Gender Gender

Why some men fail to marry: What the people say

TODAY, I run with the views of men with regards to why potential suitors have become elusive and unpredictable on the issue of marriage. Common questions on the issue are: why is it that some men who are capable of shouldering marital responsibilities tend to be slippery when it comes to settling down with a woman.
More so, why is it sometimes difficult for beautiful and decent women to meet their match. A regular reader, Femi, collected these views, which unfortunately may be gender biased because they were only expressed by men.
Nevertheless, I share them to elicit the views of women and also our elders, particularly on the issue of lobola.
Femi writes as follows:
Dear Emelda,
On Thursday, March 26, 2015, I listened to a phone-in programme on one of the radio stations in Lusaka which might interest your Gender Focus readers. The presenter stated that women had been complaining that these days, most men were not serious about marriage. The presenter therefore asked listeners to discuss the topic to establish why some men were not committing themselves to marriage despite women being readily available.
Numerous people called in but surprisingly none of these were female. For the benefit of your readers who may have missed the show, let me share below, some of the views that were expressed by callers:
The reaction that topped the list was that bride price had become too commercialised by selfish parents who now see it as income to buy a car or as capital to start a business. Other popular reactions were that most women of today were too lazy to perform their feminine roles such as cooking and cleaning and when they reluctantly did these chores, the results were not inspiring. It was also felt that some women were quite unfaithful and they take too much alcohol; and that most women do not positively impact on the lives of their husbands and therefore add little or no real value to the marriage. Others said women of nowadays get into marriage for convenience, money and other economic benefits and not love and most of them are too expensive to maintain. Since sex is cheaply and readily available all over the place, some men find it convenient and less complicated to simply go out there and get it, without any strings attached, whenever they need it.
As I said earlier, the amazing thing about that phone-in programme was that not even one girl or woman phoned to express their view. The question is, why?  Are women guilty as charged? I will leave the answer to your intelligent guesswork. However, what was clear from these reactions from the men is that, something has gone seriously wrong somewhere – men have serious issues with women and that marriage itself is under threat, whichever way you look at it.
However, the bride price issue came out so strongly in that discussion and since it is generally a very topical issue, let me briefly comment on it. My view is that the whole thing of bride price is arrant nonsense!
It started as a noble traditional value where the man’s family paid a token fee, not necessarily in cash but in kind, to the bride’s family to symbolise and strengthen the union between the two. But over the years, it has become an evil monster and a serious threat to the very union it was intended to signify in the first place.
It is a scandal that today, bride price is the price of a car and a source of illicit wealth gotten from the ‘sale’ of human beings. It is immoral, flawed reasoning and devoid of all decency and logic that a man must be charged exorbitant bride price for a woman’s hand in marriage. Despite this, in most cases, the woman will come either completely bare-handed as a dependant or with very little to contribute and will look up to the same man to provide not only for her, but her relatives who extorted the exorbitant bride price from the man.
All manner of unreasonable excuses are being given, for instance, that they spent a lot of money on her education and other things. But surely, didn’t the man’s parents also spend money, if not more, on his education? Did the man’s parents spend charcoal on their son’s education for heaven’s sake? After all, won’t your daughter be looking up to the husband for provision of her daily needs? And even if she works, won’t your daughter be telling her husband, as we frequently see and hear that ‘your money is for the whole family, while my money is for me and my relatives.’
In any case, are you selling your daughter for a price which takes into account of your production costs and profit? Didn’t you have a parental obligation to educate all your children, both daughters and sons alike? Don’t you have a parental obligation to turn your children, male or female, into adults and help them to start their new homes?
I hear that these days, some women are actually paying their own bride price by secretly giving the man the money to pay their parents if he threatens to pull out. On the other hand, many couples these days simply move in and start living together. In either case, who loses out, mwebantu?
From Biblical evidence, it is clear that God intended that there will be marriage on earth but no such evidence suggests that He also intended that there should be price sharks to profit from it as we are seeing today. Clearly, unless God Himself intervenes in this matter, and I now hereby petition Him to urgently do so, marriage is under siege! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
FEMI TULINGE,                                                                                                                                         University of Zambia                                                                                                                       LUSAKA.
Please send your views to Femi’s article to Phone 0211-221364/227793.

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