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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Marriage pressure or just nice reminders?

Yesterday, Maina wa Kageni and Mwalimu Joseph were talking about a certain story in one of the daily newspapers. There was a certain lady who was complaining about the pressure from parents, relatives, workmates and friends to get married. Mwalimu was of the opinion that that is not pressure, but nice reminders. So they wanted to know if single women, especially those above 30, were under pressure to marry. And if they were, how did/do they handle the pressure. And is it anyone's business when and if they get married.

My Human Opinion

'When will you settle down?'
'You are not getting any younger.'
'Hey, I have this friend I want you to meet.'
'Are you gay?'
'What is the problem?'
And quite forwardly, 'When are you getting married?'

The pressure is real! And the hints not so subtle anymore.

Make no mistake. Whether you like it or not, marriage is still an important part of the Kenyan society, and it should be.

Our society is such that we frown upon people who don't follow the expected norm. Older woman marrying younger man, women working in 'male' professions and vice versa, inter-racial/religion/tribal marriages, the wife earning more than the husband, I could continue forever.

The point is that pressure to marry and have children is real because that is what is expected. It, however, doesn't mean that marriage is for everyone. Marriage is a serious commitment that should not be entered to without careful thought.

Anyway, don't blame your parents, relatives, friends and colleagues for asking and probing. They are merely doing what comes naturally. And in true African fashion, we are always in each others business. It's a thing called community. You should, however, be concerned if they literally forced you into marriage.

How do you handle the pressure? Only you can answer that.

But one tried and tested way to handle the pressure to marry is to marry.

My Biblical Opinion

It's not a must to marry. But your reasons for not marrying MUST not be selfish. The Bible says so. I shall take excerpts from 1 Corinthians 7.

Marry if you cannot control your passions.
1 Corinthians 7:1-2  Now for the matters you wrote about: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband.
However, if you are strong-willed you can serve the Lord better when single
1 Corinthians 7:37-38 But the man who has settled the matter in his own mind, who is under no compulsion but has control over his own will, and who has made up his mind not to marry the virgin—this man also does the right thing. So then, he who marries the virgin does right, but he who does not marry her does better.
How can you serve the Lord better?
 1 Corinthians 7:32-35 32 I would like you to be free from concern. An unmarried man is concerned about the Lord’s affairs—how he can please the Lord. 33 But a married man is concerned about the affairs of this world—how he can please his wife34 and his interests are divided. An unmarried woman or virgin is concerned about the Lord’s affairs: Her aim is to be devoted to the Lord in both body and spirit. But a married woman is concerned about the affairs of this world—how she can please her husband. 35 I am saying this for your own good, not to restrict you, but that you may live in a right way in undivided devotion to the Lord.

It's up to you to choose which way to go. But again, if you decide not to marry, then devote yourself to the Lord and His service, not to hedonistic pursuits.

I conclude just like Paul did in 1 Corinthians 7:17 and the second part of verse 19
17 Nevertheless, each person should live as a believer in whatever situation the Lord has assigned to them, just as God has called them. This is the rule I lay down in all the churches.
19...Keeping God’s commands is what counts.
Do you feel the pressure lifting?

Please read the whole chapter for more clarity.

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