The Charambas’ secret for marriage that lasts

The Charambas, who recently celebrated their 25th marriage anniversary have remained role models for many across the social divide nationwide.

MARRIAGE is considered to be a big and multifaceted institution that can be an enjoyable experience, but requires good communication and understanding from the two people that came into this institution.

As respect is said to be important in a relationship, John Gray in his book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus notes that without the awareness that people are supposed to be different, men and women are at odds with each other.

In today’s society, marriage seems to have fallen into disrepute with the emerging of social media platforms as issues of infidelity appear to have become so fashionable such that those who are not tangled are deemed foolish.

The cases of extra-marital affairs and revenge-cheating are on the rise; as evidenced by developments being exposed on social media platforms such as Facebook and WhatsApp.

These infidelity shames have resulted in the breaking of marriages and serious fights that at times involve the use of guns.

The infidelity scandals have seen not only ordinary individuals being caught, but even respected members of society such as clerics, celebrities, journalists and government officials have also been caught up in the cheating web.

Locally, celebrity status has brought with it children, moving them out of marriages as it seems like fame has given some of them a licence to exploit women or to lure men. With all such type of behaviors being displayed by local celebrities and at a time when some musicians’ careers have been rocked by scandals, the gospel music super couple, Pastor Charles and Olivia Charamba have grown to become among the few torch bearers and respected musicians in the country. 

The Charambas, who recently celebrated their 25th marriage anniversary have remained role models for many across the social divide nationwide. The Standard Style senior reporter Winstone Antonio (WA) caught up with the Charambas, Charles (CC) and Olivia (OC) who shared their marriage nuggets that have seen them being together for over two decades. Below are excerpts from the interview.

WA: Congratulations as you recently celebrated your 25th anniversary as Mr and Mrs Charamba. Taking you back, how and when did you first meet?

OC: We met at church in St Mary’s Apostolic Faith Mission in Chitungwiza. We were both young people who loved God and music.

WA: How did the courtship play out, and for how long before you tied the knot?

OC: The courtship lasted for about a year and a half. It was a time of assessing one another. My husband had a calling to minister through music so we both needed to assess how compatible it was going to be for us. We had our differences and a number of times we called it quits, but there was always something divine that drew us back together.We were both being very watchful and prayerful about the relationship. There were people who would discourage us by telling us that we did not match. My husband has a rural background and I on the other hand grew up in the middle class suburbs of Harare and Gweru and this contributed to some saying we were a mismatch according to their perceptions. Our backgrounds were actually beneficial to our ministry and we think God proposed it that way.

WA: From your experience, what would you say makes a strong marriage?

OC: Having a relationship with God is essential because He is the author of marriage. There are things (traits, behaviors, characteristics) in us that can only be managed by the Almighty. Trying to change someone with our own strength is sometimes not healthy in a relationship.

We might end up breaking our spouse or losing them because sometimes imbambaira isisa swatanudzike.  Be willing to adjust and accept certain things and also be willing to compromise where possible.

WA: Understandably, every marriage faces challenges. What have been your secret in riding the storms you have encountered?

OC: We try as much as possible to communicate our dissatisfactions to one another. We try to understand where one is coming from, and not jump into conclusions.

Agreeing to disagree in certain circumstances and accepting each other’s differences has also helped us. Sometimes we have sought assistance or counseling from trusted relatives and senior Pastors of integrity and of course we have also engaged in praying over our difficulties.

WA: You are both in music, how has working together helped to strengthen your marriage?

CC: We have traveled on an interesting journey filled with exploration, fun and mild injuries. It’s a journey I will never regret. Being in the limelight adds to creating sanity around our relationship because we are accountable to God, ourselves and society.

We don’t spend much time giving each other reports on how things would have transpired at the workplace because we share that same space.

Doing gospel music together gives us an unprecedented measure of satisfaction and we feel like we are doing what we are divinely purposed to do.

Being in close proximity to each other has also worked positively in thwarting some temptations that characterise the music industry in general.

WA: There are some men who believe working with their wives will strain their marriages. What can you say to them?

