(Originally published in Guyana's Kaieteur News on 15 September 2010)
I was talking to Kaieteur News’ editors last week about the topic closest to my heart (women’s issues) and Adam Harris turned to me and asked why I thought the institution of marriage is becoming obsolete. I did not have to bat an eye. I know exactly why women do not want to get married anymore and I promised Uncle Adam I would write on it.
The better question to ask is why on earth the women in Guyana would want to get married at all. Too many Guyanese wives are beaten, chopped, burned, shot and murdered by their husbands. Too many wives are treated like slaves and expected to wait on their husband’s hand and foot. Too many of Guyana’s husbands cheat on their wives – sometimes with several other women – and the wife is expected to accept that vile situation. In short, too many wives in Guyana are incessantly subjected to physical, mental and emotional abuse.
As such, it is not surprising that Guyana’s young women are going to school, getting an education and providing for themselves. These women are driven and they are building great lives for themselves.
Why would they introduce a man into the picture who is going to beat them? Why would they subject themselves to sexually transmitted diseases (because the cheater doesn’t like to use condoms) just to have a man around? Why would they get married just so they can be treated like a slave and have one more person to cook and clean for at the end of a long day at work?
Meanwhile, more and more of Guyana’s men are dropping out of school and spending their days drinking rum instead of getting a steady job. Speaking as a woman, this entire situation is highly undesirable – and there are many women who agree with me.
Consequently, women today do not want to be married. Instead they are choosing to take lovers with whom they can have sex and send home the next morning.
Some women are even choosing to have a baby and then raise the child on their own. Sure, this is not a traditional family. However, if a woman wants a baby, but does not want a man around to hit her and the baby, this solves the problem.
A woman can be perfectly happy raising her baby without a father when daddy is more of an impediment to a happy life than an asset. Some may ask, what about the father’s role? My response is this – which is better? To have a father who drinks, beats and cheats as a role model or to have a stable, loving, caring environment without a father? Women are choosing the latter.
I had a young woman whose father keeps pressuring her to get married say to me last week, “Why would I want to get married when so many marriages fail?” Great point. How many men do you know who have traded the wife of their youth for a “new young thing”? This foul lifestyle represents broken families, broken hearts and broken marriage covenants.
What makes the situation in Guyana even more unpalatable is that many of society’s leaders are the primary culprits. The very men who are supposed to set the standard for society are instead the worst role models of how a man should conduct himself.
One of my Kaieteur News colleagues introduced himself to me last week by asking if I am a man-hater. After spending some time with me, I think he now knows I am not. I advocate for women, but not at the expense of men.
I believe we should work together, women and men, for a better world. I know very well there are good men out there because I am married to one. The issue is whether there are enough good men for the women. When there is not, we find the women turning away from the tradition of marriage.
I heard a song this morning that sums up the current state of relationship woes for women when it comes to finding a good man. The song is “Statistics,” by Lyfe Jennings. I do not know if the statistics used in the song are accurate, but I think it comes pretty close.
The song declared, “Twenty-five percent of all men are unstable, twenty-five percent of all men can’t be faithful, thirty percent of them don’t mean what they say, and ten percent of the remaining twenty is gay.” If I am doing my math right, that leaves women with a measly ten percent of men who are marriage material.
And so, Uncle Adam, the answer to your question as to why the institution of marriage is becoming obsolete is because there are so very few men who are marriage material. Moreover, I would posit that the developing rejection of the tradition of marriage by Guyana’s women is a survival technique.
All species develop methods to stay alive in order to preserve their own kind. The clever females of Guyana know they have to protect themselves from the predator most likely to destroy their species – and at this moment in history, that predator happens to be the males from their own species.
Would a mouse sleep in the same bed as a cat? Not if it values its life. Likewise, women who value their lives are choosing not to sleep in the same bed as the foremost predator of Guyana’s women – which is Guyana’s men. Think about it. What other predator is killing off Guyana’s women faster than Guyana’s men? There is no other.
I want to continue on this line of thinking. In my next column I plan to write on how women can expose the men who are not marriage material and what they can do to keep those who are worthy of a lasting, satisfying relationship.