Live with Honour and Respect

“If one is seeking to build a truly satisfying relationship, the best way of bringing this about is to get to know the deeper nature of the person and relate to her or him on that level, instead of merely on the basis of superficial characteristics.” – The Dalai Lama

Guy and I made our marriage vows in 1973. Like every marriage, our journey together has had times of
turbulence when we have felt distant from each other and times when we have felt extremely close. Our
marriage has been a mixture of happiness, hurt, healing, resentment, gratitude, fun and laughter.
In looking back over the years I realise that the pillars of our marriage have been trust, good
communication and the freedom to be who we are. There have been times that it has been difficult to
speak to each other without becoming defensive. At such times, when there is unease in our relationship,
we have written letters to each other to express our feelings.

By writing a note or letter it opens the space to reflect on that particular issue for both the writer and
the reader. Once our emotions have calmed down we have then talked through our hurts into healing.
This has been the tool we have used to move our relationship back into a place of ease after the birth of
an argument.

Finding our way back from turbulence to peace is a journey required in every relationship. We all have
characteristics that can irritate our partners and we constantly stumble over the same small, irritating
habits. We are apt to repeat these failings, and striving to overcome them is part of the journey of a
sound relationship.

In the western world, our literature, movies and the media portray “love” as romantic love or sexual
attraction without appreciation and respect for the other person. As a source of happiness, romance on
its own has a lot to be desired although that intense attraction or “falling in love” plays a role in bringing
two people together. A relationship built without appreciation for the other person’s character and value
as a person is like building a home without foundations. In time cracks appear and the building falls
down.

Any relationship that is founded on romantic love alone is difficult to sustain. Romance can enhance
the bond between two people but trust, commitment and responsibility are the foundation stones on
which a lasting relationship is built. Two people bonding their lives together share their ups and downs –
and everyone has them.

Relationships based on caring, thoughtfulness, tolerance, compassion, good communication and genuine affection create a meaningful bond not only with a lover but also with friends, colleagues, acquaintances and strangers.
It can be the death of a marriage or relationship when we focus all our attention and affection on just one person. Marriage is made stronger by building bonds and relationships with others outside of marriage and in our communities.
As loving parents we have a commitment to our offspring that they have a loving community to receive them as they are brought into this world. No man, woman or family is an island. We all need the care of family, friends, community
and neighbourhood to share our joys and sorrows and support us in times of trouble.

In South Africa we have a saying which says “It takes a village to rear a child.” It does take a village,
a community, to help raise a child, to support the family and help us weather the storms of life. When Candice was a baby, my husband, Guy, who had already obtained a law degree, started studying for accountancy. He felt that he could
no longer live in a society which was so unfair and enforced apartheid. He was looking to emigrate. Near the completion of his degree I was pregnant with Paul, our second child, and I could not face the idea of emigrating to a country where I did not have the support of family, friends and community to help raise my children. I could not
tolerate the idea of them growing up without the support of grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins,
friends and community. I dug in my heels and refused to move. We decided to stay in South Africa and in our own
small way endeavoured to make a difference to the lives of those who were oppressed by the laws in South Africa at that time.

It has been one of the best decisions of our lives. We are extremely grateful to have the memories of a life in SouthAfrica filledwith the care and support of family, friends and community. Marriage built on honour and respect offers the gift of a loving relationship between two people who are equal but are different.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” –
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7.