Ask randomly and you will be told that marriage is similar to jumping from the frying pan into a blazing furnace. Meet anyone in the streets and on their foreheads will be the words ‘Be afraid. Be very afraid’. Listen to your best friend utter the words ‘marriage is like a room with no exit door’ and you’ll wonder, can anything good ever come out of it?
Switch on the radio and the dangers of being married will have clogged the airwaves. Turn over the newspaper pages or watch any western movie and TV series, and the visuals will convince you that this great institution is headed for the rocks and is simply not worth it.
At that moment, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that marriage is a terminal disease, and once you contract it, it’s lights out for you. There you’ll be, making plans to enter marriage ready to protect yourself from your spouse with no ordinary barrier, but a 24KV electric fence.
Yet, visit any religious grounds or posh gardens every week and you will be baffled by the events taking place. While many go on about how savage marriage has become, hundreds are busy getting into it making vows, with thousands as their witnesses in glorious occasions.
It is this picture that brings to the fore an underlying factor that marriage has not been given the credit it fully deserves; that it is good and beautiful, and has made many to not only make it a stage in their lives, but a desire as well.
Marriage, I would say, is like an ore which has less value on the face of it. It looks like any other ordinary rock. But once it’s been refined, and precious metals and other minerals extracted, its product value increases tremendously. Marriage, I would add, is like a lump of clay that has no value. But once it’s been purified, molded and baked, its product can be sold to the highest bidder.
The problem comes in when we enter into marriage with the raw material, thinking it’s the finished product. The process of refining and extracting a product can certainly take a toll on anyone, making many seek an escape route from the ‘panic room’ at any given possible chance, while others avoid matrimony all together.
However, it is this process of refining and extraction that makes the finished product be fit for the couple’s own consumption. It is this process that builds a lasting friendship, happiness, faithfulness, trust, openness, vulnerability and acceptance.
It is this process that makes you rest in the assurance that your spouse has your best interests at heart, and will protect you from any heartache and embarrassment from within and without. It is this process that gives marriage its value and beauty, the beauty of love and oneness.
The beauty of a bond that always made my late 100-year old grandfather sit at a corner looking past the window into the site where his wife had been buried, the look in his eyes betraying the feeling of loneliness and the loss of a companion that he had come to know as part of him for ages past.
Marriage is like a rose, though it has thorns, that doesn’t take its beauty away.
By Munene Gangi