A Marriage That Lasts
A True Story
on Aug 20, 2023
A writer of some of the verses in the biblical book of Proverbs asked God to give him neither poverty nor riches. He just wanted enough money to meet his needs because he feared poverty might make him steal, thus dishonoring God, while riches would make him forget God.
Unlike that writer, I don't think I can ever forget God if I became rich. It's just my nature to seek God in all that I do. So what I have asked God, among other things, is a car that will never break down and a marriage that will last "till death do us part". For now, let me focus on the marriage I'd like to have.
When I was growing up, I saw both of my parents live in harmony with one another. Never at any one moment did I see them argue with each other. So it never occurred to me that married couples often disagree with one another. It's not until recent years that I have learnt many marriages are rocked by conflicts which often lead to separation and divorce.
Just last week, I came across in the "Nation" newspaper a story of a couple that lived in disharmony for quite a number of years. The couple's inability to get along with each other affected their children but they didn't realize it until it was too late.
One day, one of the couple's sons prepared a delicious meal for them. The couple feasted on the meal. After they were done eating, the husband went outside, only to find the son hanging on a tree; he had committed suicide. And the reason he took his life was the couple's constant bickering that he could no longer withstand. What a sad story with a tragic end!
It's such kind of stories that have made me learn that many marriages are rocked by conflicts and disagreements. Even the so-called "successful" people have unsuccessful marriages. I know of some rich and famous couples whose marriages have failed. And I surmise you can also name some, can't you?
Honestly, even though my parents didn't bring us up in a lovely home, they did better at getting along with each other than some of the rich and famous couples whose marriages have ended in divorce. For that reason, my parents are my marriage role models, modest though they are.
My other marriage role models are Mr. Gikonyo and his wife. Mr. Gikonyo is a distant neighbour of ours who I once joked to Dad that one can never have a dull moment in his presence because he can really talk, especially when drunk. Sometimes when I see Mr. Gikonyo, I get reminded of Andy Capp, a cartoon character who loves drinking.
About two months ago, Mr. Gikonyo and his wife paid us a visit at home. They looked as old as the hills, and I noted Mrs. Gikonyo was walking in a stooped gait. But what impressed me about Mrs. Gikonyo was that she could still remember my name despite her advanced years. She is such a nice, humble lady.
Seeing Mr. and Mrs. Gikonyo still together in their old age made me wish to have a marriage similar to theirs: sticking together come what may. Like them, I'd wish my marriage to be ended only by death.
That's why I have resolved to be extra careful on the kind of woman I will pick as my wife. I'd like her to be a lady of noble character, the kind that the Bible talks about in Proverbs 31. Someone who is smart, funny and vivacious.
Because I also want to have the same traits I want in my future wife, I am working hard at being the kind of man every decent woman would want in a husband: kind, diligent, humorous and forgiving. Being diligent has not been an easy virtue for me to acquire but I am getting better at it.
Once we get married, I'd like our union to be characterized by fun moments and constant forgiveness. I want us to make each other laugh everyday, to confide in one another and to support each other in our endeavors. Above all, I want our love for each other to grow with each passing year. That's my marriage vision. What's yours, my beloved reader?
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed reading the above story on having a marriage that lasts, you might also enjoy another one on "Having a Successful Marriage" which I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.
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Emulating Nelson Mandela
A True Story
on Aug 15, 2023
Who hasn't heard of Nelson Mandela, the great anti-apartheid hero? I personally came to admire Mandela after I bought and read his autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, in 2019. The autobiography was, in a word, enjoyable.
So much did I enjoy the autobiography that I re-read it a few months ago. And this time, I digested it better. I now feel I know the late Nelson Mandela better. Allow me, therefore, to tell you something about him and how I am endeavoring to emulate him.
Mandela ran away from his guardian to live in the city of Johannesburg in 1941. And after arriving in Johannesburg, he found himself fighting against the South African government that treated native blacks as second-class citizens. He would stage protests to resist the oppressive regime, something that landed him in prison in 1962.
As Mandela and his fellow political prisoners were being whisked away to jail, one warder said to them:
You chaps won't be in prison long. The demand for your release is too strong. In a year or two, you will get out and you will return as national heroes. Crowds will cheer you, everyone will want to be your friend, women will want you. Ag, you fellows have it made.The warder, as it turned out, wasn't quite right in his assertion that Mandela and his fellow political prisoners would be in jail for a year or two. Mandela actually spent 27 years in prison.
But the warder was right in predicting that women would admire the political prisoners. When Mandela was in hospital as his years in prison were coming to an end in the late '80s, some women would drop by to see him. And when a male guard tried to keep the women from visiting Mandela in the hospital, Mandela joked that it was because the guard was jealous of seeing him get attention from such beautiful young ladies.
Then a survey conducted in Britain in 1998 revealed that most British women preferred Nelson Mandela to movie star George Clooney. (The survey was not mentioned in Mandela's autobiography. I read about it recently from a certain magazine.)
A few years after being released from prison, Mandela was on the ballot in 1994 running for the presidential seat of his native country: South Africa. He was hugely popular in South Africa and abroad as he campaigned for the presidency.
Despite the confidence that most South Africans had in him in 1994, Mandela was frank with his fellow citizens not to expect miraculous changes in their lives by electing him president. He told them that they had to work hard instead of idling in shebeens if they were to attain their dreams.
Needless to say, Mandela won the elections by a landslide. Thousands of jubilant people flocked to Pretoria to witness his inauguration on May 10th 1994. Mandela the protestor, Mandela the prisoner, was now Mandela the president.
On analyzing the life of Nelson Mandela as depicted in his endearing autobiography, I have been able to deduce the qualities that made him a great leader. And the qualities were his optimism, courage, diligence, humility, humor and patience.
Mandela was an optimist, an early-riser, an avid reader, a fitness fanatic and a practising Christian who kept away from drugs and tobacco. He was also a humble, humorous and forgiving person who identified with the common man.
Shortly after his death on December 5th 2013, I came across in the newspapers a story of how livid he once became when someone described him as a saint. Mandela had gotten livid for being called a saint because he thought he had done most of the sins young men commit in the cities.
For his optimism, courage, diligence, humility, humor and patience, Mandela has earned my respect and admiration. That's why I am endeavoring to emulate him.
Because I would like to have a marriage that lasts "till death do us part", perhaps the only side of him I don't want to imitate was his love life. Mandela divorced two women before marrying Graca Machel, a widow.
My beloved reader, I implore you to also join me in emulating Nelson Mandela. Let's rise early every day, be optimistic, crack jokes, read a lot, forgive others, exercise regularly and identify with the common man. And who knows? You and I could end up attaining greatness like Nelson Mandela!
RECOMMENDATION: If you've enjoyed the above story on emulating Nelson Mandela, you might also enjoy another one on "Book Review: 'Long Walk to Freedom'" which I wrote a few years ago. Just click on that link in blue to dive straight into the story.