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Matatu Musings: Marriage, Then Love?

Is it time we revisited the arranged marriage idea?

BY Joan Thatiah

Mar 02, 2021, 11:16 AM

Stop a single Kenyan woman out on the street today and ask her what she thinks of marriage and she will tell you it’s a scam. Looking at our dating habits, you can’t blame her.

Tinder came knocking a few years ago and now dates have taken the form of DMs on social media and dating apps followed by quick drinks and then hurried sex and of course no callbacks.

If there is a callback, what follows is marriages that crumble at the first sight of a woman with a bigger derriere or a man with a thicker wallet. Marriages where couples are either raining blows on each other, or airing their dirty secrets on social media, are the new normal. Marriages that are, for lack of a better word, a scam.

I have always wondered how our grandmothers and the women before them hacked the arranged marriages. How someone could be content marrying a man they didn’t love, a man they hadn’t shagged or at least made out with. Lately, though, it is all beginning to make sense. Before you begin throwing stones, I have three reasons.

Ditching The Dance

First, an arranged marriage would save us all time and heartache. You know, this dance we all seem to love where you pretend you like someone you have just met when you know you would never be seen with them in daylight. That dance where we break hearts and say things we do not mean just so we can get laid.

If someone was looking for Mr. Right for you, imagine how much more time would be saved and how many more hearts would be intact!

People Who Wish You Well

While it would be great if all of your friends wished you well, the world is far from perfect. Misery really does love company and friends do not always give the best dating advice. Even without malice, your single friends are likely to subconsciously give you advice that will draw you out of your relationship.

With the arranged marriage, your spouse would be sought out by your parents, people who selflessly want the very best for you. People who may even know you better than you know yourself.

An Alliance of Families

Divorce is no longer as scandalous as it was a decade or two ago because women now have options and a low tolerance for stupid lies. The other reason some marriages last only a few months is that we are no longer accountable.

You meet Brayo on a drunken night out, have a whirlwind romance, and to avoid the hassle of paying rent for two apartments, quickly move in with him. Most of the time, your family will only meet him when you are already shacking up or you are pregnant. You are only accountable to yourself.

 Arranged marriages were promises made between families. If things went south, there were so many people involved that your first instinct was to try and fix things, not to walk away.

Maybe if we take time to scope out of prospects before jumping into their beds, if dating is more intentional, deeper than a series of text messages asking, have you eaten? Maybe marriage will not be a scam.

Read: Let's Be Nosy