If there’s one topic that starts quickfire discussions, it is marriage and relationships in general. You’ve probably heard this question before, argued about it or thought about it at a point in time. But does marriage really guarantee genuine companionship? I was recently asked this question and here is my take.
Although the signing of a marriage certificate gives married couples assurance and a false sense of security, it does not guarantee that the companionship between the couple is true or that genuine companionship is exclusive to married couples.
Everyone at Some Point Needs Company
Companionship according the dictionary is the good feeling that comes from being with someone else. It could be while going fishing, to the movies, travels or shopping. It also worthy to note that two heads are better than one. Having someone around you to support you, someone to talk to, someone to encourage you when your spirit is down is an incredible thing. For one thing, marriage is about two people coming together to share their lives, so inadvertently they will be companions. It is expected that both partners will be there for each other and share most life experiences together, this is part of the package.
However, to enjoy the feeling that comes with companionship, couples do not have to get married to feel that. Two people can decide to stay together, live together, travel together, go to the movies, shop, dine and share with each other various moments and activities without getting married. The feeling they get will not be dependent on their marital status or legal recognition of their togetherness. What then could be said to be untrue about the company that two unmarried people share?
Furthermore, it should be noted what the real essence of marriage is. Marriage is a social construct, an institution whose main goal is to set up family units for the ordering of society. In its foundation the aim isn’t to foster companionship nor true companionship. However, when people are married they have no choice but to provide each other company. The company they have is in no way different from what unmarried couples who are in committed relationship feel or experience. The difference has to be pointed out that, in the case of married couples, there is a legal contract binding the couples to stay in the relationship whether good or bad. This clause in its ideal sense, ensures that nobody can opt out from the union and thereby stop providing company to the partner. This point I believe is one major difference and gives the couples a sense of security in the relationship.
Finally, the security that marriage provides has absolutely nothing to do with the companionship shared in the marriage. If true companionship means joy in the company shared between couples, if it means that the only way a company could be considered genuine is if its within marriage, how then do we explain the rocketing divorce and separation rates? Companionship can be true without marriage. People of goodwill can decide to provide themselves company as long as they desire it and allow themselves to enjoy it.
About the Author
Mbonu Martin is a technical project manager, writer and a rational optimist. He is interested in traveling, good food and curious about “why”.