Are you Listening, Merera Gudina? Marriage Is a Pillar of Happiness!

Filed under: Opinion |

By Belayneh Abate

One of the talking points last week was Merera Gudina’s unmarried life. Let us use this opportunity to learn about the relationship between marriage and other factors with the well-being or happiness of a nation.
Despite its up and down paths, marriage is considered as one of the pillars of happiness in any society. It is understandable if the victims of the Ethiopian Feminist Movement (EFM) refute this claim with an astounding “NO”. In fact, married Ethiopian couples should sing the “God Have Mercy” song since the former spy and the current pastor ruler installed the builder of the misguided EFM as the chief of Supreme Court Injustice. This injustice system, infamous for destroying the lives of thousands of families, has turned deaf ears when millions were displaced, thousands killed, and two dozen banks were robbed. Happiness completely vanishes from the horizons of a nation when citizens work for this kind of failed government, and their homes are ignited with EFM induced fire and burn like Hell.Scientific studies have found marriage as one of the major factors of happiness. After reviewing hundreds of researches and books, the former Harvard president, Derek Bok, identified six pillars of well-being or happiness in societies. These six pillars are marriage, social relationships, employment, health, religion and democratic-just government. [1]

 

As we know, the bible teaches about the importance of marriage and warns about the dangers of unmarried life. For example, Genesis 2:24 instructs, “therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall join to his wife: and they shall be one flesh. Similarly, 1 Corinthians 7:2, teaches, “Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”
For readers who had taken classes of chemistry or physics, unmarried man is like the outer most electron of an atom. Like the negatively charged outermost electron, unmarried man is unstable and gets attracted by strongly positively charged particles. This unstable man may experience temporary happiness by attaching his negatively charged part to a strongly positive particle, but he will never harvest long-term happiness.

 

The association of long term happiness with marriage has been studied for centuries, and it now well established and incorporated in different types of social programs. In fact, the concept of happiness is getting popular and some governments are using Gross National Happiness (GNH) as a measure of national growth in addition to the Gross National Product (GDP). [1]

 

The dean of American Scholars, Ed Diener defined happiness as experiences in life satisfaction, frequent joy, and infrequent sadness and anger. [2] Similarly, after reviewing the works of Western and Eastern thinkers, philosopher Will Buckingham divided happiness as short-term (pleasure) and long-term (flourishing) happiness. According to Buckingham, pleasure is a type of happiness which is subjective, immediate, emotional and not necessarily related to moral, ethics or political questions. On the other hand, flourishing happiness is a type of happiness, which is objective, long-lasting, evaluative and clearly concerned with moral and ethical questions. [3]
For me, what Buckingham called pleasure is the type of instinct happiness that humans share with other animals such as pigs and cattle. For example, the short term happiness that humans experience from having good meal and sexual encounter are similar to the short term happiness the pigs and hyenas experience when they have good meals and sexual encounters. On the other hand, the flourishing happiness differentiates humans from other animals. Although some anthropologists may disagree, only humans are capable of harvesting life- long happiness from ethical and moralistic deeds.

Marriage provides both pleasure and flourishing happiness. The unmarried Merera Gudina might have experienced his short term pleasure outside of marriage, but he definitely have failed to harvest the fruits of flourishing happiness from the institution of marriage. It does not mean, though, Merera lacks life- long happiness. In fact, he could be one of the very few relatively straightforward politicians who is enjoying flourishing happiness because he tried to live ethical and moralistic life scarifying his time, work and comfort to establish a better government, which is another pillar of societal happiness.

Marriage has special place in the biblical teachings of the Holy Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahido Church. According to the Tewahido teachings, anyone but monks should lead a married life. Monks are not supposed to lead a married life because they are considered as “walking dead bodies.” In other words, for a man to become a monk, first he has to kill his physical body. To kill his physical body, the candidate monk passes through the series paths of fasting and prayers. Once the physical body is dead, it is buried form toe to neck to symbolize the death of the flesh and to complete the process of ordination. As anyone could expect, this kind of dead flesh does not seek short term happiness or pleasure: It craves only for flourishing pleasure such as salvation, truth and love.
In order to facilitate their achievement of flourishing pleasure, the Tewahido church instructs the monks to live only in solitude and come out to the public rarely when God orders them to announce something crucial to his children. Unfortunately, these biblical church rules and laws have been completely broken for the last 28 years. As a result, unqualified cadres and even criminals are becoming monks and you see them watching topless model girls with bikini in New York, Los Angeles, London, Addis Ababa and other big cities. When monks watch these kinds of earthly adventures, their dead bodies sneak out of the grave like rats and salivate to enjoy pleasure at the expense of flourishing happiness.

