[notice]A fortnightly column on marriage, family and relationships.[/notice]
If you were to closely follow a wedding procession you will realise that the bride and the groom come at different times. It is normally the groom who goes to the altar and waits for his bride. A wedding might take different forms depending on the culture observed. What is the same though in most wedding ceremonies is what the couple does, almost instinctively, as soon as they are announced husband and wife. When they leave the church they do not leave the way they came in.
They leave holding hands!
They are always hand in hand!
How beautiful an image that we take so lightly! The groom and bride leaving united, holding hands. They are not holding anybody else’s hand. They are holding each other’s hand. That is how it is supposed to be throughout life. We are supposed to hold each other’s hands. Holding hands is a symbol of unity. It is a symbol of oneness; of togetherness. One goal! One war cry! We are in this together. How many times have we watched a scene in a movie where a patient is lying there on the bed helpless? They are not talking. Even the spouse who is with them might utter a few words but they do not say much. The only form of communication they have between them is touch. We see the spouse touching and squeezing their beloved’s hand.
Let us continue to hold each other’s hands throughout life. Let this act not end after the wedding or the first few weeks of the honeymoon. Let us be found in our later years with wrinkled hands still holding each other.
One of my favourite things to do when I am watching television with my husband is to reach out and touch his hands. My love language is touch and that is how I receive and communicate love. Without saying a word at all I reach out and I hold his hand. You distinguish people as lovers when they hold hands. There can be many people in a building but whenever you see two people holding hands you know that there is love there. You will never walk a distance with an enemy or someone you do not have any connection to whilst holding hands (except if you are marching with them). Holding hands speaks volumes about the type of relationship that two people have. They are not strangers or acquaintances.
Let us commit to still be found touching our beloved’s hands. HOLD HANDS! BE ONE! Raise up your hands in praise together! Raise them up in prayer together! Cry out to the Lord together as you pray as a family. Introduce the culture of holding hands to your children as you pray as a family. We see it sometimes when we have a prayer session at church. The holding of hands is truly a symbol of unity. Practice it in your home. Practice unity. Be One! Reach out to heaven as one. Continue to show love through your hands.
In the midst of the ululation and the joyful noise as the guests wish the couple well as they start their new life. As they say their wedding vows to each other, as they dance to the beautiful music and rejoice with their friends and family, the most striking image of the proceedings of the day is the image of the couple always together. The groom is never too far from his bride. They are one. Whenever you see the groom you see the bride soon after. Even their names are written as one. There is no separation i.e. Rest and Neziswa Kanju (not two Kanjus). What happens down the years where the very same couples can’t even stand to sleep in the same bed? What happens to the closeness? What happens to the hands that are always touching each other? What happens to working together?
My mother during the years has always given us the same advice, “Bambisanani” loosely translated as “Work together”. “Ukubamba” is a Xhosa word meaning to touch. She has told us that if you continue working together there is nothing that would be too difficult for you. Could this be the secret to the long marriages of old…that they worked together? Studying marriages and relationships is my life’s work and I must admit that I am a student of marriages of old that last for decades compared to marriages these days where if you make it to 10 you have achieved the seemingly impossible?
As Christian couples it is our duty to work harder in our marriages. The world need answers and they need to see that a marriage can work if it is done His way. They will see a marriage where the spouses are genuinely happy and holding each other’s hands in oneness.