Friday, March 20, 2009

Pre-marital counselling

What a totally awesome experience. It was 3 days of staying in the most peaceful place I think I have ever been to in my life. The last morning we were there we got up early met outside and watched the sun rise over Kilimanjaro which was crystal clear. There was not a single cloud in the sky. The counselling was really great. It was done by Pastor Daniel whom I really enjoyed being with. We laughed; we cried it was truly overwhelming. We learned from each other and prayed for each other. Some things I totally agreed with some I needed to let go of. I learned about African culture in marriage without Christ (which is still held by some) and the African culture within a Christian marriage.

Examples of this are that if you never get married you are not respected or even recognised within the community. So you cannot just chose a life of singleness. Then if you do get married and do not have children you are not recognised within the community. If it is due to infertility on the man’s part you sneak your wife away in secret to spend “time” with your brother. If it is barrenness on the woman’s part you find a sister in law that you can “be” with and then she simply gives you the baby. That one is slightly harder to keep secret. Now it is getting a bit better as women are becoming more and more educated. They are more career oriented and the realization that they may hold a place in this world other than in the kitchen is being accepted more in the younger generation.

Now as for their perspective as Christians it is said that God created marriage to cure the disease of loneliness. There should be solidarity in marriage and total transparency. The Christian marriage can be broken down in two words God and Love. Marriage is a sacrifice and a commitment; it takes contributions from the man and the woman. Marriage takes respect and patience. Then came the section I had only heard rumours about and did not even believe it existed, the section about sex.

I was surprised when he began to teach about sex and the way the male body works compared to the female body. They teach that because here in Africa there is absolutely no sex education. It is taboo to even bring up the word sex in conversation, which is part of the problem with the spread of HIV and Aids. If you are unable to talk about how it is primarily spread, then how are you able to teach people how to prevent it? Pastor Daniel has invited me to come and preach at his church about God’s opinion of pre-marital sex to his youth group and young adults after the wedding. I believe it is important to promote abstinence till marriage not condoms or even worse nothing at all. Here in Africa if you take no preventative measures at all you are playing Russian roulette with your life. The rate of infected people here in Tanzania is 6.5% which out of 100 does not seem too bad until you realize there are 37.6 million people in TZ. Meaning 2,444,000 are infected with HIV/AIDS. Sadly enough there are many many more countries within Africa that are way worse than TZ. It is predicted that in Kenya 4 out of 5 deaths of people between the ages of 25 – 35 are AIDS related.

Sorry I know my blog is usually more light hearted I just wanted to teach you a bit about the place I am living and encourage you to pray for change.

All in all the counselling was great. We learned about each other and the way we deal with certain things. We learned about dealing with conflict and hurt. We also had to write down our expectations of each other. This was really good. Bariki had to tell me exactly what he expected from me as his wife and I had to do the same for him. All of our expectations were Christ centered and within reach. Meaning it is not going to take either of us to be the perfect person or mate to fulfill these expectations all it will take is God’s help and grace.

In closing this section I will tell you some of the quotes I heard this week that encouraged me and touched my heart. “A happy marriage is a union of two forgivers.” Anonymous. “What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life, to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories...” George Elliot.

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