Rethinking”Till Death do Us Apart”
By Eric Simatwa
While hanging out with my buddy with a high-flying career last weekend, he looked so dejected about his marriage, citing irresponsible behaviour by his wife, that he conceded his intentions of adding a second wife.
He claims to find no support nor family compliment from his wife, but given his status and responsible nature, he prefers not to divorce the mother of his children but add a significant woman to spice up and inject some life into his dull marriage.
This is a common feeling among the millennials, which explains the euphoria towards the landmark Supreme Court ruling on last Friday morning.
Men are reconsidering marriage, and this begs several questions about this institution: have the people, society, or dynamics around marriage changed?
Despite the young, educated couples having comfortable career remuneration, the bride price question no longer receives any considerable attention.
This reminds me of Pokot’s dowry custom, in the Kalenjin community, which prescribes more cows for an unschooled wife and less for a graduate one.
They claim the uneducated woman shall always dedicate her marriage days to the man’s service, unlike a career woman who turns to a supervisor and abandons her subservient role, and this makes a pretty argument.
According to the common traditional African understanding, bride price was actually meant to replace the human resources and support a girl would provide to her family while she was unmarried.
And of course, a token of appreciation to the parents who shaped and raised a well-mannered young woman.
These are factors that current men still ask when the question of dowry arises; unfortunately, not many wives merit the full amount of dowry, if any!
Culture is one factor that really helps in regulating societies.
Our current society, unlike in the past, has loosened up from the initial family principles that guided marriage.
Civilization and modernity, brought about by exposure through the search for knowledge, have enabled premarital cohabitation among young people, resulting in a lack of interest in marriage itself and eventually no binding obligation to pay the pride price if the relationship is by grace sustained to marriage.
The marriage institution has also undergone various metamorphoses through various generations, marked by emerging historical events.
Racism, war, human rights, and education are among the factors that have had a huge impact on modern marriage’s survival.
Interestingly, religions seem to have little impact on this institution; divorce seems to cut across all our diverse religions;
Hindu families, just like Christian families, struggle with divorce at the relatively same frequency.
Perhaps it’s time that society redefines marriage values that are effective for the current dynamics.
The supreme court’s divorce ruling was therefore highly celebrated by men because the current marriage is in limbo and the only major thing holding men back from walking away was the unfair resource distribution laws, while most women were there too in the hope of a fortune in case of the marriage’s collapse.
This interpretation, then, shall refocus women’s dedication to family building, unlike following their common cliche, “Pesa yangu ni yangu, ya mume ni yetu.”
Good governance advocate,
– (By: Eric Simatwa | +254729708256)