Ronald Olusegun Olaiya
We are progressing in our discussion of the indicators of crises in marriage and family. In the Part 1 of this write-up we identified seven (7) indicators. In this part we are adding eight (8) more indicators to bring the total to fifteen (15). Read below for these additional indicators.
Delay in or lack of child bearing
It is important to note here that child bearing is an addition to marriage and family. In other words, marriage and family can be with or without children. This means that childlessness is not and should be seen as a source of stigmatization of couples concerned. But the society has over the years promoted child bearing to such a level that it is being seen as the primary objective of marriage, So having children is now seen as a source of great joy to couples and the people around them, especially the families from both sides, friends, colleagues and church or mosque members. In the same vein, delay in child bearing is a source of worries to both the couples and their families. In many instances, couples are being encouraged to ensure the would-be wife is pregnant before marriage is consummated. Where marriage has been consummated and there is a delay in the arrival of the babies, husbands are under severe pressures to have children outside the wedlock without the knowledge of his wife. Some are told in clear terms to go for another wife or divorce the existing wife because of the perceived barrenness/infertility on the part of the woman. In many instances, such a wife is believed to have lost her womb in the course of abortion(s) prior to her wedding. As a result, she is being seen as wicked person that has come into the life of the man to waste his time, knowing fully well that she cannot bear any child. But it is also true that actual cause of the childlessness is the man who could not fertilise a woman. So the correct thing to do is proper and detailed medical examination/investigation of the couples and not assumption.
Comparing spouse with other people
No two persons are exactly the same. And no two marriages are exactly the same because the individuals in the marriages are unique and different sexually, biologically, socially, economically, and emotionally. So comparing them with one another is a fruitless and wasteful exercise. Unfortunately, this is what many couples do to themselves. To worsen the matter, many couples compare their current partners with their ex-boyfriend/girlfriend in terms of their sexual prowess. Some believe that economically they were better off when they were in their previous relationship and start regretting ever being in the current relationship. Some are of the feeling that their ex-partners were more romantic than their current wives or husbands. Many of these comparisons are done without letting their current partners know what is going on. And their conclusions are used as the basis of their actions against their partners. Others do come up to say these things to their partners to spite them. Things start getting complicated when conscious and systematic efforts are being made to reconnect with the partners that are seeing to be better in their rating scale. This is the beginning of infidelity and reneging on the marital vows.
Keeping late night by one or two of the couples
Is your spouse keeping late night? This is not a good development except if the reason for this is due to work demand or/and traffic gridlock as is the case in many cities. This should engage the attention of the partners before things get out of hand. Except for very serious reasons, if your partner is staying late before coming home and this is fast becoming a habit, it is either of two factors or combination of both. The first one is the push factor that is pushing him/her out because the home front is no longer exciting. The second is the pull factor that has made staying outside a more rewarding and exciting experience. Irreconcilable differences or conflicts between spouses, sex denial, nagging, dirty habits among others can push one of the partners out of the house in a desperate attempt to avoid the perceived ugly situation at home. The pulling factor may comprise cases of infidelity, perceived better treatment from friends outside, drinking , smoking habit, and others. Whether push or pull factors, anything that is taking any of the spouses out of the matrimonial home more than necessary is a potential or actual threat to the stability of marriage and family. Partners should try to address this as soon as possible before it will become a hydra headed monster that may consume the marriage and family.
Lack of communication among the couples
This is a fertile ground for lack of understanding and misunderstanding, not only between couples but also within the family as a whole. Lack of communication will potentially or actually lead the family members to being uninformed, under-informed, misinformed or dis-informed. Where this happens then it becomes a matter of everybody for himself and God for us all. In other words, everyone follows his or her own part as the parents who suppose to give direction have failed to convey any definite direction for the entire family. Obviously this will breed all manners of crises in the family that will be beyond the couples to manage. To this end, it is imperative that effective and repeated communication between couples and within the family is seen as a necessity and not a luxury. In fact, a failed communication in this sense is in final analysis a failed marriage and family in the making.
Sharing of family information with third parties
It is unfortunate that many couples who could not communicate effectively among themselves will go all out to share their private and family information with third parties who may not have any interest in their welfare and that of their families. In fact, sharing of such unsolicited information about you and your family could be used by your enemies to identify your weakness which they can use to launch attack on the marriage and the family. Such information could be used by the third parties to engage your spouse in infidelity, cause divorce, engage your children in fornication, as tools for blackmail, armed robbery, kidnapping, and other criminal attacks. Any problem you cause your marriage and family in the course of sharing your information with any third party will still come back to you in a more complicated manner. This suggests that you are not solving any problem in doing this. You are only compounding it. Why doing it then?
Insulting each other’s families by couples
Some couples are in the habit of hauling or raining insults on each other’s families given any slightest disagreement. They find it more convenient to indulge themselves in this unhealthy habit than to find a common ground on the contentious issues. It is a distasteful act for couples to be insulting their families as this constitutes rudeness and a sign that the spouses involved are not cultured. A civilized and cultured husband will not be ridiculing the family of his wife because there is a slightest disagreement between him and his wife and vice versa. Where this appears to the norm then the marriage is being threatened because any of the families that feels she cannot continue to be receiving the insults may decide to take a position which may threaten the marriage. In fact, the two families may take a position especially where the level of mutual respect has degenerated substantially.
Dragging the children into conflicts between the couples
The worst thing that can happen in a marriage and family is for the couples to drag the children into the crisis between then. Unfortunately many parents do this by inciting the children against the other partner. It is worst when both parents are mutually involved in this. Once children (or some of them) decide to take side with one of the parents then automatically the baton of fight has been passed to another generation. It is even more dangerous where the children are sharply divided on who to follow. This will throw in a state of anomie in the family as there is confusion now as to what standard behavior will be. The children will obviously have less respect for their parents. All these will have greater sociological implications for the children later in their lives.
Children showing signs of misalignment with social norms and values
How would you feel if you discover that your children are showing signs of indiscipline? They now steal without remorse, fornicate with reckless abandon, have little or no regard for others, becoming increasingly violent in their relationship with others, and so on. All these are pointers to the fact that things are not going well with your marriage and family. They are signals of the fact that your family may have become incubator and breeding ground for miscreants and hooligans in the society. In other words, instead of being one of the families that will be helping to address societal ills, the family has turned out to be a major contributor to social problems in the society. This is unfortunate and shameful. Couples should have an idea of what contributions they want their family to make to the society through the quality of people being raised and released to the society. To this end, conscious plans should also be put in place to help actualize the objectives in the plan. Once this is done, every couple show be watching out for any signal that could suggest why the plans may not be realized. As soon as any of such indicators is detected conscious efforts should be made to do the correction without delay. Delay could be very dangerous.
This discussion will continue in the subsequent Part of this write-up. Please watch out.