A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man. … by: Lana Turner

It has been an on going debate in my reality as to the status that marriage affords any woman across many
cultures. Marriage is what little girls dream about and from the moment she is able to build the fantasy through play a ‘prince’ is almost always in the picture somewhere.  In my country there are many cultures and therefore quite a few tricky, if not interesting preambles to the joining of two people.  It gets even more complicated depending upon societies and where one lives. Its a subject filled with complexities.
The old debate always flares up from time to time when I observe women in difficult marriages but who will never walk away because of the financial and material security marriage provides. She would endure almost anything because being alone and bereft is not an option. And who can blame her for having these fears?  I look into their faces and it seems as though a great many women are waiting…. for something to happen? to release them from vows that bind?.  I am saddened that so many live in a routine that slowly deprives her of her persona and dreams. When a woman has met all her commitments and responsibilities towards family, husband, children, aging parents, who asks her how happy, really happy she is?
I applaud all women ….but mostly I applaud those who had the courage to walk away and regain themselves.
The following poem in one written in Afrikaans for my mother. A women of tremendous endurance. One, who through lack of many things, found herself in a very dark place for the longest time. As a young woman she had no choices. In 1948 everything had a ‘do or die’ desperation attached to it.

Vasgebind

Na ses en twintig jaar
is ek nog vasgebind
aan ‘n man met die mentaliteit van ‘n tiener kind
Deur elke seisoen wat die jaar
voor my deur neer gooi
moet ek my oë rek en my lippe verrooi
en sê…ag! die huwelik en die lewe is mooi.
Maar in my gedagtes
stroom die hartseer in
vir wie was alles nou eintlike mooi
wie het my regtig bemin?
Goed is ek groot gemaak
met maagdelikheid en bybel in albei hand
en so het ek my self verbluf
elke naweek ‘n ramp tussen jou…
my siel en my verstand.

Nou staan die huis netjies
maar net soos  dit altyd was
die meubels dié blink
die skottelgoed mooi opgewas.
Alles is in orde,
want jy verkies dit mooitjies en fyntjies so
Ek kyk na my ‘suitkyste’
oud maar nog splinternuut
met hulle het ek ingeloop, ‘n bruid
jonk en min weetend klaar gekwes en geskiet.

Na ses en twintig jaar trek ek my jou pyl uit my bors
jou ring van my hand…
ek gee terug die gemors en herwin my verstand.
Hou maar jou huisie
en die wasmasjien ook
Kry nou iemand wat ‘Cordon Bleu’ kan kook
Ek los die sleutels van die voordeur langs die pienk brief
van my huweliks geskiedenis
en ek loop alleen die wêreld in met al sy duisternis.

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