Choosing the Right Marriage Partner

‘It all Starts with Prayer’

Left: Mr and Mrs Msimango. Right: Mr and Mrs Mbhele

The faith journey of the Marriage Awareness Weeks organized by the Marriage and Family Office of the SACBC is in progress. The second evening of Thursday evenings’ reflections took place on September 2, 2021, online, shared live on SACBC Facebook.

After introducing herself, Mrs. Mahadi Buthelezi, the better half of Mr. Rob Buthelezi, introduced the topic of the day and the guests. Among them was the co-facilitator of the session, Archbishop Zolile Mpambani of the Archdiocese of Bloemfontein who is also the chairperson of the Department for Formation, Life and Apostolate of the Laity of the SACBC. Bishop Mpambani gave an official welcome and the opening prayer.

Mrs. Mahadi Buthelezi, the facilitator of the session, asked a question, “Do you think that today’s young women and young men are not asking the right questions when choosing the right partner? They seem to be more concerned about financial status, how a person looks, the car they drive, where they live, their background, at times even the bank account,” adding that these are just a few materialistic things that young women and men tend to look out for thinking that it is the criteria for choosing a right partner.

Fr. Zakhele Ziqubu of the Diocese of Dundee, almost 18 years a priest, in his talk, asked a few questions and gave some observations as well. He wondered whether choices happened given all the abuses that are witnessed in marriages. Later he pointed out that two duties are allotted to a man; to detach himself from parents and attach himself to the wife. “God provides grace”, he said. Adding that he is not implying that a man must abandon his family, nor does the scripture say so. Fr. Ziqubu emphasized that the Holy Spirit must be involved and invoked to enable one to choose the right partner. He quoted Tobias’ prayer to God before he married his partner Sarah, also noting that God is the handbook (manual) of marriage.

Mrs. Buthelezi, taking over from Fr. Ziqubu, gave a little background of how she met her other half, Mr. Buthelezi, saying in her case she just knew Mr. Buthelezi was the right one after they got to know each other. “I’m still unwrapping the gift from God”, she said.

Mr. Tiyiselani Msimango, one of the guest speakers, said, first one needs to know himself and who one is in the eyes of God, and Family. “If I am to know myself I need to know my needs,” he pointed out, “then you need to know the needs of the other.” He said it is important to know if one’s values and the values of the other are the same. “The values are the glues of the union”, he said also noting that God plays a big part in their lives and family too. Mr. Msimango also added that one must know what one wants to give to the other person rather than what one needs to get from the other person. Supplementing what her husband said Mrs. Keletso Msimango, who met her husband in Ngome Marian Shrine, said self-knowledge if very important before one gets into a marriage or relationship. “Can we pray together? Can we lead this family together in prayer?” are some of the questions she thought needed to be asked. She said her husband values family as she does. Further on she said, “Your partner is not psychic, you need to tell him how you feel.” Noting also that “when choosing a partner understand that you are not perfect and so is your partner.”

Mrs. Thabile Mbhele, who never dreamt of a big wedding day and getting married like almost every girl does, met her future husband at the stations of the cross. She feels like Mr. Mbhele was God-sent because in him she got far more than what she would have asked God for. Given his choice of partners that haven’t been great in the past, Mr. Sibusiso Mbhele felt skeptical about participating in the session that wanted to know how one can choose the right partner. However, there was a part in his life where he decided not to choose a partner but to ask God to give him a partner that He thinks is suitable for him. After that, she met the future Mrs. Mbhele at Church. He also pointed out the importance of subscribing to the same values.

There were also other couples who were part of the session like the Dlaminis. Mrs. Dlamini in commenting said as the years go by they realize that they have made the right choice. The challenge though is what the church is saying in terms of the sacraments and the reality out there. They have a big family which seems to raise some eyebrows, but they chose each other knowing they wanted to have a big family.

In answer to some of the challenges Fr. Ziqubu made note of what the bishops of the SACBC said in their book “God – Love, Life, and Sex” and advised couples to read it. Archbishop Mpambani added that the aim of the book was to teach partners self-respect and faithfulness, encouraging self-restraint and not wanting to indulge all the time. Before closing off with a prayer and blessing Archbishop Mpambani noted that in the past parents are the ones who used to choose wives for their sons and they would look at the kind of family the girl is from together with the character of that girl.

Commenting on what was said during the session the online viewer Zimbili Gumede Mazibuko said, “Thank you to all the couples for sharing… it all starts with prayer.”

For more on this session for the link Marriage Awareness Weeks.