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You thought marriage is all about love, By Osmund Agbo

By admin Feb 3, 2024
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Settling on this title, I anticipated entering a delicate realm. Over the years, I’ve fervently professed my love to my wife, affirming that she is the most beautiful soul in my life and that our unbreakable bond rests on the strength of our love. While this holds truth, recent experiences have prompted me to reconsider the notion that love alone is sufficient for sustaining a marriage.

This reflection was prompted by a couple my wife and I encountered while residing in Upstate New York years ago. Udoka (not real name) and his wife appeared inseparable, embodying the perfect union reminiscent of high school sweethearts. However, barely two months after we met, Udo informed me of their separation, ultimately leading to his decision to file for divorce. Their love, initially perceived as unbreakable, had succumbed to the strains posed by insurmountable differences.

Obi, an Igbo from Nigeria, and his wife Nadia, a Hispanic from Puerto Rico, faced significant tensions primarily rooted in their diverse cultural backgrounds. This revelation led me to contemplate the dynamics of successful marriages and question the prevailing belief that love conquers all.

In the days of our ancestors, marriage wasn’t solely built on love; it often emerged later, if at all. Considerations like family lineage, societal standing, and work ethics played pivotal roles in unions. Potential couples had minimal opportunity to know each other before elders sealed their fate. While selecting a life partner based on these criteria may seem laughable and outdated today, a closer examination reveals the wisdom embedded in those considerations.

Today’s societal norms often guide us to prioritize love above all else. The prevalent narrative implies that as long as love endures, challenges such as financial troubles and incompatibility will fade away. This narrative is additionally reinforced by some individuals aspiring to maintain the fairytale notion of having married their first love.

In every enduring marriage, more is at play than love alone. Love, like any living entity, requires nourishment to thrive continually. Divorce rates in the United States fluctuating between 40-50% underscore the need to consider factors beyond love. In Africa, where divorce rates are lower and vary widely across countries, cultural norms and societal attitudes also contribute to the complexity of marital relationships.

Financial strain significantly contributes to marital discord, with love, while crucial, often taking a backseat to the practical importance of financial stability. Love’s transformative power for sure enables acceptance of traits incongruent with core values, but this hinges on fulfilling basic needs, a significant portion of which involves financial stability.

Couples grappling with financial instability experience stress, challenging even the most resilient bonds of love. Open conversations about financial goals become essential for navigating these challenges successfully. Moreover, financial stability significantly influences a family’s overall well-being, impacting educational opportunities, healthcare access, and the ability to provide a nurturing environment for children.

Recognizing the importance of financial considerations in marriage is not an indictment of the institution’s sanctity but a pragmatic acknowledgment of matrimony’s multifaceted nature. Couples who collaboratively address financial matters, communicate effectively, and make informed decisions tend to navigate the complexities of married life more successfully, revealing the intricate interplay between love and financial stability in a lasting marriage.

Choosing a life partner involves a delicate dance of compatibility, shared values, and an unwavering commitment to growth together. It requires looking beyond the surface to find someone whose heart resonates with your soul, a companion for the beautiful journey of life. A successful marriage goes beyond merely sharing a bed; it involves sharing dreams, challenges, and celebrating each other’s victories as if they were one’s own.

In the pursuit of a life partner, one must seek someone who brings out the best in them, a person they can’t imagine living without. The journey is richer when shared with the right person, someone who adds value, joy, and makes the adventure worthwhile. In navigating the complexities of choosing a life partner, finding someone who sees beauty in scars and potential in flaws becomes essential.

Ultimately, the best life partner is not solely the one who professes the most love but the one who aids in personal growth, helping each other become the best versions of themselves. In reconsidering the significance of love in marriage, it becomes evident that successful unions require a multifaceted approach that encompasses financial stability, understanding, compatibility, shared values, and an enduring commitment to nurture the love that binds two individuals on their journey together.

Couples value not only love but also seek continual support and encouragement. My wife and I have both transformed into each other’s cheerleaders and confidants, understanding that flourishing marriages demand more than just love – they require mutual effort through life’s ups and downs, navigating its complexities together. The notion that love conquers all troubles is the most significant myth of matrimony.

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Osmund Agbo is the author of Black Grit, White Knuckles: The Philosophy of Black Renaissance.

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