By Moleboheng Mahasa, South Africa:
I have come to realise that a significant number of people in our society do not understand the difference between a wedding, and a marriage. Some people are way more passionate about weddings than they are about marriage. And some people are downright confused about what the differences between the two are.
I would put it like this; a wedding is a celebration of the beginning of marriage. Marriage begins when the wedding ends.
Most women dream of their wedding day from a very young age. I am not sure how this happens, but for some reason it is easier for a woman to imagine that day and all the details thereof, than it is for a man to do the same. We visualize ourselves in beautiful wedding gowns and flawless make up. When we hear of announcements for weddings for people we don't even know all that well, we more than leap for joy! We are so quick to ask unending questions about the colour scheme, the venue, the guest list, the entertainment and all else. We hold our breaths in anticipation for invitations to the Kitchen Tea and to the wedding alike. We simply get caught up! Yet when we hear about a divorce our hearts do not break to the same proportion of prior excitement. Why is this?
I do not claim to have any answers; I have only been married for 4 months after all. What I can tell you now is that during my wedding planning stage, many people would ask about the progress of the planning, and yet since getting married, most of those people do not know how I am fairing. People simply love weddings more than marriage.
Well, it is good and well to get into a frenzy about weddings, but I would like to put it to you (Barry Roux style), that marriage is the real thing that we should be concerning ourselves about. When all the wine has been drunk, the cake cut up and the guests gone, it is you and your spouse who are left to make something of your lives going forward. It is your spouse and all their flaws that you have to sleep next to and wake up next to. It is in the solitude of your home that marriage is built one day at a time.
Happy marriages definitely still do exist. A happy marriage is in no way a paradox as people have come to believe. If God, the author of marriage, can be allowed to be the 3rd member of any marriage, there is no reason why that marriage would not survive. Does the presence of God mean that there will not be any challenges? Certainly not, it means that His grace is sufficient for you. Does His presence mean that you will never be angry at your spouse? Not at all. It simply means that you will know better than to allow the sun to go down on your anger. Having God as the centre of the marriage, means that we have the guidance that we need to make the marriage work.
I dream of being in a society where the successes of marriages are celebrated, instead of us constantly dogging the institution and focusing only on what we deem to be the shortfalls. We all want a fancy wedding, but do not want to put in the effort to make a marriage work. It is about time we got our priorities straight. Spend as much time (if not more) preparing for marriage, as you do for the wedding! There is a difference between a wedding and marriage.
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