Should marriage be the goal of every relationship?

Claire is in a relationship that many would frown upon. They have been dating for some months now and they decided that their relationship be based on building love rather chasing after the idea of marriage.

“All we want is a healthy relationship for now-one where we respect and trust each other. We can only discuss marriage if both of us see the need to but as for now we are content with what we have,” she says.

She holds the belief that dating for the purpose of marriage puts pressure on both parties and that this in most cases creates tension in the relationship.

Marriage has always been portrayed as a rite of passage. This is why many aspire to experience it in their lifetime. Whereas there is absolutely nothing wrong with holding this dream, should it be the sole purpose for dating?

Nice Budandi, an event organiser at Smart Africa Secretariat, is of the view that marriage shouldn’t be the goal for every relationship.

I know I don’t agree with many people when I say this. But we need to understand that there are many benefits that come from relationships, so if you limit the goal to marriage, you lose all that, he says.

“There are benefits, like hanging out and giving each other company, helping each other grow, learning and supporting each other and sharing advice. To me, marriage should come in the relationship later when you have developed a certain level of friendship and then feel like now you want to take it to another level,” he adds.

Budandi cites an example of a relationship he had some years back. The relationship was based on love even though there were no intentions of marriage.

“I was 25 years old when I had my first relationship and it had nothing to do with marriage, but the moment I was in a relationship, I felt a sense of responsibility and I started working hard to make sure I was the great guy my partner wanted. I also achieved a lot because of the advice and ideas she gave me, she also learnt a lot from me. No one was ever lonely,” he says.

According to Crème Kantengwa, some people have their life planned out and perhaps hope to settle in like 10 years’ time, and so date for company or fun.

Others date for comfort after a breakup, however, if you are ready for marriage and your partner doesn’t fit into the requirements, you should not waste your time, she says.

“It is not a must for people to marry when they date because you marry someone you can conveniently live with, love is just an ingredient.”

As a Christian, Jackline Mukabalisa says she wouldn’t play with the idea of dating for the sake of dating.

This, she says, because she has come to observe that with relationships, it is easy for one to get emotionally and physically attached to their mate.

“In this case, if something is not going to last, why should I involve myself in something that would obviously break my heart? Such relationships come with temptations of promiscuity too,” she says.

Justus Ntare doesn’t agree. He strongly recommends people to always date even when they don’t have intentions of getting married.

What if your mate is a good person and aligns with your values and they love you but for some reason marriage can’t be in the picture, do you disregard all that? He questions.

“If a relationship ends in marriage, well and good, but if it doesn’t, that’s still okay. We miss out on meeting great people just because of instilled beliefs. Marriage is something we barely have control over, hence, we shouldn’t run after,” he says.

“Nothing in life is ever certain but I don’t know why people seek perfection in relationships. I bet this is why there are so many broken hearts. We tend to over-analyse things but if someone loves you and you love them back, shouldn’t this be all that matters? We need to learn to see things in our perspective and not what society dictates,” Ntare says.

Marriage is not a destination

Richard Kwizera explains that marriage is not a goal in itself, rather, a transition through which our goals can be reached. He highlights that those goals can still be reached without marriage.

In most cases, we get married to have kids, but we can have kids without being permanently tied to each other in a marriage. Besides, one can be in a relationship with someone well-knowing that they can’t marry them, or simply have no marriage plans in sight yet, he adds.

“Just because one likes the other a lot or the two like each other, it should not be an obvious thing that they must end up in a marriage, as long as they properly communicate to each other what their needs, desires and goals are in the relationship, and if marriage is one of them, well and good,” Kwizera says.

Karen Barasa notes that when one gets into a relationship with such expectations and it doesn’t happen, they are often affected emotionally and psychologically.

This, she says, in most cases pushes some people to hate relationships and some even vow not to be in any.

“My take is people should get into a relationship because of love; marriage will automatically come if there is true love and understanding,” Barasa says.

Sheila Mugabo is also against people refraining from dating in search of perfect relationships.

“You could be yearning for something serious like commitment but when your partner is taken away with money, sex, fun, among others.”

Mugabo says relationships help one know the intentions of the person they are dating. Some relationships are there to break you, teach you and make you stronger so that when you meet the right person, you don’t repeat the same mistakes done in past relationships, she says.

Mugabo, on the other hand, supports those who choose to opt for those relationships that have potential for marriage. This, however, she says doesn’t come easy.

“It takes patience, sacrifice, accepting someone with their flaws, supporting each other in all aspects and working together to see the relationship better and bear fruits.”

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SHOULD PEOPLE SOLELY DATE FOR THE PURPOSE OF MARRIAGE?

 In my view, yes they should because it gives the couple a chance to work towards a common goal. Secondly, it’s an assurance for the couple and it is hard for them to be misled for they know their target—marriage. But also, we should not ignore that its God’s will that every relationship ends up in marriage.

Paul Rwakahungu, Compliance Officer

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Yes, people should date with the main intention of marriage. I believe this is the goal every romantic relationship should have, because if not, what would be the point of dating in the first place?

Nina Muhoza, Artiste 

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There are different relationships and all have different goals.  A man/woman’s love or relationship should have defined and clear goals from the onset to avoid conflicts and wastage of valuable time. Friendship does not necessarily have to end in marriage but if it does, the better.

Phrister Nakato, Comedian

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I don’t think people should always date for the purpose of marriage only. This is a mind-set many have always had but it shouldn’t be the case. People can date for different reasons, such as companionship and love.

Jamil Sentamu, Businessman

editorial@newtimesrwanda.com

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