HOW WE MET with CHRISTINE CHISHA, Petauke
IN 1974, Manasseh Pesso Phiri and Monica Mvula Phiri met at bus station and got married in the very year. This year they will be celebrating 43 years of marital bliss.
It is a couple one can easily mistake for newlyweds because of how affectionate they are towards each other.
â€œMarriage is beautiful; our love journey has been awesome. We are both determined to be best friends, we work together and stand for each other no matter the situation and this has helped us get closer.
â€If there are good marriages in this country, ours is among those on top of the list because our love life has been tremendous. The Lord has been gracious. If there is anything that we have enjoyed is our marriage,â€ said Manasseh and Monica.
The couple said when they look back how their love life started, it seems it was like yesterday.
â€œItâ€™s like we got married yesterday, we have not had so much wealth, but we have huge love for each other.Â We are always together, we enjoy each otherâ€™s and our childrenâ€™s companyâ€.
On a sunny day, Manasseh was coming from Chifubu on his way to Ndeke where he lived and at the bus stop he met Monica who had been visiting relatives in Luanshya and the two struck a conversation.
â€œI liked her the very time I saw her at the bus stop. When we dropped in Ndeke I escorted her to her place to make sure I knew where she lived,â€ Manasseh said.
It did not take long before the two started a love relationship and in the same year, they got married at a Roman Catholic Church in Ndola.
At the time Manasseh worked at the Zambia Steel and Building Supply, but in 1994, the company was liquidated and life became difficult.
Manasseh told his wife thatÂ he had no option but to move to his home area in Petauke.
â€œIt was difficult to convince Monica to move but after reminding her of the marriage vows, we moved to Petaukeâ€.
The couple are now small scale farmers in the district. They were blessed with 14 children and only seven are surviving.
To Manasseh and Monica, what has kept them going in the 43 years of being together is love, respect for each other and basing their marriage on biblical principles.
Manasseh believes any couple that wants to live together for a long time should not allow strange and outside voices in their marriage, except the voice of God.
He said the popular adage goes like a couple that prays together, stays together.
â€œPrayer not only opens communication between you and God, it strengthens the bonds of marriage. When we offer our prayers to God together we are naturally aligning our hearts as couples for one shared hope and outcomeâ€.
Manasseh also believes that when a couple faces challenges and a man is in the wrong, real men apologise to their wives. He said it is a matter of a man waiting for a woman to cool down if she is too upset and then apologise.
For Monica all the 43 years she has lived with Manasseh, her source of straighten in marriage has been the word of God and submitting to her husband, according to the Bible.
She has come to discover that submission helps a man build trust in a woman.
â€œWhen God is at the centre of our marriage, we have a â€œbuilt- inâ€ compass and guide.Â God gives direction and wisdom that we as couples long for in our relationship,â€ she said.
Monica advised young women never to forget that a man is the head of the house and women are helpers like Sarah in the Bible used to call Abraham her master.
She said submission does not mean one is being mistreated, but giving respect that is due to a man.
Monica who described her husband as a kind, loving and understanding man, always prays for him.
â€œI am urging women to pray for their husbands and no matter how difficult they are, God through prayer changes the heart of man,â€.
Manasseh counts himself lucky to have a wife who is humble, respectful and a great mother of their children.
He described Monica as a partner who will never show a face even if she is not happy with him, there is always a warm meal for him.
â€œI am strong, ever looking smart because I have a caring wife who ensures my clothes, food and house is in order,â€ he said.
Manasseh urged young men not to cheat on their wives because once a wife discovers, she gets broken and itâ€™s difficult to repair the damage to other partner.
And the couple urged married people never to fight, especially men raising a fist against a woman. â€œWomen are care givers; they build a home and deserve to be lovedâ€.
Manasseh and Monica also urged couples to ever keep their communication on any situation, never to give up on each and divorce should never be an option, because God also hates it (Malachi 2:16).
HOW WE MET with CHRISTINE CHISHA, Petauke