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A lot of people who really know me, including family members, regularly repeat the question—Chris, you know I am still shocked that you got married.
Yeah: I don’t believe marriage guarantees a relationship. Marriage is not love or does not even come close to it. What keeps a relationship going is commitment, love, care, respect, admiration, kindness, supporting, understanding and the others.
Marriage is and remain a piece of paper or a series of a day activities—which people focus too much on, instead of the ingredients that safeguard relationships.
So I was and I am still not a fan of marriages. For one thing, it even cost a lot of money that can be put towards the future for most people and it’s stressful to stage.
A lot of married people divorce all the time. In the last few months, I have worked on several divorce cases for clients—the number of people divorcing is staggering, and the reasons are shocking.
And a lot of people who are not married, have been in relationships for many years. Shirley Frimpong-Manso and Ken Attoh’s unmarried relationship is still flourishing, while Chris Attoh and Damilola’s marriage has ended. The marriage is never the glue, it’s the other factors.
So why did I get married then?
I got married so the woman I love, and her unascertained children would get the legal security and entitlements they deserve—today and even when I am not here.
I didn’t marry my wife because I loved her—I already loved her before I married her.
But if you are going to journey through life with a woman by your side, it’s always good to sign a paper contract, as evidence of your commitment to her and make her valuable entitlements under that partnership certain.
And that’s what marriage provides.
Getting my wife to relocate to the UK to come and join me was easy for me, because we were married. Try to bring an unmarried partner over from anywhere in the world to the UK and you would be shocked by the hurdles you would have to jump.
For legal protections and convenience, marriage makes a lot of sense.
If I am not here today, there would be no argument as to what belongs to who under English law. My wife gets it all. My pension would go to her too by virtue of our marriage and many things will automatically be assigned to her, because she is my legally recognised wife.
It’s the attractiveness of this legal protection that got me to chance my stance on marriage—because anything can happen in life.
Of course, to a lot of people, marriage is a stage of life. It’s somewhat mandatory—it must happen or else their lives are not complete. That’s not what marriage mean to me.
To me, it has become essential because of the legal set up of our societies. But it does not in any way define the direction or guarantee of a relationship. It’s just a legal safety net like most written contract, but it does not determine the lifespan of any relationship.
If you have to marry, don’t do so because it would protect your relationship. It does not do that. Rather, work on your relationship everyday—concentrate on the factors that keep two people glued to each other in love.
Ideally, just walk into a court room and sign the paper that grants the legal protection of marriage. The expensive activities we stage does not add anything to the conversation—it leaves a lot of couples broke, when they are supposed to start a life on a positive footing together.
But if you have to go through an opulence ceremony, ensure that you are financially cushioned to take the fall—else, that will serve as a bulwark to the progress of your relationship.
Money is important to the flourishing of a relationship and love does not reside in a marriage—it lives in our hearts and minds.
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