Marriage

They say that when one finds love, it comes like perfect weather

As your love found my love and mine found yours back in the summer of ‘99

Oh how I love thee, let me count the ways

I love you with the length, breath and height my soul can reach

I love you more than yesterday and less than tomorrow

I don’t know what our souls are made of but yours and mine are the same.

I shall be great and you rich because we love each other.

Those were the words I said to my wife at our wedding reception on the 25th of September 2010. A compilation of my favorite lines from the poems I was reading leading up to our wedding day. Why did I choose these specific lines? I simply loved how they shaped the future my wife and I were walking into that day. Let me explain.

They say that when one finds love, it comes like perfect weather As your love found my love and mine found yours back in the summer of ‘99 – the first time I saw my wife was her walking into Sports & Leisure at Circus Triangle eMthatha (where I worked during my school holidays from grade 9 to 11) with her cousin. I was like, “Whoa man – she’s gorgeous!!!” She was at DSG in Grahamstown, a three term school and I was in King William’s Town, a four term school- I didn’t see how this would work. So all I did that day was greet them both but I knew as she left that one day she would have me. Over the next couple of years she befriended my boys (the crew that I rolled with every time the baby blue van came around, – reminiscent of Warren G) but interestingly enough I was never around most of the times they hung out with one another. On the two occasions I was around, I was very incognito (strategically). I would formally introduce myself to her in the summer of ‘99 when a mutual friend was having a “home alone” and a couple of our friends were hanging out so I decided to join them because she was there. We would hangout everyday that festive season and to top it all off, my boys and I had planned to be in Cape Town for New Years and she so happened to have had the same plans. Though we had made separate plans to be in Cape Town, we ended up staying at her cousins’ flat (one of her male cousins who stayed at the flat was a friend and the other cousin was the one I had first seen my wife with all those years before!). This was clearly set up to be the best holiday ever as a bachelor and it was because I had always dreamt of falling in love in Cape Town and coming up to Joburg together to make money.

I love you with the length, breath and height my soul can reach – I love her with my entire being and that means my love for her will shape how I live the rest of our lives together.

I love you more than yesterday and less than tomorrow – My love for her is a growing love, a love that grows with time.

I don’t know what our souls are made of but yours and mine are the same – we are spiritually yoked. Although we didn’t date in a Godly way (premarital sex and the drunken parties) God’s other boundaries that we respected and obeyed ensured that we were one spiritually which gave our relationship a solid foundation making our ‘LoveThang’ a ‘StrongThang’. For example, we had agreed that we wouldn’t have children or move in together before we got married. Although I bought myself my first Bible as an adult in 2005 I didn’t go to church in Joburg and my wife went sporadically. When she did invite me to church, I would go with her because I wanted her to know that I did believe in God. Yes, I was deceived thinking I could pick and choose God’s commandments but I thank God for his unfailing love that pursues us daily and his boundaries (commandments) that protect us from ourselves. We’re celebrating 9 years of marriage today because spiritually we are surrendered to God individually and as a couple God is at the center of our marriage.

One Friday evening, I asked her for her older brother’s number who lived eMthatha (both my wife’s parents have passed on) and I informed him that I had written a letter to ‘ooMawawa’ (her clan name) that ‘ ooSweleba’(my clan name) were requesting the 14th of February 2009 to discuss a certain matter that we would disclose on the day. Yolz & I flew down to eMthatha on the 13th and once we were eMthatha we didn’t communicate or see each other until the Saturday afternoon when she was asked by oonozakuzaku bakhe (her delegation of uncles for the lobola negotiations) “Uyabazi ababantu?”(Do you know these people- referring to my delegation of lobola negotiators) at which she answered yes! That is the story of how we got engaged.

How could I start the lobola negotiations without having asked my girlfriend to marry me first? I had been dating her for a very long time – 9.5 years at the time of our engagement- and I knew her well enough to know that she was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with and that she wanted the same thing. Through our dating years we had become best friends- we truly enjoyed each other’s company and we would discuss everything under the sun. Sharing stories from our childhoods (that helped us establish important similarities between us) and painting pictures of the family life we would have one day. The game changer I learnt from her was that a disagreement doesn’t need to lead to a break up. This changed how I communicated with her – comm (find common ground), uni (I), cate (cater to her needs) and really seek to understand rather than being understood. One thing she learnt from me was that something that is good for her may not be good for the relationship so we both learnt to make decisions that were in the best interest of our relationship. That way making decisions that were for the good of the relationship forced us to grow and made us less self centered.

I shall be great and you rich because we love each other – our love for each other has been the key to experiencing all that God has in store for us in the glorious institution of marriage.

In Awaken to….Love (https://awakenonline.blog/2019/02/20/love/) I shared that I read the book of proverbs a number of times when I was 14 even though my dating experience was influenced by the hip hop culture I was into at the time. As it turns out, the verses from Proverbs that were etched in my heart created boundaries. The boundaries that I breached helped me know when I was straying too far and headed for self destruction and the ones I lived within helped to establish a solid foundation for married life. The big one I breached was having sexual partners before marriage but now I know why that is a big boundary. Sexual partners are not just a physical experience but they are a spiritual connection too so the more sexual partners you have the more pieces of yourself you leave with other people. By the time you get married – how much of yourself is left for your spouse or how many people are you bringing with you into your marriage bed? The more sexual partners one has before they get married is similar to an overused piece of cello tape. What happens when you cut a piece of cello tape and stick it to one surface, remove it and stick it to a second surface and repeat that until you hit the 5th surface? The cello tape may stick to the 2nd & 3rd surfaces but it won’t stick to the 5th and so is a person with multiple sexual partners- they are eventually unable to be in a healthy monogamous relationship with anyone. The one proverb I always kept in mind was the one about letting my fountain be blessed and rejoicing with the wife of my youth. At 39 years old, I’ve been with her for 20 years and my heart is still rejoicing.

Cultural opinion states that marriage is outdated but if the culture really believed this, people would simply stop getting married but something still attracts them to the beauty of the institution of marriage but they don’t know Who. I’m here to tell you that it’s the glorious beauty of its creator, God Almighty. Remember God is love. His word teaches us that his love is agape (unconditional), felia (friendship), storge (family) and eros (sexual love) and that the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman is the only relationship on earth that offers these 4 qualities of his love. I encourage you to invite the creator of marriage into your marriage and let him transform you into a better spouse as your marriage becomes a glorious reflection of his beauty!

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