marriage is an achievement

SOCIAL DEBATE: Is Marriage Really An Achievement?

For over a week, there has been a debate on Facebook centered on whether marriage is an achievement or not. Opinions have been divided and we have read from different viewpoints. This one from award winning writer, Sally Kenneth Dadzie however stands out. You might pick one or two valuable points from her piece below.

Is marriage an achievement? I don’t know.

I think it depends on what your definition of achievement is. For me, being married is simply being married. I got married to my best friend and continued my life. It’s not a feather to my hat or a medal on my chest. It’s just marriage to me. But I can’t even start to count the world of wisdom, love and happiness I have achieved by becoming one with another person.

But let’s talk.

What does achievement mean? Why is the word now synonymous with marriage?

Achievement (defn): a thing done successfully with effort, skill, or courage.

From the above definition, anything can be done successfully with effort, skill or courage. If I jump over the fence in my backyard, it’s an achievement.

But let’s pick a keyword in the definition. Successful. Success.

What is success?

The accomplishment of an aim or purpose.
Therefore, we can say that achievement is basically the accomplishment of a purpose with effort, skill or courage. So can we now also say marriage is an achievement for someone if it was that person’s aim or purpose and they achieved it? Yes.

But some would argue that we can’t call a marriage successful if it has not attained so and so years or if it ends in divorce.

Are we now to say that a successful marriage can thus be measured by its duration and not the fulfillment and happiness of those within it, bearing in mind that a long marriage doesn’t necessarily mean a happy marriage?

But if we are also to judge a successful marriage by how happy the partners within it are, with what scale do we measure this happiness?

Clearly, there’s no one single answer to this. A woman who considers her husband her head and is submissive to him could be told by some that she is in an abusive relationship. A man who becomes a stay-at-home dad, quitting his low-paying job and allowing his wife who earns more to be the breadwinner could be told by some that he is being oppressed. And interestingly, both may be happy with their arrangements and things are going smoothly for them.

Marriage does not have a single definition, as much as I know. As humans differ, so do marriages. It’s the people within a marriage that make it what it is. Not those looking in from outside. And this is why I find it silly that someone would tell a married person that marriage is not achievement. It’s even sillier when they give a time duration, as if young couples living by their own rules and happiness don’t count for great marriages.

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It may be hard for some people here to take this but marriage is a goal to many.

Yes, people add marriage as their life goal like going to school, having kids, starting a business, completing an online course, buying your mother that house etc.

It’s hypocritical when we look at Banky W and Susu and say ‘couple goals’ and in the same breath say marriage is not a life goal. Banky knew quite early that he wanted Adesua to be with him forever and he aimed for that. Now, he’s achieving it. Oya, go and tell him it’s not an achievement.

You want a rich man or a rich woman, someone educated, someone who cares and treats you like a king/ queen. You want a loving partner, work hard towards that, position yourself to seek after and catch the best and you finally get that person. My dear, pat yourself on the back. It’s an achievement, and that is why such successes are celebrated.

If there is abuse in a marriage or infidelity or any type of wrongdoing that hurts one or both partners or the children born to them, then of course, it can be said that such an arrangement ended in failure. I wonder why it’s so easy to point out failed marriages but so hard to say another is successful?

Let’s stop trying to define people’s achievements.

You can go ahead and have yours and brag about it but learn to leave people to define theirs. Let them be the ones to say it’s not an achievement. And if you find yourself tempted to tell them their marital status means nothing, please don’t forget to ask yourself “Is it my achievement?’ “Is it my marriage?’

Sally Kenneth Dadzie

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