Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso

Destined for greatness!

Lots of weddings, very few marriagesĀ  May 26, 2016

Filed under: Relationships — Boitumelo Vero Rikhotso @ 5:16 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Source: Disney fine art photography & video


I occasionally enjoy watching programmes such as Say yes to the dress, Married at first sight and South Africa’s beloved, My perfect wedding. The central theme to all the programmes seems to be the pursuit for the perfect wedding day. Perfect dress, perfect decor, perfect car, perfect suit, perfect hair and makeup and so the list goes.

Judging by the many wedding geared TV programmes and weekly wedding updates on social media, perhaps perfect weddings are not that much in short supply as we think. Statistics South Africa gives a very different picture however telling a grim story on the destiny of these unions. The latest findings show that 150 852 people wed in civil marriages in 2014 and 24 689 people got divorced, 3,4% higher than the previous year, and mainly initiated by the female partner.

I look at brides living out their dream weddings and recognize that spark. I’m telling you brides can be so gullible. Women will move mountains to get the wedding of their dreams. Movies do their bit also by devoting the entire movie to the pursuit of a girl/boy until the altar. It’s as if the whole plan is to work hard towards getting the person, bring them to the altar and then as it is said in the fairy tales ‘and they lived happily ever after.’ It’s no wonder a wedding gets us all giddy. Only the reality is not always a Cinderella story. Whoever said pursuing stopped beyond the aisle?

Couples take a lot of time, months and even years preparing for a one day event called a wedding and hardly any time preparing for the lifetime commitment of marriage. I’m reminded of one lady who was not willing to go through a 6 weeks marriage preparation course because it was too long and in no time at all, the marriage had collapsed. She lamented her rushed decision and wished she had given counselling a chance.

I remember when my ex-husband and I were cautioned by one couple who counselled us to consider postponing our wedding as they felt the need to help us through some areas of conflict they were concerned about. We looked at them being married about 40 years and considered them too old. We would be the exception we thought. We believed that no one in the world loved each other the way we did and discarded the counsel.

I’ve heard of two couples who after having gone through marital counselling decided to postpone the wedding. One couple got married after postponement and the other called the wedding off. Now that takes guts. Although people see red flags during the dating stage, these are often ignored as people give the old reason ‘but I love him/her’ and in they walk into a mess.

Going through counselling gives no guarantees but what it does is help one see things from a different perspective. It opens couples’ eyes to other more important things apart from choosing either a chapel or garden wedding, vanilla or red velvet cake and whether to use tiffany or draped chairs. Counselling tends to let people get out of their puppy-eye selves into discussing the not-so-romantic matters of in-laws, whether to have separate or joint bank accounts, how to deal with conflict although it’s difficult to think of conflict when people are in love, how many children to have if any and what would happen if I get a job halfway across the world and I want to take it? Other issues such as faith, sex, past relationships and decision making get discussed. All of which could make or break your marriage.

It seemed unreasonable to some couples that churches such as Hope Restoration Ministries and a few others were not willing to marry a couple unless they had completed the premarital counseling program. Yes, in some cases people may do the counseling just to check the box and get the license to finally marry, but the seed would have been planted.

Take the time to invest into your marriage as much as you take the time to go on a slimming program to look your best on your wedding day. How about having dating couples genuinely going through marriage programs even before a date is set just to offer them a chance to approach marriage in a more realistic way? Would that change mindsets? Would that make a difference? No one is perfect, no one knows everything and counselling gives us an opportunity to learn from those who’ve gone before.

 

7th year wedding anniversary May 9, 2016

My heart is beating so fast a I pen this. It is never easy to be real and honest about areas of your brokenness but this is where I am right now…

e9043e6fc379af3c32e898d35139c963

Source: Pinterest – dramandanoelle.com

Today, 9 May 2016 could have been my 7th year wedding anniversary. I wrestled hard on whether to use ‘would have’ or ‘should have” or ‘could have’ so I guess it would have or could have been if we had stayed married, and should have been as we had promised each other to. It has been 3 and a half years (same amount of time the marriage lasted) since I’ve been single again and quite a journey it’s been. This time frame is significant for me because I believe I am turning a corner where this matter is concerned.

