Diaspora shuttered dreams: Marriage crisis in diaspora-importing love from Kenya
In all fairy tales we used to be amused by the phrase “And they lived happily thereafter” and in a way many would envy such a happy ending in our lives at any one given time but after attaining the ripe age to experience and discover the human hidden happiness fountain, we finally come to realize that the same is like a mirage for it keeps on moving further and further.
Here we are not talking about the bodily pleasure satisfaction, but the fairly all time happiness Cinderella stories many read in children books and would imagine the ultimate happiness in real life.
Many with time discover that it does not exist and the falsehood assumption of happiness and the happy ending obsession has led many couples to despair and give up on marriage.
The happy ending to many will only end up as a passionate illusion just like in a fairly tale movie and those that try to copy the same will be in some form of pretense psychological handicap while they strenuously try to make the marriage work.
In America there has been many cases of divorce and the same has affected courtship among teenagers maybe avoiding to end up just as their parents.
We as parents have neglected our role to prepare the young ones for marriage and after they start a habit of finding happiness in nightclubs, they only meet people that are not interested in marriage maybe due to nasty experiences in past relationship that never worked.
In America girls after age 35, start giving up if no ideal man has come their way and equally men do the same after 45 years.
Many form a habit of justifying themselves that they are not interested in marriage but they cannot challenge God for the essence of life is to continue multiplying and no man or woman was created to be alone.
After one attains the goal of good education leading to a happy stress free money life, that alone is only a small part of a life’s achievement for one must go a step further to start thinking of how to attract a soul mate to fulfill lifetime ambition of getting married and raising a family.
We contacted several people to give their views and we found out some that married in Kenya and moved to America have managed to keep their marriage intact but after browsing divorce cases pending, its mind blowing as the number is too high.
We then posted on the whatsapp group questions as to why our girls are not getting married at the right age and we had a lot of different views.
In some Diaspora groups it was like we had offended the victims themselves for the response we got was outrageous with some commenting the wildest love imagination any sane responsible human can think of.
We had however serious deliberation from some upright Kenyans that gave convincing opinions to the effect that marriage crisis really exists in the Diaspora as compared to a scenario in Kenya.
Many felt that we as parents have failed to prepare our youth for marriage as compared to Kenyan parents who somehow get involved in guiding their children to find a partner after maturing.
The American parents may be in a way dissuading their children to get married so that they can continue helping them to pay the many bills at the end of the month as expressed by one critic though not documented here as it followed with insults.
After interviewing many through texting a majority were of the opinion that getting married early is better as one can raise the children while still healthy unlike marrying at age 40 when the body mechanism start needing service just like an old car does.
After posing this question we had some good and bad remarks
Is there a marriage crisis in America?
Are ladies and men in America getting married at old age unlike their counterparts in Kenya?
Why are there so many divorce cases in America?.
Do we need more youth interaction in form of seminars as church time may not be enough.
Let’s hear views as we might solve a crisis if it exist.( as posted)
Comments from Kenyan Parents in USA started pouring in.
Reverend Wambui a celebrated philanthropist from South Georgia had this to say and she too got comments though well thought of not like earlier said:
Statistically since 1998, most girls leave the nest for College and more,and more are not usually returning to live under Dad’s or Mom’s roof…remember to have God’s order first, then ours. Being real.
No one is gonna marry degrees…or a job, career or lots of money.
Mark you all these are good. Let me be the first to say.
However, I like telling young men and women…to be the person one want to marry.
If one want to marry a medical doctor, a lawyer, a truck driver (Kanda Ya Moko), a teacher…a nurse, a preacher, or a counselor. Better Be that person in order not to put undue pressure on a spouse.
One should not expect to be what they cannot become given the same opportunity. That is as much as is possible, citing an American experience here, not Kenyan.
