“… In sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part.” Repeated like a mantra, these are the building blocks for a strong, healthy union.
But these days, marriage is no longer the institution it once was.
All one needs to do is look at the short-lived unions of our favourite celebs. Who can forget Britney Spears’ now-infamous 55-hour marriage to her high school sweetheart, Jason Alexander? Even Kim K called it quits after just 72 days while wed to Kris Humphries in 2013.
According to Stats SA, the divorce rate in South Africa increased from 25 260 in 2015 to 25 326 in 2016, constituting a 0.3% rise year on year.
And now that millennials are taking over the mantle from Generation X, there seems to be shift in the psyche on what many perceive a marriage to be.
So what the Coalition for Marriage, a Christian campaign group in the UK, did was conduct a survey, concentrating on 18 to 24-year-olds. They polled over 2 000 people. What they found is that a quarter of those polled think marriage should be a temporary contract with a renewal date and the opportunity to "upgrade" to another partner. Basically, young people want marriage to resemble something like a cellphone contract deal.
It’s an interesting take on an institution that is said to be more than 4 300 years old. What was even more interesting was to hear what young people in Mzansi had to say about it…
‘I’m not that kind of millennial’
I actually want to get married and be in love with someone and have children with this person. I’m not getting married just to get divorced. I just want it to be traditional. - Larnelle Young, age 24
‘Pack up your sh*t and get married again’
Women back in the day didn’t have options. They stayed in toxic marriages and they didn’t have the option to leave because ‘what are you going to do with your children’?
Women now have more options and more power. So I don’t think staying in a marriage is for our generation. We all get married not to get divorced, but we now have the option to leave. That’s why when his cheating ass cheats, you pack up your sh*t and go and get married again! - Kutlwano Lepule, 23
‘There’s no commitment between partners’
Marriage is not a cellphone contract - it’s the complete opposite. It’s a lifetime agreement that is binding and completely unbreakable. The thing about treating marriage as a cellphone contract is that there's no sort of commitment between the two partners. - Marvin Charles, 22
But hang on a second; there is a way that traditional marriage can survive the 21st century without becoming outdated.
Similar to a marriage contract, there’s been some interest in something called a Block Chain smart marriage contract which can last as short or as long as you want it to. “Basically, people can decide on every element of the contract, including the length of it. So you could decide you want it to last, say, 10 years,” said relationship expert Paige Nick.
“Your contract is stored on the Block Chain, which means it can’t be lost, changed or altered. Then after 9 years, both parties decide if they want to renew the contract or not, and what changes they’d like to make.”
But will a smart marriage contract offer a means of deterring divorce?
“This is an interesting question. I don’t know that it will end divorce. Relationships will always shift and change and be organic.
“But I do think that divorce as we know it might no longer exist in the future. And the marriage contract will assist with that,” she concluded.