The Akans say ‘wiase tetra no baanu baanu’, to wit ‘human beings live in pairs’. This is because by Ghanaian culture and tradition, the focus of life is to marry, have children and preserve the human race.
Therefore for the Ghanaian, marriage is a sacred duty and all adults are expected to marry. Adults who do not marry do not earn much respect irrespective of what they accomplish because they are assumed to have committed a major social offence.
Marriage is respected everywhere in the world and it is a popular choice for most adults. In fact, over 95 per cent of all adults in the world marry and 85 per cent of those who divorce remarry at least once.
A study in Ghana also showed that by age 40, only one per cent of Ghanaian women would never have married.
Today, however, it is not everyone who wants to marry. Single life is fast increasing and the population of singles in the world has more than doubled in the last 10 years.
For example in 1976, only 22 per cent of American adults were single but in 2014, 50.2 per cent or 124.6 million American adults were single and the trend continues uninterrupted in America and everywhere in the world.
Why single life is increasing
Life in Ghana is hard and many can hardly afford to take care of themselves. Bringing in an extra mouth will worsen their situation.
Some stay single out of convenience. They focus on their life goals and put marriage on hold. Some have tasted the baptism of fire in marriage and have vowed never to go near it again.
Some don’t find anything exciting about the institution of marriage, which has only 20 per cent success rating.
The baseline question is; how many people are really happy in their marriages? They, therefore, seek options like co-habitation, which allows them to enjoy all they need in marriage like sex, children, companionship and support without marrying.
If you can get free milk, you will not worry about buying a cow!
Some are born celibate or have emotional problems like having the mind of a woman but the body of a man. There are also those who stay single to devote their lives to the services of mankind and God. The best lecturer this writer ever had was a zoologist British woman who at 60 was a virgin and single.
She devoted all her life to teaching and research and you have to hear her lecture. She was zoology herself.
Mention must also be made of Rev. Clement Hotze, an American priest who left all the good life in America to establish my alma mater, St Peter’s School in Akwatia, Kwahu, which in 1957 did not have water, electricity and medical care.
It is, therefore, not surprising that a study in Ghana showed that by age 40, only one per cent of Ghanaian women would never have married.
You have your freedom and independence. You go where you want to and come home in your own time. You make your own decisions without worrying about opposing ideas and putting up with permanent and annoying behaviour of a life partner.
It is, therefore, easier to stabilise your emotions. You have ample time to use your talents and resources.
Studies also show that women who are single are more likely to be higher achievers than married women.
Marriage is not by force
Marriage is a basic human right to be exercised freely. Nobody, including church or society, has the right to force you to marry. You alone must decide to marry or stay single but your decision not to marry must be an honourable one and not by default.
If it is your honest decision to stay single, do so. Happiness is a state of mind. You can lead a positive and fulfilling life as a single adult.
If you decide to remain single, have a positive self-esteem and believe you can do everything yourself. This makes it easy for you not to depend on others to make you happy.
Pamper yourself because like all others, you deserve the nice things of life to enhance your holistic development.
Go out often. Do what you enjoy doing. Keep in close touch with family and friends who provide good support. Work hard to show your accomplishments and contribution to the society.
Single life can be as joyful, exciting and fulfilling as married life.
If you desire to stay single, be proud of your choice. After all, marriage is not ‘by force’.