Marriage Perspectives With Loise Chingandu: For Newly Weds

EVER since lobola events became a public event, marriages seem to be on the increase. I admire the glitz and glamour that comes with these ceremonies but I am always sad when within weeks or a few months pots start flying, bags are packed end of the union before it has even started. My question when I see lobola parties is; Do these young people understand what marriage is?
By Loise Chingandu
It is a complex institution with a set of rules that you only know and understand when you are in it. Everyday I see and hear comments that make me realise how ill equipped couples are for marriage. Simple soft skills of communication, conflict management and decision making are missing in both parties. Living with another adult is not a walk in the park. We used to date for 6 to 10 years before marriage but still you don’t know a person until you marry them. You don’t even know yourself until you live with another person. You get married first and then learn to drive the car.
Who are the instructors helping the young couples in the first 5 years of the marriage. Imagine a learner driver driving alone or worse driving with an instructor but insisting that they know everything about driving a car because their dad or mum drove them to school everyday. Eat a humble pie, find a marriage coach before marriage and listen to them as they guide you along. Many of the divorces I witness everyday are premature. Lots of people with no licences or vehicles know a lot about cars but the best teacher is the one driving everyday who knows what it feels to be in a near accident.
Parents from both sides help your young couples to navigate their situations. Don’t be the first to say kana zvaramba Siya! (Its not working, quit!). Yet you are in your 25 year marriage. Now that it’s easy because it does as you grow older you have forgotten that it was hard at first but definitely gets better and even happy later.

Mind what you say in Marriage: (Empowerment, versus outright rudeness)

We have invested a lot in the girl child, making sure we build her confidence, assertiveness and voice. But when I see some of the products I realise that we might have just left out a chapter on rudeness. Some of our young women are so rude, they talk back on everything and believe they are right about everything that even as their mothers, we find it hard to have a conversation with them ,let alone try to advise them on anything. So instead, we avoid difficult conversations and mentoring them.
When she finally says she is getting married, as the parents, deep down you already know what the problem will be but hope that the husband will manage. In marriage how you talk, the words you use, the tone, and body language all matter. The ability to listen well all make the difference between peace and conflict. Certain language hurts, demean and breeds toxicity in a marriage . For an example; can I have a cup of tea? Answer “Ko iwe hauna maoko here?, (Dont you have your own hands?) or why did you not marry a maid if you needed one? All this mouthful of nasty words is simply rude and unnecessary. The other person’s adrenaline is triggered. They may decide to retort right back in same way or they choose to keep quite or worse choose to be physical.
Sadly when called out, the person even gets surprised that the other person is angry. “What did I do wrong I simply stated a fact” I am not a maid. A combination of rudeness, and no awareness or sensitivity to another person’s feelings is the worst. Rewind that conversation, there are so many answers that would have resulted in the same outcome- that is communicating that you are not in a position to give them the coffee at the time. Words are the first poison in your marriage. Choose them carefully.

The Coffee Saga

The coffee saga continues into what I call tennis ball conversation. The husband comes back at the end of the day. He is still thinking about the response he got in the morning when he asked for coffee. The wife asks, did you buy bread? He answers; don’t you have legs, you work next to the shops. Really are you that lazy? SHE: What do you mean am I lazy, it’s your responsibility as a man to provide? Am I your father, you work you can buy bread. I don’t even like bread. In our house my mum always bought the bread. I don’t care if your mother bought bread, in our house my dad brought bread everyday, really its just bread she answers raising her voice. Yes! just like it was just coffee this morning. He takes out his phone and starts typing while putting his feet on the table. She continues to curse going to the kitchen and shouts back remove your feet from the table and come and help. He ignores her and continues to type. She also takes out her phone also send a message to her best friend.From that point the silence treatment begins. Each thinking ndoo marriage yacho here? Words, words, are the sword that can cut the marriage piece by piece everyday until there is nothing.
…To Be Continued
Loise writes in her own capacity and to get more marriage nuggets, you can follow
her on Facebook on @Lois Chingandu

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