In this day and age where divorce is no longer taboo but order of the day, it comes as no surprise to hear of a marriage collapsing a year or two after exchanging of vows.
This is a sharp contrast to couples of yesteryears who seem to have managed to keep their unions solid as a rock because decades later most of them are still in love and smitten with each other.
What could be the secret behind this true, everlasting love?
Voice Woman gets an insight through a conversation with the Matenges and the Molefhes, two couples whose unions were formed decades ago and still intact to this day.
Potlako and Julia Molefhe
My suggestion to talk to them separately was met with laughter.
“Ngwanaka, there is nothing we don’t know about each other, feel free to ask anything,” they insist.
According to the Molefhes’ observations most people now just throw themselves into marriages without thinking it through and that in most instances the motivation is based on material things.
“Marriage takes commitment and a continued will to want to do right, shares, Rre Potlako Molefhe who and his wife Julia (Mma Mmereki) will be celebrating their 53rd wedding anniversary on August 3.
They credit this seemingly unattainable milestone to individual convictions about marriage.
“I am a shareholder in this union and not head, we consult and come to an agreement about all aspects of our lives but most of all we are each other’s rock. We both made promises to ourselves and each other a long time ago and we stay true to these.”
Complementary to their strict Christian upbringing the Molefhes also cite their strong bond built over the years they lived and studied abroad.
“I have also carried lessons imparted to me during my Kgoroso (a ceremony where the bride is handed over to the groom’s family) as shared by my aunts and in laws,” said Mma Molefhe.
She also believes the reason she and the love of her life have been blessed with the many years is largely due to their friendship.
“My husband is my best friend. He is the one I share everything with and we are inseparable. When we first met in Serowe years ago, there was a hive of activity and the village was buzzing. There was a choice of suitors and this came as no surprise as I was indeed a beautiful woman. Ba le bantsi ba ne ba ipala mebala ya kgaka but I was selective. I had no interest as I knew my choice had to be extra ordinary. Potlako was charming, smart, and so intelligent. The fact that he played the piano and was soft spoken as my father certainly sealed the deal for me. I was smitten and to this day he makes my heart skip,” she says with an affectionate smile.
Just as well, Rre Molefhe says his wife gets more beautiful with the years. “I do not tire of looking at her.”
“It is important to keep one’s standards and to this day, I ensure I always look my best. It is sad that for some women getting married means giving up their power and femininity. It is important to keep each other interested in one another. If you don’t make your marriage priority then someone else will.”
Although in their household they share responsibilities and regard each other as equals, Mma Molefhe is quick to point out that her husband is good to her and in turn she is inspired to be her best.
“Men are really sensitive and actually love attention so in my home it is common that we both use endearing terms to call each other and as the minister of finance I occasionally spoil him alongside ensuring that all our needs are met. He does the same without being asked. Just this morning he brought me breakfast in bed and went on to prepare lunch for us and even cleared the dishes. This I have become accustomed to but do not take for granted.
“As women we hold the power to motivate and inspire our partners to be great. If only young couples could give up competing with each in their marriages and work together. It is hard enough maneuvering the work environment to be coming home to fighting. Of course there are disagreements within any union but couples must communicate to address their concerns. Talk it out and never go to bed angry. The bedroom is sacred and must be a place to bond and grow with one’s partner. Never be too busy to please your partner,” concludes Mma Molofhe.
Gobe and Daisy Matenge
During a glitzy ceremony in the company of friends and family, Gobe Matenge recently celebrated his 90th birthday.
Much was shared by those that took to the podium. However it was the tribute that he paid to his companion, his friend, his partner of 66 years that caught my attention.
Matenge spoke of Daisy (Mma Kutlwano) Matenge with such fondness that no doubt made many reflect on their own journeys.
“Mma Kutlwano is the anchor of our family; she has been extremely supportive of my quests and a force that has inspired me to live simply and never beyond my means. She is the voice of reason and has been the glue, helping to keep peace amongst all family members.”
Matenge met Mma Kutlwano long bak during their high school years at St Joseph’s.
“When I met her I was clear that I was looking for a wife and she was the kind of woman that caught my attention. As a traditionalist I had my sights set on a woman that would complement me. Someone respectful, grounded and with a Christian background. In Mma Kutlwano I found all these and more. It was also her family background that cemented my intentions. As we know, ka Setswana where one is from is important and it appeared that she was from a good family. We could blend well and I kept my eye on her.”
When the time was right, Matenge who at the time was working at the District Commissioner’s office in Francistown travelled to Serowe on his own, where Mma Kutlwano was working as a mid wife at Sekgoma Hospital to marry her.
“My mind was made up and I had made my intentions known, so I had our names published as done for those who are to marry. This act was not taken kindly by my in- laws to be. It was viewed as an act of defiance as the family felt there was no proper consultation to give their daughter away.”
Luckily for Matenge a cousin managed to calm his in laws and the marriage went ahead.
“There is no manual on to how to live but when one strives to be their best all things fall into place. Couples should not be quick to call it quits when faced with differences or challenges but rather must be tolerant and communicate their needs,” said Rre Matenge.
Though he says he is not into exchanging of gifts he does make the effort where necessary to celebrate milestones such as birthdays and anniversaries.
“It is important to acknowledge each other in a union. Even if something is not necessarily of interest, it is important to bear in mind that if it is good for the union or the other party then allow for a discussion. I may prefer simply things, after all I am of old school but I do appreciate beauty.”
The Matenges preference of cleanliness is legendary and this extends to their home and the manner in which they engage with others.
“This is important especially for a married man/fellow. Wearing a jacket is a sign of respect for yourself and those you engage with. It speaks volumes to your character and I am sure even for women there are specific ways they may choose to present themselves which gives a glimpse of their status. Apart from that am comfortable with my partner’s choice. MmaKutlwano has always been striking and she takes pride in her beauty. I may not make noise about it but over the years I have appreciated my wife’s particular way of doing things and her care.”