By Pastor Okokon Ating
IN interpersonal tension among couples, inadequate relationship plays a vital role in causing dispute or conflicts which can result in a divorce.
How does inadequate relation-ship bring interpersonal tension? It is when one of the couple feels hostility to-wards the other, and is unable to talk openly about the problem, this may cause marital disharmony. It may also result in consequent reduction in sexual desire and arousal.
In another perspective, if spouses refuse to talk with each other openly about sexual drives or needs and desires, that is, if the woman comments on her sexual drives or needs and the man’s response remains negative, the woman may feel rejected and exonerated.
If this continues frequently, the relationship can be marred and vacuum creat-ed. The mistake of having a vacuum brings misconcept-ion about each other, hence divorce may ensue.
Where partners refuse relating with each other adequately, the sexual and other problems in the marital life become magnified. If any spouse lacks understanding of his/her sexual needs and other marital duties which can tie them together, this could be a poor technique in helping one another arouse sexually.
Definitely, the result may lead to antagonism and reduction in fellowship as a couple. Good and adequate relationship of the couples could birth good sexual responses and str-engthen marriage tie instead of divorce. All of these depend on the quick understanding of the couple to see those things as challenges poised against their marriage.
Faulty childhood upbringing about sex can cause interpersonal tension among couples. In our days where we were brought up in a strict Christian home, we were told by our parents that sex is a dirty game. In fact, one must not hear sexual discussion among the unmarried and even the married ones must say it in private. If a couple wants to enjoy sex, it must be in the dark where the secret is not known by anybody except the couple involved.
A lady told me during our class discussion that her mother once told her that she should not allow any man’s body to touch her. That if such happens, she would be pregnant. This type of traditional training from parents on sex before marriage puts fear in the lady which caused her sex-ual life to be in shambles. With this cultural knowledge, even if the lady marries, there would still be fear of sex. Moreover; it will be difficult for that lady to be free with the husband in discussing sex and other related matters.
In some traditional ideology, sex in marriage is just for procreation. Sex in marriage goes beyond just procreation; this is where interpersonal relationship comes in to clear the ignorant mind for better ties. A lot of awareness needs to be created to educate couples on this issue.
A man came to me complaining about his wife refusing to make love at night, and wouldn’t want to go beyond a round, she doesn’t like caressing before sex and for all these reasons, he is sending her away for a more romantic woman who will satisfy him. When I stepped in to counsel the family, I discovered that the wife came from a family that educated her wrongly about sex. She was ignorant about so many things on sex, she was circumcised when she was young, hence she found it difficult to have sexual urge. She had suffered great pains and bruises from the man that deflowered her and finally, based on her religion, she sees frequent sex with her husband as being an “Indecent play”.
I told the young man to exercise patience with his wife while he keeps teaching her, enlightening her on some things with love, he should use his wisdom and experience to teach her. The man followed my advice, after the period of a year, the couple came to me to appreciate God.
Another cause of interpersonal tension in marriage is jealousy. Where the couple allows jealousy to prevail, the marriage will soon fail or have dangerous sentiments. This is the utmost wicked weapon that kills marriage fast without wasting time. Jealousy in the sense where the wife keeps suspecting her husband fidelity and vice versa.
Jealousy between couples may arise as a result of either the man or the woman showing greater care for one’s parents than the others. Sometimes it may be due to the excessive spending on relatives more than on the immediate family. Some couples see it as maltreatment from their partner. The type of jealousy which is very funny is the one where the wife or husband complains about the other being selfish in respect to clothing, money and other material things.