Marriage is Evolving

In 2018 Nigeria, although wedding planning has become a million dollar industry which provides employment in various sectors including food catering, alcoholic beverage mixing, DJs and MCs, tailoring and rentals, there are more single men and women in their late 20s than any other period of Nigerian history. This is because marriage as a social institution is slowly losing its relevance in society, it is certainly not going to die out, people will always cherish companionship and intimacy, however, I believe marriage in the coming century will take a different form with regards to the roles of its stakeholders; husband and wife.


A Nigerian Grooming and His Bride (Image Source: Pulse.ng)

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Marriage and Economics

The origin of marriage itself is in the need for interdependence between sexes and by extension, families. Human society began as pockets of nuclear families although the concept of mutual monogamy began much later. People needed to pull their resources together to ensure survival. In Yoruba culture for example, men being in charge of physical labor at the farms and in the forest hunts and women being in charge of selling farm and forest produce and other services, ran the markets. This means that women were (and still are in) economically dependent on men for survival. This is not to suggest that the sole reason for marriage lies in economics, however, economic factors do play an appreciable role in marital arrangements.

Considering that female empowerment has made giant strides in recent years; the 21st century woman is indeed the most powerful woman of any century in record history, the economic factors backing the need for marriage have been greatly reduced. This means the average woman today (at least from an Afropolitan perspective) has evolved socially to redefine her role within the nuclear family. Unlike the 20th century and earlier when women were largely restricted to homely duties, the 21st century woman has broken the social barriers blocking her entry into other fields of human endeavor. A whopping 41% of Nigerian women today are business owners!

What does this mean for marriage in Nigeria ?

This does not translate to the slow death of marriage. However we should expect marital structures to change. In the coming centuries; all things being equal, we can expect to see roles fully redefined; stay at home dads for example is a rising trend in the Western hemisphere. The process is slow because the 21st century man struggles with rationalizing these social changes; this explain the rising population of single women in their 30s in Nigeria. Women no longer feel the need to remain in abusive relationships, some of them have learned to be emotionally independent and coupled with economic independence, we can expect to see a shift in the general consensus on marriage age.

Today, the average age for getting married for men is age 29, for women, it’s 26. We should expect see that age shift to 32 for women and 40 for men and then perhaps fall back to the former when men eventually evolve to accept feminism. We should also expect to see same age marriages; usually, in the 1970s and earlier, women married men who were at least 5 years their senior, today, that age gap has reduced to just 3 years. In the future, we can expect to see that gap further reduce.

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Conclusion

Marriage will be around as long as people need companionship. It is evolving with the times.

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This One hundred :100:

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