Rev Wambui continued advising those in Diaspora by going biblical to stress her points:
Very interesting discussion. Will continue with the case for being independent and not married. In the majority of cases. Or married without children, or just independent and single with or without children. We all start by wanting to get married and have children. In my lifetime, I have not met: (1) One Single person (woman) who started by NOT wanting or DESIRING to get married; (2) And have children. I have met 2 or 3 couples who don’t want children. Meaning they got,married in their 20s, there is no medical issue. They both agreed they didn’t want to have children. They are both Professors in GA. They devote a lot of time to the institution. I think of them as having their carriers as their children). They do have pets. One couple decided not to have children because of medical reasons. But have remained married and are forever in love. (3) Research shows that a woman with means (quoting Masters degree) – a good job, and good education is more likely to be married earlier, younger and faster than one who is not – (now Kikuyu tribal marriages are an example where no man want to marry a woman without a job. No baba Njuru…its bad like a sin,(not so in USA for Christian conservatives). So the Kikuyu woman even if she knew she preferred to be a homemaker (no such a vocabulary in the language), she would go to the Shamba and spend the whole day there. Then an eligible man would notice her, this woman who works from Sunrise to Sunset…she makes a good wife. The rest follows…). Sociologically, The idea to remain single is a *progression* of situations and circumstances, rather than an intentional decision. It happens when a girl is not asked for her hand in marriage for a long time, while the Biological,clock in is ticks…and after perhaps mid life, no male asks her out for a date with the intention of marriage. But don’t rule out marriage for anyone at any time. Someone here said, God’s time is the best. For this discussion, the most ideal time for marriage falls between (18 years & 40 years) for a woman due to the reproductive cycle. For males, there is no cut off date…Can be like Father Abraham or like Noah after the flood. Eventually if no one betrothes a woman, one has to settle for being single and independent. Perhaps Choose a career and be invested in it. Have the best life possible. Friends, this too is honorable. There is nothing inherently wrong by being a single person. One can still fulfill their purpose in life. The Key is to find a purpose for life and pursue it whether married or single. Including Ministry. Remember to practice abstinence if one remains single For life. Having children follows marriage, but in modern times, some single people choose to adopt children. Others choose to freeze their eggs for future. Or some may want to visit sperm banks. These last two are expensive and may have ethical issues with family and especially with the Church. Others still can choose to adopt extended family & relatives’ children. We had a very rich auntie who did that. And the girl she educated got the best education of compared to all the others in the family. She attended the best Private Primary, High School and College. That is commendable. Society puts a lot of pressure on single women. In many instances they are defined by marriage and children. But there is also the hard part, when a woman is married and unable to conceive due to no fault of hers. Lets understand that. Remember she too is *complete* in Christ. Many times that kind of woman will be divorced, abandoned or put away in favor of one who can give the family children, or heirs. And we watch in silence and justify that. But it should not be so. A higher level of moral development calls for us to love and to value a person for their essence, their *being* . Not for all the socially ascribed stuff like production and reproduction-though they are important. Or value a person for college and career or for being in the Shamba the whole day. I used to work in the Shamba and now no one can persuade or pay me to work in the Shamba…may be as Office Manager. It seems like I am now allergic to soil. Life has a deeper meaning than all these things. And a person is not material. Am just saying value and honor God’s people. Each one of us has the image of God in us, whether single or married, may be married with or without children. May I ask a favor? For Single Women to be loved unconditionally. They are complete in Christ. And being married is not a criteria for salvation nor for heaven. So let’s be kind, gentle and honor our single people, especially women, single parents and widows. They are precious to God. They are our daughters, sisters, friends and aunties. They are OK.
Jackie Kinuthia married and a mother of one had this to say:
“Yes Rev. The discussion is interesting as the way things are, many young people are not prepared for marriage.
I watched this lady called wa Muratha counseling’s young people and most of the stuff she says are correct.
I also heard somebody asking if he wants to marry a wife or a knife so that’s why I always say take time and do what is best as money is nothing for we always join hands to build our home”
The other problem is that we have children who were raised while experiencing domestic violence so they grew up in some kind of fear and to even hate being in any form of marriage.
Some swearing never to imagine going through what their mothers or in some cases their fathers went through.
Also we have another group that were raised up by single parents and have the responsibilities of taking care of them.
The next is the ones who came to better their lives by education and their parents sold properties in order to take care of their needs and promised them they’ll take care of their siblings.
We have another category of orphans whereby they have to take care of them and so they decide to take care of their siblings before making any commitment in marriage.
Some of the men are encouraged to go and get girls from home since they think that they are naive as compared to the enlightened ones in America.
They however later regret as after settling they even become more stubborn than they thought.
Also parents play a role for when they visit them to introduce whoever you want to marry or get married to they oppose and tell you they are not your type.
So at the end of the day we have men who prefer paying alimony to baby mamas and ladies who get kids and raise them on their own.
While the discussion was going on someone posted the following clip blaming technology as a major contributor to failed courtship.
Meanwhile comments from Kenyan Parents in USA continued pouring in
Jonny a cool guy from Dallas possessing all good looks that women go for, not to mention his good financial stability had this to say:
“It’s been a long journey getting a wife and most definitely, I need to vent the experience out”.
Josephene from Austin Texas had this to say:
The majority of people living in America are white .The Kenyan men you know are the ones you know in your community. You dont have a lot of options. For example in Austin do you know any kenyan men you would want me to marry? You answer is probably none. (no malice being sincere maybe)
Its not a crisis as people choose to marry who they want and age is no important.
Susan Wambui An aspiring writer from Werner Robins had this to say:
All very well said but I think the ball was dropped when we were torn between the newer (better?) Western culture and our own African culture.
