Couples in come-we-stay marriages ‘most unhappy’

Kenyans are concerned most about their health, personal comfort and family.

They are increasingly also getting married young – at the age of 24 years or below – and many are foregoing the expensive church weddings for the cheaper traditional weddings as the come-we-stay marriages remain popular.

This is according to the latest “Wakenya report” by Consumer Insight.

The study says 37 per cent of Kenyans opted for traditional/customary marriages compared to 32 per cent who opted for come-we-stay marriages and 27 per cent who preferred church weddings and four per cent who went for civil weddings.

Although family reigns supreme in the minds and hearts of many Kenyans, it does not mean they are necessarily happily married, especially those in come-we-stay marriages.

They formed the bulk of unhappily married couples at 17 per cent, followed by the those who got married in church at 10 per cent.


Those who opted for civil weddings at the Attorney General’s office formed the smallest number of unhappy couples at nine per cent.

Kenyans may regard their health in high esteem, but 42 per cent prefer to self-medicate or use home remedies over seeing a doctor.

The 41 per cent who go to hospitals are those in the higher earning status, perhaps because of expensive health care.

In the survey, 3,500 face-to-face interviews were conducted among Kenyans aged 13 years and above in both rural and urban areas of 16 counties.

When it comes to money, Kenyans would rather use mobile money (such as M-Pesa) than go to the bank or ATM.

This could be attributed to the 88 per cent mobile phone penetration in the Kenyan market with 40 per cent being smart phones.

Out of the participants interviewed, one out of three had at least two SIM cards with the most popular line being Safaricom followed by Airtel.


Affordability and high call costs were some of the reasons why majority of Kenyans use two SIM cards.

In terms of mobile phone brands, the top three preferred brands by Kenyans include Samsung, Huawei and Tecno.

Kenyans are also averse to bank loans, with most preferring to borrow money from friends and relatives.

However, M-Shwari is proving quite popular among Kenyans, coming a close third in the hierarchy of avenues to borrow money from.


Still, women have been left behind by men in terms of mobile transactions and financial products uptake, with men forming the bulk of most of the mobile money transactions.

While women spend their money on basic needs such as clothes and food as well as home care and personal care, men spend most of their money on cars, entertainment, furniture, rent and school fees.

According to the study, it would seem that marriage alters the sources of women’s finances.


This is because only 34 per cent of the married women interviewed were employed and earning a salary compared to the 44 per cent of single women interviewed.

This could be attributed to the fact that women tend to leave their jobs to take care of their families once married and also because the man takes on the bread-winner role.

The study also showed that married women relied more on their partners for finances (10 per cent) compared to unmarried women (five per cent).

The ‘side hustle’ is also becoming increasingly popular as an extra source of income particularly among young people, with 26 per cent reporting that they are increasingly engaged in a side job.

The gambling culture seems to have taken root particularly among the male youth with 36 per cent reporting to engage in gambling.


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