Blog break 8: Help needed

Folks, I have discovered that my mind plays tricks on me. It seems to me that it is quite able to deal with, what in many cases are, difficult concepts but find what everyone else considers simple and normal problematic to say the least. It is in connection with one of such problems that am calling  for help.

My problem has been to find a reason why our species really must get married and I will start by saying I have asked a number of friends for answers. I will list the answers below and what I thought about them, and I could be wrong- the more reason am asking for help.

  • Love

This is a difficult concept for me to wrap my head around. When someone says they are in love, what does this mean? Is its meaning universal or does it mean different things to different people. One then has to find someone where this concept means the same thing and find heaven on earth!  I find it is one of those concepts that have been bandied around that maybe it has lost the meaning it originally had.   Does the original concept go like “Love is patient, kind, always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres”?  In your opinion, which of these theories are practical and how then can we measure adequate love to amount to marriage (what are the thresholds involved?).  what happens when it wears out… what can replaces the love that you once felt…. A dildo maybe?  So am hoping that those friends of mine who have been married several years will help here.

  • Companionship

By this I understand it’s someone to talk to or share with. Do you require this person daily or just on occasions and what happens if this one person is no more? Do you get a cat or do you get the second replacement?  To add to this, is that why we have cases of spouses plotting to kill another?  When the partner finds another to share and talk to – is this void after the person is no more, is too much to bear?

  •  Security

This has been the most difficult to make sense of. Many of the people I have talked with by this mean financial security which I find to be ridiculous because the person could lose their jobs or better still die. Is this a valid reason to get married?

  • Procreation

Unless the package includes staying together to raise the children, I think this is not sufficient reason to get married. One can adopt a kid What if both are not possible due to financial and suitability constraints, does that occur to any married couples? Besides I truly think the time when the maxim go yea and fill the earth made sense is way gone. There are enough of us already and I think the earth could do with a little break from births for a few years, just dreaming :-P.

  • A sense of Responsibility

Does one being in this institution make them work harder than one who isn’t?  A theory or a myth, that I wish my dear friends would help me understand.   Don’t we all meet at the bus stop at the same time and return back home almost by the same bus?  How is someone in marriage more responsible than one who ain’t…. what weighing scale can we use to measure this responsibility?

  • Society and family obligation

In many cultures one is expected to get married at some point.  This builds up a cultural pressure when both reach this desired ‘marriageable’ age (ripe for marriage).   To fulfill this egocentric, belittling notion, my friend had to oblige and get a bride!  A bride that has to be acceptable by the community and his family.  Is the bride for the society/family… makes me wonder, is she really your bride at the end of the day? Are members of the species getting married because of these societal pressures?

  • Gods command and love

Really? Does God therefore hate the single ladies and senior bachelors who have made a choice to remain as they are?  For the god believers, please tell me, is your god’s loves so limited that he/she can’t distribute it equally among his brood and what happens then to those who are married? Do they lose out on this supposed love since I had someone say that god loves those who are in perfect? marriages!  Please educate me here?

Lastly I don’t know whether this happens elsewhere or just here in the neck of woods. Many times aspiring couples invite friends for committee meetings where the friends are to help with planning for the wedding they should help fund this enterprise. Now am not against those who feel enamored by this contributions, but seriously why should someone else fund your fancy? Why not have a wedding that you can afford besides it is a one day affair? Maybe am missing something here and I really need help.

There is the very last bit that I think happens in many East African cultures and in the east where bride price or dowry is paid. I don’t know if it still happens in the west or it has been dropped. I have listened to all the reasons for paying either and in my view they all come short. In my view, it boils down to seeing a woman as something to be possessed, just as we possess our other gadgets. I get it that it is cultural. In my anthropology class at the university one of the things I learnt about culture is that it is adaptive, fluid and not cast on stone. Isn’t it time for the committees, whoever the members, looked into this matters and advised or proposed a way forward. I don’t see why people should be slaves of the dead men and women who came before them. I realize by saying this it will be said of me to be a person without roots, and just so you know, I don’t really care much about roots. Soon I will be dead, I see no need of living my life as a slave of a man or woman who died several years before my parents met and their parents before that met. That is my way and I want to keep it that way.

To sum up my little survey, marriage simply equals to a lot of expectations, that many a times are not met and hence the frustrated lot you find talking to themselves in the streets.  Get married if you may, and as the great Nietzsche said, if you get a good wife you will be happy if a bad one you will become a philosopher.  Live and enjoy life and look pleased like a cat with two tails (hopefully)!!


