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Keeping Marriage Together

Studies show that more than 50% of marriages end up in divorce. And this does not account for those unhappily married. If such statistics were turn over rates of any given business organization, we would want to know what happens within the organization that forces people to leave.

Problems that lead marriages to divorce reminds of minibus businesses in Kenya. Matatus are minibuses or private cars converted to public transportation means. Natives started matatu business in rural areas during the Colonial Era. For any distance traveled, the charge was the same, matatu (30 cents in Kikuyu language).

Thus the origin of the name of a business that sometimes claims more than 40% of annual deaths. While AIDS has become the number one killer, nearly every other family has a member who was maimed or killed in a matatu-related accident.

Of course, the fares have increased, and so have the matatu vehicles. To make more money each day, the operators increase their number of trips with breakneck speed and always pack the vehicle with more passengers than are legally allowed. They will do anything to get a passenger into the vehicle. They persuade you. If you have luggage, they help you carry it into the vehicle. But, after you are in and have paid the fare, the operators don?t care about you. No more sweet words. The goal is to get the next passenger.

But marriage in not matatu business. Attention has to be given to those who are already inside the "marriage vehicle" with the same love, concern and tenderness, if not more than that which initiated the relationship.

Marriage is the oldest form of human union. Marriage precedes church, school or government. That union, once broken, the cords that hold together all other human entities are threaten - and the perpetuation of values that transcends cultures and generations hang on the balances.

There is no perfect marriage. Each marriage is unique and all marriages have challenges that have to be addressed constantly. However, cultural and technological dynamics have had profound, albeit mostly negative impact on marriages. Today, 50/50 commitment and contribution in marriage seems to have replaced 100% commitment and contribution for each member of the union. It?s not unusual for people to get married with unrealistic expectations based on what is portrayed by popular culture.

Individualism, unforgiving spirit, lack of forbearance and self-restrain are some of the aspects that threaten marriages. But money, poor communication, children, sex and in-laws are mentioned as the major contributors to marital problems. These factors interact and it?s hard to pinpoint the one which contributed the most to marital breakdown.

Closely looked at, material blessings should not be a source of marital anguish. There is never a U-Haul truck following a funeral procession hauling the deceased person?s earthly belongings.

The ability to communicate and relate with one another, address each other?s concerns, and expectations with honor, respect and love is the fabric that keeps marriage vibrant. Appreciation, effective listening, time shared together, encouragement, gifts (the best gift is your commitment) are some aspects of communication that holds a marriage together.

In many cultures, a family is complete with or without children. Children are additional blessings. These "blessings" should not be the cause for marital breakdown. The best gift you can give your children is to love, respect and honor their mother or father, plus being a good example.

Parents (in-laws included) are invaluable gift. Their talents, wisdom and contributions can help young couples in numerous ways. It?s advisable, however to cleave to your mate and let all other relationships be secondary. This does not mean abandoning our parents.

Satisfying intimacy is a function of a healthy relationship where there is security, commitment, companionship, and in-depth passion. These elements bring in the crucial physical, mental and emotionally satisfying aspects of sex. When a couple develops these elements, they not only deepen their relationship, but also create an environment where sex is not routine or risky.

A couple that prays and plays together and each, husband and wife are faithful to God and honest to oneself, remain together. That couple?s marriage may not be threatened by extra marital affairs, careers or hobbies.

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