It is palpable that the unqualified monks, bishops, and patriarchies that crave for short-term pleasure are weakening the strength of the more than two thousand old church. Similarly, it is well know that unqualified politicians that crave for short term pleasure such money, power, fame, pictures, cars, houses, and sex are demolishing the strength and dignity of the more than four thousand years old Ethiopia. Ethiopia and its Tewahido church will rise again only when God places them in the hands of citizens that crave for flourishing happiness defying the short-lasting pleasures. Ethiopia will never gain its former dignity while she is swallowed by chameleons that change colors to achieve short-term pleasures.

Similar to the real monks that live in solitudes, never married politicians do not fully understand the hardships of establishing families and raising children. One can argue that robber married politicians, who spend millions for jewelries and raise their kids luxuriously with public funds will never understand the hardships of establishing families and raising children as well.

At any rate, because unmarried or robber politicians do not understand the hardships of establishing families, they could encounter difficulties in solving the problems of societies. Therefore, married and long-term happiness craving citizens should be elected for public offices. From what we have seen so far, Merera Gudina seems a flourishing happiness craving man, but he has to tie the knot to be stable and to do his job as a public servant. In this era of enhancement, Merera is not too late to find his better-half from one of the ribs of his chest.
Hurry up Merrera Gudina! Are you listening or still hiding in the liberation of congress?

End notes:
1. Derek Bok, the Politics of Happiness, What Government Can Learn From the New Research on Well-Being, 2011 Edition
2. ED Diener, The Remarkable Changes in the Science of Subjective Well-Being https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1745691613507583
3. Will Buckingham, Happiness, a practical guide, 2012 edition

The writer can be reached at abatebelai@yahoo.com
June10, 2019 European

8 Responses to Are you Listening, Merera Gudina? Marriage Is a Pillar of Happiness!

  1. This article is intended to shame the good professor. If the writer of the article published above has the patience to check if there were and still are unmarried and successful politicians in office right now around the world (which was a click away on line), he would have found plenty of materials that debunk his diatribe.

    Some unmarried politicians do not believe in the institution of marriage. Others hate the ups and downs of the relationship which mostly end up in divorce that drain resources and energy and result in the suffering of children. As the saying goes “To be alone does not mean you’re lonely”. Most unmarried people establish very fruitful relationships all their lives – a relationship that appears similar to marriage (common law relations) or a relationship without any particular commitment to the partner. The main thing is to have social relationship which might nurture balance in one’s life; it need not be marriage.

    Politician or not, single households have become the majority in most western societies. And the people in these households are found through scientific research as happy as married couples – if not more happier. Don’t forget most marriages which appear to be happy from outside are actually in turmoil particularly among politicians who want to show to the public they’re married and hence balanced in their views. We see these people are not saved from being thrown out of office because they are married. Marriage has little or no relevance in politics.

    To me, the good professor is happy who expresses great political ideas in a coherent manner and with humour. In fact, better than almost all married politicians I know in our country.

    Below are sources you can see to help you reflect long and hard before you rush yourself to judge others.

    10 Powerful Politicians Who Never Married

    Good prof, I wish you all the best if you marry, but keep at least your humour.

    Dinaw Demissie
    June 11, 2019 at 1:00 pm
    Reply

  2. Marriage is good , and unmarried life is good as well if it is done for Greater Good, I.E if it is done in services of the spiritual life. Having said that Mr Merara Gudina’s late awakening to the benefit of Marrage is a good thing. And we are not going to spare our shoulder to show off our eskesta or Oromo Chefera when the time comes. WARNING:Even if we are not invited , we reserve our right to crash the Prof. Meraras serg with out invitation. Le Merara yalhone kemis yebatates endiu. Although Belayneh’s article about Marrage is a little rambling to follow , as they say,all’s well that ends well. We all wish Ato Merara good luck on his search for Good Wife, he soon will find out that they are hard to find .

    Habtamu
    June 11, 2019 at 8:28 pm
    Reply

  3. Dina Didaw

    Are you trying to destroy the century worth studies with ten powerful politicians? Wise men cite scriptures fools cite people. You are too Shallow.

    Getachew
    June 13, 2019 at 9:38 pm
    Reply

  4. Habtamu,

    The article is not for dancers, it is for readers. You just dance when Merara gets married. That is your job.

