It is one thing to marry someone you love and end up falling out of love with them. It is another thing when you get married to someone you don’t love because of particular reasons, e.g. money. But it is very bad when you are in an arranged marriage. I know arranged marriages used to work in the old years, but it doesn’t work these days. I think it doesn’t work mainly because humans have developed as social beings, technology has improved and the way we form our relationships have changed drastically. People don’t meet in the rivers like they did in the olden day, people today meet in clubs, malls, church and malls because those are the places that people hang out.
The issue of someone being forced to get married to someone from their deceased partner’s family is not right. I think that is absolutely unfair because the person is supposed to be allowed to mourn and get married to someone they love when they are ready. Being forced to make life changing decisions when you are at the lowest point in your life is rubbish. Let us allow people to heal and move on when the time is right.
I was beyond shocked when they said Mdu must inherit me to be his wife. I was not some possession and I was not going to allow to be treated like a commodity. I was insulted that they even sat down and thought about it, have they no shame? We buried my sister just a day ago and she was probably still warming up and getting used to being in heaven..come to think of it I wonder if people who just died get a tour from the experts in heaven. I imagine Heaven to be an enormously, gigantic and beautiful place, so I think it would be nice if we get a tour-guide when we arrive in heaven and we get to know the things we can and cannot do.
Anyway back to my dilemma, this family was mad if they think that I was going to sleep in my sister’s bed, take her place as Mrs Msibi and give birth to babies that were supposed to be hers. This is my sister, my friend and someone I have shared everything in my life with apart from her husband, and I was not about start now. I was shocked and didn’t know what I was expect to say, how was I going to be decline their proposition without being seen as disrespectful?
“Hai sorry but I won’t be able to marry my sister’s husband. How can you people even suggest such? This is my sister’s husband, he is as good as a brother to me and as much as I care about him, I will never love him in a romantic way.” I said.
My aunt said “Hlengiwe marriage isn’t about romantic love, you say you care for him right? Caring for a person is exactly what you need as a foundation of a happy marriage.”
“That is true, this thing you call love is fickle and not constant. Some people who claimed to love each other when they got married, are divorced right now because the feeling of being in love changes rapidly. But caring for a person never changes, you always care for them whether they are making you happy or sad. You saw how Mduduzi looked after your sister, and it won’t be any different with you.”
Obviously Mduduzi looked after my sister because they loved eachother. With me, he will be doing everything out of obligation and that isn’t the life I envisioned for myself. I also want to marry a man I love and who loves me, I don’t want to be married because we are expected to do so.
I was still trying to absorb everything they said, when Mdu’s mother spoke up “Hlengiwe you might think this is unfair but don’t you think your sister will rest properly knowing that you will be looking after her husband and that her husband will look after you? This is the right thing to do, we will not send our cows to any other family because we have already build a bond between the families and united our families as one. This is the only way forward my children.”
These people were going insane and all this time Mdu was quiet. I don’t know whether he was quiet because he didn’t have an opinion or because he was waiting for them to finish so that he can tell them that they are mad or he was quiet because he loved their idea. Phela mina I’m very beautiful and he definitely wouldn’t mind taking me as his wife.
“I have my own life, I have a boyfriend I love and we are planning to get married. Mdu will find someone to marry when time goes on, I don’t think I will be happy marrying a man I don’t love.” I said, then my aunt said
“Hlengiwe we don’t care about your little boyfriend, we are not here to discuss your love life. All you have to do is break up with him and start building a life with Mduduzi.”
I wanted to give her a piece of my mind but because I respected Mdu’s uncles I decided to keep quiet. The discussion continued and I made it clear that I was not going to marry Mdu.
Mdu’s uncle said “We understand that you don’t want this and we caught you by surprise but please think about it my child and give it a try. If it doesn’t work then we will release you and allow you to make your own decision.”
With that said the meeting was over and I decided that I was going to go back home because I didn’t want any scenarios that were going to create awkward situations between Mdu and I. So I went to the room I was using and began to pack my things, as I was about to leave my aunt came to my room.
“Hlengiwe why are you packing, where do you think you are going? Sit down, we need to speak.”
Eish I was not in the mood for my aunt but I decided to sit down and listened to her.
She said “Hlengiwe I will not allow you to make a stupid question. Mduduzi has a lot of money and he will give you the life that many women want. We need this kind of person in our family, we will all continue to benefit from him if you marry him. He will help you grow your stupid little business into something big, and your cousins will never have to go job hunting because he will give them jobs at his companies. Do not think like a stupid child Hlengiwe, prove to me that you aren’t stupid. If your mother was alive, she was going to advise you to accept the offer from the Msibi family. You know your mother was driven by money, so I don’t understand why you are trying to act stupid.”
“Hai aunty but I don’t love him. For once in your life please try to understand me and take my side. I know you don’t care about me, but just this once please act like a real aunt and support my decision.” I said.
“Hlengiwe I care about you”, she said, “If I didn’t care about you I was going to prevent them from asking you to marry Mdu. I don’t want you to ever suffer financially, I want you to have a comfortable life and there is nothing wrong with getting married to your sister’s husband, it is tradition and it is a normal thing to do. Please be reasonable.”
I said “Okay aunty, I’m not promising anything but I will think about it and get back to you.”
She was happy when I said that and she let me go. I left and went back home. When I arrived I found my friends doing laundry.
“Haw girls you didn’t go to church?” I asked as soon as I went in, Sihle said “I didn’t get to do my laundry this week so I decided that it’s best I do it today before it becomes too much for me to handle.”
She told me to bring my dirty laundry so that she can do it for me, yoh I was beyond happy. Remember I don’t like doing laundry so she was doing me a favour.
When I brought the washing Tsiamo said “Guys I have made a decision. I know my mother doesn’t like you guys but I think it’s time I moved back in. We need to be there for each other right now, and I miss you guys so much. Living with my mom is boring, she has become extremely bossy so I need my space.”
We were both happy to have her back in the house, the house was quiet without her. We spent the rest of the day doing chores, then we watched some movies. At the end of the day, we all went to sleep.
The next day I woke up a bit late and watched TV and was enjoying my own company until I was disturbed by a knock on the door. I went to put on a gown and went to open the door. I found Mdu standing on the door, I let him in and led him to the lounge. We sat down and there was some silence in the beginning, I kept quiet because I didn’t know what he wanted so I was going to wait for him to speak.
“I don’t know whether I am what I’m about to do is right or wrong but I’m going to do it anyway.” He said. I asked him what he was talking about then he stood up and went on his knee. Oh my!! I was not ready for this. What the hell am I going to do now? I left Mdu’s house because I wanted to avoid any awkward situations but now he came from his house to my house inorder to create a very awkward situation.
I said “Mdu please don’t do this, please stand up.”
“Hlengiwe let’s do the right thing please, please marry me? He said.
I have been waiting for a marriage proposal but I’m getting it from someone I don’t love. Maybe I should just say Yes because you never get marriage proposal everyday. I also saw how much he looked after my sister and made sure she had everything she wants and needs. Maybe I was supposed to marry him, even though it felt a bit wrong.
Before I could respond to him, my kitchen door flung open then the person came to the lounge.
“What? Are you guys mad? Isn’t he your sister’s husband? You guys have no shame.”
Dammit if I agree to marrying him, people will think I have been eyeing my sister’s man and I was waiting for her to die so that I can take her place.
What must I do now?