Love Bugs

As many singles in the city are tying the knot, it has left me to wonder why many have opted for the married life.

I believe love to be such a beautiful thing. The idea that one person could meet another and deem them to be their partner in life is lucky. Being an adult is rarely as impressive as one imagines while a child, which is why I think people choose to marry. The idea is that with one’s best friend by the side, everything is just a little more comfortable.

It is our best friend that cheers us up when we feel like giving up, pays the bills when we cannot manage to find a job – all the while knowing that we will reciprocate under similar circumstances. Marriage is likewise knowing that there is someone by our side, through the good and the bad.

Yet, I often hear people feeling pressured to get married.

How could anyone put pressure on another to find a best friend? Is it possible to live a life with someone one does not love?

It feels many are eager to satisfy the social norm rather than make the decisions that truly makes them happy. A lifetime commitment to someone must not be entered into lightly. It is many things, including how we disagree, that makes a partner the perfect match.

How could someone be a partner without even having discussed how finances will be worked out?

Many scenarios are unforeseen, but I fear our need to be the next couple is blinding us, as we make these decisions.

There is an amusing quote on some of the blue minibus taxis that have become engraved in my mind, which roughly translates to, “Leave your home’s attitude at home.” This message is targeted to those with difficult personalities to be more polite to the service provider of public transportation.

But it also leaves one to wonder, how about those who have made a home with these people who harbour such difficult personalities?

I suggest we all make choices with caution, but as nothing is finite, it is critical not to be too scared of making a mistake.

I have known people who have been with the same person for many years, but without any love amongst them any longer. They nonetheless still opt to marry as they have spent many years together. If these couples ever really loved one another, they would not rob each other of a real chance to find happiness.

It is not right to try and convince one’s significant other of what is not true. If the feelings are not there, and if this is reasonably recognisable, there is no purpose in partnering for life without the love and respect. There is little sense in getting a partner if the relationship is based on lies. One could even decide to stay together under the recognition that they no longer feel the same way about each other yet agree to be partners in life and not love.

I have seen couples go through tremendous experiences feeling closer to one another. It is especially useful to hear from older generations who have had several decades of experience. Marriage is not like how it is depicted in movies or novels. It is instead about partnership and knowing that things take time.

It has been a learning experience for me to witness the love and respect my parents have for one another. I know they really are best friends. And the experience of my aunts and uncles have shown me that love is just a partnership that both parties refuse to give up on. And as many make it to the altar or are thinking about committing to a particular partner, then they have to be ready for the elevation that love will give them.

Many times I have heard people say, “If only he got married, he could get his life together.”

This is also another layer of trying to manufacture the elevation real love and partnership bring. It is unrealistic that a person would change just because they are married. A person will change only when they want to and are committed. Of course as one embarks on the passage of self-improvement, it helps to have a good support system. But marriage cannot be the fixing ground of tortured souls. Sharing a life means that we also have to come prepared to bear our end of the stick.

Love is a beautiful thing and a lifetime commitment to someone is even better. It has been the start of wonderful weekends full of young people making that commitment in Addis Abeba.


By Hanna Haile
Hanna Haile ( is an Ethiopian writer, researcher and social worker who uses her writing to promote social and gender equality, identity and women’s rights. She is one of the organisers of Poetic Saturday at Fendika Cultural Centre where she performs spoken word poetry every first Saturday of the month.

Published on Jan 27,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 925]



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