A successful marriage is built on true love, care and patience.
The rekerahos’ marriage tells it all
Witnessing successful marriages in society has sometimes prompted young adults to rush into immature marital commitments.
The Rekeraho’s have a tale of their success story in the affair that has lasted for half a century.
Born in 1930, in the Northern Province (former Ruhengeri), David Rekeraho is husband to Florida Nyiradeni who was born in 1937 in the Northern Province (former Byumba).
Since 1954, they have had the kind of successful marriage that most people strive to realize.
The Rekerahos hold the belief that their marriage was God-given. It was not based on materials, but rather true love.
Since they got married, they have never attempted to divorce or separate, because they believe in the African traditional culture, which dictates that marriage is a lifetime institution.
Rekeraho says, “We owe each an interminable love, which has made our marriage successful.
We both care for the family and we raised our children well.” He adds that “I love my wife whole-heartedly, and every time I look at her, I find her young and beautiful. She is the one I chose among the millions and I’ll love her until death.”
Florida Nyiradeni who took the third name from Rekeraho says, “My husband is a gift from God. I had to act against my parents’ wish because I really love him.
He has all the qualities a woman would wish to see in a man. The love he showed me from the time we started courting has never deteriorated”.
In the traditional times, marriage was a lifetime institution – it was considered as a symbol of oneness, and couples were only separated by death. Today, some marriages have changed into war affairs, and some couples live more like strangers than lovers.
Some veterans and the elderly wonder what has happened to modern courting, dating and more so contemporary marriages. This couple that has successfully lived for more than half a century has set a leading example.
Woes in their marriage
As any aging couple would say, “Marriage is not a bed of roses.” The Rekerahos’ marriage has not been smooth.
Rekeraho says it all started when he proposed to Florida. He really loved and dreamt that she one day became his other rib. Unfortunately, Florida’s parents never bought the idea, because he broke with a poor background. They instead wanted her to marry a certain rich man in the village. Even though Rekeraho wasn’t rich, he says “I was pretty sure I could sustain a family.”
The day before the giveaway in 1954, Florida secretly got in touch with Rekeraho, and advised her to escape to her aunt’s village in the Eastern Province (former Umutara). Later they fled to Western Province (Gisenyi), stayed for two years, and after returned to the Eastern Province.
Although they met as lovers, Rekeraho says they lived in great fear, because they had acted against their parents desires.
In 1956, Florida had her second pregnancy. The two decided to go back to the girl’s family thinking that with payment of dowry, they would be blessed and legally live together.
However, as soon as the girl’s parents saw them, they called elders in the village to help settle the dispute. Rekeraho says the girl was cursed, and had all sorts of abuse imposed on her. Her mother even kept on reminding her of how she would live to regret her awful choice.
“I was charged to pay a dowry of two bulls, and a fine of two hoes and sacks of beans,” Rekeraho says.
This was the normal way of legalising marriage in society at that time. “After that, I started working harder, in order to prove to the elders and my family that I was a man and that Florida would never starve as long as she was my wife.”
Florida says she would have rather died, than not marry the man of her choice. She says her parents were forcing her to marry an old man, simply because he was rich.
“Parents should respect their daughters’ decision.
I really never liked the rich man, and I had a different heart’s desire that always tended towards Rekeraho” Florida Rekeraho says in a jovial mood.
Her parents tried their best to stop her marriage by intimidating her, but she had already made her choice. She says “I thank God that we fought the battle and won, because now we have had a successful marriage for years.”
Following the period of Tutsi persecutions, the couple fled to Uganda after five years of their marriage. While there, they settled in Masindi (Central Uganda).
Upon their return in 1995, the couple settled in the Eastern Province (former Umutara) with their family.
Talking about marriage today, the Rekerahos say people get married not because of love, but material gains.
“When parties fail to achieve what they targeted, they resort to divorce or separation, not considering the innocent child/children” says Rekeraho.
Florida Rekeraho adds that “Unlike during our time, today’s marriages are no longer taken seriously and they seem to have no meaning.”
The Rekerahos advise married couples, and those who desperately wish to join the institution, to bear in mind that marriage is not a bed of roses, and that no marriage is made in Heaven.
They say it’s unfortunate that most young people rush into marriage without considering its burdens and tasks.
People should know that a successful marriage is built on true love, honesty commitment and patience.
These are the secrets behind a happy and lasting marriage.
In this case, parents should stop marrying off their children, especially girls, because they want to get rich or richer.
Let decisions be made between both parties (girl and boy), because if misunderstandings rise in their family, they will stand to blame nobody else.