Love goes beyond tribe

JUSTIN and Mutinta.

How we met:
THEY say the heart has a mind of its own and gets what it wants. For Justin Somi, that rings true when he first met his wife Rothrin Mutinta Hindombondo in Lusaka in 1994. She was all he wanted and desired in his life.
At the time, Rothrin was a typist and Justin and his friend had gone to her workplace to get some papers typed.
“But from the moment I saw her, I was smitten. I had not even said a word to her but my heart knew I had found what I had been looking for in a woman,” he says.
Justin did not waste time and informed his friend that the woman was going to be his wife. Even though he did not know her name or how to approach her for three months, he kept going to her workplace just so he could see her.
He says he had no courage to talk to her, probably for fear of rejection but after three months lapsed, he gathered enough courage and boldly proclaimed his love her.
Her response was not impressive but he held on to hope that she would give him a positive feedback.
“I told her I wanted to marry her. She simply said she would think about it and give feedback. I was not discouraged and true to her words, she got back to me after two months with a yes,” he says with a smile.
But unfortunately for the couple, they faced strong opposition from both families because of their different tribes and cultures.
Justin’s family had wanted him to marry a woman from either Eastern or Luapula provinces while Rothrin’s family was adamant that she marries her tribesman, a fellow Tonga.
His mother was reluctant to give her blessings because she felt that the marriage would not work. But that did not affect his love for Rothrin, in fact that made him love her more.
“Before I got married, I had a checklist of the qualities that I wanted in a woman and tribe was one of them but all that changed when I met Rothrin. It did not matter,” he says.
Rothrin was also under pressure from her relatives to ditch the Bemba man because according to them, it was considered traditionally wrong for a Tonga to marry into another tribe, especially a Bemba.
However, in the end, love won because after one year of courtship, the couple eventually got married on November 18 1995.
The couple now has four children and Justin describes the marriage as a happy union.
“There are so many things that attracted me to my wife besides her beauty and over the years I have discovered a lot of things that I continue to love about. She loves God, she is not materialistic, she’s kind and hardworking,” he says.
He says though they may have disagreements as a couple, there is nothing that can make him regret his decision to be with his wife. For him, it is only death that will part them.
He says he also does not subscribe to the infamous notion that marriage is a shipikisha club.
“We must not allow people to reduce marriage to a club because there is nowhere in the Bible where it is referred to as such,” he says.
He says the 23 years of marriage has taught him how to amicably resolve issues with his wife and the importance of apologising when in the wrong as well as ensuring he does not intentionally offend his wife.
His wife Rothrin, a teacher by profession, says she had not taken any interest in Justin when the two first met to the extent that she was actually shocked when he proposed love and marriage to her.
B u t s h e thought about his proposal and gave a positive response two months after because she felt he was serious about what he wanted. She says he had not stopped coming to her workplace even after she took months to accept his proposal.
She says even after the more than two decades of marriage, she still loves her husband and that there is nothing she can change about him because she loves him the way he is.
“I felt he was courageous and that attracted me to him. I also liked the fact that he was not discouraged by my answer when he proposed. He kept coming as he usually did before I accepted to be with him,” she says.
She says although opposition from both families would have easily broken up any couple, that did not affect her relationship with him. It made her love him more.
She says comparing partners and spouses usually brings problems in marriages and may lead to couples breaking up.
“My advice to wives is be content. Marriage should never be about money or material wealth.
“In fact, sometimes it is even better to start building a home together because that way you learn to appreciate your partner,” she says.
Rothrin says it is important to put God first in everything a couple does in order to ensure that He sustains it. She also recommends praying for husbands.
Justin’s advice to other couples especially men is mutual respect and trust. He says it is always important for men to apologise when they are wrong instead of being proud.
“It is also important to communicate and openly and share their feelings. It is equally important to know why you are marrying,” he says.

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