In recent times, the issue of Divorce seems to be on the rise in our Zongo communities,  increasing everyday with unpleasant experiences ...

In recent times, the issue of Divorce seems to be on the rise in our Zongo communities,  increasing everyday with unpleasant experiences shared by most community members. Though not well documented, it won't be surprising to know that many new couples are leaving their partners and their marital homes altogether.

Some have attributed it to the fact that the couples do not go through counselling before the marriage. But the BIG question is- are there even counselling centers and professionals in these Islam dominated communities?

According to research from the communities, one of the major factor of this divorce phenomenon according is SEX. For several years, the ZONGO community has been taught to frown on sex. Any talk about sex is often regarded as a taboo, with the excuse that it leads to fornication- which means when people know so much, they get too exposed. The bold ones to talk openly about it especially at a young age are tagged as SPOILT children.

Most women especially who grow up in these communities are unable to openly talk about sex, even with their husbands for fear of being tagged. Even the experienced ones shy away from teaching their husbands because of the pride the men exhibit, often thinking that women should rather be controlled even in bed.

As the world evolves, I think it is high time people are encouraged to talk openly about sexuality and start the discussion at an early stage even before marriage when they can legally practice.

Many marriage couples will attest that sex is an important aspect of the union and also the only legimate forum to have sex so couples need to communicate with their partners more about their desires and choices to enable them enjoy the experience.

Communication is a very key element in every marriage and should often be used when it comes to sex talk. This can be verbal or non-verbal messages.

Yes, it is understandable for some couples to find difficulties in communicating verbally but there are various means to use non-verbal communication like body gestures, wearing of sexy night gowns, text messaging your partners even at work etc.

Aside the aspect of communication, it has also been noted that non-sexual aspect like lack of care, respect and other vital ingredients are also lacking in marriages among community members.

Respect is key in every relationship and marriage is no exception. Respect should not be commanded but earned. It is quite disappointing the way some men in the zongo communities talk to their wives. Even in public, some of the men call their wives KE (her) and talk harshly towards them in a show of power.

Some women naturally do not know how to talk and they see nothing wrong with that. They would embarrass their men even in a gathering. All this affects the marriage and gradually grinds it to a halt.

Another aspect of ensuring that marriages thrive is care. Most partners in these communities do not take care of each other. This should not be a one-sided affair. Both the woman and the man have a role to play when it comes to caring for their partners. Traditional societies often preach that a wife can make or break the family and can transform her man if she performs her duty as a wife. Men need helpers too despite their egos and a wife can give her husband the support he needs. Both partners should respect each other and not make it seem the other is too dependent. By so doing, a man who has IMAN (Faith) and the love of God will appreciate his woman more and return the help. It takes a real man to show up to his responsibilities by providing for the home and also helping his wife.

It's quite unfortunate that most of our men in the ZONGO community do not know how to appreciate their women. By no fault of theirs, they have been brainwashed by society to believe that it is actually a sign of weakness for a man to show too much affection.

However, it is important for a man to give love as much as he receives it- especially from his wife. This can be done in many ways aside taking her out and showering her with gifts. It's actually a big deal when men help their wives in the kitchen. You can spend time with her in the kitchen on weekends while you cook and bond. It's actually a great time to be together and rather very sad that men who usually do that are teased with names like MANTA UWA and JUJU married men, just for helping their spouses. That is rather the new way to go because it's sexy.

While you're both at it, limit the rate at which you share details of what happens in your home. Running to tell your family and friends for every help or support your man offers may tend to affect your the marriage because either good or bad, people will always talk.

In spite of all these points addressing the challenges, I think it's high time we have counselling centers to counsel young couples especially before and after the marriage to help reduce the divorce rate. I am looking forward to see a ZONGO with a loving and caring family which can stand the test of time like that of our parents. A Zongo full of love and couples willing to fight to make a case for their marriage which will in turn drastically reduce the divorce rate and promote a healthy society.

Written by:

Mariam Shaibu

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