Many marriages in our world today are in trouble. Quite a substantial amount of them do break down completely and end in divorce. Many of them remain in name only (legally still married) but in reality the couples live as if complete strangers to each other. Resentment and rejection replace the earlier love and affection, mutual non-cooperation replaces the sharing that should be the hallmark of a good marriage, meaningful communication is replaced with belligerence (quarrels and fighting), and respect and care are replaced with great disrespect and despising of each other. Each one speaks so ill of the other that one wonders if any love ever existed between them.
The root causes, in the writer’s experience, are: lack of preparation for entering into marriage, not understanding adequately what marriage really entails, unfaithfulness to the marital vows (interference), and children born out of wedlock.
Some enter marriage for the wrong reasons. They see their friends and neighbors get married and so they too rush into it. Others are more attracted by money and material benefits rather than genuine love and appreciation of the other. Still others marry in order to travel abroad. Still some permit physical beauty to override all of their common senses and regret later. Marital unfaithfulness can take the form of cheating on one’s partner and abdicating one’s responsibility to the partner and the home as a whole.
In the Liberian society in particular, having children out of wedlock is a major source of marital problems. Some step mothers and step children do not get along very well in many a Liberian marriage. Some former girl friends deliberately use their children as an excuse to make trouble for their former partners’ marriages. The list of the root causes of marital problems goes on and on but chief among them are the misunderstanding of what marriage is and takes and not preparing adequately for it.
Not all but many of the marital problems can be solved or lived with if prayer, patience, a living hope, and looking at the bigger picture are coveted, acquired and maintained in marriage. The Christian religion teaches us that prayer has great power in its effects (James 5:17). Prayer can enable one bear the unbearable and to achieve by far beyond one’s human abilities. It is true that prayer is hard work but those who faithfully engage in it in both good and bad times attest that it works wonders.
Patience is one of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). Patience nourishes and sustains a lot of human relationships, especially marriage. There is no successful marriage without amble doses of patience. Some people give up on their marriages too lightly. They only consider the pains and forget to look at the broader picture of all of life and not just today. What about the children caught in the midst of all the fuss? What about the loneliness? Is there any guarantee that any future marriage will be better than the current? Many divorcees in the long run do regret their decisions to divorce. Those who endure in marriage often grow stronger in character and enjoy their marriages best. Prayer, patience, and faith in the living God to make the impossible possible yield great dividends. Let those who suffer much pain in their marriages try their hands at what is suggested above.