50yrs in marriage, still going strong

HARARE - At a time when divorce statistics are shooting to the roof, with some couples barely managing to spend a year together, a Silobela couple in Midlands celebrated a cool 50 years together this year.

For Hezekiah Mkuhlani and wife Prisca, now 73 and 70 respectively, it’s all about love and less demand for material things that has kept them together.

This is in sharp contrast to the high divorce rate in the country with Harare alone recording 2 500 divorces every year.

But what has been the secret behind this couple?

Mkuhlani said the demand for material things is the chief culprit that has wrecked many marriages, as people seek to live other people’s lives, which is beyond their means.

“We have argued about many things, but we have never argued about being in love and that’s what keeps our marriage going,” Mkuhlani said.

The couple who got married in 1967 are pastors in the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) church based in Norton.

Half a century on, the two are still madly in love like they were in the 60s, which resulted in them celebrating all the years that they have been together in style, by renewing their vows through a mini-wedding.

“We celebrated our 50th anniversary on August 13. We have stayed long together because when people get married they should be committed to their wedding vows. Without commitment nothing works.

“Married people must love their marriages, they must learn the art of conflict resolution and move forward and not accept failure,” Mkuhlani said.

The story of the couple is captivating considering that the High Court in Harare alone is on average dealing with at least 42 divorce cases every week.

Legal experts previously told the Daily News on Sunday that the high incidences of divorce point to the “sad” fact that the once sacred marriage institution is the latest victim of the prevailing socio-economic and political conditions.

While the average of 42 divorce cases being recorded is in respect of registered marriages, there are thousands more going unrecorded since the majority of Zimbabweans are only married customarily with no marriage certificates.

Experts who spoke to the Daily News on Sunday said that going by the current weekly figures, the divorce cases translate to at least 2 500 marriages in a year in the capital alone.

This is a sharp increase from the past few years.

According to reports, by September in 2015, 1 102 couples had registered to terminate their marriages at the High Court in Harare and Bulawayo alone.

The High Court in 2014 dealt with 475 divorce applications, while in 2013, 473 cases were recorded, which was an increase from the 425 that was recorded in 2012.

“Nowadays there are many reasons for divorces. The generation of today no longer values the sanctity of marriage. From a Christian point of view we believe in the sanctity of marriage. We believe that marriage was God-organised. According to God’s plan, divorce was not in his plan.

“With this generation, they marry for wrong reasons, which are divorced from what is expected. Long back we used to take time chasing after a woman and give it time but these days it is no longer the case,” Mkuhlani said, adding that today’s boys know more about sex, a sharp contrast with their generation.

He said marriage is not a bed of roses as problems will always come up, which many are not always willing to face and opt to move out instead.

The father of six, with one unfortunately late, said there are certain cultural practices in marriage that were effective in solidifying unions, but noted the changes in the global system.

“Things have changed because of globalisation and urbanisation. People now meet at work or elsewhere, but the problem is when you meet and you don’t know the other person’s background, it creates problems.

“If people meet in town, there is need to know each other’s backgrounds because if that does not happen, some unpleasant hidden issues will always surface in future,” he said.

The couple is one of a few that have managed to stay together for that long and they hope to be together until the end.

“Our highest goal is to celebrate our diamond jubilee together. We also challenge those that are struggling with their marriages that it can be done. If we have done it, you can do it also,” Mkuhlani said.

Comments (2)

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