Why I Think Some Marriages Fail Despite All Good Efforts To make Them Work - Part 16

One thing that I wish to highlight today is that there is not a single totally trouble free marriage. The best marriages are those that are running on frequent compromise, forgiveness, and an occasional “letting the other get away with murder” attitude. I consider my marriage to be amongst the world’s best but the truth is if Joyce and I would really want to get at each other’s throats we’d do so on a daily basis simply because there is always something that we have to contest about in our marriage. I have mentioned earlier in one of my previous articles on the same subject about the importance of compromise in marriage. Marriage cannot be operated as an aeroplane with a checklist on hand and making sure that all the pressure gauges are one hundred percent full before we can take off. Also remember that the Bible says that love covers a multitude of sins. By this I hope that I‘m not also promoting abuse of grace that we receive from each other. Joyce and I are very serious about our relationship and we never take each other for granted or despise the mercy that each receives from the other, but then as I have mentioned there are those times when we both feel that we have forgiven the other more than we have offended them. And it is during such times when one wishes they had an outsider to come a judge the case. But we refuse to let ourselves go that route because we are still much capable of ‘self repairing’.

Many couples fail to become successful in their marriages because they have failed to cut the umbilical cord between themselves and their families. I am using the word umbilical cord metaphorically here to draw a clearer picture of what I’m trying to convey. When a child is born the connection between them and their mother is actually severed at the hospital but there remains another invisible chord that continues to keep every child attached to their mother. This is what I’m referring to. It is a fact that we all love our parents and this is right before God and man. There is no reason why we should become alienated from our families simply because we are now married. The problem here is caused by our lack of understanding. In the book of 1Timothy 5 the Bible is tells us about widows and how their children need to take care of them. Please note that this is not only a biblical principle but also a life principle. There was a time when every mother shared their very breath with their unborn child. And unless you were not born this is not for you. But if you were please follow me carefully. We need to know that just as there was a cutting of the natural cord between mom and baby there should be another cutting of the soulish chord between husbands to be and wives to be and their mothers. This does not mean estrangement between us and our families. It is easy to understand this through this example. When a baby is small and helpless they rely entirely on their family, especially their mother for everything. But then the mother’s intention is to get this baby to becoming totally independent and self functioning. I hope I’m right. This we see in the things the mother does: bathroom training, letting the kid fit their own shoes, teaching them to eat and finally not accompanying them to the toilet. These are all positive signs towards growth.

The truth is while we take these at face value there is a principle behind them. That principle is called autonomy or self governance or liberty. And whilst this is taking place there is something else happening; with self governance comes authority. You cannot give someone freedom and deprive them of authority or power. Giving autonomy to a person but depriving them authority only makes sense to a manipulative person. Now our freedom from our parents will differ from culture to culture and are definitely driven by many factors. But as many as they are in my own opinion they can all be summed up to fewer than two major groups namely: family hierarchy and material support for our families.
The fact is that most of us in this generation were brought up by either a struggling dad trying to bring up six kids or by a widow or a single mother who struggled to sell peanuts in order to take us through varsity. And for us to value our independence above these facts would be greatly sinful before God. We need to agree to support our families the best we can. This is also a principle of prosperity. Giving is not a burden but a way of living. But then we must also realize that in our giving we have to be in total agreement, because being in one accord is also a rule. If we agree to give reasonable material and moral support to our families we will only be left with one thing, and that is making sure that their getting in the way of our marriage is under strict control. Here’s my little tip for those of you who really want to be free from supporting your parents financially; try this simple arithmetic calculation. The cheapest it will cost to bring up a child today will be about R30 per day; R900 per month; and R10, 800, 00 per annum. Now multiply this by the number of years you stayed under their roof; then pay them and you’re free. It’s not really too much, it’s only R329, 000, 00 for a twenty five year old. If you can’t pay the amount in cash then I suggest you do instalments.

And by the way I personally see no reason whatsoever for any married person to open up a door of invitation for interference by his or her family. There are many reliable individuals and structures our there that can help us without getting emotionally involved in the whole thing. My reason for saying so is because I have observed that our families seldom become objective when helping us resolved issues they always get emotionally involved, and this is proven by the fact that long after you have forgiven your spouse they will still remember it as if it happened yesterday. So for that reason the lesser they are involved the better for your marriage. Talk to strangers about your issues. In my previous articles I mentioned that we spent the first sixteen years of our marriage living with my mother under her roof. And I’m proud to say that during that whole period I never gave my mother the opportunity to try and help us solve our issues with Joyce. My reasons for doing so were solely based on the obvious fact that she would be biased in her judgement. And secondly I did not want my mother to try and solve things that could have been similar to those she experienced with my father. This would have caused her to do so without a clear judgement since her and my dad were divorced. I must mention that we also valued our autonomy as a couple and we continued to look after both our parents; that is our mothers since we both had non resident fathers. Now the cutting of the soulish umbilical chord must be a conscious decision but it must me preceded by peace and harmony in your marriage, otherwise how do you expect your partner to stop going back to his or her family when you are not living peacefully together? Most of you just demand the impossible from each other. If back then Joyce did not treat me with love and kindness my mother wasn’t too far to reach we lived under one roof and it would have been the easiest thing for me to seek solace from her. Soul ties with one’s family will never be cut. It is our God given ability to become social creatures just like God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit they are joined together in harmony and operate as one but three distinct persons. Now that’s what I call unity. MVK

This entry was posted on Saturday, July 03, 2010 . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .


You hit the nail in the head mfundisi. I am one of those who stays with both mother and wife. I always think she wil be biased on any issue that might be brought to her for arbitration.The articles still prove to me that marriage 'is nie pap en vleis nie'. Continue shining the light unto our lives.

Pastoor thank you for the articles on marriage. As as boy who was raised by a single mother, its important to cut the tie quicker and not an easy one for both the son and mom. Thank God for teachings that opens our eyes because its the key to having a health relationship on both sides.


I think this is one of the challenge most families are struggling to overcome.Although our families are an important factor in our lives, we also need to build our own families. It can therefore not be possible for us to have our own families if our parents always intervene to resolve whatever issues we come across. Brilliant article Vhafunzi, an eye opener. Thanks!!!