So last weekend a friend of mine got married. The guy is quite popular so you can imagine, if you know Burundians well, that there were a lot of people who wanted to publicly wish the newlywed couple well, offer them (imaginary) cows as gifts and all that… We literally sat there for almost two hours listening to speeches most of which praised the speakers more than the newlyweds… And by “we” I mean those who actually stayed till the end since half the guests had left by the time everybody was done speaking.
Something struck me though. Most of the speakers were friends or siblings (include cousins, because in Burundi it’s the same) of the newlyweds, and all, if not one or two of them, were single… well, not yet married. But this didn’t stop them from giving the new Mr and Mrs heartfelt advice, supported by tales and riddles, on how they should live together as husband and wife in peace and harmony. Is this normal, I ask?
You’re not married, you’ve never been, and in most cases you’re not likely to be anytime soon, but for some reason you believe you’re qualified to tell a husband and wife the best way to succeed their relationship? Why?
I think there should be a law against single people giving relationship advice speeches in weddings. Heck, there should be a law against single people giving relationship advice full stop! Hear me well, I used to love giving relationship advice – as you may have noticed, I’m the kind of person who’s likely to have opinion on everything and who’s not afraid to share it – but at some point in my life I realised that I was all talk and no actions… my love life was a mess or literally inexistent… so I took a seat. I decided that my area of expertise, until further notice (i.e. I get into and sustain a healthy relationship) was going to be limited to why people fail their relationships… at least I had experience in that.
The other day some friends took me to these seminars, organised by the Catholic Church, where young single adults were taught the foundations of successful marriages. The main speaker, a priest, would present on a “topic of the day” which was followed by a Q&A session, and then married couples were given a chance to share their testimonies, which mostly involved how they met and decided to get married. I really enjoyed it and learnt a lot; but I couldn’t help ask myself what a priest knew about marriage. Well I do believe that God does miracles, and we’ve all met or heard of gifted people, so maybe that’s what it is… the priest was gifted with knowledge of marriage affairs. I’ve decided to stick with this argument as I do not like questioning men of God.
Anyway… so my opinion is that, unless you’re a gifted priest – or a nun, for that matter – if you’re single (and divorced, in some cases) you should stick to your lane i.e. the not-qualified-to-give-relationship-advice lane. And as far as my hypothetical wedding is concerned, if you really like me and would like to be given an opportunity to say something during the ceremony, if you’re unmarried, limit your speech to how awesome I am and how my wife made the best decision of her life by choosing to marry me. Although anybody would love hearing long praises of their awesomeness, for the sake of the rest of the audience, try to keep it short, concise and original. I don’t think I’d be happy to realise that half my guests got bored and left before the end of the ceremony. I thank you in advance.
And I thank you for your understanding. 🙂