Unfortunately, we got caught up in this transition. Marriage counseling for women that was done by our caucus and village matriarchs died. Marriage counseling b4 people got married in church died, for the most part. All of a sudden we were embracing the Mzungu ways of doing things….. so we got into relationships very green and what was taken for granted as promising good marriages coz people had been brought up well & had good intentions, became the reality that marriage is an institution that requires respect, time, understanding and a continuous educative process. Divorces are not only more in the USA, in Kenya too. The advent of people’s rights and women empowerment did not, unfortunately, provide for what happens when there’s power struggle in the home.
To answer your question if more time needs to be dedicated to counsel our youth, YES, and not only our youth, but couples too.
We are struggling, working hard to sustain our daily needs and have along the way neglected our marriages.
Anything choked out of life dies. If we don’t know how to behave in our marriages, we can’t expect our children to yearn to get married or to succeed in it when they do. We have sown confusion, hoping to reap peace, harmony.
We are reaping the whirlwind.
Lets get back to where the ball was dropped, pick it up and ensure we hand it over to our children, and them, to their children. This is an emergency that needs to be addressed.
R Wanjiku Mwenja A lawyer by profession and Marriage family therapist from Atlanta had this to say:
I am amazed at the discussion and the hypothesis raised for the marriage issues. The reality of the matter is that the family dimension has changed due to many issues most of which is ignoring what worked while adopting ” the new”.
Marriage is not the solution of things particularly when people get into it for the wrong reasons. Some get married because it is what is expected of them while others think marriage will solve their problems, be it emotionally or materially.
Others see real issues with a person while dating and assume that they will change the person once married. The reality of the matter is that you cannot change a person.
They must know their problem and want to change.
Others, particularly this growing up in a domestic violence environment get unconsciously attracted to a person who exhibits the same traits as those of the father or mother that raised them up. This is because they have never addressed these issues and in the process get healing. We attract what we know
Pastor Mukuria also had an advice for those that cannot cook Ugali: “Folks should be patient when one is learning”.
FROM DIASPORA MEDIA WHATSAPP
Here we had a few comments:
A regular contributor only know to the writer as bkishoiyian iweb had this to say in a single sentence (well thought though)
“The divorce rate and separation among married couples is also high! That could have an effect on the children from such homes”
KEMEN on our girls getting married to white folks had this to say:
With two smiling face charts: “is good thing, more Obama”.
All the same we expected something more substantial from an organization that aims at empowering men but as we went to press nothing came by.
Njuguna Kabugi a DM contributor had this to Say:
“It’s our fault as parents. We readily invest in educating our young through university, but neglect to prepare them for marriage. This is different terrain than we faced in Kenya”.(well thought comment)
Mr. MUTUMA had this to say:
“As long as they are happy, that what matters, we now live in a global village, I truly have no problem my kids marrying anywhere as long as it’s not another boy. We need to keep them kids in prayers”.
We all the same avoided printing negative comments as they failed the test of being intellectually well thought contribution to a crisis we are experiencing in America.
Efforts to reach Pastor Muturi from Houston and our own Counselor for mental illness and Divorce Dr Penny Njoroge did not bear fruit but we all the same had enough diversified comments from across the USA Diaspora.
In my view, importing girls and equally men from Kenya may not be a solution as we have women and men who are wife material right here in USA and all they need is more exposure.
We have been working too hard and forget to spare some time to counsel our children and even to prepare them for marriage if need be.
We now have to rethink and involve the youth maybe by organizing more singles night where they can meet and exchange ideas for you never know some love may spring out from such events.
All dreams are aimed at leading a happy life and at no time have we envied a life of being alone or a life of two look alike sharing one roof as husband and wife for in our culture such courtship never existed.
We should refrain from copying western cultures and try and value our culture as that is what we are as a people.
This debate is still open as we need to rethink where the society went wrong and as such Diaspora existing groups and especially our own churches should make more efforts of organizing seminars especially for youth so that we can mold them just like our fathers did while we were growing up.
There are no more wells like in old times where Jacob met Leah as those wells are the churches we meet, the social gatherings and currently the internet.
You can meet your Leah anywhere and my advice is for the youth to start raising a family early enough so that as you grow old, you will not be worried of anybody’s baby milk except your own.
This topic should go beyond your conscience as it further needs a well thought approach to solving the marriage crisis currently happening not only in America but also in Kenya.
We leave the discussion shallow as it is for now with a hope that the same will sink deeper into your heart so that you can magnify it and come out with a solution that can give a lasting hope to those who migrate without their parents to give them guidance.
Yes we should all play the roles of parents for the best parent is the good things you learn from the world at times.
President/Kenyan Parents in USA
: Diaspora Messenger Contributor