At the helm of the third session of marriage awareness weeks on the 09th of September were Mrs Lilly Mbatha, married for 39 years, and Bishop Noel Rucastle, the Bishop of Oudtshoorn. They facilitated a session with the theme, “Marriage as between a man and a woman”.
A quote from Genesis, the Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians and the Gospel of Matthew chapter 19 were used by Bishop Rucastle as a way of introduction. Fr. John Paul Mathebula, of the Archdiocese of Pretoria, was the speaker of the day. In his intervention he focused firstly of how the church defines marriage of which he emphasized the fact that it is between “a man” and “a woman”, implying therefore one man and one woman. He explained that in marriage by a man it is meant an adult male human person, a woman is an adult female human person, and that marriage is ordered for the good of the spouses, and procreation and education of children. Emphasizing also that majority age is not enough since one needs to be mature also. One must be capable of giving and receiving a legitimately manifested consent, he added.
Fr. John Paul also raised the element of exclusivity in marriage. Furthermore, he affirmed that marriage is heterosexual as opposed to what we see trending today in the world with some people questioning why the Church can’t speak about same sex unions. He elaborated that by the virtue of the definition of marriage the other institutions that try to take the shape of a marriage don’t qualify as marriages, and that includes polygamy and polyandry. He touched also on the unity and indissolubility of marriage in which fidelity is a viral element as well.
A narrative by Fr John Paul of a girl who asked a guy who was interested in her why he turned to look at her sister seemed to have struck a chord with participants who seemed to agree that when one loves a person there is no need to look at others. It was from this point onwards that unintentionally, one may suppose, the topic evolved into what makes a good marriage. And on this point participants shared their own experiences and views.
The quest couples at this session where Mr and Mrs Mosoeu together with Mr and Mrs Mthembu. The newbies of 4 months in matrimony in a form of Mrs Mosoeu congratulated the veterans in marriage, the Mthembus, who are now 27 years married. Mrs Lehlohonolo Mosoeu said the topic on marriage came at the right time because some people at church thought they were being forward by getting married young. “I used to pray to God to let him be the one, I don’t want another one,” said Mrs Mosoeu about he husband. “If you pray I think your marriage will be a successful marriage,” she attested. Mr Tiiso Mosoeu affirmed what Amoris Letitiae said pointing out that marriage is the root of family and also related that they come into marriage as one, with the primary focus of loving one another, loving God and forming a family. Mr and Mrs Mosoeu are both members of the Sodality of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The veteran of almost three decades in marriage, Mrs Mthembu, said they know that marriage is between a man and woman, and it’s a sacrament, therefore something that is holy. “A woman must submit to a man and also man should submit to a woman,”added Mrs Mthembu. She believes it was by the will of God that they got the love they have.
Also present as special guests were Mr and Mrs Taunyane married for 1 year and 9 months, Mr and Mrs Moncho, and the future Mr and Mrs Mogale. They also shared they views and experiences on marriage and relationships.
The session took another turn when a question was posed by Mrs Mbatha, “How would you encourage those who are struggling to keep the marriages exclusive, especially young couples who find themselves in extra-marital relationships? In answering Fr. John Paul echoed what Bishop Rucastle had earlier said, emphasizing the importance of respect marriage. Forget about the societal misconception “Nyatsi e tiisa lelapa”, meaning a concubine strengthens a family, “there is no such a thing”, asserted Fr. John Paul.
“Respect underscores it all,” added Bishop Rucastle, also the fact that we live in a very quick fix society, so everything must be easy to get, and we think we can apply that to marriage. “Vows entail sacrifice,” he advised. The Bishop said, “In sickness and health” and so forth encapsulate what marriage is about.
In thanking the participants at the end of the session Bishop Rucastle thanked the participants for their combined 92 years and one month of wisdom in marriage. With the last piece of advice before closing with a prayer he said, “Just as you make a choice to love your spouse, you should make a choice to never take your spouse for granted.”
You can see the rest of the session here.
The next session on marriage awareness will be on Thursday the 16th of September, and the theme is “God’s purpose for marriage”.