The Star (Nairobi)

Kenya: 12 Terrible Reasons to Get Married

PEER PRESSURE:

Girls have been brought up with the notion that the epitome of their lives should be to get married and have children. Therefore, once they reach age 20 (the median marrying age in Kenya according to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-09), they start worrying about their biological clocks ticking away and decide it?s time to choose a Mr-good-enough-to-marry (gone are the days of waiting for Prince Charming and Mr Right, characters who probably existed only in fairy tales and romantic movies).

AFFLUENT:

It is a bigger sham for those women who claim that they cannot marry a man who is not ? well off? The fact is and will always be that money cannot buy you happiness?

12 terrible reasons for getting married:

The days when people would get married to procreate and fill the earth are long gone. Today, the reasons for getting married are as varied as the different types of marriages that exist. Sure, it is the reason as to why you should get married. But I have found that most people's reasons for getting married are not good enough.

1.To please your parents:

This is the question that you ought to ask yourself, "Is it my parents or I who will live with this person?" Once you answer that, you shall discover whose decision it should be whether to get married or not. Meet Jacob, a 35-year-old civil engineer who got married last year just because his parents told him that it was 'time to settle down and have children (read as give them grand children)', "I just chose someone who would make a good mother to our children. But we don't have much in common and as such I have someone on the side to fill that gap," he says.

2. You are pregnant:

Many people would argue that they want their child to be raised by two parents and for them to be a 'family'. However, your child is better off being raised by one parent than two parents who are constantly fighting as Valerie discovered. "I got married because I did not want my son to be born out of wedlock. I knew people would talk and I was afraid that would impact on him negatively. Later, I realised that raising him in an environment where his father and I barely spoke to each other wasn't healthy for him either and so I filed for a divorce," Valerie says. Society frowns at those who become pregnant while single and it is even worse if you are below a certain 'acceptable' age. But getting married will not change the fact that you are pregnant. Many people have been raised by single parents and have turned out to be success stories. Oprah Winfrey is a good example.

3. He is rich:

"We lived in an amazing house and I never lacked for anything," Karen, a 32-year-old businesswoman said. "But he never considered my opinion important. On the day that I tried to address this issue, he hit me and told me that I should know my place. I knew that I had to leave him then. No amount of money in the world was worth my life," she says. This is a common life story for many women. They put up with whatever misdemeanors their husbands dish out as long as they are provided for. But what happens to your dignity and self-respect? It is a bigger sham for those women who claim that they cannot marry a man who is not 'well off'. What happens when he decides that since you did not contribute to his wealth, you should get out of his house? The fact is and will always be that money cannot buy you happiness.

4. You are supposed to:

Girls have been brought up with the notion that the epitome of their lives should be to get married and have children. Therefore, once they reach age 20 (the median marrying age in Kenya according to the Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008-09), they start worrying about their biological clocks ticking away and decide it's time to choose a Mr-good-enough-to-marry (gone are the days of waiting for Prince Charming and Mr Right, characters who probably existed only in fairy tales and romantic movies). But it should never be that you are looking for someone to complete you. Know yourself and then find someone to supplement you. In case you find that you want to remain single, don't try to fit into society's mould. Take Caroline Mutoko as an example; she is much better off than half of the married women who thought marriage would complete them.

5. You have been together for so long:

Does that mean you love each other? If yes go ahead. But I have found that many people are still together not because they love each other, but because of fear. Fear that they might never find someone else who will ever take them for who they are. They stay together despite the lack of the passion they once had for each other. Everything including good things must come to an end, you just have to find the courage to say goodbye. "I had been going out with this girl since high school. After 10 years of dating, I figured the next step ought to be marriage," George, a 26-year-old property developer says. "It wasn't until my brother asked me whether I loved this girl that it hit me that I didn't. I was simply afraid of getting out of my comfort zone. We broke with the girl who, as it turns out, felt the same way," George says.

6. All your friends are married:

This has to be the dumbest reason of all. If your friends decided to jump off a cliff, would you jump? Have you heard of anyone who died from being single? Just because you are alone does not necessarily mean that you are lonely. This brings me to the seventh reason.

7. You are lonely:

Edith, a 28-year-old court clerk explains her woes, "I was tired of all the dead beats I was dating. None of my relationships lasted for more than five months, that is until I met Bryan. We dated for a whole year and I figured that if I didn't propose, I would end up becoming a spinster. The day that I mentioned the word marriage, he took off faster than a speeding bullet." This was my advice to Edith, if you are lonely get a puppy or take up a hobby. Don't settle for a man just because he is the first man to ever buy you flowers.

8. He is good looking:

Yes, you read right. There are people who get married based on looks. And if you thought that was shallow wait till you hear the excuse. Crystal, a 24-year-old receptionist explains, "I only date Caucasians. I want my child to be beautiful and not to have to struggle with combing their hair like I did." I tried to explain to Crystal that her thoughts were not only simple-minded but also racist; she only shrugged and walked away. With such minds, the prejudice against those termed not to be 'beautiful' will live on.

9. To have a baby:

Some of my friends keep going on and on about how they can't wait to get married and have a baby. News flash: you don't have to be married to have a baby. Sometimes they forget with a baby comes responsibilities and with a husband comes constant headaches.

10. To maintain your social status:

"I fell in love in my early 20s but I could never marry him. How would people react when they heard that a minister's daughter had gotten married to a plumber? Instead I got married to a man from my own social circle. I am now trapped in a cold passionless marriage and if I could go back in time I would, just to marry 'my plumber'," Shirley explains. Life is too short, live life as you see fit.

11. Electrifying physical intimacy:

I will be the first to admit that sex is a crucial part of any relationship. However, never will sex or any other physical characteristic be a good reason to get married. Looks will fade and the sparks will die down. There is a reason as to why many relationship columns are entitled 'How to rekindle the flame'.

According to me, love is equally not a good enough reason to get married and should have been the 12th reason. Love alone does not make a happy home. Remember, it is always better to be alone than unhappy.

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