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Marriage is not a priority – why?

He turned 40 and there is absolutely no sign that he intends to settle down. His age mates are married with children. But still, marriage is not a priority. Why? We seek to find out

Harriet James @PeopleDailyKe

Early this month, Johanna Ngeno, the MP for Emurrua Dikirr, Narok, quit the bachelors club at the age of 45. His single status had been a subject of ridicule, especially in his political career. The MP, who is serving his second term in the National Assembly had to dismiss calls by leaders and elders to marry if he wants to be elected.

The elders insisted that the community’s culture was clear; that a leader must have a wife who would ensure continuity of the family and that earned him respect in the society. His opponents used his single status as fodder to campaign against him. Yet, he had stood by his decision that though marriage was important, it was not a priority to him.

Freedom

That entire hullabaloo raised the question, what drives men to become sworn bachelors? Anthony Chege, 38, a businessman, attributes his bachelorhood to the independence theory that the sworn bachelors confess to enjoy.

According to Anthony, the ultimate goal in life is to live a life of not being a slave or being tied down. “I can go wherever I want, do what I want, I can be with whoever I want without anyone asking me questions. I don’t have any ties to anyone and there is nothing pulling me down. I call this freedom,” he says

There are a few factors that could be contributing to this trend. According to Dr Robert Burale, a motivational speaker and a life coach, fear is one of the factors hindering men not settle down in a familyt. “Especially those of us who have undergone through divorce, the fear of making the same mistake again makes us take time.

There is also the fear brought about by horror stories that we mostly hear about marriages, especially on abuse, murder among others. Then there are also those who just want to continue playing around, not realising that time is never waiting on them,” he says

Psychologist and relationship expert, Dr Chris Hart believes that a guy over the age of 35 develops an independent lifestyle, which would be difficult to change. “While some of these men might be single due to their nature of work, which may have caused a delay for them to find a wife, others are in that state out of choice and end up living a lifestyle of partying and having casual relationships,” he argues.

Burale feels that this is a serious issue and a worrying trend that needs to be addressed. “First this trend forces women to take some desperate actions such as having children out of wedlock and this leads to a society where women have to play the role of both father and mother to the children,” he cautions.

But could the narrative of the single independent woman be the reason many men have delayed to marry? Silas Nyanchwani, a 32-year-old journalist believes that the current independent woman is unmarriageable and is the main reason why men are currently delaying in marriage. “The women still want to party. They can’t cook, clean the house, which is such a turnoff,” he argues

False perception

However, Burale sees this argument as a false perception. He sees empowered women as an asset not just to the man, but to the society as a whole. “We may want to blame it on women.

But the truth is, if for instance a bitter woman who was neglected by a man she loved is left to raise her daughter, she is not likely to teach that daughter how to respect men.

She is more likely to influence her to have a negative attitude towards men and unless an intervention takes place, this automatically deprives men of the respect, which they would otherwise receive without having to demand for it.

If the child is a son, the mother will not be able to call out the man in him, and she will definitely encounter troubles in raising a male child. I could go on and on, but yes, this trend has far reaching negative impacts on the society,” he argues. Burale, therefore, urges men to believe and embrace the institution of marriage.

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