Editor's Comment

Divorce statistics worrying

UNTIL death does us apart is the vow men and women make when they are being declared husband and wife.
The solemn declaration is made to show that no matter what comes across the couple, they will persevere as a unit.
But as statistics reveal, some Zambian couples have found the going tough and thrown the vows to the winds.
The high statistic of 20,000 of dissolved marriages in 2019 alone tells many things. Infidelity, adultery and lack of communication among couples have contributed to many marriages falling apart.
This is a very sad development indeed.
In a population as small as Zambia’s, the divorce figures are quite high and disturbing. They suggest instability, which could permeate other sectors of productivity where affected individuals may be working.
However, the first thing this reveals is that there is lack of commitment to the matrimonial vows that couples make.
If couples mean what they say in their marriage vows, and stand for the ‘for better for worse’ promise they make, then most marriages would strive to rebuild and find their love rhythm beyond the difficulties that would lead to a break-up or dissolution of the matrimonial bond.
The solution starts with the foundation. Before people marry. it is important to get to know each other well.
Taking enough time in a courtship is key. This can build trust and love. Instant marriage leads to quick divorce.
In Zambia, most marriages are not backed with institutions of counselling that would help struggling marriages to find common ground to reconcile their differences.
It seems couples are now left to handle their own problems. And since it is disputes that cause marriages to break-up, it is impossible to imagine a possibility of a husband and a wife reconciling without them seeking help from a third party that they can trust and appreciate their differences and provide them with some professional help that leads to reconciliation.
Usually, it is not one problem at one occasion that leads to marriages ending in divorce. Mostly it is a multiplication of problems and bottled-up wrongs that neither of the two in marriage can put up with that result in them deciding to seek the dissolution of their matrimonial union.
This being the case, it is difficult to imagine how a couple can manage to resolve their differences without the help of trained marriage counsellors who will deal with problems in marriage from both spiritual and psychological, informed positions.
In the past, marriages were a process that involved go-betweens who did a lot of work consulting about the background of the suitors who were seeking to marry.
This meant relatives, especially elders, were well grounded in marriage and its expectations — better or worse — and told it all to the would-be husband and wife what exactly they were taking themselves in.
The go – between team from the bridegroom did not hide the history of their son, while the team representing the other side also told it all about the bride.
And once marriage was settled, the teams became the reconciliation court for any marriage differences, hence marriages of our parents thrived through turbulence and all sorts of challenges.
Today young people sometimes decide to marry just after convincing themselves that they love each other without the due process.
When trouble arises in such a marriage, there is literally no outside wisdom of the elderly to try and find the cause of troubles in the marriage.
Even if the elderly would be brought in, they usually have no reference point where they could leverage their effort to bring the two warring partners, wife and husband, to reconcile.
As a result, the marriage differences are being sorted out in local and magistrate courts, where there is usually not much to look at but the wishes of the couple to either save their marriage or break it up.
The other issue is also about company with other people. Wrong friends give wrong counsel. Good friends give good counsel.
That said, it is not all marriages that have reached a breakdown level that need to be retrieved and the dying flames of what used to be love can be fanned back to their former blaze.
Where one partner suffers either psychological or physical abuse that keeps re-emerging after reconciliation, modern wisdom informs us that such marriages must be put apart to avoid one of the partners ending up with permanent injury or death.
In Germany, there is the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs as the country realises that the first social institution among all human institutions is the family. At the core of any family is the institution of marriage.
Government may consider incorporating family affairs in the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs.


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