Mr. and Mrs. Bruno are comfortably seated on their patio, sharing a bottle of sweet red wine and reminiscing over their courtship days. It is their 35th  wedding anniversary and they ask themselves where the time went. Their two daughters, Kewe and Roli, aged 31 and 33 respectively, are graduates with comfortable though demanding jobs while their brother Renner, at 29 is a qualified neurosurgeon with one of the Teaching hospitals. As the happy pair turn their searchlight on their milestones over the past years, in walk the ladies – kewe and Roli, with some finger food and grilled fish (a favorite dish of the parents). After a hug each and the usual pleasantries, they settle down to join in the wine-drinking and conversation. Mrs. Bruno resumes her reminiscing with “Temi (meaning mine), do you remember the day my father came home and met you comfortably seated in our sitting room? We were deep in conversation and did not hear him come in from work…Mr. Bruno quickly cuts in with a burst of laughter and continues ” how could I ever forget? That was indeed funny. I felt like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. One look from your dad and I froze in my seat. I didn’t even notice his outstretched hand for the handshake that never came, neither did I hear a word of what he said until he barked at me in his baritone voice saying…”Omare, where did you find this discourteous young man? Did the dog bite off his tongue or is he a breathing statue”? mimicking his father-in-law. At this, all four of them fell into fits of laughter to which Roli exclaimed ”I can just imagine the look on grandpa’s face even as he spoke!”

After the laughter subsided, almost as if on cue, the parents chimed in unison – “by the way ladies, when will we meet with our sons-in-law? It is about time you settled down. Life is not all work”. Kewe responded with a quick “soon enough mum” while Roli went on to ask rhetorically, “where are the men”? The responses formed the basis of a lengthy discussion by all four as to the challenges faced by today’s young adults, regarding “settling down in marriage”. Roli sets the ball rolling with “Dad, your days were different. You guys had integrity which showed up in virtues like sincerity, trustworthiness and steadfastness. When you talked about love you were not stringing the ladies along and you were faithful. Besides, your parents were your role models and their marriages acted as the blueprint for you to follow. We saw that with grandpa and grandma Soares. I remember how grandma used to fuss over grandpa like a mother hen”, she said with a laugh and continued. “The converse is the case today. The men are so filled with deceit, insincerity and falsehood. You cannot trust them or take their words for truth. Speaking of which, mom, do you remember my friend Lande who now lives in Banjul? She suffered a nervous breakdown when her fiancé ditched her a week before the wedding after confessing to being lawfully married to another lady abroad. Can you imagine how devastating it was for her?”

“In addition” Roli chips in …” Many do not have sustainable incomes and worse still are those who cannot succinctly reveal their source of income. In response to inquiries about their occupation, you hear responses like “This and That” – r-e-a-l-l-y, where do you place such? Also, a number of them suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) whereby they exhibit an inflated ego and severe lack of empathy, resulting in a series of whirlwind romances. To be honest dad, your generation has failed us in the portrayal of healthy marriages. We have observed that a number of marriages can be considered failed marriages although the participants remain in the unhealthy situation, to keep up appearances. Mrs. B…count yourself one of the lucky few to enjoy the institution”.

Just then, Renner interjects. (He had arrived while the family was in the middle of the conversation and had his own opinion on the topic). “Come on ladies, this is a very biased notion of the situation. I certainly agree that what you have said is true but not all of us guys are bad. Sometimes the economy makes it difficult to settle down in marriage because financial adequacy is an important requirement in marriage. Where are the jobs and where they do exist, does your take-home income actually take you home? Let us also be mindful that some of the ladies out there are only interested in good times and are “fair weather” partners. There is also the set that practices radical Feminism in its most extreme form. They seek to dismantle traditional power and gender roles by advocating equality in every situation. This raises a red flag for men seeking to settle down in marriage”.

Mrs. Brume ends the conversation with “Hmmm…it appears that we have a lot to do to reinvent the wheel regarding the attitude of our young adults to the institution of marriage. Religious organisations such as churches, mosques, etc, and parents, have a lot to do in this regard as trust has to be rebuilt in marriage being a veritable institution for the propagation of mankind”.



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