By Maria Famakinwa
In the olden days, high value was placed on marriage that every member of the family got involved in searching for good suitors for their children who had attained marriageable age. They went as far as getting more information secretly about the suitors’ families to be sure of their children’ safety before giving their consents. Then, much emphasis was placed on integrity and morality than financial capacity as it is the case now.
However, with modernization, industrialization, urbanization and globalization, there is a shift in how marriage and family are now viewed. The advent of social media has brought significant change to our culture including marriage. Marriageable youths today may decide to go online in search of their choice partners without the knowledge of their parents. Some of them even got married without their parents’ approval. They justified their actions as the new normal and argued that social media marriage could be done with or without parental consent. Those who spoke with The Hope bare their minds on match making on the social media.
A -72-year old trader, Mrs Aminat Alabi, who condemned the act of marrying someone through the social media warned of its dangers. The grandmother who described social media as ‘social evil’ added that marriage institution is deeper than how today’s youths are taking it maintained that social media is not the right channel to get life partners because it plays down cultural roles and its significance in marriage sustainability.
Her words: “Getting married traditionally has a way of blessing the union because marriage is more than the union of two individuals, it is the union of families and their ancestors. How can ladies who rush to join men they met on the social media bring the families together? A man who has not come with his family to ask for a lady’s hand in marriage will usually maltreat her. Although many have claimed to meet their spouses through the social media, it does not change the fact that the platform is wrong for such. Marriage is a very important step in one’s life and should be given every attention because if it fails it can unbalance the person for life. How can the culture play its part when a lady has accepted to marry a man she connected on the social media? Once she has accepted such an offer without the parents consent, there is nothing her parents can tell her to make her rescind her decision.
“I agree that one can meet his/her partner through the social media but the parents should be carried along immediately. Don’t forget that some people had been killed by the lovers they met through the same social media. Probably, they would not have died if they have informed their parents initially. Before getting married in my days, your parents played pivotal roles. They must know the family of your suitor, find out some secret about them to determine if their children could fit into such homes which helped their unions to last longer.
“Marriage has been bastardized today that some ladies after moving in with men they met on social media run out within few months. All these negate our cherished cultural values. It gives parents and the couples prestige when families come together to honour their union in a traditional way. It promotes our culture, adds values to the union and show acceptability. This is what today’s youths are missing that makes broken homes rampant among them. Parents must orientate their children on the importance of our cultural practices regarding marriage for marital bliss,” she said.
Sharing a similar view, a parent and teacher, Mr Dauda Ijimakin, said that to some parents and cultures, where a child meets their better half gives an inkling about their character. Hence, a premium is placed on where and how the fire of romance is ignited.
He said: “Digging deep into the background of a potential husband or wife before the advent of social media helped in building strong bond between families and strong unions that lasted a lifetime. In the olden days, when you see a lady you like, you tell an elderly person in your family. It could be your father or uncle. Either of them would hunt for someone that knows the family to make findings about them.
“The person in question would find out the kind of illness the family suffers, they would find out if they die early in the family, or even if the father or the mother is lazy.They would also do findings about the grandfather and the great grandfather. Every important information would also be extracted for the purposes of having a happy marriage that would last a lifetime. The lady’s parent would also get someone or people to make findings about the potential husband’s family. When both families agree to come together, they go ahead to marry.
“Note that the families being investigated might not even know what the investigators were up to. You see, these are the things we’ve lost and it ‘s the reason more marriages crash now than the days of our ancestors. Majority of those who marry through the social media have one bitter tale or the other to tell because one can pretend to be anything on the social media. Many, especially ladies have met their untimely deaths through the partners they met on social media” he said.
In a swift reaction, a public servant, Toyinloba Akinola, argued that one could find love anywhere including the social media. According to her, life is dynamic so is culture. “I have a friend who married a man she met on the social media and she is grateful to God for blessing her with such a wonderful man.
“I don’t think that the idea of telling your parents immediately a man starts proposing to you is right. At least you have to study him and see that he is serious before involving your parents. What will happen if after involving your parents the man disappoint? The only issue there is that a lady should be careful while dating a man on the social media because of intricacies involved. As per culture, it is not possible to be practicing what was obtained in the 60s-90s now because everything is changing and we have to move along. If there was social media during the days of our fore-fathers, they would have utilized it to it’s fullest. It is our world, let’s enjoy it to the fullest. There is nothing wrong getting a partner through the social media,” she maintained.