Your Family Matters with PASTOR CHANDA
I WAS with Prisca. She was angry. Her final words summed up her feelings. She said, “Pastor, I am no longer looking forward to getting married.
I now wish I had been sexually promiscuous and simply gotten pregnant. It would have been much better!”
What is it that made Prisca so annoyed? It was the amount of pressure she was experiencing from the family as the wedding day drew near. She said: “It was as if the worst crime I ever committed was to tell the family that there was a man who wanted to marry me.”
Trouble began when the parents informed the other relatives about Ruth’s desire to get married. It soon became apparent that a clan leader was more powerful than her dad in deciding the way forward. They could not proceed until this man came into town.
Prisca had to foot the bill for this man’s coming. She also had to ensure that he was well fed while he was in town. All this was not part of the wedding budget. Prisca’s parents did not have the money and so she had to bear the cost of the meetings that followed.
Finally, the meetings for negotiations for the bride price started. Prisca’s relatives, upon hearing that her husband-to-be was an accountant working for a bank, came up with an astronomical figure. Kunda’s relatives put up a gallant fight to reduce the amount.
All this really agitated Prisca because the people who were pushing up the price were individuals whose own daughters were impregnated outside marriage and were thus given away for a song. Now here they were, saying, “We cannot give Prisca away that cheaply.”
With the bride price agreed on, wedding preparations started in earnest. An aunt insisted that her friend was going to lead the bride’s teaching group. The woman being referred to was an immoral woman who had children with other women’s husbands.
So, Prisca was upset that her mother agreed to this arrangement. She asked, “What good things will I learn from this woman that will strengthen my marriage?” Prisca instead wanted women from her church to play this role because she admired their spiritual lives.
She was right. The Bible says, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children” (Titus 2:3-4). Mentors must be good role models.
The biggest pressure, however, was over finances. A few of Prisca’s relatives wanted this to be “the wedding of the year”. They demanded that the wedding reception should take place at a luxurious hotel. They even suggested the company to do the decorations.
When Prisca was told how much all that was going to cost, including the amount to be paid for the food, it shot the budget into outer space. One of the aunts was willing to foot half the bill alone on condition she got half the wedding cards. She wanted her friends to be there.
Everyone else in the family warned Prisca that the moment she accepted this offer, she would live to regret it because this aunt was a real show-off. She would want to be prominent at that wedding. They recounted how she had misbehaved at a few previous weddings.
However, no relative was willing to confront her and so in the family meetings, they nodded their heads when she made the offers. Prisca and Kunda had been working on a list of invitees and already they were struggling to know whom to leave out. The list was full.
Prisca said in the family meetings, there was one uncle who saved her a few times because, in the midst of the competing voices and the sky-rocketing tempers, he would ask the question, “Who is getting married, kanshi?” He would then ask what Prisca preferred.
I think that the man is right. Parents, guardians, and other relatives need to realise that ultimately, it is not their wedding day. The persons who must enjoy the event above everyone else should be the bride and her groom. The rest of us should only play a supporting role.
For comments and confidential counsel, write to: reverendchanda@ yahoo.com
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