I asked myself lots of questions related to young singles who have reached the age for marriage as well as some of the issues the society ignores that has an adverse effect to young girls.
As a young girl growing in a rural community, growing around parents who were not educated, I had limited education on sexual reproductive health right, pre-marital counseling on marriage and more. What my parents could confidently tell me, was “Honourine if you see a man that is interested in you and you interested in him; you should go with him for an HIV screening to know his status before you bring him to present as a husband”.
Some other educated parents will go further saying their children should go for HIV and other STI's screening before marriage. I received no counseling from my parents or anyone around me about the reality in marriage. My idea of marriage was limited only to health, physical and immediate situation in the relationship which today I became a single mother due to the lack of premarital counseling and orientation.
Young boys and girls who are able and ready for marriage in Cameroon continue to face the challenge of getting life partners. This situation can be attributed to little or no parental advice on the subject as well as over assumption on the role churches play in preparing a couple for marriage. Following a conversation we had as girls with our peers who were already married, I realized that common issues of interest on the subject were; the challenge of understanding a partner, prioritizing values of a partner, understanding the features or characteristics of the dream partner. This has made men and women put several strategies to getting a life partner. Some will value the career opportunities in the girls or boys, some will look at the background, and some will fall for material things.
These singles have been attending weddings and/or church groups with the intention of getting a life partner. Some will catch the buckeye bearing in mind that they are the next person for a wedding. 95% of these strategies of getting a life partner usually fails.
In Cameroon there are limited or no forums were singles could be mentored or coached about the institution of marriage. Amazingly there exist forums for couples, in churches, government institutions and Civil Society Organization's where couples share experiences in marriage, tips on getting happiness and success, how to meditate and pray together as well as offer mentor ship for couples in difficulties.
The adverse effect of making a wrong choice of partner is mostly felt by the women as men have the opportunity to marry and remarry even after having many children. The woman hasn’t that chance because gender ascribed roles gives society the right to look down on her in case she gets a divorce or is abandoned. This is an explanation to why most women in my community suffer gender base violence in their homes in silence.
Looking at this problem, I am inspired to work on creating forums or associations for singles that provides mentor ship and coaching using exemplary couples, inspired persons, story sharing and organizations.
I am confident it will offer premarital counseling and nurture the minds of young people on the institution of marriage. Not to say the least when this is done it will help create more responsible, duty conscious young couples who will be able to limit the risk of single parenting, maternal death, marital frustrations and diseases.
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