Today marriage fails faster than any human investment. With 60 per cent breakdowns, 20 per cent lifeless and only 20 per cent success, marriage has become a deathtrap for most people.
Since human nature treads the path of least resistance, we find ways of coping with the dangers of marriage by thinking of ways of getting most of what marriage provides without actually marrying.
One common suggestion is that marriage be made renewable with the option to leave or continue. In fact, a powerful woman politician in Europe twice divorced has proposed as part of her manifesto to limit marriage to expire after seven years with the option to renew or not.
It is also on record that two legislators in the US have proposed an amendment of three-year renewable marriage with the option for renewal at the end of the agreed period.
In Ghana, many suggest a four-year term for marriage.
Why four-year term?
The Constitution of Ghana mandates a four-year term for a ruling government. We have elections at the end of the four years and by popular majority, the ruling government is voted in or out of power. Four years is long enough to make a decision to renew a marriage or not.
It is also known that the formative or first four years of marriage are the most decisive years for failure or success of marriage. It is the time when partners get to know more of each other and make adjustments to harmonise their roles.
By four years, you can make informed decision on the way forward of your marriage.
Today, studies show 75 per cent of women and 60 per cent of men think they married the wrong partners. A four-year term will be an opportunity for partners to be sure they have the right partners.
You work hard to earn high approval rating because you know that poor performance will end your relationship.
Some argue no two partners are made for each other. Partners grow and change and as the dynamics of your life change your choices and needs of life also change.
A renewable contract allows you to choose a partner who best meets your needs at a particular time.
A four-year plan will be simple without any legal battle. There will be no divorce; you simply do not renew your contract, you part ways by mutual acceptance.
It will be hard to commit fully to a relationship that has no certain future or security but because it gives you or your partner the chance to leave in difficult times. You are not challenged to stay and work on your marriage because you develop the myth that the next partner would be better.
When you leave you have hurts which you carry into subsequent marriages. This explains why second and third marriages fail faster.
Renewable marriages will create more and more single or mixed families and this will be a big challenge to parenting. In our attempt to create an easy life option in marriage, we create unstable partners, children and society.
Four-year term for marriage?
The Akans say that marriage is not like palm-wine which you can taste and refuse to drink. By divine law, marriage is for life because it is a covenant, an unbroken agreement with our Maker who is the author of marriage.
He does not hand the right of marriage to any man, institution or state. This means you do not do what you want with your marriage. No plan of man can successfully substitute the plan of God.
Any human relationship that is renewable can be anything but marriage. The thin line between marriages that fail and those that work is to accept what Catholics teach as the essentials of marriage; unity and indissolubility.
If you want a happy marriage, accept its blueprint that in marriage, you cleave and become one flesh.
Marriage is forever. Like diamond, do all it takes to make yours forever.
*The writer is the Director of Eudoo Counselling Centre, West Legon.
He is also the author of ‘Your Guide to Marriage, Love Unlimited and The Journey of Love’ (Jydboakye.yahoo.com)