on marriage, I think

Mbiti, in African Religion and Philosophy, writing about dowry, bride price or bride gift writes

This marriage gift is an important institution in African societies. It is a token of gratitude on the part of groom’s people to those of the bride, for their care of over her and allowing her to become his wife. At her home the gift ‘replaces’ her….. The gifts elevates the value attached to her both as a person and as a wife.

which if read together with

[…]In others, the bridegroom (and his relatives) must in addition contribute labour; and in matricidal societies the man lives with his parents in-law working for them for some years in order to ‘earn’ his wife.

contradicts the claim that

Under no circumstance is this custom a form of ‘payment’, as outsiders have so often mistakenly said.

And on virginity he writes

The blood of virginity is the symbol that life has been preserved, that the spring of life has not already been flowing wastefully, and that both the girl and her relatives have preserved the sanctity of human reproduction. Only marriage may shed this sacred blood, for in so doing it unlocks the door for members of the family in the loins to come forward and join both the living and the living-dead.

He adds

Virginity symbolises purity not only of body but also of moral life; and a virgin bride is the greatest glory and crown to her parents, husband and relatives.

As you weigh in below, does your culture dictate bride price? And how does it treat female virginity?

 

 

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Singles on one side

Bertrand Russell, writing almost a century ago about English divorce laws, wrote they are based on these assumptions

  • that sexual intercourse outside marriage is sin;
  • that resentment of adultery by the “innocent” party is a righteous horror of wrong-doing;
  • that his resentment, but nothing else, may be rightly regarded as making a common life impossible;
  • that the poor have no right to fine feelings

On women and childbearing, he writes

Very large numbers of women, when they are sufficiently free to think for themselves, do not desire to have children, or at most desire one child in order not to miss the experience which a child brings. There are women who are intelligent and active-minded who resent the slavery to the body which is involved in having children. There are ambitious women, who desire a career which leaves no time for children. There are women who love pleasure and gaiety, and women who love the admiration of men; such women will at least postpone child-bearing until their youth is past. All these classes of women are rapidly becoming more numerous, and it may be safely assumed that their numbers will continue to increase for many years to come.

What are you are thoughts on these two issues, divorce and childbearing?

Marriage

it is a moral offence to bring children into the world with no prospect of being able to provide for them.

Lecky

In the Map of Life, Lecky has an interesting chapter on marriage. He talks of finances, past times and states of minds among many other things.

And the author of this is broaching the subject of graded marriage contracts.

Plutarch’s morals 

The philosophers tell us that some bodies are composed of distinct parts,as a fleet or army; others of connected parts, as a house or ship; others united and growing together, as every other animal is. the marriage of lovers is like this last class, that of those who marry for dowry or children is like the second class, and that of those who only sleep together is like the first class, who may be said to live in the same house, but in no other sense to live together. but just as doctors tell us that liquids are the only things that thoroughly mix, so in married people there must be a complete union of bodies, wealth, friends and relations. And thus the Roman legislator forbade married people to exchange presents with another, not that they should not go shares with one another,  but that they should consider everything as common property. 

I think that is sound advice. 

bride price and other stories

It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages

Friedrich Nietzsche

You sure must have heard about the young Kenyan lawyer who wants to be an in-law to the Obamas. I have no issue with that. I mean he the man has lovely daughters. What I take issue with is this lawyer thinking they are for sale and offers to pay livestock in exchange for her hand in marriage.

I have found no good reason to justify bride price or dowry and I am not going to make exceptions when I decide to get married. Any woman who thinks the measure of how committed a man is could be determined how he readily endures those silly negotiations with your relatives must count me out.

Sometimes I get surprised at how stupid some people in the US are. A week ago, I think, that social media craze called snapchat featured Nairobi and some of the tweets that followed are so silly, it is unbelievable.

There is an open letter to a Njoki Chege who has decided to offer men in Kenya lessons and set standards for her would be husband. The woman got guts, that I give her.

I am afraid, the I know it all Njoki Chege is dead wrong on why people have extra pair copulation. And it saddens me that several of those who comment on her posts agree with her inflated sense of importance.

Happy Sunday to all who pass by this spot.