In the past, at least two things were guaranteed to happen at a wedding: at least two familial factions would find excuse to publicly reignite a long-running feud and, half the time the bride would be crying her eyes out.
The former still happens; the latter doesn’t. So, why have brides stopped crying on their wedding day?
One can take the cynical view and say that the divorce rate at the High Court suggests that the bride knows that she’ll be back home in a couple of months or weeks.
Depending on her underworld connections, the bride can also retreat to a secluded spot and calm her nerves with a blunt of freshly-harvested, heavenly-smelling mj from south central Malawi.
Then there is the possibility that rising temperatures are adversely affecting water bodies within and without the human body.
For obvious reasons, those interviewed for this story don’t want to be named and so numbers will suffice. Bride One starts by being flip and glib, quipping that today’s brides don’t cry because they have more cultural sophistication.
“Why should you cry?” asks the 2010 bride.
On the other hand, Bride Two, who has notched up two decades of holy matrimony, says that the wedding-day composure of today’s brides is a result of them being very well-acquainted with the groom’s family or even having close relations with some of them.
“That wasn’t the case in the past because a bride you would not have developed such closeness with her husband’s family,” she explains, adding that on her own wedding day, she cried so much that her mother became terribly upset.
The crying, she explains, was a result of fear and anxiety about the future.
“You ask yourselves questions about the family that you are joining: Would other family members be good to me or not? Would the marriage last? What challenges am I going to deal with? Naturally, this induces a lot of nervousness and you end up crying,” she says.
Becoming serious, Bride One says (with regard to the first question) that nowadays one doesn’t have to worry about in-laws because unlike in the past where a bride would go to live in a large household with her husband’s family, today’s couples live separately in their own homes.
To Sethokgo Sechele, a Molepolole woman who turns 82 on Friday, tearless brides are an indication that marriage is taken lightly.
“Today’s brides don’t ask themselves questions that yesteryear’s did. They don’t take marriage seriously which is why the divorce rate is very high.
In the past, married couples considered marriage to be sacred because they would have made a vow in front of their parents and village elders to stay together until death. It was a measure of their respect for those elders that they didn’t abrogate vows made under such circumstances. Today’s youth show no such respect,” she says.
In her day, the Girl Guides Movement that Sechele joined in 1940 at the age of eight and is still a member of, offered pre-marital counselling.