I don’t mean; we don’t talk anymore type of communication (that is also a problem) I mean the I don’t understand what you are saying type.
I have received a number of couples that are extremely frustrated and on the verge of divorce because of verbal fights and the negativity that is consequent. One thing that stands out is that they are usually still in love with each other and before the troubles, they are perfect until a fight. These fights grow until they overwhelm the good news and then divorce becomes imminent.
These couples usually try really hard to save their marriage by doing all the things people prescribe like dates more sex etc but even then they seem to fight more…
I find myself more of an interpreter than a counselor because I get that many couples seem to need someone to help them understand each other.
We all have different backgrounds that affect our perception of reality more than we would like to accept. For example, a man who grew up seeing the mother make ‘juice’ for the father every evening will expect his wife to do it, not out of servitude but because to him, this is an expression of affection.
Trouble comes when the wife is from a family where mummy was the working type or even worse, the provider and everything was done by the maid and she said things like…’ even if you do what men will always be men.’
This girl views anything done for men as a sign of servitude. So when the hubby expects his socks washed, etc, she doesn’t see it from his point of view nor he, hers. These two will always have friction with one feeling neglected if his wife refuses and the wife feeling pushed if she accepts.
Another example…I was raised by a single mum and every evening, the daddies of the other children would come back home with kaveera of milk, bread and sugar. To date for me, that is the epitome of fatherly/husbandly duty. Even if my husband gave me one million, it wouldn’t elicit as much joy and satiation as him bringing a kaveera. In fact, one of my exes used to get out of trouble like that.
Back to communication, one client thought telling her husband of all the things she sacrificed to be with him was affirming her love for him yet he interpreted it as her telling him how unachieved he was… E.X.AC.T.L.Y, so every time they had a fight, she told him and didn’t understand why he was so angry and dismissive after her declaration and affirmation of love.
Another couple had challenges because the wife has been through a terrible experience with men and has triggers and the man has never had any problems so, he thinks she is moody and always negative or complains and whines a lot. The wife was told by peers and family to bury her past and not talk about it, so she would get stuck. But after revealing her pain, she realised her husband was very open to her sharing what happened and less trouble, more hugs and affirmation arose.
Background!!! I can not stress it enough. Please find out someone’s background before you commit because trust me it will come to bite.
If you grew up in Masaka growing cassava for school fees please leave the girls that grew up in homes where they didn’t know hustle for money because you will feel the pain of money and she will not. Then you will accuse her of not being developmental and seeing your hustle. But if you marry one from Mityana and she also grew cassava, then you two will synch.
If your husband is from a polygamous family or uncles, etc regardless of religion, please prepare yourself for the fact that you can not report cheating crimes to the family. Just be prepared. And if you came from a one-woman and one-man background, stay away from such men because your background will hamper your happiness because you will see polygamy as a bigger betrayal than a woman who comes from a polygamous background.
There are many challenges for example a man who grew up seeing his mother cook with half an onion and was never exposed to other cooking will not be the type to buy you Javas or KFC in fact, you will get a live chicken and potatoes to cook. He will not understand why you want to buy titanium saucepans of Shs2m or a tea set of Shs2m when he sees cups at Arua park at Shs20,000. These seemingly small things can spark off the worst fights with ugly words.
If couples try to find out these things, then they can compromise and be patient from a point of understanding. Marriage is not all about love. Love gets you to the alter, sex should then start there, even though many have now made fornication the new norm.
Anyway, marriage is kept whole by a myriad of things. I have tackled three.
Senga Rehma Nakiranda Raja is a consellor and Author of ‘Your husband’