The author says the book is a panacea to the high divorce rate resulting from many factors such as infidelity, heavy drinking, domestic violence, indebtedness and interference by relatives, among other social ills.
‘Marriage on the sick bed’ by Mpho Rantsudu has already hit the bookshelves of stores and libraries across the country.
The author Rantsudu says succinctly that his offering seeks to address this social ill.
“The tempo of divorce soars high every year. According to Midweek Sun newspaper dated 11 June 2014, a total of 3, 838 cases of divorce were registered in Botswana as from January 2011 to May 2014,” a line from the book reads.
This is clear from these figures that the institution, which was meant to be holy and lasting a lifetime is indeed in its sick bed.
Rantsudu is a qualified Marriage Enrichment Trainer and is accredited by the Botswana Qualifications Authority.
He holds a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work. A Christian by faith, the Mmadinare- born Rantsudu bases his arguments in the book on both research and the biblical stories.
The 12-chapter book takes the reader through a journey that covers different aspects of a good relationship. It highlights the most prominent challenges that couples face and giving remedies, which if properly applied, could lead to that lasting happy marriageThe book emphasises the world-accepted view that marriage is God’s creation.
In the preamble, Rantsudu quotes Matthew 19 verse 6.“What God has joined together no man should put asunder,” the quoted verse says.
He also highlights that the tradition of a wedding ring, which originated from ancient Romans attests to what the verse says.
The roundness of the ring is believed to symbolise a union that was to last until death. It thus makes divorce an impropriety.
The high rate of divorce, he argues, has had an effect on the declining number of new marriages and the high rate of cohabitation, as marriage was no longer appealing to the younger generation.
The book quotes David Clulow as having lamented in his writings that “divorce on its own is not a disease, but an attempted remedy for a disease”. While to many, divorce seems the easy way out of this “disease”, the outcomes of divorce go a long way in haunting couples and their children.
In trying to make the reader understand the importance of marriage, the writer buttresses the Christian viewpoint that the first couple on earth was Adam and Eve. But then again, he then acknowledges that scholars have failed over the years to ascertain the origins of the institution. He brings forward Clulow’s theory that “marriage is a covenant between two parties based on promise.
”Often, people fail to fulfill this promise hence divorce”. But because marriage is a love-based relationship, Rantsudu’s book emphasises the need for unconditional love and respect for marriage to succeed. To back up this point, he quotes from Ephesians where Apostle Paul says, “wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, for the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the saviour. “Husbands love your wives just as Christ loved the church… In the same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies”.
The fact that pre-marital counselling is not a pre-requisite in Botswana could also be contributing to the high rate of divorce.
Rantsudu argues that substantive number of people go into marriage assuming that their love alone would carry them through.
“What counts in a marriage is not merely the presence of love, but how adequately equipped are individual partners to deal with inevitable incompatibilities and other challenges that lay ahead.
“Pre-marital counselling is therefore highly recommended for couples to mentally and psychologically prepare them for the tests ahead,” he argues.One aspect of human nature is temperament, which is often crucial in deciding the future of a relationship.
Rushing into marriage before understanding your partners’ temper could prove a big mistake, says the book. At Chapter 3 the book seeks to bring the issue of temperament to couples’ attention. Couples are advised not to hide behind this characteristic to justify their behaviours.
It is imperative for couples to understand themselves and their spouses and know where they fall. Rantsudu notes in the book that marriages go through various stages. He says all those stages ought to be recognised for a successful union. He divides the stages into four, namely romance and honeymoon stage, reality, accommodation and transformation. “The romance stage is characterised by a fallacious “world of paradise”, the chemistry of sexual attraction and driven by infatuation than real love,” he says. What makes that stage more complicated is the fact that each individual is cautious not to step onto the other’s toes.
“In other words the two are still putting on a mask and not depicting real self,” he argues.
The presence of friendship is also identified as a decisive factor in a successful marriage and the absence of it often leads to boredom.
When reality beckons, perhaps the most crucial stage of a marriage, couples start feeling relaxed and come out of their cocoons. It is at this stage that some unpleasant behaviours are realised. While the woman might have not complained of disturbing night calls from her “other half” the same woman could start complaining of disturbing night calls from the same man.
The book refers to this stage as the do-or-die stage because it could either make or break the relationship. “It is crucial for couples to be given the space to deal with their issues alone without the relatives’ interference. “It is at this stage that arguments and power struggles should be turned into acceptance. “Realistic goals should be set and pursued and the couple needs to renew their spirituality. “Communication is also crucial at this stage where couples share both ‘small talk’ and intense conversations” the book continues.
The book also delves into the sensitive issue of sex, saying from time immemorial, the topic has generated great interest across societies.
“In fact sex is part and parcel of the family unit because for couples to have families they have to engage in it,” says the book.
It is at Chapter 8, that the book brings up the “sex debate”, highlighting its importance and benefits in the marriage. It also provides an insight into how a spouse, especially the wife, can avoid conflict with the in-laws as well as the importance of making financial decisions together no matter how minor they might appear.