Do ‘photo’ marriages work?

BY: Dr John Boakye

It was obvious he sent an old picture.  The woman was shocked to find the man was divorced three times and was financially handicapped. 

He was only looking for a servant and sex tool.  Nothing worked and the marriage collapsed soon after she could stand on her feet. 

Compare this to a girl who met a young man in the ‘chat room’.  They were married within two months and they are happy together.

  Why ‘photo’ marriage?

Many women in Ghana are desperately looking for husbands.  They want security and children. Some enjoy the social status of going abroad.

Unfortunately many Ghanaians believe life abroad is easy and money comes freely.  How many believe there are many homeless Ghanaians across Europe and America? 

Our women grab ‘aburokyire’ [foreign lands] hoping to bring good riches to their extended family members and enhance their social status.

 Some problems of ‘photo’ marriage

It is a great disadvantage not knowing the person you accept to marry.  There may be many unknown problems.  You may have different values and aspirations. You may not be compatible. It is a gamble like a game of lotto. 

Such marriages fail when partners find they didn’t get what they were looking for. They leave with the pain of hurt, disappointment and failure.

It is more advantageous to choose partners out of our will rather than arranged so that we can have a better understanding of ourselves as we plan our lives together. 

Normally we must fall in love before we marry.  However, in ‘photo’ marriages we marry before we fall in love.

  Do ‘photo’ marriages work?

Is ‘love’ marriage better than ‘photo’ marriage?  Unfortunately there are no records of comparative studies done on this issue.  We are, however, tempted to believe that knowing one’s partner well through effective courtship enhances the success of marriage. 

However all marriages have high failures, because even though we claim to know our partners before marriage, we never really know them because we don’t spend quality time to study each other, our aspirations, and habits. We simply abuse courtship. 

We ‘marry’ before marriage and get too blinded with emotional love to see the warning signals in our relationships.  Some marry only to find they are total strangers even when they claim to know each other.  The common complaint is, “ I didn’t know that is how he is.”

 In such cases, wouldn’t it better for partners to start on a clean slate?  Some marriage experts believe the concept of love after marriage is a beautiful feeling. They argue you can marry and start liking and loving your partner. 

Many of our parents and grandparents married and then fell in love.  Many have stayed in love and are happily married years after marriage.  They had a higher rate of success because they stayed committed to their marriages. 

Some, therefore, conclude you can love in your marriage without first knowing your lover because it is not necessary to know a person before you can love him unconditionally.  Hard talk? 

 Improving success of ‘photo’ marriage  

People in ‘foto’ marriages must appreciate the difficulties ahead.  They have to work harder to improve their chances of success.  They need to spend quality time with each other to get a better understanding of themselves and adopt common values and goals for the future.

They have to trust each other and be totally committed to the relationship.Two people staying together can form a bond and allow their love to grow.  Physical attraction to love comes before marriage but unconditional love comes after a committed relationship. 

Any relationship grows if you give it time.  Love doesn’t come forcibly but naturally.

Love after marriage starts when you think the way your spouse thinks and you form mirror images of each other.  Failure or success in marriage therefore depends on how you adapt after marriage. 

It doesn’t depend on love or arranged marriage.  If you do marry, know the purpose of marriage, the realities, responsibilities, your roles and how to play them.

We all face different situations in life but we are the choices we make.  If you do marry through love or arranged, let the essence be unconditional love.