As We Celebrate 25 Years Of Marriage
On July 27 we celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with family and friends at The Bridge wedding venue in Johannesburg. It was a great day to recall where we started, and also to renew our commitment and wedding vows to each other.
We look forward, God willing, to renewing our vows again in Cana on a special couples’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land next February, in the place where Jesus started to transform not just a wedding feast but the world.
Present on our 25th anniversary celebration were some of the guests who were also present on our wedding day in 1994!
We Are Privileged
We are honoured and privileged to be in a position to celebrate 25 years of marriage. It does feel like a lifetime.
We live in a world in which marriage is slowly becoming extinct. Mainstream society no longer appreciates the values of a good marriage, and good family values.
We see an increasingly individualistic society in which self-absorbed people are occupied mostly with their own rights and look out only for their own needs. We live in an era of self-importance which downgrades the needs of the community at large.
At our anniversary event, we were by no means parading a perfect marriage. But we were celebrating the grace and the love of God in our lives, which has helped us along the very difficult and sometimes seemingly almost impossible journey of our marriage.
We have learnt throughout our nuptial journey that it takes a village to help a marriage on its course — a village of loving and supportive people.
Maintaining a marriage is a difficult thing these days purely because of the social environment that we live in, which by its nature is hostile towards marriage.
We face a great challenge as well in trying to lead by example, especially because of our involvement in the family ministry of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
We are not the perfect couple which some might expect us to be. We are human beings; we make mistakes. Sometimes we even forget the conflict-resolution techniques which we teach other couples.
Our Marriage Preparation Classes
On our journey of the past 25 years we have lost family members and friends, and we have also gained new family members and friends. We have endured pain and suffering, but also have found great joy in our lives and amazing grace and love. We can say that we’ve made it so far with lots of prayer and the support of others.
And we had a good grounding in that.
We started our marital journey with the pre-marriage class given by the late Mr Kunene and his wife Gemma.
Today we give a similar class to the couples whom we prepare for marriage. We share with them some of our own life experiences — it adds some flavour and a personal touch.
We were never alone in our journey and we are very grateful for all the experiences, good and bad, that have helped us grow in our marriage.
And we are grateful to the people who helped form us as a couple.
Special thanks are due to our parents and grandparents who raised us with strong family values and who guided us through the early stages of our marriage.
We are also very grateful to our late parish priest, Fr Michael Fitzpatrick, for his support and prayers when we faced the worst times in our marriage.
Marriage is not, as the popular wisdom rightly notes, a bed of roses — but it is the most beautiful, most challenging, and most rewarding experience of God’s love and presence on earth in our lives.