Mo & Phindi are MNet’s Power Couple SA reality television show cast members, radio hosts at East Coast Radio, KZN and co-authors of the book Love Isn’t For Cowards
Weddings are perhaps one of the most expensive events people undertake. This is especially the case within black communities, more so Africans in particular. Not only do guys have to pay the high cost of lobola, but there’s also the mountainous costs of the white wedding as well as the traditional wedding … all within a relatively congested period.
Then there’s the even higher cost of not emotionally and spiritually preparing for the marriage after the wedding. This is the area people tend to grossly overlook even while they may be prepared financially.
Then when the honeymoon stage begins to give way to reality, all hell breaks loose. All that financial expenditure is predisposed to waste.
It may cost you more in legal fees and therapy later if you marry somebody you know you shouldn’t. And many couples who aren’t ready to exchange vows but do it anyway do end up apart eventually. They come out very bruised.
Our question is, do you have to? Are you really ready to take the plunge, or are you just caught up in the euphoria of the wedding?
For the record, it makes no business sense for us to discourage you. Phindi is not only a seasoned wedding planner, but she also owns both a bridal boutique and a township-based wedding expo called, “eKasi Bridal Fair”.
Together, as a couple with 12 anniversaries, we’ve been seeing many couples over the past six years or so for pre-and-post marital counselling (at a fee). We also get booked to speak at various marriage seminars and weddings across the country.
In other words, weddings and marriages are an important part of our livelihood, as a couple.
But we feel it will be highly irresponsible of us not to sensitise you to realise that the simple act of having already planned the wedding and paid the lobola doesn’t actually mean you have to get married.
Because here’s the reality: the person you decide to give your life to has the ability to determine how your life turns out in the future. You should be more responsible about the concept of love in the context of marriage. Love is giving your partner the power to destroy your life but trusting that they won’t. That can’t be taken lightly.
Look before you leap
We’d like to submit the following before you take the plunge:
- If you have the slightest reservations about whether you want to get married, do not get married. Stop the process. Postpone the wedding. You may lose some deposits. And you may feel like you’re embarrassing yourself. But at the end of the day, you shouldn’t marry somebody you’re not 100 percent certain about. If all you needed was more time and you postpone, your commitment to each other will win the day and you’ll eventually marry. Love has no deadline.
- Secondly, abuse is never okay, whether it is physical or emotional. It’s not only humiliating and disrespectful, it’s also against the law in terms of the Domestic Violence Act. If you’re about to be married to an abuser, don’t!
- It’s also not wise to knowingly tie yourself to a substance abuser. You should not marry a person with gross flaws like uncontrollable aggression, unfaithfulness, excessive alcohol us, disrespect towards parents and more. Halt the wedding plans!
- Furthermore, if money is a serious relationship problem before you get married, money will be the reason you will eventually fall apart. For some unfounded religious reasons, someone lied to us – especially black people – that if we don’t marry in-community of property then we don’t trust each other.
Nonsense! Admittedly, engaging in sober financial conversations before the wedding can be one of the most unromantic things but it’s absolutely necessary.
If you have fundamentally different beliefs about finances, you are not ready to be married to each other. Furthermore, if you have cause to think your partner is more interested in your money than your heart, it’s time to do some soul searching before you get married.
- Lastly, shared values are much more important that common interests. It’s not so much important that you both like the same type of food, same type of recreational activities and the like. In fact, we believe that’s a recipe for a very boring relationship.
However, if your partner for instance, values a simple lifestyle and you value accumulating wealth, it doesn’t matter how much you enjoy each other’s company, your basic life orientation will present constant opportunities for conflict.
f you have vastly different interpretations of faith and God; or if you have vastly different attitudes towards having children and how to raise them, conflict is inevitable. If one spouse believes that career is the top priority and the other puts family first, the argument will be eternal, either by outward criticism and fighting or by going underground with general dissatisfaction or depression. If you can’t derive life’s meaning from the same moral code, you may as well call of the wedding.