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Congratulations : But remember your promises

FRIDAY, January 23, 2015: I normally scribble in my diary on Thursday but this week I have taken longer because, like most Zambians, I have been anxiously waiting for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to announce the winner of the presidential election.
Finally, the results are in and we can now move forward. I am proud to be a Zambian because we all realise that beyond these elections we must learn to live together – winners and losers.
Yes, there will always be those who cannot handle loss and who try to cause mayhem. But we continue to pray that those who are charged with the task of maintaining law and order will ensure that such individuals are quickly put where they rightly belong.
Our eyes are now upon the new president who promised us so much that we braved the rains in order to vote for him. We heard those promises. We now want to see our new president live up to all those promises that he made.
In many ways, this is what marriage is like. The reason why a woman leaves her father and mother to be joined to the man she will henceforth start calling her husband is because he made promises to her and she believed that those promises were real.
What does the man promise? Everything begins during the “campaign” period. This is the period when the man falls in love with the lady and begins to pursue her. He holds nothing back. He pours his time, money and energy to win her love – until he finally wins.
Then comes the “installation” day. The man is installed as husband of the woman. He again makes promises. There is a “chief justice” there in the person of the officiating minister who asks the man very searching questions to which he must answer “I will”.
The officiating minister asks the man, “Will you have this woman to be your wedded wife? Will you love her, comfort her, honour and keep her, in sickness and in health; and forsaking all others, cling only to her as long as both of you shall live?” Answer? “I will.”
It is a most solemn occasion, though joyful at the same time. The man then goes on to tell the woman, while looking straight into her eyes, “I call upon all these people here, to witness that I take you to be my lawful wedded wife, according to God’s holy ordinance.”
He does not end there. He adds, “…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death shall part us; and to that end, I give you my promise.” This is the wedding.
Sadly, what often happens after the wedding is exactly what we see in politics. Even before the words spoken at the wedding stop ringing in our ears it becomes evident that the man did not forsake all others and cling only to this woman. He still keeps his girlfriends!
To the dismay of the woman who sincerely believed his promises, when she asks him about these other women in his life, the man turns violent. Instead of loving and cherishing his wife the man turns her into a punching bag. She soon has cuts and bruises. Very sad!
What is worse is that in marriage there is no five-year term. The woman feels cheated because marriage is “until death parts us”. Hence, cheating a woman into marrying you when you know you will not keep your promise is worse than presidential fraud.
I know too many women who wish time could go backwards. They attend other people’s weddings and cry. When you ask them why they are crying they say, “I remember once being in that woman’s shoes. I thought my heaven had come…only to be given hell!”
So as we remind the next president to keep his promises, let us also remind husbands of the promises they made on their “campaign” trail and on their “installation” day. Husbands, congratulations, but remember your promises!
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