 

Divorce is so affecting. I didn’t realize exactly how much I’d be affected by this decision and its aftermath even years after the fact. Before I got married I always had so much to say about divorced people until I walked the path myself. When I walked out of court a divorced woman, I was shocked that months of planning a wedding and R100 000 later, all evaporated in 4 minutes with me on the stand answering “yes mam,” to a magistrate who seemed uninterested in the fact that I was bleeding internally, that my marriage was coming to a disastrous and painful end. Too many years as a divorce decree-er must do that to a person. I noticed she wasn’t wearing a ring and wondered if she had also been down that road. A few years earlier I had stood before God, my pastor, our family and friends and declared “till death do us part” and 4 years on, I was no widow but the marriage was over. You’re better off a widow that much I can tell you. At least then you’re guaranteed support, love, acceptance and the opportunity to love and be loved again. Once you’re divorced, it gets tricky. There are so many schools of thought on the matter and whilst you’re still processing the fact that you’re going through a life changing experience, there’s an immediate uncertain future to think about. Doctrinal differences relating to your new life are part of the package although not something often openly talked about in churches in general.

 

Upon a change in my marital status, I found that some were cautious about me being in their midst as though divorce was contagious. Some husbands were concerned about my proximity to their wives while others were very vocal and bold about schooling me on what divorce was and what this now meant for me. I knew I would have to deal with comments, conclusions and gossips. That’s life. These were some of the things I needed to come to terms with given my new badge. I visited a church once and the preacher said something to the effect of ‘if you’re divorced, you’re doomed. Your prayers are not heard because you’re no longer in right standing with God.’ You know what the craziest thing in that moment was for me? I believed him. Not because I believed what he was saying was true or because he had a significant position in my life for me to believe him. I knew that wasn’t true, but I believed him in that moment because divorce can be so damaging to a person’s emotions. It can make you feel very inadequate and unworthy and unloved and and and. Another happily married wife said to me, ‘you must have not loved God enough or you must not have lived a holy life, because you can’t love God and divorce.’  I don’t hold it against them. After all, God ain’t done with us yet. šŸ˜Š. I could write a whole book about what not to say to someone going through a divorce.

 

According to some teaching, being divorced also disqualified me from being called, anointed and gifted. Being divorced disqualified me from ever identifying myself as a child of God who could unashamedly declare His love. How dare you talk of God’s love! Another said. Do you not know that God hates divorce? So how dare you speak of God’s love when you’ve done something He hates? This is the ugly and much untold reality of a divorced churched person. This D-word would take me a while to get used to. It’s a word that brings a lot of shame, disappointment and a reminder of failure.Who in their right mind gets married with the intention to divorce? I still believe marriage to be a sacred and lifetime covenant. The fact that my marriage didn’t work out hasn’t affected my views on that. My inability (without it having been for a lack of trying) to live up to my promise does not nullify the sanctity of marriage.

 

Truth is, I had many plans growing up in the dusty streets of Phasha Village and none of them included divorce.  No, divorce wasn’t part of the plan. I would be 30, publishing best-seller books, flying all over the world, married with kids, mentoring girls, preaching, funding people to study and working on building homes for the homeless. That was the plan. Not divorce. I was a young zealous girl with gifts that were starting to emerge who had great promise. That was the plan until I disrupted the plan by deciding to get married and then 3 and half years later chose to leave my husband. A decision I do not regret. My regret is in the fact that my marriage ended and that I failed God, my ex-husband, myself and all the witnesses to our union. The regret I hold is perhaps in how I got into the marriage – a blog for another day. Can the plan still be realized? So as a young woman who loves God and who had a failed marriage, I am still trying to find my confident place again in the kingdom.

 

Slowly but surely my life is taking shape. I am on the mend and God is busy putting together the broken pieces of my life. Here are some of the things I learnt in the process…

  • We are all a work in progress. None of us have it all figured out all of the time no matter how we look on the outside.
  • What God speaks over you trumps anything you or others could ever say.
  • God’s love is utterly unfathomable; His grace and mercy is ridiculous. No wonder the Gospel is called the good news.
  • The most difficult lesson for me was to believe that God still loved and accepted me. The thought that I could take all my pain, my disappointments, my brokenness, my shame and all my mistakes, and surrender them to Him in exchange for His acceptance, His affirmation, His healing, His forgiveness, His righteousness and His love, was for me difficult to accept.

Is this the end of my story and what will end up defining me and the rest of my life? Certainly not. This is only but a chapter in the book my Creator is writing.

 

Check out my eBook here
image