We all hear about the aftermath of violence in the world and often wonder how another human could carry out such atrocity against another person. When it happens close to home, especially in the family unit, reality sets in and reminds us that violence, however it is dished out, isn’t quite so remote. It could happen to anyone, anywhere. That was my realization when I heard what happened to a close friend of mine some months ago. Going back to our younger years when we had no care in the world, I’m talking about our teenage years, the time when we feel we know it all, who would have thought that most of us would end up in such horrible life changing situation caused by domestic violence. Back then, we all had fairy tale aspirations of ending up in happy marital homes. We believed that life would be a “bed of roses” and we’ll all live happily ever after. If only we had known then that to dream is not reality. For most of us male and female, we remain blameless for all that happened to us in the course of relationships. Some of us start with good intentions and hope for the best outcome. Unfortunately, often as it may be, the other party may have a different agenda, or they are simply not on the same page with our expectations. How can someone know that, the one they have chosen as their partner will also be the one to make them doubt the safety and integrity of their relationship, break their confidence as a person and cause them to lose all that makes them unique? It does take a lot to summon enough courage to end it all and walk away from this situation, especially when the couple involved are married. Also, it equally takes a longer time to recover from the psychological and physical damage caused by the experience. Some are lucky to move on to loving fulfilling happy relationships, some try again and end up in the same situation, while others decide never again to share their lives with a significant other, or to spend the rest of their lives as a recluse. But how do we avoid or end this scourge? It’s very difficult to answer because of the simple fact that we can’t help who we fall in love with. However, I think the first step is to evaluate ourselves, how we reason and what we want out of a relationship, then stick to the decision we make, as long as it is one that protects our best interest and self-esteem. I think our thought process when choosing a partner should be evaluated at that early stage of a relationship because, if we don’t think carefully about the character traits we seek in a potential partner, and stick to our goals, we definitely will sell ourselves short in the long run. Personality and character traits should go above and beyond physical attributes, and this should be our focus when considering a potential partner. For those of us from the African continent, we all know that divorce is frowned at, and for a woman, that can be very damaging to her person. In our culture, even domestic violence is not good enough reason for ending a marriage. In fact most parents are more likely to force their child to stay in such a marriage, rather than drag their child out of it, because of their status and family honour. You must be very brave and independent to actually damn all the consequences, and walk away from marriage in my part of the world. To those who have managed to do so, may you find peace to rebuild your lives. To those who have given love a second chance only to go through this scourge again, check yourselves and identify what you are doing wrong. May your good heart never fail you. We all deserve to be loved and treated right by those closest to our hearts, so may this prayer be answered in our favour. And for those fearful of leaving such situation behind, may you be blessed with wisdom to do the right thing in your circumstances. Here is a message I sent to my friend. I hope this helps someone out there. May we all Learn to Live and Love again in Peace and Harmony x.
“You are brave and strong my dear friend. It is quite sad that a lot of us can relate to this issue of violence. Thank you for putting your experience into words of wisdom. I pray it empowers other people to face their fears squarely, and take steps towards the right direction for themselves and their children. God never intended that we suffer in marriage as a wife or husband because, it is an institution designed by him to encourage love and respect between a couple, in preparation for family life. Somehow we seem to have lost the plot. It is indeed wrong and morally unjustifiable to allow violence in any form of relationship with others. In the marital sense, our problem is that we often consider what other people think of us, and the stigma that follows a divorcee especially a woman. When we learn to disregard other people’s opinion of ourselves and our individual situation, our mind becomes open to our truth, and when we accept our truth, that’s the beginning of wisdom. If someone decides to treat their spouse as an eyesore or a punching bag, that’s the perpetrator’s problem but the person on the receiving end doesn’t have to take it. Nobody deserves to be treated like that. We can only keep praying for the perpetrator to get an awakening from God, and we have to give it our best shot. Our part as wives and husbands is to remain blameless over any wrongdoing in our marriages, and seek God’s guidance constantly. But when life and sanity are threatened, (the two essence of our existence), we shouldn’t be judged for fleeing and fleeing fast.”
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