Why do single people give relationship advice?

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. 🙂


19 thoughts on “Why do single people give relationship advice?

  1. I’m a strong advocate of short, not so expensive weddings with few calculated speeches. This post has done good to my cause. Thanks Chris.

    • There’s this wedding I went to a few years ago. There were only 5 speeches. The parents of the bride and groom, representatives of their colleagues and representatives of their siblings and friends. Best wedding ever!

      • Exactly. Wrote about the need for affordable weddings some time ago on my blog. In my opinion the leading cause of young people not getting married, is the intimidating, speech laden ceremonies they attend every weekend. It might be not your case, but I have homies who swear they will never get married unless they equal or better ” kanaka’s” collosal wedding ceremony. It is like a rat race of who will emerge as the most “famous” in one day. SMH. Kandi aba dada nibo ba stressa les garçons!

        I enjoyed this piece.

  2. To the long and boring speeches, add the fact during a wedding ceremony in Burundi, you are only entitled to only one bottle of beer, if you are lucky. I used to go there, make sure the cameraman has taken pictures/images of mine and sneak out. Vers le comptoir le plus proche. Mugabo ko we ga Kris utanywa, ntangorane ça t’occupe le temps. Inyota yo muri mariuage ntahandi ndayibona.

  3. I think burundian culture has lost most of its meaning…. It is time we redefine and refine our culture. I mean why do we need gutwikurura when almost everyone is no longer a virgin ( Men & Women )?? a ceremony in my opinion that needs to be skipped…. Why muri dot do we need to pretend and go back and forth with speeches before we give the girl away when everything has been settled already prior to the dot?? Why give all these promises on weddings ( give away cows, houses etc.) when you can barely put your kids to school but yet spend everything mukabare??? I mean most burundian weddings are about impressing the guests who will most likely never be there during ur hardest time. Why have a huge wedding ( forcing parents to take loans ) when you don’t even have a job?? Only to end up living in your parents house?? I think we should start by learning about finances and how to manage money…. the basic accounting. Then we will think twice before we start having all the unnecessary stuff. One more thing, what’s up with parents forcing people to get married just cause the girl got pregnant?? we need to learn to assume our responsibilities when that happens…

    • I’m really happy to see that there are quite a number of us who share the exact opinion on this marriage issue. Thanks Umurundi Kazi. Couldn’t agree with you more. In my opinion a modern cultural marriage shouldn’t be a place where guests get to be tortured with endless speechess and useless little ceremonies.

    • Ahhaah @UmurundiKazi you took words out of my mouth! Eeh hama winagiye gutwikurura when the girl is like 8months prego.Really? As for parents paying for their kids weddings, in my opinion I call it a crime and yet expect them kuba abagabo? HOW?when they can’t even pay for their own wedding party.
      As for you @MrBurundi Thx 4 the nice article. Like it👍🏿👍🏿👌🏿

  4. As a very happily married Couples Counselor I have wondered this same thing. However, I DO think LOTS of spiritual leaders are gifted in helping people uncover their own truth, be honest, and walk in greater integrity. Each of those elements are key in creating and sustaining a long term relationship so I think their advice can be very important in supporting long term relationships!

    • I do agree with you. Furthermore spiritual leaders always hear about peoples’ problems, so with time I guess they naturally develop some kind of problem-solving roadmap for couples, amongst others.

  5. Every relationship is different and there is no way one person’s experience in their own relationship qualifies them as “good enough” to give relationship advice.

    I’ve seen enough failed marriages and relationships, why would I take advice from these people? I don’t care if someone is single or not, the people who are happy and better at maintaining any type of long term relationships will have the best advice.

    Those who think personal experience is the only reputable source of knowledge are wrong. You need to learn from other mistakes and empathize with others in order to give good advice.

  6. Most of couple always giving the relationship advise because they have experience of their relation. My Uncle always advice me to get married he said that god make your loving partner somewhere so this the right time to find them and get married.

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