Marriage, otherwise called matrimony or wedlock, is a socially or ritually recognized union or legal contract between spouses that establishes rights and obligations between the parties concerned. It is principally an institution in which interpersonal relationships are acknowledged.
Individuals marry for several reasons including social, financial, cultural and most of all love. However, some marriages are forced on minors due to archaic cultural practices that is selfish on the parents part because it is mainly done for financial uplift of the later not minding the welfare of the minor in question. This is very unfair because the girl is more often than not married off to an older man who is old enough to be her grandfather or even great grandfather. You wonder what the two would have in common in that marriage. These old grannies’s work should be gathering children by the borne fire to narrate long ago interesting tales instead of robbing little girls off their childhood and innocence. It is criminal to marry off a minor especially against his or her wish and prosecution of such selfish parents should not be negotiable.
Normal marriages between two consenting adults of sound minds should be happy ones albeit the many challenges that arise time and again which in essence should strengthen the union if faced and overcome together. The circumstances that lead to these marriages determine if the two would lead a happily married life or a marred one. Some may start on a wrong footing but if the two show willingness to work on correcting the flaws, they end up leading a happy fulfilling life. It is important to safeguard the ‘I’ part in your marriage in order to have it last for eternity where “till normal death do us part” part in the vows made during marriage makes sense instead of having it as “till I kill you” or “till I commit suicide’ taking over. A spouse must take a critical evaluation of him/herself first before pointing a finger at the partner in the marriage. The “Am I?” and “I am” must precede any other remedy to take in resolving disagreements in order the two can remain happily married and not have marred life of marriage. When God created Eve to be Adam’s companion, it was clear that marriage was not going to be easy given that when they disobeyed Him, instead of owning up to the mistake, they all found each other to blame. A serpent influenced Eve’s mind to eat of the forbidden fruit so this means that many a times, third parties would always be a cause for conflicts in marriages but how one deals with that is what matters most. Eve chose to be influenced by the serpent’s misleading advice and took the same advice to the husband. They realized they were naked and were ashamed when God returned to them. The consequences their after were dire.
Spouses should learn to ask themselves the following questions every time:
AM I responsible enough in fulfilling my duties as a husband/wife in this marriage?
AM I attractive enough to my spouse as before despite my advanced age (if married for long) or have I allowed his or her eyes (mostly for men but women also like attractive things) wander around looking for a much more attractive being to ogle about? It is worth to note that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence so to avoid temptation of crossing over, water your own lawn. Crossing over on the other hand does not always guarantee that one will find it the way it is thought to be. It could be a mosquito infested swamp.
AM I a keen listener and less judgmental even when I feel I am the aggrieved one? Taking time to listen and applying restraint from acting on impulse gives one ample time to analyze the situation and respond appropriately. One is advised to count silently from ten going down to one (it is not a very easy task to do) when angry. This divulges the mind shortly from the anger which when finished gives a moment of relief. If one finds it hard to apply restraint, just walk away for a while to calm down and cool off the anger.
AM I always in a foul mood that I am impossible to talk to or approach for a fruitful discussion?
AM I dependent on God as the pillar that holds strong our marriage through prayers or do I always find myself going for unconventional remedies (kukaliana chapati) that backfire on me every time?
After analyzing oneself and resolving to correct the negatives, a spouse should then declare these words, preferably facing the mirror in order to address oneself ‘face to face’:
I AM worthy to be unconditionally loved and treated well by my spouse the same way he/she deserves from me which I promise to do more.
I AM worthy of my spouse’s respect as a companion in this marriage.
I AM an equal partner in this marriage and I deserve to be heard as much as I am obliged to listen to his/her opinions.
I AM willing to work on the differences that might arise between us without letting third parties who might not have best interest at heart for us be our self-proclaimed arbitrators. If need be, only qualified counselors mutually agreed upon between us should counsel us together.
It is however worth noting that some differences or disagreements in some marriages might be too severe that they almost seem impossible to mend. A spouse should not take upon themselves to assassinate their own characters by declaring that they are failures just because they could not sustain the union. The ‘I’ in the marriage should guide a spouse to declare if the union can be salvaged or call it quits altogether. Some of the pointers to guide one through this critical decision which should be made in a sober mind are:
Am I and the children (if any) in any kind of danger if I decide to stick to this marriage? Violence should not be condoned or tolerated at all.Many brutal murders with horrifying bodies of children and spouses have occurred before when individuals ignore their instincts and decide to stay.
How much am I willing to sacrifice in order to make this marriage work?
Do I need to seek intervention from a more qualified person to help us chart the way forward for us?
Am I doing enough to help things improve between me and my spouse?
Have I thought through the decision I am about to make critically or am I just making hurried decisions?When two people decide to get married without having been coerced to do so, their hope is that the union will last till death do they part. A divorce should be the last resort on the mind of any spouse. Just like in sexual life where people are adviced to use the A,B,C,D formula to avoid infections, a marriage on the rocks should also try to apply the ABCD of marriage. These are:
A – Attempt to salvage the marriage by changing your attitude towards things if it has been negative. Teach yourself to be a positive thinker even when the light at the end of the tunnel seems so dim.
B – Beware of the kind of advice you solicit from friends and relatives. Not all of them want your marriage to work and they could be ill advising you to en strange you more with your spouse.
C – Communicate with your spouse instead of talking at him/her. Learn to not raise your voice at each other or create tantrums whenever a misunderstanding arises. Give each other time to talk and respect each other’s suggestions. Point out your fears and commend where the spouse has done well before. Get straight to the point instead going round circles trying to drive in a point. After resolving your disagreements, reward yourselves with a cuddle from each other to feel closer. All these should be done behind your bedroom doors in case there are children around. Avoid solving your issues in your children’s presence. You paint a bad picture which lasts in their minds and might taint the image of you to them.
D – Distance yourself from your spouse for a while in case things still don’t seem to work out between the two of you instead of opting for divorce right away. Separation from each other sometimes creates a good environment to reflect back and reminisce on the beautiful moments you had with each other before. It is said, absence makes the heart grow fonder. You might realize you need each other more now that you are apart. In case things still don’t turn out for the better and your disagreements are still irreconcilable, then you can start the divorce process. It is a long gruesome process which takes time to materialize but when it finally materialises, you should never regret your decision and at the same time never let anyone put you down by making you seem like a failure. Use the time you are single again to reflect on your life and where you might have gone wrong in the first marriage before indulging in another.