Back in the day when our great grandmothers were teenage beauties, marriage was deeply rooted in culture and jealously sheltered in the various traditions passed from generation to generation.
Today, well, it is a different story, left are the remnants of a “forgotten folklore” as most indigenous traditions have been eroded by the Western ways of doing things.
However, it should be remembered that without culture we are naked, even in marriage.
Our culture is based on Ubuntu. Most Zimbabwean traditions emphasise respect, which is a crucial aspect in marriage. When you respect each other you do not belittle your partner nor do any harm to his/her emotions or body. This means that you will consider your partner’s feelings first even when you are angry.
However, it is disappointing to note that most marriages are turning into ferocious battlegrounds and eventually dissolving into history.
It is becoming so easy for couples to break marriages without much consideration.
In our culture, problems were talked through and solutions were cordially suggested and implemented.
Refreshingly, there are those who still respect our culture. I was impressed recently by a young couple who seemed modern and chic yet they conversed so “differently”. “Nyamasvisva kani buritsai mari mupe tete,” the woman teasingly said to her husband, broad smile on her face.
“Haiwa kani VaChihera, chingopedzesai zvamatanga. I know you can do it VaChihera,” the husband responded in the same manner.
I later gathered that VaChihera (Tatenda Kajesi July) and Nyamasvisva (Blessing Jacob July) exchanged marriage vows not so long ago. What really impressed me was that despite VaChihera being said to have spent quite a long time in Canada, she still stayed in touch with her roots.
There is nothing wrong in calling your partner by name but sometimes it is inappropriate especially if she/he is in certain gatherings. Our culture teaches us to exalt our spouses especially in public so that they too are respectful in turn.
Other traditions in marriage based on our Zimbabwean culture include husbands making sure that they provide food and love and the woman making sure that her partner has enough of food and love (including intimacy). Our culture may have had loopholes which promoted chauvinistic tendencies but if we take the good principles, which these traditions were based on, our marriages maybe more fulfilling.
Our culture advocates for satisfaction and respect in marriages, which if incorporated into modern-day marriages, may ensure bliss.
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