They say that in the United States, more than half the marriages end in divorce. The situation became so bad, and the likelihood of marriage failure became so great, that the always innovative Americans came up with something called a pre-nuptial agreement. The pre-nuptial agreement was supposed to mitigate against the possibility down the road of a terribly messy divorce involving vicious custody battles for the children and deadly disputes over moneys and properties.
The thing about the pre-nuptial agreement was that it was so incongruous when you considered how romantic the climate was supposed to be before the wedding vows. After all, bottom line about marriage it was absolutely to be consecrated in an atmosphere of enchanted, exhilarating love, and the storybooks always said that “they lived happily ever after.” So why would you need a pre-nuptial agreement to, essentially, prepare for the worst when it was supposed to be all good?
Growing up in the Western societies as we did, where it’s all about love, baby, we were puzzled when we started hearing about those Eastern societies in Asia and Africa where parents decided on marriage partners for their children.Sometimes those decisions and arrangements were made when the intendeds were actually little children. In fact, the percentage of successful marriages coming out of these arranged partnerships is quite higher than is the case with the love scenarios. I do not have any figures, but this is my belief.
One thing is that in the East there is much more polygamy than in the West, so that changes the ball game in different ways. And while we always conceive of polygamy as featuring one man having several wives, one of my friends, a very serious Harvard Ph.D. by the way, has told me that in Burundi in Africa the polygamy there features one wife having several husbands. This is an aside, mind you, and I have no idea how it works.
Many, many years ago I read writings by a Hungarian humorist, and I don’t remember anything of his name, who argued that being in love was the worst possible time to make a marriage decision. He pointed out how important an institution marriage was, and how permanent it was intended and designed to be, and remarked on how giddy human beings were, by definition in fact, when they were “in love.” In other words, we make a decision which has sober, permanent considerations when we are in love, which is when we are at our most giddy. How you figure?
In Belize, it appears that people marry more infrequently than they used to in the old days. But, on the average there are probably just as many relationships (sexual relationships), because there is a certain point in most people’s lives when Adam is in real need of Eve, and vice versa. It’s a hormonal thing. There is a difference between love and sex. Someone once said that the female of the human species gives sex in order to get love, while the male of the species makes love in order to get sex. This would be a generalized primer on the matter. This “love and sex” is serious, serious business, and it is delicate, complex, often explosive business.
We have moved from marriage to “love and sex.” This is because we want to talk about children, and they are conceived both in marriages and in “love and sex” relationships. The difference between legal marriage and informal “love and sex” used to be a really big deal, and in fact it probably still is. One of the reasons for this involves money and property. There are legal children, whose mothers are wives, and there are illegal children, whose mothers are not wives, and the marriage law makes the legal children entitled to the legacy, while the illegal children have no rights. Sometimes these legacies involve a lot of money and property, so much so that sometimes even legal children start fighting amongst each other. Long story.
What I want to look at today is how beautiful and innocent children are, and how much they are the ones who suffer when marriages and relationships run into problems. Sometimes, catastrophically, husbands and wives actually kill each other, and the children are left without both parents, because one parent is dead and the other parent goes to jail. How could any child ever deserve such a fate? Indeed sometimes, there is little about life which is fair.
Love being such an unpredictable affair, marriage was instituted to take love to a more concrete level. This is precisely for the sake of the children, who, above all else, need a home. The legal framework of marriage makes it difficult for people to dissolve it; this was so especially in the old days in Belize. In a way, that was a good thing, because it was so vital that married parents not become frivolous when it came to the matter of their children and their homes.
The bottomline, and people very seldom talk about it, is that men and women sometimes fall out of love. The same way one moment you can fall in love, with thunder and lightning, the same way you can wake up one day and the magic is gone. And what makes it worse is when a new magic is entering your life. Then, for sure, all hell can break loose.
In the news a couple days ago a very sad story was told. There was this couple, and my sources have told me that they have been together from the time they were about 13 years old, and Allah God has blessed them with four beautiful children. From the indications, it appears that the lady partner may have fallen out of love, for whatever the reason(s). This would have been traumatic for the male partner, and the evidence is that he has been reacting violently. The situation is extremely dangerous, and a kind of hell has broken out for the children, it would seem to me. It is so sad.
When marriages and relationships fail, extended families are the first line of protection for the children. And, when you think about it, this is why marriages arranged by families (parents) work when the romance we are always singing about is not in effect. In a fundamental way, marriages (and relationships) are bondings between families, or they should be. The children are the hard DNA evidence of that bonding, and yet the children are so vulnerable in ways both physical and emotional.
In closing, on a matter somewhat tangential, I would like to suggest that the Family Court legislation be reviewed by a competent panel. Yes, we all know “man da dawg,” but I have seen too many cases of the Family Court legislation being abused by women. Always there is theory, and then there is practice. In theory, the legislation is an outstanding safeguard for Belizean children who are exposed to suffering because of their parents being separated. In practice, many women have exploited the strength of the legislation to victimize their children’s father in favor of their new lover. Check stats.