If They Say Yes And Religion Says No

By Ikenga Chronicles May 16, 2019

If They Say Yes And Religion Says No

— Henry Oghwere,

“Knowing Me, Knowing You” was one of the hit tracks of the legendary group “ABBA”. The song writers must have taken their time to discover what the heart breaks does to the soul. The lyrics explain how “what was sweet and cherished becomes bitter and disdainful”. Can we say love will always be what we want it to be? When two hearts decide to merge and live as one life, do we ever think of the possibilities of cold nights, long unnecessary silence or the boredom of sharing a space with a partner? Only the brave will admit that they fall out of love and seek separation after they have gone pass their limits of holding on. So before anyone says “I do”, the families often grill them to find out if they are basing actions on fiction or substance. And what happens when religion says “No” to such anticipated blissful union?

Why do we allow religion to be one of the basis for making life-long decisions such as marriage?

The bitter truth is that the power of religion was built into the nature of the human race. We are always in need of a belief that there are other forms of existence other than our present state. The position of the sun, the unstoppable rainfall, the blowing of the wind, the gravitational pull that help us walk on earth are just few wonders that spark our minds; there has to be an unseen force and even if none existed, men will search and create it. Religion has taken us this far as it has created a form of morality and belief system. If we are not standing for something then we must be falling for everything. The pillar upon which we stand to fill the void created by observing unseen forces is religion.

Since religion has been this powerful, it is in summation, a force to reckon with and unfortunately, we do not share the same religious beliefs. We have successfully divided ourselves into different doctrines and principles with every sect claiming to be more superior.

Marriage seems to be one area where religion thrives to decide and make its impact. The adult was a little helpless child born into the world of religious beliefs set by the family background. The young chap grows into their career or profession and mingles with the environment with these beliefs. These beliefs have tightened the knot of family bonding as we see during most religious celebration. So when two people come together to say they want to share their lives, their diversity starts to ask if they can cope with different religious beliefs and to what extent. Religion seeks to find out if they can abide to the doctrines and if they can flow with the spouse’s families with ease. Even amongst same religious groups, there are division that still question the validity of the closest counterpart for which the Catholics and Anglicans appear to be the most conspicuous example.

History records that under King Henry VIII in the 16th century, the Church of England dissociated from the Catholic Church, largely because Pope Clement VII refused to grant Henry an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and the King wanted another wife. The King was not the first to make such decisions as we know King Solomon wanted the Ethiopian Queen and therefore such quest for another marriage had its impact pre and beyond the 16th century. Men will always question the role of doctrines especially by religion and desperately when it affects their passion. The love birds challenging the status quo of religion to play a role in their marital institution is as old as wine.

Love seeks to conquer all and the active persons involved in forming a marital union must be certain they understand what they are delving into and how they can handle the storms of every relationship and in this case, marriage. Beyond love, the role of the character of the individuals must be clear  to themselves. As most challenges will arise from within and rarely from without. If religion says “No”, it is sometimes a function of how the parties/individuals behave in presenting their decisions to the parents who are the executor of the religious ethos. The parents are more interested in the happiness of their wards and as well keen on maintaining close ties. Most parents do not want to lose their connection to children they have nurtured over the years. They want to sustain the bonds and if religion provides the lever to push for and sustain the ties, then it must be adhered to. 

The world has changed and we must learn to live in an interdependent reality where we accommodate and accept the religious beliefs of others as their decisions and responsibility. We must be determined to work towards showing love to all religions irrespective of their actions towards us. The next generation is quietly abandoning some doctrines because they are gradually discovering that these ideas and dogmas do not fit the existing reality. They are constantly questioning the power of others to decide their fate especially the lovely parents and their religious beliefs. They are going to move with their trends and times and the power of globalization is providing the tipping point. 

We can no longer stretch our decisions over others but we can help guide their thinking to understand that we are interested in their happiness and we will not use religious beliefs to hook them into the pain of regrets because we are willing to support their decisions provided they prove to us that they have the consciousness and right perception to stay with their decision even if it brings regret to them.

It was immortal Pascal that coined it beautifully “the heart knows it’s reasons for which reasons know not”.