What you need to know:
I want to build a strong foundation for marriage so that I can get it right and avoid divorce which has been on an increase in the last years.
It used to be the norm a few decades past. You met the man you thought was the one, then after a period of dating you would toy with the idea of shacking up together. Trial and error was the name of the game, and if it all went well, you could decide later to wed.
Not anymore. At least not according to the young adults of today. While those in their 20’s and early 30’s are at home with intimacy apps like Tinder and Cupid, and see no biggie with arrangements like ‘friends with benefits, and ‘hooking up’, when it comes to serious long-term relationships, they are taking more time to get to know each other before tying the knot.
According to new research by eHarmony an online dating site, most couples aged 20 to 27 years know each other for an average of seven years before marrying, compared with an average of four years for all other age groups.
The young now tend to want to advance their careers before settling down. Most importantly, relationship experts say, they want a strong foundation for marriage so that they can avoid making mistakes that can increase the likelihood of divorce and separation.
“Young people are not delaying marriage because they care less about it, but because they value it more and they believe one must lay a strong foundation prior. Also, young adults fear commitment due to the high rates of divorce today and are cautious about settling down,” says Dr Susan Gitau, a counselling psychologist and lecturer at African Nazarene University. Florence Wairimu, a relationship expert says that today, marriage is often what the young do last, as compared to older generations.
A few young adults explain why they prefer to take their time in long-term commitments.
“I’m learning first on what being a wife and mother entails”
Mercy Wangu Maina, 25 years, an entrepreneur
“I want to prepare for a marriage not just a wedding. It’s a tragedy that we invest in many years of schooling to build a career, but fail to give the same resources to marriage and parenting. I am gathering information about marriage and parenting to be of help when I’m settling down in the future. I desire to be a great wife and would like to get the knowledge on how to be a good spouse.
Though I have been in a relationship for three years, we are not in a hurry to settle down. We are building friendship with my 30-year-old boyfriend, and when both of us feel we are ready to settle down, we will.”
‘I’d want to make money first for stability’
Joyce Wanjiru Njaramba, 25, Beauty therapist
“Living apart with my boyfriend is amazing for our personal growth and our relationship. It has also helped us figure out who we are as individuals. We have been dating for one and a half years, and we are not in a hurry to get married. I believe marriage is something you get into when you are ready to embrace commitment and responsibilities. I’m still figuring out how to put my life in order and more so, I want to be financially stable so that, together we can build the future we anticipate. I have been saving some money to start a beauty business and I will establish a shop before the year ends. I hope to expand it and gain more financial security. I will not rush into marriage until I fully develop myself and I’m stable enough to maintain a long-term commitment.”
“I want to advance my career before settling down”
Tabitha Wanjiru, 23, currently pursuing T.V and Film Production
“My parents always tell me, there is more to marriage than just love, and hence I am working hard in building my life and giving it the best. Currently, I am pursuing a diploma in TV and film production at Talanta Institute and I hope to advance in the career. I want to build a strong foundation for marriage so that I can get it right and avoid divorce which has been on an increase in the last years. The flower of my youth is at its full bloom and this the best season to shine and pursue my goals. I don’t want to waste my youthful years pursuing relationships and risk ruining my destiny. I am taking this time to learn more about dating and marriage and since knowledge is power, I will be in a better position to make an informed decision about settling down.”
‘I need the necessary skills before I say I do’
Daniel Munueve, 24, Research Consultant
“Marriage is a beautiful thing when done right. I want to be a great husband and a father. I want to utilize every opportunity to build myself financially so that I can support a family. This is the time to learn from older married men on what leadership in marriage entails. I am equipping myself with necessary skills currently for the role that is ahead. I don’t want to be a man without direction. I have observed a lot of dysfunctionalities in family set-ups because most men fail to take their position in society. I can’t get into marriage until I am ready.”