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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Discussions with my old man

I don’t know whether my old man has finally accepted that am an atheist, or he is still in denial. You see, the last time we had this talk, he wasn’t so amused and had many questions and among them he thought that I have moved to the devils camp whatever that is and was worshiping devils to which I told him, he was more likely to be a devil worshiper than I since he at least believes they exist and can be worshiped. This is just a by the way.

I was home on Friday and early Saturday morning and we had this discussion on two main issues: death and marriage. For those who are not in the know, the Luo seem to have an obsession with death, we keep our dead for days on to allow everyone who can come for the funeral to show up, even those who hated the dead guy. There is a neighbor of ours who for reasons that are not clear to me quit life [took his own life] 2 weeks ago and had not been buried by yesterday. I wanted to know from my old man, why should we keep a dead person for so long? Life stops for the living just taking care of the dead. Tell me friends what you think on this matter and how long should it be before a person is buried, cremated or dumped in the sea especially if it is not a contested case where a postmortem has to be conducted.

The next discussion was on dowry or bride price or whatever else you want to call it. I wanted to know from my dad why the Luo in particular gave bride price. This practice is common for almost all the tribes living in Kenya. In his opinion he said, it was a way of saying thank you to the bride’s family, whatever for I don’t know.

These are my questions and your thoughts will be highly appreciated;

1. If it is saying thank you[ I don’t see why for] why is there a limit and a specific requirement? Doesn’t it make more sense if the groom’s family chose the way to say thank you and when to do this?

2. If they claim they have educated their daughter; is this a valid reason? What if the man is also educated? Does the grooms family get to ask for compensation if their son is more educated?

3. If the reason is she will give you children, what claim are they making here? Does she get the children from outer space? Are not the two parties involved in procreation? What if you for whatever reason the two can’t have children? Should you claim the bride price or should we in such a case then waive the bride price?

4. If the bride’s family demands money and they are given, should I then not be allowed to dispose of her as I do my other assets?

My last question is for those people who wed in churches or even for civil marriages, how does the word of the officiating minister make you husband and wife? If two people came to me and I said the same words, do they become husband and wife? What makes my words lack the power to make them husband and wife? I am aware there is a question of law here, but tell me, who gives the priest power to make you husband and wife? Are you not already husband and wife by the time you decide to see the minister?

I would love to hear your thoughts on these matters.