By Pastor Okokon Ating
Though marriage involves mankind of both sexes—man and woman—yet they do not grow up from the same parental home or back-ground. Even if they do, each person has his or her own different traits and temperament. Marriage concerns two separate ent-ities with different back-ground, ideology, concept of life, religious believe and sometimes ethnicity of which when these people come together, they are free, coming with all their sen-timents.
The cultural norms are still intact, hence the problem of adjustment. Even couples, who are from the same ethnic group still have problems of adjust-ment.
This is why at the initial stage of marriage, couples need to be careful lest one person’s interest over-whelms the other. This is where the idea of maturity in marriage comes in. The first six months to one year should be for couples to learn from each other, adjust, and accept each other no matter the culture and concept.
Where immat-ure attitude is allowed, the result will be complaints, fighting and reports back to both parents. This is the learning period where the ethical values of each person are understood. Moreover, the following questions become imperat-ive: who is this man or wo-man I got married to? What is her/his likes and dislikes?
How is the behavioral pa-ttern of his/her family? What should be the things to do in order to please him/her? Indeed, these questions are very crucial in this stage. All of these are just to under-stand each other more. In a situation where all these fail, there would be mis-understanding which stands as a threat to the peace, unity and durability of the ma-rriage.
In other to give peace a chance among newly ma-rried couples, there should be adjustment, couples should try and imbibe the taste of each other to the minimum level. The former parental background should be put aside while the new foundation laid by the couples, according to what they want their home to be. If the new foundation is laid, they learn to build on that foundation’s strong wall which serves as a lesson to the forthcoming generat-ions.
Under the challenges of adjustment there stands another negative pillar called lack of “manner of approach”. Dr. Brandt said: “You can use your back-ground as an excuse for present behavior only until you receive Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, after that you have a new power within you that is able to change your conduct.
The analysis of the above statement shows the follow-ing:
* Using the background of a person as an excuse for present behavior.
* Accepting Jesus Christ as personal Lord and savior can work against the back-ground of behavior.
* A new power in one’s life through the reception of Jesus is able to change one’s conduct.
The Bible says: “A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.” A soft answer can-not be attainment if the couple have not experien-ced what Dr. Brandt said, which I have analyzed in the third point—a new power in one’s life through the rec-eption of Jesus which is able to change one’s conduct.
I had this experience when I was counseling a young man who’s been offended by the wife. He told me, he is from a family of “here we stand, no more no less,” where its impossible to forgive a woman who has offended the husband. On the other hand, he said, woman from so and so tribe who, he feels are vulnerable, are tough women whose husbands need to deal with them with contempt.
I then asked him, “how would you enjoy your marriage as a Christian, when you do not adjust?” Then he replied that, he cannot shift his culture and custom so as to enjoy his marriage. He prefers stick-ing to his family norms than succumb to a newly found life. This ideology makes this young man to approach every matter concerning his wife as if he is dealing with an enemy. Satan is using this manner of approach to disorganize many families.
From another lovely fa-mily that I counseled, the wife said her husband al-ways approaches her with contempt even before visit-ors. This conduct continued until the wife reciprocated same to him. This time, the conduct of the wife irritated the husband badly because the wife no longer respected him as before. Another time around, he approached the woman again with a slap, and then the woman took her kitchen knife to stab him.
The question I asked the wife was: “Why did you pick a knife?” “I am tired of his poor approach to me on issues in the house”, she said.
Manner of approach is a character trait which many have inherited from their parents. Adjusting to an-other person, particularly one with a temperament different from yours is not easy and it is not done quickly.