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About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

34 thoughts on “Blog break 8: Help needed

  1. Mordanicus says:

    Love is simple a by-product of our evolution, it helps us as a species to survive. People “who” each other will help each other, and hence strengthening their chances of survival.

    Companionship is ditto a by-product of our evolution, for same reasons.

    Security: I agree with you, it’s a meaningless phrase, just some cultural meme which distorts our thinking.

    Sense of responsibility: see love and companionship.

    Nope, none of this reasons are proper foundations of marriage. This institution is based on nothing but superstitions, after all marriage is a social-construct with no real physical significance. Further it’s a kind of attachment, to another (mortal) human being.

    Love is also a kind of attachment to another person, and as such it’s a great source of suffering. Actually, in my eyes, love is a perverted form of compassion. Love is fundamentally exclusive, while compassion is universal, to all beings.


  2. archaeopteryx1 says:

    Of those enumerated, I would have to say that security tops the list. No one is ever really sufficient unto themselves, and the knowledge that someone is there for them, who cares about them, is comforting. In earlier times, for women, it was also the knowledge that someone was there to protect and provide for them and their children.


    • makagutu says:

      Thanks mate for your response. What happens when this person you had placed your bets on don’t come through when you most need them? Is it possible to have this sense of security without having to the route of my wife / my husband? We seem we like to possess everything or do I over think it?


  3. fojap says:

    Bad news – I’m in my late forties and still asking myself many of these same questions. Don’t expect final answers anytime soon.

    I think marriage does have a lot to do with society’s expectations. As someone who didn’t want to get married when I was younger, I found that there’s a lot of pressure in that direction. Fortunately, my parents always told me that I could do what I want. Many of my friends got a lot of pressure from their families.

    Personally, I think marriage is left over from when women couldn’t control their fertility. Of course, this also presumes that people are living in small villages where pressure for the parents to continue to support the children will keep one or the other from running off. It creates a network of social obligations.

    Love can and does exist outside of marriage, so that’s not a reason.

    Companionship – see Love.

    Security – well that is a possibility. In general, when you have a fairly unified extended family, risk can be spread out. That benefit is not nearly as great with only two people, however. Again, that makes the most sense in a fairly traditional situation.

    Procreation – as someone born out of wedlock to a fourteen-year-old who didn’t know how babies were born, I think I can say marriage is not necessary.

    Responsibility – that one, I think is a myth.

    God – well, that’s presuming there is one, no?

    As far as spending too much money on the ceremony goes, I do think it’s entirely silly. Hey, I like a good party as much as the next libertine and I’m perfectly happy to use someone else’s wedding as an excuse, but there’s no need to make it something out of proportion with the rest of your life.

    My mother and father eloped and she wore a beige cocktail dress that her mother had made and they stayed together until my father died and were, more or less, happy. Of course, that’s the down side of the companionship part. She was half-nuts during the year following his death. She was utterly inconsolable. So, you can have a good marriage without the big wedding.

    The big reason to get married, in my mind, are the legal ones. The government recognizes marriage.

    I do have a few other friends my age who have opted to never marry.


    • makagutu says:

      That is encouraging, I see why some say life begins at 40 and then they marry at 50. Maybe it is then that they have the answer to the question. And thanks for sharing some of your stories, they help put some of the questions I ask in perspective. Your parents were great in letting you free to do what you want, my parents have let each of us be, which is a good thing.

      I think the point that the government recognizes marriage would be a big one for me and I’d make it as simple as possible without as much baggage as I can. I enjoy a good party once in a while and if you are going to have a wedding, please invite me to the party :-P.


  4. marriage = money


  5. Joyce says:

    People marry for many different reasons. Some are good, some are for their own selfish needs. Marriage has been there since time in memorial. My views are oriented towards the christian beliefs. I believe marriage is God’s arrangement for lifetime companionship. It happens when you meet this person you want to share the rest of your life with, hence the point you mentioned-companionship. And this happens when you love them that much to make that decision.
    God doesn’t hate the single folks. And i don’t think one is obligated to get married. Its a choice all have to make. Either way both sides have their own challenges.


  6. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Once again, you excel in your craft, my friend! Marriage is nothing more than a scheme created by the society (government) and belief systems to drain the populace of their goods and hard-earned possessions. As a same gender loving man, it is illegal for me to marry in the state where I reside. Therefore, I have no need for it. My partner and I have legal documents filed to protect us in the event of emergency.

    As to love, I have no words to describe the experience or the feeling. It is felt deep within my being. It brings with it the entire gamut of all our emotions that cause us pain, sorrow, joy and ecstasy. It changes us in ways we’ve never imagined possible. I both regret it for selfish reasons yet embrace it for the awe and wonder that it inspires.

