Commitment is the foundation of resilient marriages - Archbishop Mbanda

For Laurent Mbanda, the Archbishop of Anglican Church of Rwanda and his wife, their Christian faith has been the bedrock of their marriage. And in the 36 years they have been married, he says commitment has been the core facet that has held their union together.

Whereas it’s a desire for many to live happily ever after, building a lasting marriage remains a concern for most couples. But what really causes a drift in today’s marriages is blurred and varies according to different people.

 

Recently, when the Archbishop shared a tweet about building resilient marriages, he portrayed that whereas love is an important aspect in the foundation of a marriage, commitment is at the core of a successful and lasting union.

 

“Resilient marriages are built on four things:  (1) honesty, (2) Commitment, (3) respect, (4) forgiveness. My strong bias is on commitment,” he tweeted.

 

Why he had emphasis on commitment is that it is this that helps couples not to waver through difficult times.

“Yes I can respect you and forgive you but am I committed to that institution? Am I committed to you regardless? You see if I have that commitment which stems from unconditional love and respect for our institution of marriage,  I can be angry and do whatever, but I know that I am tied to that commitment I made and that inspires me to even say I am sorry forgive me,” he says.

 “It is the commitment to each other until death does us apart. That’s what it means when we say those words, it’s not necessarily about love, however, love feeds the commitment,” he adds.

In this regard, he highlights that whereas love is important for marriage, deciding to stay married is a determination and should be more than a feeling since feelings come and go with circumstances.

“And I think I say this from experience because even in my marriage, we have gone through some difficult times. I have been married for 36 years and everything I experience is not always rosy, but I am committed to the marriage regardless of what happens. We are committed to each other and when you have this nothing can tear you apart,” the Archbishop shares.

Mbanda notes that one of the things that tears couples apart is dishonesty.

“If a man or woman lies to the other, it is a very difficult thing to repair until you open up, repent and ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is also key to marriage.”

He, therefore, encourages couples to love each other unconditionally noting, however, that this kind of love can only come to us from God.

Mbanda is also against the mentality that some young people tend to carry into marriages, thinking that if it doesn’t work they can walk away.

Marriage is not a trial and this is the problem today, people are not going in committed for better or for worse, he observes.

Mbanda notes that even relationships are hard. At times when someone makes you unhappy, some walk away because they don’t have the patience of wanting to work things out, but this is because they have not committed yet. 

“What you feel for someone when you first meet could change, but when your love is inspired by God and based on Christian values, your relationship can last.”

What couples say

Penina Umutesi, a wife and mother, says another important factor is communication. 

Good and proper communication among partners yields a stable family. Once you communicate, any problem can be solved rather than keeping silent and ignoring one another, she says.

“When you communicate, love will build up and passionate communication is a great source of joy in marriage. Since we know that the core value of a good marriage is love, care and respect. This coupled with good communication, trust me, the end result is a happy and joyful family,” Umutesi adds.

Wilbur Bushara, a medic and husband, says what is more important is for couples to be lenient and understanding towards each other.

“We are imperfect beings and our weaknesses tend to show up most in relationships. What is required of us is to know that since we are imperfect, our partner too is bound to make mistakes. This is why patience and forgiveness is required for any relationship to succeed.”

dmbabazi@newtimesrwanda.com

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