In the western civilization it is easy to get married and easy to get divorced. The statement “I do” has become a statement of convenience instead of value–marriage is not valued enough, often resulting in divorce. Although, there are some countries in the Western society that aim to restrict divorce, they are still overly concerned with the happiness and not the promise to work hard on their marriage regardless of how challenging their marriage may be (isn’t that the whole point of the vows?).
This leads me to think, are couples rushing into marriage? Are couples getting married with short term intentions? Are couples not doing enough assessments of the person they intend to marry (to see whether or not they are the right person)? I have many questions…. why are the incidence of divorce defined as high in the West?
Note, if you get divorced because you were in an abusive relationship, your partner had passed away, and in the case of infidelity that is acceptable. In saying that, research state that death used to be the endpoint of a marriage. However, today divorce replaces death as the endpoint and deemed culturally normal—there are even non-fault laws supporting this growing obsession of getting divorced. For this reason, many couples don’t go through extraordinary lengths to get divorced, its as easy as they got married.
I wonder if the dowry system can save the marital system of the West? I know at the mention of dowry; many people immediately think of large sums of money and the purchase of insane gifts for the bride and her family. Please note, the dowry system is no way in support of putting a monetary value or economical value on a woman as a price tag—the life of a women is priceless considering how much women contribute to the world. This system has a deeper meaning than you may think.
I have come to realise, that our ancestors have kept and past on this dowry system because it holds marriages together more often than not. The dowry system consists of a multistage process such as negotiating, preparing and the delivery of the gift (“the dowry”). This shows the goodwill of the entire family and how much they mean for the couples getting married, to have a happy, loving and a lasting marriage. Therefore, the value of the marriage does not come from what the groom pays—the value comes from the process the young man undergoes to get to that stage of paying the dowry. The dowry honours the bride to be and conveys a message of affection, love and lasting marriage.
Unlike in the West, couples decide amongst themselves (just the two of them) to get married today, but also may decide (amongst themselves) to get divorced. There are no stages to marriage, it can happen and end. However, marriage tied by the dowry system cannot “just end” due to some of the factors known to break up marriages In the West. Once married under the dowry system, you cannot just pack you belongs and leave—it demands you try to reconcile, since it was not that easy to marry, it should not be that easy to divorce.
Let me end this by saying, I love and highly respect the Western world, but in relation to marriage maybe the dowry system could change and or reduce the divorce rates and bring families (from both sides) closer together. The old is not necessarily bad and replaced by the new. Like the dowry system, although it is an old practice, it is an essential component of the wedding.