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In a poor economy, even marriages are set to fail

 Covid-19 did not just kill thousands of people. It killed marriages [Courtesy, Freepik]

Covid-19 did not just kill thousands of people. It killed marriages. The economy collapsed and stopped working for almost two years. It has not recovered yet. And its collapse is taking the humanity we have for each other with it. Men lost their jobs and some have not regained them since 2020.

Women were beaten up more often during lockdown as they were losing jobs too and we have been in survival mode since then. Marriages have taken a strong hit. Nothing could hold things together with all the economic struggles that hit households in the lower social hierarchy.

The stressors were too many to endure. Women were not taught to be providers. The most they can do is chip in or help a husband who is already providing. Provision has always been the responsibility of men so they have never really learnt how to be provided for either. It comes with shame. It is a sign of emasculation and it doesn’t help that most women take it upon themselves to humiliate unemployed men when the burden of being the sole provider at home hits them.

It is a dire situation to watch. They do not know what to do in the face of a deteriorating economy. They do not know how to live with their wives and their wives do not know how to live with them either. Men know money shields their egos from being trampled upon and women know money protects them from financial abuse.

Marrying after campus worked well for a long time when jobs with consistent salaries were available, and I believe we would be in love with each other a little more if education was still as financially empowering as it used to be. That isn’t the case anymore and I do not think we will ever go back there.

Even new graduates sit on the graduation and instead of being promised a hopeful future, they are reminded of the hopeless doom that awaits them. It takes proper systematic structures for people to want to exist with each other and without those we are doomed to insult and vilify each other every weekend in the name of #MasculinitySaturdays.

If men had jobs, they would not worry about women being materialistic. If women had jobs, they would not be materialistic. People just want to survive and they do not know how to survive within a system that does not think about their survival. It’s a tough existence that shows marriages are still held together by traditional gender norms.

Maybe housing is important. Maybe we should pay more towards retirement. Maybe we need to contribute more towards NHIF but those things, as important as they are, do not fix the immediate needs people have that make their existence with each other impossible to endure. In places where both parties are unemployed, the stressors are exacerbated to unimaginable levels. Unfed children cry.

A mother cannot watch her children cry so they take out that pain on their husbands and as a result gender based violence becomes the norm.

A family that is struggling to eat needs food more than they need to pay NSSF. A family that needs school uniforms for their children does not need housing as much as they need to afford basic needs. A family that lives hand to mouth as is the case of most Kenyans does not need to be taxed more. They just need to meet their immediate needs and they can’t do that alone.

It is cruel for a government that promised they would do better to overtax a population that has already reached its breaking point. We could build all the houses in the world, but they will not make any sense in the end if the economy will have already crashed the family unit by the time we are done building.


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