'Marriage is irrelevant,' they said. But therapist begs to differ, saying not all marriages are toxic

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Illustration photo by Getty Images
Illustration photo by Getty Images
  • Registered counsellor and marriage therapist Lehlohonolo Mazindo says marriage is a union where love can be practised throughout a lifetime.
  • Just because some marriages are toxic doesn't mean marriage is not beneficial.
  • Marriages build families, families build communities, and communities build societies. 

So much is said about marriage, which isn't always good. We hear stories about cheating, abuse, lack of sex, and downright unhappiness from married couples.

"I am staying because of the kids" or "where will I go if I leave the marriage?" These statements have become 'normalised' in society; if you want to be happy, stay unmarried seems to be the message. It begs the question, how relevant is marriage in today's society?

Registered counsellor and marriage therapist Lehlohonolo Mazindo uses this analogy, "Now and then we keep hearing stories about people dying in car accidents, but we still don't stop using cars for travelling.

"We read about businesses collapsing soon after being launched, yet we never stop starting businesses. We hear about people acquiring sexually transmitted infections, yet people never stop practising unprotected sex. We hear reports about cyber crimes, yet we never stop using the internet."

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He says because people go through divorce or heartbreak, it does not mean people should stop getting married or start labelling marriage as irrelevant.

"Things do not become irrelevant based on their imperfections, and marriage is no exception. Instead of writing the marriage off based on the divorce rate, gender-based violence and infidelity, we need to raise our standards and do better as married couples," he says.

"We need to stop pushing our spouses away and then crying foul when they become 'distant'. We need to stop beating our wives and then blame them for 'failing' to be sexually 'adventurous' with us.

"We need to stop cursing our spouses with our lips and then cry foul when they stop kissing us. We need to stop attacking our spouses with our upper lip and then expect them to fall in love with our lower lip. We are not justified to say marriage doesn’t work when in fact, we are the ones not doing the work."

Do you believe in marriage? Tell us about it here.

READ MORE | What causes marriages to crumble and fail within the first 10 years

Here are the benefits of marriage according to Mazindo: 

  • Marriage is a union where love can be practised genuinely, deeply and unconditionally throughout a lifetime. Not only does marriage fulfil our need for love, but it also fulfils our inherent need for acceptance because only in marriage can someone who was once a complete stranger know the worst of you and still believe the best in you.
  • Marriage has benefits not only for people therein but for the entire society. Marriages build families, families build communities, and communities build societies. The structured nature of marriage gives shape to the whole societal structure.
  • Marriage also affords children their inherent right to be raised by both parents. It is within the context of marriage that children get to learn how to love and receive love when they grow older. Moreover, several studies have revealed that people who grew up in healthy marriages are much more likely to succeed in their marriages than those who were raised by single parents or in toxic marriages.
  • Marriage has several other benefits, including a more fulfilling sexual intimacy, financial advantage, more effective parenting, companionship, holistic support, and improved psychological health. Furthermore, as the old wise saying goes, “two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.” Marriage is the most beneficial platform in which both of us together are more resourceful than each of us apart.

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Lehlohonolo wants people to know that not every marriage is toxic. "There are thousands, if not millions, of healthy marriages on the planet. Just because several marriages are toxic doesn’t mean no marriage is beneficial. In fact, there are still parts of the bad marriages that are good; we just get more of what we focus on in our marriages," says the therapist.

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