What Became of the Marriage Institution? ~ OSOMBAH W. Steve

Do you, Michael Scofield, promise to cherish Sarah Tancredi for better and for worse, in riches and poverty, times of sorrow and in times of happiness till death do you apart?…Yes, I do…Unfortunately not all keep this vow. Of late cases of domestic violence has been on the rise. A week cannot elapse without incidents of domestic violence making news headlines. Kenya lost a national icon, Samwel Wanjiru to marital related issues. Around the same time we saw the death of Wambui Kabiru, former NTV Journalist who was strangled to death and locked in the house. In another incident in Nairobi a woman stabbed her husband to death in Korogocho while in Kibera a man killed his wife and disappeared. In Mombasa a woman had cut off her husband’s genitals. I presume that there are a lot of such like incidences that take place throughout the country but most of them do not fond their way to the press. The million dollar question is, what become of the marriage institution?

Financial stress has been largely blamed for some of the domestic violence that take place amidst us. The cost of living has significantly increased with inflation rates reaching all time high of 19%.For instance, the cost of bread which was previously Ksh.24 is now being sold at Ksh.48, a 50% increase. The high inflation has really hit hard those in the lower class. The meager earnings cannot sustain them making their lives difficult and uncertain. The middle and upper class have been forced to cut on expenses on leisure to survive this economic turmoil. Some are battling with repayment of loans which the banks have made it much worse by increasing interest rates. This financial stress accrues to frustration that either of the couple ventures out on the other. For instance, the husband comes home and was unsuccessful in that day’s hustle. The wife not knowing that her husband was not successful asks for money to buy food. This will degenerate to an argument which eventually may end up being fatal. Promiscuity accounts for almost 90% of the domestic violence that take place and it is behind the frequent incidences being witnessed. It’s commonly referred to as mpango wa kando-clandestine. Faithfulness and trust has been elusive among many couples even here in campus though not yet legally married. I guess you may have found yourself in these situations at some point in your life. The partners have other sexual partners besides their husbands/wife. When these side relationships are discovered, it usually does not end on a good note especially for those who invested their entire emotions in the relationship. The violence is thus characterized by vengeance, anger, pain, betrayal and hatred. In addition to that, lack of commitment in spiritual life has also contributed to the increasing domestic violence. Most couples don’t seek God’s guidance in their marriages. The last day they went to church was during their wedding and since then they have never set their foot in church. Many people have become oblivious of God’s commandments and abominable customs outlined in the bible, Leviticus 18 that guides marriages.

Alcoholism Interference from relatives has also contributed to dissolution of some marriages. The in-laws have been blamed for intruding in the affairs of their sons or daughters which create bad feeling and eventually the marriage is put to an end. This has really affected the so called mama’s boy/girl who is so attached to their parents. Gone are the days in which parents provided counsel with remarkable wisdom whenever their children had marriage turmoil. The presence of the relatives in the house has contributed to disagreements between the partners especially during this hard economic time.

Although some circumstances are beyond our control, most of the causes of domestic violence are under our locus of control. Marriage counselors and psychologists’ advice that one should completely understand his/her partner before getting married. This holds true especially for the youth who are rushing to get married not knowing the nuts and bolts of marriage. Most importantly, the oath taken during the marriage ceremony is a binding agreement made before God and breaking it is not a good idea…Thinking of getting married? Take your time, don’t rush…

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