    Abebe
    June 13, 2019 at 9:43 pm
    Reply

  5. There are lots of things not natural.
    One is the nuns and monks whom, we are told, do not engage in sex. The other is the western concept of marriage, which is bonding man and woman in a “holy matrimonytill death do us part.”
    As is being witnessed all around, both are man made concepts contrary to nature. The reports of sexual misconducts in religious circles, and the failures of marriagea ending in divorces are showing us that these are unatural behaviors imposed on human beings. Some even think that marriage was a beneficial arrangement in agrarian society. And I also want to remind people that the bible itself is a man made book.

    Seifu
    June 14, 2019 at 12:44 pm
    Reply

  6. I’m not answering to Getachew’s stupid remark. Where is the century old study? Write back if you have any. If he’s smart he will patiently read what I have to say to Belayneh Abebe below. In fact, this will be the first piece and more is to come. Getachew will learn a lot if hungs around. There is a lot on scriptures too which is Getachew’s favourate subject.
    _________________________________________

    In science relation does not necessarily imply causation. I am saying this because the Belayneh Abate mixes up relation with causation. Initially he presents the possible connection between marriage and well-being and happiness as a “relation” but his entire article suggests well-being and happiness are caused by marriage. Researchers of ‘well – being and happiness’ indexes have warned readers from such a folly. The folly Belayneh’s article emanates from a desire to undermine Prof. Merera Gudina’s personality and place in society by pulling one factor (marriage) among many that researchers use to determine well – being and happiness. To be added to this folly is the fact that the indexes deal with well – being and happiness of nations rather than well – being and happiness of individuals. Given these facts, it is no wonder why Belayneh tried – and miserably failed at that – to cover up his follies by making reference to some voodoo science, by citing a verse from the Bible and by raising some practices of the Orthodox church in our country.

    In the first paragraph, Belayneh has made a big claim that ‘marriage and . . . well – being or happiness of a nation’ are related. Since marriage is a universal institution existing in all nations around the world, why do some nations enjoy more well – being or happiness than other nations? If you look at the global well – being and happiness indexes, over 150 nations are rated 1st to 150th in order of their well – being and happiness. All the nations rated in the indexes have marriage as an institution. The irony is, as can be gathered from the indexes, the nations with lower percentage of marriages and high number of divorce namely Western nations have scored the highest in well – being and happiness. Again, on the basis of the indexes, some nations (including ours) with very high rate of marriage and low rate of divorce for religious health or cultural reasons, have shown low level of well-being and happiness. In brief, it is not as simple as Belayneh claims.

    In the second paragraph, Belayneh makes another big clam; “Despite its up and down paths, marriage is considered as one of the pillars of happiness in any society.” What are the “up and down paths”? Is this to suggest marriage can be the source of both happiness and sorrow? One can marry to go along with others, but what’s wrong if he or she makes the choice not to marry to avoid sorrow? If you see it in reverse, avoidance of sorrow might constitute happiness. This is not an argument that marriage is not an important institution in society. As an institution, it is meant to ensure procreation and continuity of the race and provide a nurturing environment to off-springs. But procreation and care for off-springs were all possible even when marriage as an institution had not appeared in human societies. Procreation and care for off-springs are evolutionary biological acts which cannot be escaped rather than social and cultural processes which are purely outcomes of human interactions. Again, this is not to suggest return to practices of early societies, but the claim that procreation and taking care of off-springs in marriage causes happiness is exaggerated. Belayneh himself has told us marriage has ups and downs – happiness and sorrow – which cancel out one another. So, do the math. Shows ZERO on my calculator.

    In the same paragraph, Belayneh says the following.

    ‘In fact, married Ethiopian couples should sing the “God Have Mercy” song since the former spy and the current pastor ruler installed the builder of the misguided EFM as the chief of Supreme Court Injustice.’

    The writer who certainly is a coward failed to muster the strength to name names. Who is the ‘former spy and the current pastor’ and who is ‘the builder of the misguided Ethiopian Feminist Movement’? Aren’t these Dr. Abiy Ahmed, the prime minister and W!ro Meaza Ashenafi, the chief justice of the Supreme Court? They obviously are. Reportedly both are happily married and have children. If we believe Belayneh’s claim that marriage causes happiness, Dr. Abiy and W/ro Meaza should be happy and share their happiness with the nation. In fact, they were married and happy for decades even while Dr. Abiy served as a spy – a detestable job given the sufferings of many – and W/ro Meaz propagated feminism which left many unmarried including Prof. Merera.

