My heart goes to marriages undergoing abuse and violence in whatever forms. No person should lay hands on peoples’ children just because they agree to marry them. In my opinion, apart from teaching kingdom ethics, the time has come for denominations to have trained mediators that could help them manage marital conflicts without losing grip of their religious powers on their followers.
The time is rife to frankly talk about the many reasons for physical abuses and violence in spousal relationships so that marriage counselors can begin to know where they need to counsel spouses in the making. Using the scriptures for counseling is very good and okay. For example, when a woman is pregnant, hormonal changes could lead to flairs, agitations, early morning sicknesses, reduced or increased agility for sex, etc.
Unfortunately, spouses may not know this deeply until they come frontally with the issues. For a young couple, this could be very distressful. Yet, we are too shy to delve into sex education because our belief system forbids talking about it.
With the rising cases of abuse in relationships, which is so profuse in many homes, we should let would-be spouses know that they could find specific anatomical and physiological responses unpalatable in matrimonies. Mentioning them could help would-be spouses build strategies and shock absorbers to manage the eventual challenges.
We must realize that things are changing, and many great women are now breadwinners because of the economic downturn. The changing roles also come with a lot of challenges. The lady breadwinner may be trying her best, but the men could hardly deal with the role reversals. All these should now be forming part of our counseling sessions. The better-for-worse mantra should now be more intensely examined and digested before saying, “I do.”
Some of the reasons for increasing violence in relationships include but are not limited to:
1. Spouses not knowing themselves enough before jumping into the ‘I love you ring.’ So, the hidden traits of violence begin to show only when they get into the same room for life. By then, it will be too late.
2. Parents wittingly or unwittingly directing or pressuring their children towards particular channels, that is, wealth, positions, riches, fame or tribe, etc. For example, a prominent and wealthy woman once said she would never allow her children to marry outside her tribe. She finds all other tribes, not making good spouses. From her experiences, many tribes genuinely have not done well in keeping their spouses. But that does not make her tribe better. The woman refused to attend the marriages of two children, and she also prevailed on other siblings not to attend. The two marriages crashed. There are several cases abound. From the cases I have seen, only a few of the many marriages not sanctioned by mothers work. So parents must now be part of the equation because many play the third hand in their children’s marital life.
3. So many young couples going into marriages do not know much about themselves. When they occasionally meet, they wear different masks from their authentic self. Most courtships experience displays of dual personalities, and the actual character is reserved for marriage. For example, a guy smokes and drinks. Anytime he was to meet his fiancé, he would brush and use some sweets to kill the smell of tobacco. Thankfully, there would be no kissing because their religion forbids ‘touchery’ before marriage. After the wedding, the guy tries to hide the habits for months, but addiction is like a smoke. It would sooner or later leak. One can better imagine what a woman who hates smoking will pass through in a smoker’s hands. In some instances, the women know but believe they can use moral suasion to disarm them- a big fallacy.
Still, in line with not knowing each other well, many young couples do not care to match their personalities and learn how to build coping strategies to adjust to their partners’ personalities. There are extroverts whose passion for work, partying, and getting engrossed in ‘I cannot afford to fail in my enterprises’ passions is obsessive. A woman already knows that she is likely to be home alone all the years of the marriage unless she also change to the man’s style. Still, because she thinks she could hold the partner down with ‘lovingitis’ she plunges into the marriage without necessary coping strategies in place. Perhaps in her thoughts, the love they have for each other would overshadow the person’s extroverted traits. Without proper premarital counseling, that is a disaster waiting to happen.
4. Some get married because of the attraction to modes of dressing, the style of hair, etc. Still, when the ‘I do’ ring slips into the fingers, they then suddenly remember that such dressings and partying constitute sins. That is also an accident waiting to happen.
5. When courting, some fiancés would use silence positively no matter the level of provocation. Soon after marriage, the fangs in the tongue begin to explode like a bomb. Emotional torture and abuses would rent the air. Only God can prevent the untoward reactions when the bubble busts.
6. Religions forbid cohabitation before marriages. So, the woman knows nothing about the other person. Meanwhile, both have tasted the forbidden fruits before becoming born again. They will be meeting themselves on the premises of previous experiences and particularly used to some anatomical sizes.
As a woman seeing the man’s nudity for the first time, finding a too petit or too huge for comfort size could be the beginning of marital accidents. For example, recounting on an experience, a Lady on seeing the man that is well endowed in extraordinary manner, ran naked into the living room and almost jumped out of the window. From that point, intercourse became a nightmare, and the abuses kept coming.
A man also got into a marriage before discovering that the wife does not have the expected grips because of the excessive secretion of membranous fluids. Though there are remedies, it will usually be bad nights unless they have candid conversations on what to do reassuringly.
7. Some people get into marriages before knowing that their spouses are nymphomaniacs, LGBT, have a high libido, or have frigidity for many reasons. A man got into marriage before learning that he had to sweat all night for the rest of his life because his spouse kept yearning for more. Where he is unable to perform to the expected cloud 7, the vituperation of ‘lazy man’, ‘yeye man’ became constant mental torture. It could also happen the other way round. What do you expect of this type of marriage? In an environment where talking about sex is an aberration, that marriage would have been set up to fail.
8. The tongue is sharper than a razor and a double-edged sword. It can heal, and it could give be used as an instrument of mass destruction. Do you know how poignant the tongue of your partner is before saying ‘I do?’ If you knew, why and how did you intend to tame a tongue that accelerates more than the speed of light? A lady once told the husband, but how on earth would I have married someone like you if not for my father’s death?
9. Some marry not for love but for what they could get out of the marriage. So, they are ready to bear the worse as long as the material things and riches continue to drop like manna in the wilderness. Some time ago, a man married a lady in an oil and gas company to get the insurance claim after her death. So he worked towards achieving it and plotted the lady’s assassination but failed. The failed attempt led to his arrest, and the bubble busted. There are many cases out there unbeknown to the naked eyes.
Some of the panaceas to these abusive relationships are for people in relationships to:
1. Take a course in emotional intelligence to ‘know thyself’, which would let them understand how to regulate their emotions and that of others.
2. Know who you are marrying.
3. Attend the Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators (ICMC) classes on:
c. Family mediation
d. Self and managerial mediation
f. Personality traits, etc.
4. Investigate the other person’s family to see if you fall into the category of a man or a woman the family prefers. I had seen many parents saying, a fine man or a fine woman like you is meant for government houses or palaces, not this poor person you call husband or wife.
5. Find a confidant with the fear of God that you can rely on sincerely. Stop taking counsel from street corners because that person you call a friend may be aiming to take over your spouse.
6. Let the mantra, ‘all that glitters is not gold’ guide your choices. The person you want to marry should love you more than you love the person.
7. Children should be careful not marry because they want to make their parents happy. Never fall for parental choices that are opposing to what you love to have. You are the one that would live with your choice, not your parents.
8. Always find a convenient time to talk.
9. When a marriage is becoming violent, seek help from psychologists, medical experts and stop suppressing the truth from people.
Please, feel free to add your thoughts so that jointly we can begin to promote harmonious relationships and make the world a better place for our youths.
Grace and peace!!!