Bringing back the love
Whilst Valentine’s Day is not recognised in the Zulu traditional culture, last February Father Sfiso Mpanza decided to make use of the occasion to arrange a retreat for married couples.
His motivation was to address some of the challenges that exist in marriages, and also to build on the Year of the Family. The wives were eager, but the husbands needed a little coaxing to attend what turned out to be a life changing event for all participants.
The day was divided into sessions for wives only, husbands only, and then couples together.
Couples were asked how they greeted one another at the beginning and end of each day – was it with genuine love and care, or with indifference, or not at all?
But the real test came when couples were asked to hold each other and say, ‘I love you’ to their spouse. Some had never done this before and it was obviously not an easy declaration to make, no matter how they felt.
The day concluded with a special Mass during which Father gave a marriage blessing. At Sunday Mass the following day, the report-back was overwhelming . . . the love had been brought back . . . into the marriage, and into the family.