Rekindling of love by married couples is probably one of the most lacking ‘spices’ in marriage; hence the high divorce rates in the country. It was after this realization that the Catholic Bishop of Gaborone Diocese, His Holiness Right Reverend Valentine Tsamma Seane came up with an initiative to gather together married couples during Valentine’s Day.
The first was celebrated Sunday, at the Ave Maria Pastoral Conference Centre. The event started with Mass as is Catholic practice, followed by a motivational talk by the Bishop during which he told couples of the value and importance of marriage.
Bishop Seane said though the Church does not approve of divorce, the faithful are free to approach the courts of law to end their marriages. Since there are instances where Catholics end up divorced the Bishop took time to explain what the Church’s position on such instances is. He said the church assesses whether there was marriage in the first place. There are instances, he said where people stay together thinking they are married, and everyone thinks so while the reality is that they are not.
“You may stay together while there are impediments that one partner had not informed another about. For instance you may say I am marrying this woman so that I can obtain Botswana citizenship and then divorce her in three months. In that case the marriage was null and void. It was never a marriage,” said the Bishop.
He gave another example of people who live together as a couple for many years but remain unmarried. He said in some cases there are people who are incapable of marriage.
“People who are permanently impotent are incapable of marriage because marriage should be consummated. If it is not consummated then it is incomplete,” he said.
The Bishop explained that the Catholic Church respects marriage so much so that it is one of the sacraments. However, said Bishop Seane, marriage is the most attacked institution in the modern world. In response, the Church has taken action that will ultimately counter the attack. There are several workshops the church has introduced specifically to deal with situations in marriage. He motivated couples to practice dialogue and communication to keep their marriage going.
“Plan things together… Love needs to be nourished. Go together for shopping, celebrate life events together, do not be stingy when you have to celebrate; do charity as a family, shun corruption, never abandon the elderly,” he said.
Three couples gave testimonies of their experiences in marriage. The first was the recently wed one; which testified about the new pre-marital workshop conducted at Ave Maria. The second couple was testifying about 31 years of their marriage. Their secret of success is praying together, forgiving each other and planning things together. The third was couple was probably the oldest-52 years of marriage.
The couple’s interesting testimony revealed the joy of a young lady who prayed that God gives her a man who does not smoke excessively, drink excessively or his beat spouse.