Concerns have been raised about escalating divorce rates in the country. While no one knows exactly why marriages breakdown so easily and quickly nowadays, finances, communication breakdowns and infidelity are often cited as the main wreckers of marriage. At a Valentine’s Day church service hosted for married couples by the Catholic church last week, a couple that had been married for 52 years shared with the younger audience the secret behind keeping the fires burning in marriage.
First to speak was the wife, Mrs Pauline Makepe, who started by informing her audience that she had been married to her husband since 1964. As a young lady, Mrs Makepe prayed to God to give her a husband who wasn’t abusive and didn’t drink excessively. For his part, Mr Makepe said he used to work for the Bechuanaland Protectorate office in Mafikeng, distributing bursaries for government sponsored students. He came to notice that there was a particular student who consistently performed well, and that was Pauline Diseko. He was so impressed with this lady that he sought to get to know her.
Incidentally, one day he got on his bicycle, well dressed in a double breasted suit and rode to the railway station. He found that a passenger train had just parked at the station and when he looked up he saw a very beautiful girl looking out the window. He went into the train to see her, but was immediately rebuked by an elderly lady who looked like she was accompanying the girls on the train.
“Where do you think you are going?” he asked.
“To see that girl seated over there,” Mr Makepe replied confidently.
The lady responded: “Oh that girl? She is Pauline Diseko and she is my child.”
Mr Makepe beat a hasty retreat, but he was happy that his dream of meeting the high flying student had been answered. Sometime later he visited a friend in Gaborone and found Pauline Diseko at the house. His host was already leaving for work, so she asked Pauline Diseko to make him some tea.
“The tea was very nice tea. After drinking I asked her to take me half way. She agreed. I held her hand, she did not resist. I told her I loved her and wanted to marry her. She scratched her head and asked; do you smoke? I did not so I said no. Do you drink? Do you beat girls? I did not. So I responded in the negative,” narrated Makepe.
Three days later he received a positive response through a letter. In 1964 they got married at St Conrad’s Parish in Ramotswa. After they were married they moved to Francistown, where Mrs Makepe worked as a teacher earning 12 pounds while the husband earned 87 pounds as District Commissioner. When he asked her how they are going to use their earnings, the wife decided that they would use her salary to buy food and take care of the household while his salary would be used for bigger projects.
“She did not have an account but I did. So I suggested that we use my account to save our money. We have used the same family account ever since. It is written in my name. We do everything together. We discuss what we want to do; we budget together and go shopping together. No one uses money without consulting the other,” said Mr Makepe.
The humble Mrs. Makepe has two degrees, but she has always been submissive and respectful to her husband. They pray together. Whenever they want to eat out they eat the same meal. When one partner has not arrived home, the other does not eat but waits for the other to arrive. Blessed with five educated children, this couple’s love grows with age.