It is important as a couple that only the both of you agree on dowry
28 June 2016, 15:18
Nairobi - I have this male cousin that annoys me. Ever since we were children, he never made it a secret that he cannot wait up until that moment my sisters and I got married.
Not because he cannot wait to see us with our own families, in our houses and all that nice stuff but because he cannot wait to get his hands on our dowry.
We do not have a brother so basically he would be like our male representative. He was already counting the cows by the time we hit puberty. By cows, I mean us, not THE cows.
It angered me so much I made a promise to myself not to be paid for a bride price, and if it has to happen, I would find a way to make sure he never got his hands on it. In my head I interpreted it this way, I fetch the cows and you use the same cows to go pay the bride price of another woman. It is like you are being used as a form of barter trade; hence the reason why I hated the idea of dowry.
Most couples do not speak about a lot of things until that moment they are making final preparations for a wedding and settling down and everybody comes knocking with their demands.
Everybody that can associate themselves with your family tree thinks that they have a say in how and when and to whom you will go to.
Relatives that do not understand you and your situation; some you have never even seen since some reunion come and make their own demands and that is when you ask yourself, ‘Where did all of you come from?’
Before you know it, your beau and his family are given some demands that reflect every ancestor that is associated by you. The two of you were just thinking, ‘it is just the parents and maybe the odd uncle here and there.’ The list comes and you are paying dowry for the next generation and feeding them for people who are not even in the extended family.
Hence why you and your partner should sit down and have an agreement. If you do not know how to speak up, you will both be swept and you will have no idea of what hit you. I have heard of couples having to chip in to help the man’s family because the woman’s family is being unreasonable. Your parents can speak up and say what they need and why but the rest should be a buzzing in your ear in my opinion.
That thing about paying some money at the door in order for the bride to be let out on her wedding day is a custom but a stupid one in my opinion that gives the bride more of a headache. Those aunties that show up only to cause more drama and not to make sure you are actually going to have a good day. If you do not know how to stand your ground when it comes to never-seen relatives, you will be regretting being affiliated to this new family even before it begins.
It causes tension in couples and when you give in to demands that you never budgeted for, trust me, they do not care. They eat and move on to the next one but you are left there with some debt that is constantly itching you.
Some ladies don’t want to be paid for, then you better tell the man that so that he can present the case to his family. You cannot directly approach his family on the issue because dowry is much more than an exchange of cows. There is more to it in terms of tradition according to your tribe and his. When it is explained to you, then you nmake the decision from there.
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