My last blog post has sparked various reactions sent to me on my mail box and on my facebook page. Men have made it clear that Kenyan women have taken the wrong dosage as far as marriage is concerned.
“Patience, the modern women like you are to blame when you claim that marriage has become a dying institution in Kenya. Many do not know what this empowerment struggle is all about. Women want to dominate in the offices and at home. The more women leaders we have in Kenya, the higher the chances that marriage will never make sense in Kenya.” Wrote Oduor.
Attending my friend’s wedding at Milele Beach Hotel in Mombasa last weekend, I couldn’t stop admiring the two, Akwiri and Faith as they said their vows, promising before God and (us) as witnesses that they will love each other till death separates them. These are not easy words to say if you do not mean them. But, how many people live to fulfill these words? “You know, marriage is the only prison where enemies share a bed,” said a Kenyan friend.
I still don’t seem to understand what happens until lovers become such great enemies? If it is not working, let each other move out peacefully. As much as I do not believe in exit doors as far as marriage is concerned, I love how Norwegians do it, as long as it is not working, they get divorced, but many still maintain friendships, attend family gathering together and of course share children responsibilities with meekness. The toxicity of a relationship should never be the reason as to why we should kill our spouses, batter them and leave them with marks all over their bodies, no no no, it’s a shame! This shouldn’t happen if love is what brings us together in the first place.
Know your Partner
“Marriage is a critical stage in life and many people seem to be getting into marriage without a plan. Many are in love with being in love and imagine they are ready for marriage. Know your partner well, know their weaknesses and their strengths, in a nutshell, take time to date, to understand each other well before you say I do,” Advised Pastor Mureithi of Mavuno Church in Nairobi.
So why are women to blame? Listening keenly to a discussion with my friends in Mombasa, many were convinced that women have forgotten their role in marriage. Many are not available when they need to be. Many are busy fighting for promotion opportunities at their work place and have no time for their husbands and children. The pressures of this world and the competition that comes with it, are reasons that have been sighted as courses of marriage failures.
“Nairobi women do not know how to cook, are bad house managers and have no time for their children. Some of these, you will find them partying all night long with their single girls at the expense of their families. Many have left their key responsibilities to house managers (house helps). I have stopped looking for a wife in Nairobi, they are good for nothing and they are not wife material. When I am ready to get a wife, I will go back to my rural village, such girls make good wives,” said one of my friend brought up in Nairobi.
Talking to a married couple with over 25 years experience, they were quick to give me a long lecture on this. “Marriage is not heaven bliss as many imagine. You should be able to sacrifice and compromise for the sake of your relationship. Both the husband and the wife need to be very supportive. Spend time talking on how to make your marriage better.” Said a lady friend.
They were quick to point out that many couples are usually not ready to support each other as they are both running up and down to meet the pressures of the immediate family and the extended families. Both women and men need to realize that they ought to be able to sacrifice so much especially with the coming of babies. “Women are wired to make good house managers and neglecting this important role will have an effect on what kind of children they bring up. However, husbands too need to be very supportive.He should be ready to cater for the entire family should the wife decide to take parenthood as a fulltime job, which it is anyway,” Said Sheila.
But how many women are ready to sacrifice their jobs for their families? How many men are ready to be house managers? How many men are ready to solely provide for their immediate families and their extended families? We are in Africa and you realize extended families hugely depend on us, especially our ailing parents who with age, constantly need our support, emotionally and financially.
While our government provides for only three months maternity leave and supposedly 10 days paternity leave, Norwegian parents have the right to a paid leave of absence during the first year of a child’s life. To encourage more men to assume a greater share of care-giving responsibilities, 10 weeks of parental leave are reserved for fathers. This gives both parents a chance to fully participate in parenthood.
This gives a chance for the men to appreciate the hard task women have when it comes to raising children, a job that is considered by many as women’s job.So while we sit down and blame the modern women as the course for marriage failures especially in Kenya, it’s important to know, marriage is partnership that requires combined efforts of each of the partners.
“When a man marries a woman, they become one–the trouble starts when they try to decide which one.”Croft M. Pentz