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Send-off counsel to newly weds

Last week I could not submit an instalment. I had occasion then, as an uncle, to team up with family elders and superintend (ukucola umalokazana) a traditional African cultural rite observed by the groom’s family, symbolising official acceptance and honour to the bride (umalokazana), the embracing and endorsing of the marriage union and the grantjng of full family rights to the beautiful  new member of the family. I’m yet to write about the intriguing three-day process, its motifs, its symbols and the cognitive frames around (ukucola).

Suffice to say that entering a marriage union is one of life’s biggest milestones… one that brings along immense pleasure and an equal measure of challenges. As Mathanda-Maposa elders took turns (ukulaya) to counsel the young couple, I couldn’t help admire how beautifully structured, how beautifully cultured our institutions were in the past. Securely engraved in language and syntax, in idioms and l could not help wonder how my own marriage limped, huffed and puffed because l may have lost the script and turn  the rule book handed by my elders at take-off!

There is an unfortunate, but very widespread tendency and perhaps expectation for couples to somehow grow apart with time; for friends, family and society to frown at any public display of love or romantic affection between a married couple.

Never let the family or anyone make you feel the slightest form of discomfort about expressing your love and adoration for your life partner. This is the one person you should be absolutely proud of. Dont do like lukewarm Christians, who are often ashamed to proclaim openly their love for God. Your partner ain’t God. Yet like God , they need  permission to ring- fence your affection and attention jealously, to love , to honor and give praise to them, even where  the reason aint apparent. You may not be coy or tentative about showering praise to the one living human who is most important in your life,  yet be so ready to declare so proudly your undying love for Arsenal or for God, both of whom you have never met!

Be expressive and effusive about your love everywhere, everyday. Be bold and annoying to those that seek to steal your marital joy. It will only make your queen proud and confident; It will always pour cold water on potential smell-houses and marauding small- houses. That you sincerely love and adore your spouse and are willing to shout from mountain tops will earn her immeasurable respect in yours and her circles. Whatever demon comes upon you, never point out your wife’s few or multiple weaknesses to another woman, man’s to another man- however angry he/she may have made you. Men are territorial lions. They literally feed on praise. Make your man your King. Be in the habit of stroking his ego and putting him first.

Our society is intrinsically pliable and poorly wired for conflict- management. Our people hate to confront those facts that have a potential to be hurtful or that do not sit comfortably with them. Often this makes for a deeply dishonest society. Parties to a relationship would rather devise ways to take undeserved blows and to bottle up pain rather than be upfront and asertive on their feelings about stuff. Communication is the very life blood of a healthy marriage. As you start out, seek to be bigger friends than you are lovers. A true friend is one that cant lie to, one who knows your feelings as you do and seeks them out. One with whom you know your feelings are safe. Cultivate as a conscious marriage culture the habit of openness, frankness, readiness to hear each other out and to compromise.

A  mistaken, individualistic  notion has slowly sneaked in and taken root, a notion that celebrates self ahead of common goodwill and promotes the pursuit of the private goals of a couple at the exclusion of the broader family, the clan and society. In our culture Inyoni itshayelwa abadala. The long-winded process of assembling gogos, khulus, aunties and uncles from far and wide in very difficult travelling times , is not a decision taken lightly. Neither may it be reversed lightly. It is an involving , decisive strategic milestone. The commitment of so many far- flung elderly participants is motivated by a commonly shared understanding that uMakoti is a diamond found by our son as treasure to the entire Mathanda clan, the social and geographic community. Accepting and embracing her through ukucola comes with a whole range of mandates, obligations and responsibilities she accepts as umama and potential Queen Mother of her new Mathanda family and clan.

Your search for a good wife may have been long and hard for indeed induku enhle iganyulwa ezizweni , but once made , pray that God blinds your eyes and dulls your heart to any other woman. Remember even as the powerful urge to stray overwhelms you, that every day you stray, you cheat not on your spouse – you chip away from your sacred union… you cheat on yourself , and like your heart, your marriage will never forget any of those episodes. The quality of marriage we end up with only mirrors the investment of fidelity we were willing plant in!

These magic words carry an amazing healing power to any relationship.  They look so simple when you write them.  Yet they are the least ever said words in our homes and in our relationships.  They tend to lock the tongue , choke the throat and simply never to come out. It is inevitable that parties to a relationship wrong each other so often. It flows most naturally to a relationship that involves hearts, feelings , emotions. In most cases it is our egos , our shame, our fear of consequences or sheer arrogance that stand in the throat , and we would rather live with baggages of stored hurt , still born remorse and muted grudges than own up to our regular misdeeds. Our hearts sink in putrid angst and a sludge of unforgiveness wherever our daily vocabulary excludes the words; “I am sorry”.

A couple setting out to share a whole life is well advised to deliberately invest in more tongue- training sessions of the attitude and words; “I am sorry” than Lionel Messi could invest in training sessions of football. It will take a whole lot of practice to learn the words, and a whole lot more to live the words and activate a sincere attitude of remorse.

Ahead of all Else, place God in your marriage.

{TO BE CONTINUED…}

  • Zii Masiye (ziimasiye@gmail.com) writes elsewhere on social media as Balancing Rocks.

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