    Much love and naked hugs, my Nairobi brother! Love, I think, also equals respect.


    • makagutu says:

      Oh my friend, I like how you describe love.

      If the government didn’t concern itself with what people did and at the same time, told society to hang, those who want to live together would do so peacefully I guess and those who chose not to would be left on their own I suppose?

      Many hugs friend and enjoy the warmth of summer, we may freeze here 😦


  7. Honestly, my husband and I decided to get married because of the tax breaks. We had a child and had mingled our living expenses already. We knew we wanted to stay together for our child and for each other, so why not get the financial and legal benefits?

    It wasn’t a romantic decision. Our first child was unexpected and my now husband proposed when we found out. I turned him down. I didn’t want to get married for a child, that seemed like a great way to end up resenting each other and the child. It wasn’t until over a year later that we decided to do it.

    If we hadn’t ever had children, I don’t know that we would have gotten married. Perhaps we would have eventually for the legal protections but common law would have covered us since we have been together for so long.

    In the end, marriage is a social institution that offers certain incentives for binding your lives together legally. That’s it. If you are committed to one another, you don’t need a piece of paper to tell you that and it isn’t going to stop people from walking away if they really want to either.

    I know some individuals need that official step to feel fully committed but that seems rather immature to me. To each their own though.


    • makagutu says:

      Thank you M for your comment. There are many people who have gotten married because a kid came a long and they couldn’t let go and other kids came along so yours is such an interesting one because you didn’t get married immediately. Did your family try to put any pressure on you to get married or were you just left to be on your own?

      The part about tax breaks makes financial sense, I would take that offer too.

      I agree that a paper ain’t needed to show commitment.


  8. Daniela says:

    It seems to me that by asking those very questions, you have also provided the answer or answers … people married (or not) for all those, and many other reasons besides. Seeking (in which ever form) presence of the other in one’s life is one of the most basic human needs. As with all such needs; there is no guarantee they will be full filled, and especially not for ever. So what happens then you would like to know? Where does all love go? That, my friend, has been, and I dare say will remain, unanswered question … or as likes of me would like to believe; a question only poetry can answer … as all the pain and all the loneliness of love lost, or never found is discharged into poetry.

    Stay Well!


    • makagutu says:

      My friend, I was hoping that with your wisdom gained from the many years of being around, you would shed light on that age old question. Or should we at that point become poets?

      And what if the answers I provided don’t seem sufficient or persuasive, what road does one take? Does one get married in the hope they will learn while there or remain single?


      • Daniela says:

        Now my friend, what exactly do you mean by ‘many years of being around’ … are you by chance hinting at my age?

        On the second point; we neither can nor ever will all become poets, but we can all let poetry sooth us, give ourselves to it and let it come to us.

        On the third point; one cannot answer this question for anyone … I can but suggest (from the perspective of my ancient age -:)) that you do exactly what your heart tells you to do … no more and no less. And yes which ever road you choose, you will be tested, and there will be no guarantees. That is called life. So live it … come what may!


  9. john zande says:

    I can’t comment: i got married for the visa. There was no other reason. Neither G nor i wanted to get married, but we wanted less to conduct a long-distance relationship.


  10. Hi there, Mak!
    Upon seeing the discussion between you and Mordanicus on love, I’d like to comment.
    I think love is often confused with obsession, but there are other forms of love. (I see obsession as a state that has more to do with the person in love than with the object of love.)
    You might feel a kind of love for a friend that isn’t purely selfish. It has to do with feeling open and understanding towards another person, with mirroring and feeling each other’s emotions, too. People who survive the first tumultuous stages of being in love might also reach a more stable kind of love like this. It might not be common, but I think it does happen.
    Maybe love deserves some encouragement, here! 🙂


    • makagutu says:

      Hello friend and thanks for your response.

      My problem or difficulty is why is it that the love between couples many times is accompanied by obsession. It seems to me to differ from the relationship between friends. What do you think happens?


      • I think people become emotionally dependent on each other. That’s not a good thing. If your happiness depends on whether another person is happy, that makes you very vulnerable. If you experience obsessive love, the boundaries get muddled, I think. Friendship has much more of a chance to survive in the long run. Well, that’s just my idea. I’m no expert!


  11. holly says:

    This post was setting in my email, as i tried to find a way to answer it. I don’t’ think everyone is cut out for marriage, or wants it , or needs it. But I do think there is a place for it, for those who desire it. I replied with a blog post on it…my friend.


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