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20 Most Common African Proverbs on Marriage Explained

Marriage is highly regarded in different African societies, which view it as the foundation upon which the entire African society rests.

To safeguard it, African societies have created proverbs that constantly remind people about the basics of marriage.

Let’s take a look at the meanings of some of these proverbs.

1: A fish and a bird may fall in love but the two cannot build a home together

This West African proverb is used to show how much incompatible people cannot stay together as wife and husband.  No matter how much such people might love each other, chances are a successful marriage cannot be born out of their union.

2: A marketplace is not the place for a husband and wife to argue

This African proverb teaches married people to always keep their personal marriage details private.  It cautions married people from washing their dirty linen in public as that might come back to bite them hard and even threaten their union in the end.

3: One who marries for sex alone will have bad days and good nights

This African proverb is used to remind everyone that marriage is more than just sex.  There is a lot more that can be done in marriage than just sex.

4: Having beauty doesn’t mean understanding the perseverance of marriage

This West African is often used to caution people from just marrying for beauty rather mental strength and perseverance, which are all essential in the success of any marriage.  Often, people who marry for beauty only end up regretting in the end.

5: A man that does not lie shall not marry

This proverb from Zimbabwe speaks to the nature of women to prefer people who lie to them more often. It is said that if you were to remain honest with a woman then you will never win her over.

6: If a young woman says no to marriage just wait until her breasts sag

This proverb from Burundi means that some women might play hard to get during their best days but when these days are over, they become useless to a point of drawing no attention to them.

7: If you do not travel, you will marry your own sister

This proverb encourages men to travel far in search for women rather than stay so close to home and marry people they already know.

8: He is a fool who marries an old woman without teeth

This proverb teaches men to marry younger women who have a lot more to offer in life than marrying older women who are done with life.

9: Marriage is like a groundnut, you have to crack it to see what is inside

This Akan proverb addresses the reality of marriage which can only be experienced by married people.  Those that are not married might see it differently but the married ones know exactly what goes on in that space.

10: He who marries beauty marries trouble

This proverb details the problems that are normally associated with marrying beautiful women.  In most African societies, such women are perceived to be trouble makers who end up causing their husbands great problems.

11: Never marry a woman who has bigger feet than you

This proverb encourages men to marry women who are in the same league as them. Those that are not can easily cause them problems resulting in the dissolution of their marriages.

12: A woman who has not been married twice cannot know what a perfect marriage is.

This proverb addresses women who hope from one marriage to the other in search of a perfect marriage. The proverb can also be interpreted to mean that there is nothing like a perfect marriage, one has to make it or look for another one.

13: A good wife is easy to find but sustainable in laws are rare

This African proverb about marriages speaks to the challenges that women go through with in laws. No matter how good a wife might be, her in laws will never look at her that way.

14: It is better to be married to an old lady than to remain unmarried

This Ugandan proverb emphasizes the essence of a marriage in the African society.  It advises men to marry someone who is not quite right rather than remain unmarried forever.

15: A man who marries an outcast is like rain wasted in the Forest

This proverb is keen on emphasizing the importance of marrying the right person.  People who marry outcasts often end up regretting on top of wasting their time. Women with weird characters are to be avoided at all costs.

16: A married couple is neither enemies nor friends

This Somali proverb best summarizes the nature of African marriages where there are constant fights and reconciliations.

17: The man that won’t marry a woman with other admirers won’t marry a woman at all

This African proverb reminds men that for every woman they dream of marrying, there are already many people admiring her.  Therefore, if they are to wait for a woman who does not have any admirers then they will wait forever.

18: The most dangerous thing a man needs is a woman

This proverb talks of how women can empower men and make them so much better that they can accomplish so much in life.

19: He who longs too much for a child will marry a pregnant woman

This Bambara proverb teaches the essence of patience before and after getting married without which some dire consequences might follow.

20: Now the marriage begins, says the woman who has been beaten by thorns

This Nigerian proverb simply means marriage officially begins once the woman begins to experience hardships in life.

Other African Proverbs You May Want To Check:

Kenyalogue Contributor


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