Weddings, Marriage & Babies

                                                                                               Article by Abbie Ndlovu  

            It has been 7 weeks since we celebrated Botswana's 49th year of Independence and I am sitting here reminiscing on that Independence week. I was blessed to have worked only the Monday and had the rest of the week off. As you can imagine, I utilized my free week to the max! I traveled a bit, attended the Independence Eve event that was at the National Stadium (amazing fireworks!) and attended three weddings (if I don't count the one wedding we found at the church my friends were going to use for their wedding). I never had any time to rest.  It took three solid days out of the following week for me to fully recover - mind, body and soul.
Speaking of weddings, apparently Independence week will go down history as the week with the most perfect wedding dates. I found myself on Wednesday the 30th of September, my country Botswana's Independence Day, rendering a poem at one of my friends' wedding and having to rush to another wedding immediately after that. The second wedding of the day was going to be a night wedding. Without much rest from the day's two events, I had to pack a night bag plus my outfit for another wedding the next day. I had to go spend the night at a friend's house because we were travelling to a small village 2.5 hours out of town and the transport we were using was leaving in the wee hours of Thursday morning at a place closer to my friend's house. Almost all conversations the wind threw my way that week were about weddings. All the three weddings I attended (if I'm counting that other wedding we found at church - all four) were of young couples. By that I mean people my age and younger, the youngest bride was 23 years old. This had me wondering to myself if this influx of young people getting married signifies a maintenance of equilibrium in the mindset of society?
What do I mean by that? When it would seem like the society of young people ranging between 18 and 30 years of age seem to be prioritising child-bearing  (hence the term Baby-Making Age), more and more of the young people in this range are choosing to get married instead. This, to me, then implies a balance in the mindset of society. However, because society in general is so hypocritical it hasn't chosen a side between Baby-Making and Marriage therefore I find myself caught up in the middle of societal pressure. I have thick skin, I know, but I must admit that this pressure from both sides sometimes annoys me.
            Before we go further than we already have, let us clarify a few things, shall we? I am in my late twenties, no I do not have a child yet. You might ask why, it is because I am a firm believer in marriage before kids. Why am I not married yet? Three reasons, the first two weighing less than the third. Okay, I was well on my way to becoming a successful career woman who put love at number four if not number five of her priority list (God, family, career and if there is I honestly did not really factor marriage in my intelligent plan. Secondly, there just wasn't anyone who could measure up. The guys I kept meeting always lacked an important trait or two. It could only be the best or nothing and since the best was nowhere to be found, I began to grow content with my imminent spinster-hood. The third and most relevant reason is that I believe that God has a plan for each and every one of us and if anyone is meant to be married God decides when and to whom. With that said, I am confidently waiting for God to give the go-ahead. Yes, God changed the whole game for me. He took me from independent, single career woman to a woman madly in love and contemplating marriage with the most amazing man in the universe!
  Without getting carried away with this new change in my priorities, I said all the above to get to this point: I feel pressure from society because here I am in my late twenties without a child. According to society I am 10 years late, I should be on my second, if not third, child. With or without a ring on my finger and whether by three different baby daddies, doesn't matter. On the other hand there is pressure for me to get married, as if to say, "Fine, your biological clock is ticking away anyway, you'll never catch time, BUT how about marriage? Get you a man already!" Does it sound like I'm venting? *chuckles* It gets so frustrating at times, especially now that even my mother seems to be running out of patience. She clearly wants a son-in-law.
            Anyway, I have already settled my case with you, reader. My wedding bells are going to be rung by The Great I Am at His appointed time. Only then can my little bambinos come, I plan to have two. :) Alright, seeing that marriage has become of interest to me, let us discuss marriage and weddings a bit. I will touch on some observations I have made, as well as share some important lessons I have been gathering ever since the Lord re-arranged my priorities to match His divine plan for my life (Jeremiah 29: 11 everybody! )
            1. It is imperative that I emphasize on the fact that there are still young men and women who believe in the sacredness of marriage and are pursuing it. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, marriage is still relevant. I have 3 more weddings I have been invited to in the next 6 remaining weeks of this year. Don't even get me started about next year.
            2. Wedding ceremonies are moving away from homes to commercial gardens, farms and lodges. Two of the three weddings I attended during independence week were at a garden and farm respectively. The third one kept to the old-school style of being hosted at home with stapa le gemere present. Nonetheless, all three ceremonies were wonderful. Moreover, the old norm of hosting two wedding ceremonies - one at the bride's home-village and the other at the groom's home-village is phasing out. Nowadays couples choose to have one celebration, either at the bride's home-village ("They get me, my family gets the celebration," one bride explained to me) or at a neutral location so none of the two sides complains. This saves on costs and we know how important it is that the marital home is built on a solid financial basis.
            3. Planning a wedding is a very sensitive process, just as planning any important life-changing event should be. One of the brides advised that doing things well in time is the best way. For a perfect melancholy such as I this really sells. It can be done and I am confident to cite this bride's wedding as an example. Her dresses as well as those of her maids were tailored to perfection! She also tells me that they were done way ahead of time. She did not have any of that drama that some tailors usually serve their customers a day (or even hours) before the wedding- incomplete outfits, outfits that need altering or that just don't fit etc. We all know the stories!
            4. This one is a bit sad. I have heard statements such as "Oh don't get too excited about all these weddings ka gore ga gona mosola. Manyalo ga a laste nowadays." It is so sad to hear of divorce. Personally, I always try to exclude this word from my vocabulary. One elderly lady shared such a profound statement with me, though. She said, "The foundation of a marriage should be Christ, Young people often get carried away with the idea of a wedding and are found lacking when inspected for marriage readiness." A wedding is just a day (or two)'s event but marriage is a lifetime commitment. Therefore young people need to utilize all the counselling and training sessions they can get before they enter into marriage. Moreover, even during marriage all these marriage seminars are to be attended because, honestly, "Marriage is a school from which people do not graduate." You never stop learning.  Another fact is that often people expect marriage to be "just an extension of dating", they believe they are still dating, only with the rings and the marriage certificate. However, this is nowhere near the reality of marriage. Marriage is a different phase in its own respect with different challenges that the couple can overcome as long as they are committed to staying together "till death do us part." You have to want to stay in it.
    5. I saved the best for last. Ladies and gentlemen are you, like me, being asked these questions left, right and centre, "O dira leng ngwana?", "O nyala/nyalwa leng?" Are you irritated and somewhat about to crumble under all that pressure? Please hear me: Marriage comes from God and children are a blessing to marriage. If we can hope to God for good rains in our country then why can't we trust Him with marriage? I have seen God provide for my needs, and am confident He is going to provide even here. Remember, God grants us blessings at His appointed time. Let us, therefore, take a seat and trust upon God's perfect timing, shall we?

Signing out
Mr Orsen Pepe
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