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Family pressure in marriage (African perspective)

By Pastor Okokon Ating

Family pressures create hatred between couples. It generates factions and sentiments between the families of the bride and groom. This is because both families may trade blames on the groom or bride as being the cause for the marital misfortunes en-countered. Family pressure in many cultures, breed control of the marriage by either the groom or bride’s parents.

The groom’s parents may want to control or dictate to their son on how to rule over his new wife so that she would be submissive to him. If the husband is unable to define a clear cut line be-tween him and the parents, (that he has found his own home and need to handle it according to God’s directive and not parents’ directive) the foundation of such marriage stands the risk of breaking and once it collap-ses, there is nothing that can rebuild it except where there is a divine intervention through prayer and coun-selling.

Family pressure is a se-rious threat to any marr-iage. The way to overcome family pressure is to ignore them as they come. Remem-ber, your new found family is just a separate family from your parents which needs to set a new pace, ideology, philosophy and pattern according to the foundation laid. Above all, the couple should allow Christ to be at the centre of their marriage, in the sense that every plan, discussion and pressure should be taken to the Lord God in prayers for solution.

Advice may be taken but let it be weighed and exam-ined in the light of the Bible which has solution to every problem or challenge of human beings.

To some brides who are of the opinion that their pa-rent’s interference and pressure are welcomed in their marriages, remember, you no longer belong to the former family but to the new. They have no more inherit-ance at all in their father’s house especially in some cultures. Genesis 31:14-15 recounts: “And Rachael and Leah answered and said unto him, is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father’s House? Are we not counted of him strangers? For he hath sold us, and hath quite devoured also our money.”

In a culture where exorbi-tant bride price is collected or charged, the bride and the groom should know that it is devouring in dis-guise. That, after such a bride price, parents still come again to pressurize the son in-law for one thing or the other is unthinkable.

Please, apply God’s wisdom to tackle such challenge. The Bible also reveals in Genesis 2:24: ‘’Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.’’

I want every man to know that he has left his first family where the father and mother are the original owner, to establish his own, together with his wife. Therefore, every third party coming in is an intruder. He\she comes in to cause havoc no matter how caring he\she may appear, Remember also that, the Bible says: “they were both naked and were not asham-ed.” After leaving your parents to join with your wife, there is freedom and liberty of the two of you  seeing each other’s naked-ness which the parents cannot do. It’s a taboo in almost all the cultures of the world.

Matthew 19:6 says: “Whe-refore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder.” Family pressure that is not controlled can put the couple asunder. This is the reason parents and friends are advised every-where to stay away from a married couple in order to allow them be on their own and correct themselves on whatever mistakes they may make. Ultimately, God is the solution to all and every pressure from the family.

He is also able to correct every troubled marriage if the couple concerned knows the Lord and submit to Him.

When there are family pressures at all angles, it is needful for the couple to have a dialogue between themselves in order to find solution which will bring peace and harmony to their new found home. I know about a young family which the father-in-law became the dictator and spokesman on behalf of his son against both the daughter-in-law and her parents.

Recently, the man came from his hometown to Lagos where the couple resides and decided that the daughter-in-law be sent away to her parents while a new wife be married for the son. Today, the home is broken asunder. The young man is rejoicing that the marriage is dissolved by his father.

This young man has not seen the need to make decision on his own except what the father says. The father of this young man claimed he sent the daughter-in-law away on the basis that his son has spent a lot on the sickness of the wife.

According to him, he wants his son to have peace and rest of mind.


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Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.