What makes a happy African MarriageWe all want to be in an intimate relationship, to be happy forever with the perfect partner. Whether you are in your 20' 30's 40's or more, you are either single, in a relationship, married, divorced or widowed, have you ever stopped to think - what would be your perfect marriage ?

I'm going to write about a "Happy marriage" in the context of the African culture. The difference between an African marriage and all other marriages is that apart form all the elements involved in your relationship, the man will pay lobola to marry his wife, and that defines the whole context of your union.

1) Understanding your role in the marriage

Any woman, whether PHD holder or an uneducated rural girl, and any man, regardless of his station in life is looking for: Love, connection, commitment, giving, respect, trust, intimacy and ultimately happiness which comes from all of these in a marriage.

Whether you are a man or a woman, It's important to know that in order for you to achieve all this, you must understand the structure of the African marriage.

You may have observed, many men like to refer to their women as "baby", and we playfully call our lovers "daddy". In the European wedding, the father will walk her daughter down the isle, and hand her over to another "father" because she is the baby, who is now in her adult life, she now needs a "father" who will love and protect her.

The man must understand this new position, as head of the family. He must be well positioned to love, protect and provide for his woman, his "baby".

We live in a very diverse society and a lot of cultures infiltrate our mindsets. Without the proper guidance, we are not sure what really works. 

A woman, in her nature is a helper, she serves and in return she receives love, commitment, respect and honour.

When a man pays lobola and cows to your family, he is in essence communicating that he is worthy of your honour. You will not talk to him anyhow, you will respect and honour him as king of your household. In return, you will gain his favour, his love and his compassion and most of all, his commitment.

You must find a man who is worthy of your honour, a woman must know who she is before she sets out to look for a life partner. Once you know and understand who you are, you must find a man who you are able to submit. A woman must never marry a man she cannot submit to.

Domineering women are usually a result of misguided objectives of women's liberation agendas. This is where some women want to emasculate, robbing the man of his social and psychological role in the family and in the context of marriage. It can be taken so far that there is no longer a difference between male and female, man or woman, husband or wife as well as a culture that is constantly eliminating the boundaries that define manhood or womanhood. This creates a generation of women that become overly dominant. 

When a man has to constantly battle his wife for the pants, it throws the structural order of the family off, and it also confuses the whole chemistry.

It is important to understand that both of you are in dominion, but each of you has specific roles in the family dynamics. This does not necessarily mean that the man is always making decisions, neither does it mean the woman is exploited and abused.

A wise and honourable man will ensure that his wife is happy. When a man is respectful, honest, honourable and all the things his wife requires, he will in turn receive love, honour respect and all the other things that he requires from his woman.

2. Sexual Faithfulness

Faithfulness is important if you want a happy, long lasting relationship. Many men are of the mindset that it's okay to cheat and that it is acceptable for a man to cheat but not acceptable for a woman to cheat. The truth is, if you are in a committed monogamous relationship, when you cheat the emotional hurt is deep. After this, the woman is no longer in love, she is now persevering. A happy marriage is when a woman is in love not when she is persevering. The same goes for women. If you cheat and your man forgives you, 9 in 10 cases, the relationship will not be the same as in the beginning, so before you consider a relationship outside your marriage, be aware that you may potentially lose what you currently have.

3. Intimacy

Sex is the single unique bond which separates all other people and it must be taken seriously. Make it a commitment to ensure that your partner is satisfied sexually. It is important that you are your sexual relationship and you are able to raise and discuss your sexual relationship with your partner as needed. 

3. Humility

Humility in marriage means the absence of pride. Always be prepared to put your pride aside for your marriage. If you respect your partner well enough it will not be difficult to be humble for your marriage.

4. Patience/Forgiveness

Patience and forgiveness will always be required in a marriage relationship, because no one is perfect. Be prepared to humbly admit your own faults and do not expect perfection from your partner. Learn not to bring up past errors in an effort to hold your partner hostage, and they do not seek to make amends or get revenge when mistakes occur. Holding onto a past hurts from your partner will only damage your relationship further.

5. Time

We now live very busy lives with many commitments and children to care for and couples can find themselves with very little time for each other. Find a way to spend time together regularly, do your shopping together, dining out, sports, exercising, sharing  hobbies and holidays can help couples spend more time to become closer and therefore get to know one another better.

6. Honesty and Trust

Honesty and trust become the foundation for everything in a successful marriage. But unlike most of the other essentials on this list, trust takes time. You can become selfless, committed, or patient in a moment, but trust always takes time. Trust is only built after weeks, months, and years of being who you say you are and doing what you say you’ll do. It takes time, so start now—and if you need to rebuild trust in your relationship, you’ll need to work even harder.

7. Communication

For a healthy marriage, you need to communicate as much as possible. Communications is not all about grievances, kids’ schedules, grocery lists, and utility bills. Communicate your hopes, dreams, fears, and anxieties. Honest, forthright communication becomes the foundation of a solid union and your partner knows they can trust you.

8. Selflessness

more marriages are broken up by selfishness than any other reason. A selfish person is committed only to himself or herself, shows little patience, and never learns how to be a successful spouse. Give your hopes, dreams, and life to your partner. And begin to live life together.

A successful and healthy marriage is more valuable than most of the temporal things we chase after with our lives, and will always last longer.

Accomplishing the marriage advice listed above will always require nearly every bit of yourself, but it is worth it if you are willing to invest in a happy marriage.