    If you read the Belayneh’s entire paragraph related to the issue, you will learn that marriage which he claims causes happiness at a family level might not translate to the happiness of a nation. This is what he says the following about Dr. Abiy.

    “This injustice system, infamous for destroying the lives of thousands of families, has turned deaf ears when millions were displaced, thousands killed, and two dozen banks were robbed.”

    Isn’t Belayneh telling us here that married people can be as cruel as anybody else that makes the nation sad? If you make so many people unhappy by turning their lives upside down, can you really be happy because you’re married and sleep with your wife and play with your kids in a gated compound under security protection? I doubt it.

    To be continued.

    Denaw Demissie
    June 14, 2019 at 6:57 pm
    Reply

  7. In the last 28 years the divorce rate in Ethiopia grew 200 times more because TPLF had a hidden ethnic cleansing agenda on other Ethiopian ethnicities . Tigres were not divorced as much as all the other ethnicities, because TPLF was ethnic cleansing other ethnicities.

    Wondyirad
    June 15, 2019 at 6:10 pm
    Reply

  8. Continued . . .

    W/ro Meaza is a feminist and if one thinks of any radical (not to say extremist) feminist in the country, she will come at the top.

    Here is one example that made her a laughing stock of the legal community yesterday. While chairing a discussion of on draft on the federal judicial administration with the legal practitioners, she made the following silly statement.

    ‹‹የፆታ ጉዳይ የተገለጸው አሁንም በወንዶች ነው፡፡ ይኼ ያላለቀ ትግል ነው፡፡ ወደኋላ ሊመልሱን የሚሞክሩ በርካታ ደካሞች አሉ፡፡ መጠንቀቅ አለብን፤›› (Source: Reporter, June 19, 2019)

    The statement revealed her feminist persona rather than her position of chief justice of the Supreme Court. She did not dare to say she wants the draft re-written in feminine gender, but got earfull from lawyers about her feminist activism gone bad. It makes sense if the legal community watches for more signs of feminist activism in the highest court of the country.

    Belayneh claims the Ethiopian Feminist Movement (EFM) led by Wro Meaza has victims. To the question “Who are the victims?” Belayneh says the victims are unmarried people including Prof. Merera. I resent this unsubstantiated claim since feminism in the country had never advocated against marriage. In fact, almost all feminist activists including Wro Meaza are happily married and have children. So, where is the proof to this claim? If Belayneh has a proof, he should show it.

    Feminism aside, the central question here is this: ‘ Does marriage that supposedly cause happiness of individuals translate into happiness of the nation?’ Belayneh himself tells us although tens of millions people in the country are married the nation is not happy. By his own accounts, law and order have broken down, millions are displaced and thousands are fleeing the country every day; robbery and theft have become common place; people are getting poorer than ever. Brief: the nation has failed.

    If this is the state of affairs of the nation, what is the point on insisting that a politician should be married and be happy so that the nation also becomes happy? As I said before, Belayneh believes that marriage causes happiness and millions of marriages together which make millions happy will eventually make the nation happy. Terribly wrong.

    The irony is, in some circumstances, family members (mostly wives and children) of politicians who engage in violation of democratic and human rights, corruption and maladministration are at the forefront to defend the politicians. Take Tegest Mengist – the daughter of Mengistu H. MAriam – who defended her father’s criminal activities. The wife of Melez Zenawi and his eldest daughter are advocates of his grim record while in office. The entire TPLF leadership that screwed up the country is married. This is not limited to examples in our country. Presidents Hussien Habrey (of Chad), Laurent Bhagbo (Ivory Coast) and Charles Taylor (Liberia) who are serving long prison terms for violations of rights had wives and children to defend them in public. In additional to being burden to society, these wives and children have made millions angry because of their stupidity.

    In their infinite wisdom, democracies have excluded marriage as a requirement for eligibility to run for political office. The same is true for non-political offices too. Proof on the issue abound. Dictators aside, there existed and still exist unmarried, divorced or spouses of deceased persons who are democratically elected by people who wanted them to lead them. I can mention several presidents and prime minister of nations, governors and administrators of regional governments, chief executives of companies in this category. They were not reported as particularity sad because they were not married, They have successfully led their nations, regions and companies as their married peers did.

    To be continued.

    Dinaw Demissie
    June 19, 2019 at 8:10 pm
    Reply

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