This past week-end, I had the opportunity to travel upcountry for a retreat of one of the charities am involved in , when I was on my way home, I saw newlyweds(bride and groom) walking on the street with their bridesmaids and the crew. Did I mention that they were WALKING? It is definitely not often that I see newlyweds walking on the day of their weddings. Most weddings that I, probably some of you as well, have attended are usually accompanied by fancy cars, expensive dresses, luxurious venues, you name it! When I saw this couple, of course I was taken aback and they made me think about the very content of this new blog.
I live in a culture that greatly encourages solidarity and fraternity. We are called, from a young age, to help our brothers in need; in times of troubles, and rejoice with them in times of joy. That is great! Who wouldn’t appreciate such a society? However, these very same aspects of our dear culture make people lag behind and bind them in mediocrity. You may ask me how solidarity can lead to mediocrity; let me illustrate this for you with a personal story.
The wedding season, in several African communities , is one of the most stressful season (you could also say happy but I omitted the comment). I think it is only in Africa where the invitees, the organizers and the couple are equally stressed. The pressure of solidarity becomes unbearably stressful when a wedding turns into a fundraiser where those invited are blackmailed into giving. If you do not contribute, you should not even attend the wedding. And the sad thing in this situation is that the couple is solely relying on the donations to organize a ridiculously expensive wedding.
The African culture does support solidarity but to what extent should this be tolerated? If people let this aspect of culture drag them into a hypocritical form of begging (blackmail and forceful giving) where would this stop? My friend, a few months ago, borrowed a large amount of money from me to help him support his family this was after his wedding. WHY DO YOU GET MARRIED IF YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE THE RESOURCES TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING? Of course I did not say this out loud but it was a clear disappointment. However, I am not blaming my friend; this has been fed into the minds of us Africans from generations.
Back to the first couple that was walking; I cannot express how happy I was that they did not feel the urge and need to waste millions on a single day. And, did I mention that they were HAPPY? Many people, especially women, equate the cost of their wedding day to the happiness of their marriages. It is NOT the amount of money you spend on your wedding or engagement ring that will build your marriage.
As a married person (and I’ve been married for some time), I would like to propose to young lovers out there planning to get married; PLAN YOUR WEDDING ACCORDING TO YOUR FINANCES! Please, do not drown yourself in debts before you even celebrate your first anniversary! It is not worth it! I am not saying that your wedding day is not important. I am saying that there are more important days to come. Do not waste your money on imported flowers, rugs, and wines. Save your money for your future, your children, and maybe a house? You should plan for a wedding that you can afford. Do not try to impress people.
Unfortunately, us Africans have been trained to impress; “Fake it till you make it” is our motto. We take captive of any opportunity to prove what we are not. This is one of the biggest reasons why we throw extravagant weddings. We worry about what people (who don’t even care about us) will think about us. We want to impress people who do not matter. I am writing this because it is high time that we change things around.
We will forever drown in poverty if we do not stop investing in things with no returns. I would personally rather help a sick person, than spoon feed a young man organizing his lavish wedding. If you do not have enough money to get married this year; get married NEXT year! Do not beg! Work Hard! And by the way you might even get married without having a 1000 people at your ceremony .THINK ABOUT IT!
When we start believing in self-reliance, we will value hard work, savings, and time. I do not think that those who will attend your wedding should be as stressed as you are. Take time to plan and organize not just for the wedding day but, most importantly, for the marriage! Even if it means that you will walk from the church to the venue, if that’s the cost for a happy and healthy marriage, do it. I surely commend the couple who arrange their wedding the way they could afford it and not how it is expected of them. Remember, it is not the amount you invest in your wedding day that will make your marriage happy.
This question goes to my followers how can we use our rich culture to embrace development? Remember Japan was once poor but after the world war II the embarked on development by exploiting their culture.
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