Marriage is an endangered institution
by Chuchuchu Nchunga Nchunga
After two years of silence, allow me to shed some light on issues pertaining to divorce and marriage as well as comment on your last week’s article on “concern over climbing divorce rates”. I will deliberately concentrate on the positive aspects of marriage and marriage as God intended it.
Mr Editor, marriage is the most intimate and fulfilling and enjoyable human relationship; getting married is probably one if not the most enjoyable events in the life of any normal human being. For avoidance of ambiguity and for clarity, for purposes of this article by marriage I am referring to holy matrimony between a male man and a female woman, period.
Marriage is a pure friendship which seeks to enrich the partner, to help the partner, to prioritise the partner, to protect and respect, to intimately know the partner so as to please them and serve them better. It is a relationship which is premised on certain pillars and values, namely love, forgiveness, giving, care, generosity, partnership, mutual respect, mutual compromise, peaceful co existence, peaceful resolution of disputes and general discipline and mutual trust and faithfulness.
Unfortunately, whereas people go to colleges, universities, and schools to learn to learn and acquire skills, somehow many people think when entering this enjoyable but challenging institution, they will somehow survive by mere luck, chances and trial and error, which is foolhardy. In the same way that you cannot pilot an aeroplane safely without being a pilot, or drive a car without learning how to drive, many people who fail in marriage lack knowledge or counsel or support. You cannot build a hundred storey building without a strong foundation, but if you are building a temporary shelter you don’t need a strong foundation.
Mr Editor, It is therefore necessary to point out the foundations of a strong marriage and bonding tips. Is it not surprising Mr editor that some people who are intellectually and academically and financially very sound have failed dismally in marriage when some poor illiterates have managed to co-exist for over fifty years, it is a mystery. Marriage that lasts must be founded on the strong foundations of purity, love, honesty and truth. If during one’s formative years one upholds these foundations and are alive of integrity a blissful marriage is assured. However if one begins life with dishonesty, lack of truth, deceit, lying, cheating, fornication and other forms of moral shortcomings it will be very difficult to just transform oneself on the wedding day because habits - both good and bad take a long time to develop and abandon.
After the wedding day, there are certain bonding tips that newlyweds need to practice to attain longevity, stability and enjoyability of their marriage. Some couples immediately after the wedding and honeymoon start realising they are not ready from the issues and questions they ask each other. For example how many times to have sex, who initiates, is there a need for a timetable or it is left to chance? The relatives and siblings; how to help them, do you use fifty/ fifty or per needs basis? The budgeting and investments, who draws the budgets especially if you have different tastes? How soon to have children and how many, who determines the number and names? In the house the issue of role clarity; who cooks, who does shopping, laundry, ironing, is there a need for a schedule or you just leave things to chance? In matters of faith where do you go to church, how many times? Resolution of disputes; do you have meetings or just engage in funny behaviour and unholy silence and late night quarrelling? If you have meetings, who is the chair person, are both couples in charge as in leaderless marriages, or are both parties equal? Do you go for an HIV test before you start having sex, who decides on the method of family planning?
Mr Editor I went into details to show that often times conflict in marriage is a question of knowledge, ignorance and poor planning and lack of counselling. As a result people get into marriage with wrong expectations and a high degree of wrong concepts, misconceptions, deceit and cheating mentality - things which defeat the purpose of marriage. But those who are properly schooled know the bonding tips, namely praying together, planning together, prioritising each other, playing together, travelling together, partying and picnicking together, praising each other, helping each other, pulling together without pushing, plenty of pleasure together, talking to each other. These tips cement the bonding process.
Mr Editor, one also needs to know the dos and don’ts. For example sexual misbehaviour contributes to conflict, one needs to understand all the marital sexual sins, namely sexual violence, sexual apathy, sexual frigidity, sexual tiredness, sexual ignorance, rape, sexual bondage, sexual monotony, sexual sanctions, sexual starvation, all these are wrong and if not corrected can lead to conflict including divorce.
One needs to know the bad habits that can spoil the tranquillity, for example late night quarrels, bathing allergy, snoring like a lion, cattle-post addiction, small house, secretly maintaining illegitimate children, disappearing, abuse of finances, secret debts, assaulting each other, threats to kill, unholy silence, boycotting in-laws relatives, false accusations, the list is endless. If one does not desist from bad habits, it affects the viability of the marriage.
The mystery about divorce Mr Editor is this, if two people truly entered into holy matrimony loving each other, there is no mistake, or wrong or hurt which cannot be redeemed. What I mean is, experience has shown that, for every reason, excuse or cause for divorce, there are people in marriages with worse experiences. For example one may divorce on the basis of a suspicious sms, whereas some people have caught their spouses in the act but still manage to reconcile, therefore philosophically speaking divorce is a choice that one makes, just like forgiveness.
Most divorce statistics are inflated by the fact that it includes people who although they had a certificate they were not really truly married, their marriage was an officially endorsed fake. I verily believe that divorce statistics are exaggerated because we call every union a marriage.
Mr Editor, I believe in marriage with all my heart, I advocate schools of marriage, books, pamphlets, columns, magazines, universities of marriage, online marriage counselling, pre-marital marriage lessons and free counselling, marriage awareness seminars, marriage enrichment workshops, marriage retreats, marriage renewal pitsos.
A society with weak marriages is a weak society. I pray that the good Lord helps us to honour, cherish, enrich, respect and improve this enjoyable but challenging and endangered institution, and practice it the way the almighty intended it.