CC: It all depends on who we choose to be. If we moderate our egos, be more tolerant towards each other and respect our spouses, nothing negative happens. Nothing can stop a couple from working together if they are willing and committed to do so.

Our society has labeled it “kutongwa nemukadzi” if one’s wife’s opinions dominate in what they do together. This should be a thing of the past. Wives can commandeer a project with the credit being given to both spouses.

We all have opportunities to break the boxes of limitation and believe that we can work together where necessary. Certain concepts and projects need spouses as professional partners regardless of how ideologically or financially endowed an entity can be. Many a time we strangle ourselves by agreeing to adopt generalised conclusions. Couples can do so much together and still have their marriage intact.

It is however, something that should not be forced on any spouse because it can end in dire consequences. Some emotions if not controlled can be hurtful.

WA: There is also the adage familiarity breeds contempt. How have you managed to ensure that your love continues to grow despite having been together for so long?

CC: There is some truth in the adage. As for us, we are deliberate on aspects like tolerance and acceptance. We have embraced an understanding that it is human for a spouse to behave foolishly or below the level they are expected to and this helps us to focus on more important things, brushing aside the trivial.

We try our best to observe the different hats that we put on in different situations and settings. Mai Charamba is not always “muroora wamai’ in every situation, I have to deliberately look at her as an anointed minister of the gospel and as a co-worker in respective settings.

WA: It would appear in our contemporary society, marriage is no longer taken seriously, especially in view of the high divorce statistics. What are your thoughts on that?

CC: One unbelievable challenge of today’s society is having too many options and remedies for a single problem. There are potential spouses planted around as substitutes, so, moments after one gets disappointed by their husband or wife, they are already in bed with those on standby. Even if they receive sincere apologies from the offending side, it would be too late to revert to their family settings because they have already moved on, these are strange practices.

Some spouses have developed ambitions like relocating or remarrying and they regard that marriage as a hindrance from achieving what they desire. Yesteryear, most marital disputes were directed to the aunties or pastors’ homesteads. Our fathers would follow up on our disgruntled mothers who may have decided to return to their own clans. Marriage and patience are synonymous.

Nowadays problems that need simple solutions are paraded on social media “streets”, courts are becoming an easy access, lawyers being instructed to process divorce papers, the couple having not given any critical attention to the issues in question.

Couples in disputes need to give themselves more time to sort out issues through counseling and introspection. They have an opportunity to stay together before making hasty regrettable decisions.

It is however, important for us to note that not all divorces are caused by recklessness. Some did the right thing and have preserved life instead of pretending while holding on. Some marriages are riddled with unbearable abuses and life-threatening acts so it’s encouraging to see victims in such settings pull out alive.

WA: What advice can you give those preparing for marriage?

CC: Marriage is not a social project introduced by any organisation or world body, but it’s a life project initiated by God. This project is mysterious because it brings to souls strange from each other to be one. One has to be a stranger, the reason why it is regarded unlawful if one marries a relative. But that union is expected to change the two to be one.

Young people aspiring to enter into marriages must never shun prayer, through it they will be guided by the Lord who examines the heart.

We are only good at seeing aspects like financial status and physical appearance, but God scans the real soul. Have Him on your side.

Single persons desiring to get married need to know that there is someone who is like a missing piece of a puzzle. They will stay incomplete without that particular piece. They need spiritual eyes to locate that person and the theatre in which to conduct that business is the prayer room. Guesswork can never solve real puzzles.

They also need to take time studying their partners before committing themselves in marriages. Traits of a cheat or honest life-partner can always be exhibited no matter how one tries to hide. God is faithful, he won’t let your feet stumble. So, marrying the wrong partner can be avoidable. Youngsters should desist from amassing these modern theories that incite them to marry a best friend so as to secure the bond. Some of these theories sound incredibly nice but empty and untrue.

Humans change, friendships freeze, as such, marriages based on friendships are not guaranteed to stay.

WA: Any last words you may want to share concerning this subject?

CC: Parents have a duty to showcase the dynamics of a marriage to their children. Somehow as parents we have wrongly schooled our children by presenting an artificially polished marital to them. Children should learn that their parents have moments of bliss and gloom and should copy the good they observe.

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