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Factors that weaken today’s relationships

Monday April 22 2019

relationships

Media today, has confused many young minds to the extent that they believe in what they watch and read. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

PHILIP KITOTO
By PHILIP KITOTO
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Dear Mr Kitoto,

I am shocked at the rate which marriages are breaking these days. From my experience of being married for 30 years, I know that there is something wrong with the way marriage is being approached today. As I interact with your column and read information on today’s marriage, I have come to realise several things: First, the stories spread by various media on what makes a relationship are questionable.

I feel like our young people have bought into these stories and taken them for the gospel truth. The lie being peddled here is that love is short lived and that it is some feeling that must be fulfilled.

Second is the dysfunctional family. The story of Adam not being presented emotionally when the wife was tempted seems to repeat itself. Most men are not in the home to help shape their families. They seem to have left every parenting role to their wives, and sadly, many young people — particularly men, are getting into marriage under the mentorship of wrong models.

Third, our broken down social systems have left a gap. Our migration to urban areas has left many families lonely. There is nothing holding today’s society together. I remain grateful to your contributions towards making relationships work.

Hello,

These are indeed great observations.

Today, it seems that the understanding of marriage is more of what I gain rather than what I invest. The experiences you have shared makes me wonder; “Is marriage about me, my needs, and my expectations; or about us?”

Media today, and particularly the entertainment media has confused many young minds to the extent that they believe in what they watch and read. Many cannot differentiate between entertainment and reality. Some have copied what they have seen in these media and practised it in their relationships, with dire consequences.

TRUTH

For example, the increase in the levels of promiscuity and violence is a result of such messaging. Sex has become an activity intended to fulfil the desire of the flesh rather than keeping it in marriage and honouring the marriage bed. This is what this column is all about — an opportunity for venting, sharing experiences and bringing sense to this great institution that was created by God.

I pray that our young people will learn to differentiate between what they see in media and the reality. May they know that those people they watch and religiously follow are doing what they do for pure entertainment and for earning a living. In reality, they live different lives.

Again, I agree that the numbers of dysfunctional families are increasing. Some of these problems can be corrected if right priorities could be put in place. There is a lack of responsible behaviour. For example, there are many underage girls and boys who are young parents. What happened? Some have even aborted their pregnancies, and are missing out on their childhood and their future, while others have shifted the burden of caring for these young babies born out of wedlock to parents and grandparents.

In my many years as a man, husband, father, counsellor, pastor and mentor, I have dealt with many families that are hurting because of these dysfunctions. Some are suffering because their fathers were, and are absent while mothers are busy chasing careers at the expense of the family. In the end, there is a lack in clear parenting and guidance.

ROLE MODELS

Role modelling that was supported by rural social networks is all broken down. Our families are left at the mercy of a rapidly changing world. This forum seeks to raise this awareness and remind us that a broken home results into a broken nation. God given role for parents in the family and the society cannot be underestimated.

Generally, It takes a man and his wife to love and respect each other and see marriage as a ‘We Affair.” From the beginning, marriage and relationships in general was never meant to be about one person. I was reminded recently about some cultural names that were given to a wife. If men and women got their role modelling right and chose to treat each other and their children the way God intended, the whole idea of fighting for equality would be a thing of the past.

Biblically, marital relationships give us the opportunity to love, serve and be a blessing to each other. Although each one of us is expected to commit to fulfil their God given roles and responsibilities, we see each other as partners. A culture of learning and mutual submission must be core to making relationship walk towards healing and mutual benefit. Hope for marriage and families is only possible if we make wise choices to be different and to look out for the right models.

I don’t understand why my girlfriend does not want to out on a date with me

Dear Kitoto

I am in my early twenties and have been dating this lady for one and a half years now. In the past one year, we haven't met physically. Whenever I call for a date, she gives excuses. Can she be in love with me and still not want us to meet or is she just playing with my heart? What I don’t want is for her to waste my time.

Hi

Relationships are both dynamic and complicated most of the time. If two people, each aged 25 get into a relationship, you have a combination of 50 years’ experience to wade through. Each of us is the total sum of our upbringing, exposure and education. Our past has an influence on how we see life and express it. You both need to understand this about each other.

Many books about dating have been written. There have been many talks about this subject and counselling has been conducted on the subject. However, unless those involved jointly take concrete steps towards putting the principles of relating into action, very little will happen to change matters. We have to realise that every relationship is unique because the people who make it are also unique.

I suggest that you look for ways you can gain her trust so that she can open up to you.

INVITATIONS

You have said very little on how you two met or related before the time she decided to decline your invitations. Had you gone out before together? If so, what was the outcome? If not, could she be scared of going out with you? Could her reluctance have been informed by other people?

Maybe she has past experiences which makes her afraid to get deeper it a relationship. Perhaps she has heard other people discuss their unpleasant relationships and she is scared. You have to patiently strive to discover why she is unresponsive to your suggestion.

Does she understand your expectations on dating? If her past life experiences boarders on relationships that left her with bad or painful memories, you may find it difficult to push your agenda. She has to voluntarily talk about it. All you can do is to be a trusted friend.

Whether we know it or not, most people are afraid of getting committed and falling in love. Such fears may manifest themselves in different ways.

GETTING HURT

Part of this fear may be entertained because it protects us from getting hurt, especially if we have had a bad relationship in the past.

Such defences will in most cases offer a false illusion of safety but truly speaking, they keep us from seeking life from the perspective of growing and maturing from life experiences.

The two of you are still young and after all, it is just a year and a half of dating.

I suggest that you build trust and let the love that exist between the two you to mature and draw you together.

I am not sure how well you had known her before you started seeing each other. Would you know any of her close friends?

Your priority must be to make her feel comfortable to be around you. Avoid judging her for not accepting to go out for a date. Instead, be yourself whenever you see her or call her.

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