"I WILL LOVE YOU TILL THE DAY I DIE:
....IS THIS A REALITY OR A FALLACY?
Reverend Alec and Rebbecca Matimba founders of Transformational Families impart wisdom on marriage
THERE is growing consensus that marriage, an institution established by God at creation in the garden of Eden has no place in today's world.
Some now say that a real marriage for all practical purposes should last for about five years and should be terminated thereafter. This hypothesis is based on the spiralling number of divorce cases, domestic violence, infidelity and crimes of passion reported daily.
The High Courts in Zimbabwe has of late been inundated with divorce cases which social commentators attribute to the failing economy, lack of communication skills between partners and infidelity.
Over the past few years, the High Courts have granted decrees of divorces to many high profile personalities like army general Constantine Chiwenga, Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo whose divorce also shed light into his wealth among others.
However, divorce is not only limited to politicians but high profile men of the cloth like Pastor Admire Kasi and gospel musician Ivy Kombo of the Nguva Yakwana fame who divorced their spouses some time back. The two are now married and live in the United Kingdom. Christ Embassy Church was shaken when their leader respected pastor Chris Oyakhilome and his wife Anita divorced. Another prominent pastor Benny Hinn also divorced but he has since reconciled with his wife. The messy divorce of Family of God Church founder Andrew Wutaunashe and his wife after 17 years of marriage captured headlines. The Church also suffered as a result of this breakup which saw its assets at the centre of the acrimony.
It is with this background that Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) Pastors Alec and Rebecca Matimba founded Transformational Families for the purposes of nipping divorce in the bud by using biblical principles.
I (TC) caught up with one of the co-founders Alec Matimba (AM) to find out how Transformational Families (TF) will arrest divorce in Zimbabwe and change the negative perception that the youth now have of marriage. Below is an excerpt from the interview.
T.C; What is TF?
A.M; TF is an organisation founded on sound biblical principles inspired to bring literacy to the whole concept of marriage and family. We are passionate about marriage and aim to equip the public with knowledge about the origins and purpose of marriage. TF, in short, is a literal school of marriage.
T.C: What motivated you to start Transformational Marriages?
A.M; It was first the glorious anticipation we had for marriage which did not exactly come to pass or rather last long after our honey moon. We both married in our late 20s after sad experiences, waiting and taking the necessary precautions before finally deciding to marry. No sooner had we married did we start to experience disappointments in nearly every area and personally I concluded I had made a wrong choice of a wife. It seemed an impossible relationship because I had personally been convinced that Bekkie was the ideal life partner but alas.
Divorce was not considered possible because I knew I had been called into ministry, so I tried to find help as much as possible so that my wife would change. It was in the process of that help that we mutually discovered that marriage was a great work for both of us. We then started to use our experiences to help other couples.
T.C; What is your response to the view that marriage should only last for five years as it is not possible for two people to remain in love for more than that period?
A.M; Challenges creep into every relationship after marriage but it is not true that marriage should not last beyond five years. Every marriage relationship is a business organisation which goes through cycles from honeymoon stage, reality, maturity and it is the reality stage that determines whether it will survive. Unless something extraordinary like strong will and endurance by either parties or external interventions, the relationship may collapse.
T.C Please shed more light on these stages.
A.M; The reality stage is when the romantic spark of love for each other which is responsible for initiating the marriage but can in no way sustain it comes under threat. This is when both parties realise that their spouse is not as majestic and angelic as they thought them to be. Each couple has areas of common interest but because they are unique individuals they eventually notice their differences and this brings frustration to the union. It is at this stage which is generally approximated to be five years that couples may completely miss each other.
TC; Social commentators say the failing economy is one of the drivers of divorce. We have seen many men God directing all their energies to the gospel of prosperity and miracles. Why did you choose to focus on marriage?
A.M; From the position of the Bible, it appears that it is the only institution which God created before churches and businesses. The relationship between a man and his wife is ordained by God who expects every facet of life to function. This is where families, clans and societies originate from.
Marriage is the nucleus and once we get it right at that rudimentary stage we are likely to succeed in every other area. No success can be recorded outwardly when the nucleus has faults.
Society is not messed up by animals or global warming but by the activities of humankind whose roots are found in the family and marriage set up. If a marriage is good It produces good off spring and society is likely to succeed in its ventures because its relationships are guided by the values and morals taught at the primary level.
It is our view that marriage plays a fundamental role in producing good citizens that respect the dignity of others whether it be race, gender or ethnic group. Corruption is a manifestation of a conscience that is not taught values of love for people, honesty and integrity which values are grounded at infant stages of life.
T.C; Have you conducted any seminars on marriage so far and how have they been received?
A.M; We have done countless seminars in churches, social functions like kitchen parties, weddings, etc. People are so hungry and the feedback is amazing hence we've both decided to take it further by researching. I'm reading for masters in Leadership and Conflict Resolution while my wife is currently doing systematic counselling with Connect.
T.C; How do people access your services?
A.K; Basically through references as people share an experience after experience together. People take contacts and we have been invited to many forums from referrals where we get more referrals.Social media plays a great awareness role as posters spread to couples forums. People mostly get our mobile numbers from promos, posters and referrals. We arrange private meetings or they come to our offices if they're comfortable.People are also free to contact us on telephone +263 772 914 893or on email; firstname.lastname@example.org.
T.C; Do people have to pay to access your services.
A.M; Because of the dire need for the services and the fact that it is more of a ministry than a business, it is difficult to charge or come up with a fee. With the state of the economy, paying for counselling services may not be a priority for many. People can become so fed up with each other so much that separation or divorce is an easier root than trying to go through hectic tutorials. As peace builders, we appreciate that people can be so discouraged to think that help can come by. So at TF, we operate from a persuasive conciliatory view to reunite broken families at all costs and we support them wherever necessary. So we have an open door welcome policy before fee issues.
We, however, accept gifts and thanksgiving from those who appreciate the service. However, the organisation would do better this way given its mission than to run it as a profit making institution.
T.C; Where do you see Transformational Families in the near future?
A.M; We have the vision to rent big offices where we will establish a proper school for family and marriage issues and various courses from dating and courtship, premarital lessons with young people, building future mothers, fathers, parenting, communication, finances in a marriage, sexuality issues, extended family relationships etc. We intend to have established a curriculum where people will enrol for classes on how to deal with ageing people and how to cope with the extended family. By then we hope to be able to engage professional counsellors to deal with other issues that pertain to life and Godliness.