. After high school I joined the army and it just seemed like the right thing to do to settle down and get more benefits. We're still going strong eight years later and I'm a father and I don't mind my life. Sometimes, though, I just wonder, what if?

Liz, 35:

I had my son at 17 and that didn't slow me down, even though being a single mother was hard. I finished The University of the West Indies and was in a decent job, climbing the career ladder and everything when I got pregnant again. I felt bad supervising people and making such an unwise choice again, so I asked the dad if he wanted to get married, and he said yes. For me it was more to look good at work so people wouldn't think I was a certain type of woman. It's going OK so far. Would he be the guy I would have chosen if I had a choice? No. But I have to work with what I have.

Julian, 27:

It was not one surprise baby, but two. She was having twins and I had to support her. So this drunk night party mess-up led to us making a serious life decision. I don't regret it though, my boys mean everything to me.

Natasha, 29:

He was by my side the whole time I was building my company, and I couldn't just cut him off legally without forking over a lot of cash. When he asked me to marry him I just said OK, because, by this time, he was already part of the face of the brand, and I would lose a lot if I got rid of him after getting successful.

ALAISHA THOMAS

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