These days you will find a parent brokering their child; As in, a parent will ask a suitor “how much do you have” when they want their daughter’s hand in marriage. It is a business deal that should be completed at the altar. Funny thing is that the deal is expected to be complete at the altar with marriage certificates being signed, but sadly the union is doomed and cannot last.
Normally when parents insist on family background as something to focus on when choosing a partner for marriage, what they really mean is a family with a strong financial foundation. Obviously, no parent wants their child to go to a stranger’s home and suffer but what baffles me is how they strongly believe that you can patch up two adults from two well-off families and expect a successful marriage. This usually happens with wealthy families who are desperate to protect their legacy. Most of these ‘who is who’ weddings where you have a child of a prominent person wed another child from a prominent family are normally arranged by their parents. They want to safeguard their selfish personal interests at the expense of their children. The children are the ones who suffer in the end.
Weddings are normally a show of financial muscle. Families are more bothered about organising an expensive wedding that should be deemed the wedding of the year than bothering about their child’s happiness. Nothing gives them more pride than a guest, saying “naye abana bakoze embaga y’omwaka”, loosely translated as “the children had the wedding of the year”. Weddings and marriage have been commercialised so much that it is even sad. A man is told that if things are not working out and he cannot get capital to start a business, the best he can do is marry into capital. Should the guy get this chick from a well-off family and they hit it off, he will get all the encouragement from his family. Incase the relationship hits a bump and he wants out, his mother will usually ask him if he is ‘MAD’. She will ask him whether he knows what he is missing. The idea of money in a marriage supposedly guarantees happiness.
You often hear people say that a certain chick married a guy for his money and people are quick to pour scorn on her. Do we blame her for securing a shortcut to a good life? An established and rich guy will come for her hand in marriage at a time when she can barely afford to look after herself. Obviously, she will say yes to his proposal and just like that, her life will change. I do not condemn someone for making such a decision. We live in a world where marriage has lost meaning. People use it as a means to an end, a bargaining chip, for status quo and for everything other than the reasons it was put in place.