Mandatory Marriage Counseling – Opinion – The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News



The planned decision by the Lagos State Government to introduce mandatory marital efficacy preparatory counseling for prospective couples to ensure proper knowledge of the state’s statute on domestic and sexual violence is a very welcome development.

This cause, which is the brainchild of the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA) in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, should be supported by anyone who cares about the sanctity of marriage and the progress of the family. .

Although there are arguments in some quarters that marriage is a personal matter that does not warrant government intrusion, such a position is wrong.

In recent times, crime and legal reporting has been inundated with an alarming rate of news about divorces and cases of domestic and sexual violence in Lagos State. These forms of violence include spousal beating, rape, spousal abandonment, early marriage, forced marriage, rampant divorce, and even death.

Although there is no well-documented study on the number of failed marriages and divorce cases, media reports are chilling enough to suggest that divorce and marital crises with their painful consequences are a social problem. .

Marriage counselors and psychologists have noted that domestic violence such as wife beating and spousal abandonment leaves people with wounded egos and traumatized psyches. They also documented that child marriage exposes unprepared or ill-prepared children to the complex and taxing responsibility of parenthood with devastating consequences on the community. Divorce as a quick fix to marital strife, they also argued, gives the false impression that marriage is only for perfect people.

According to sources from the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Agency (DSVA), between January 2022 and June 2022, the state recorded 2,334 cases of domestic violence and four deaths, while between May 2019 and August 2021, it claimed to have 10,007 cases of domestic and sexual violence involving men, women and children.

Among these, 999 cases of physical attacks in the marital home and 19 deaths were recorded last year. Given the endemic state of divorce, domestic and sexual violence and the fact that these have a cumulative effect on society, it has become imperative for the government to intervene at a very fundamental level.

According to research reports, some of the major causes of marital crises and related problems range from social incompatibility to psychological problems and psychosomatic disorders.

Studies also conducted by academic research groups and opinion polls in major Nigerian cities, including Lagos, suggest that the high divorce rate is attributable to one or a combination of the following: new socialization rules modern times, social media, religion, lack of proper preparation, poverty, lack of mutual understanding, focus on marriage than marriage, need to impress and social pressure. Undoubtedly, there is also a cultural and religious belief that promotes marriage and running a family as an index of success.

Seen in this light, marriage is then involuntarily contracted by many as the next level in the motivational ladder of life. And as noted by Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi, the executive secretary of the DSVA, 80% of couples reporting domestic violence had pre-existing knowledge of their partner’s erratic behavior before marriage, but continued the union. Indeed, it borders on a lack of preparation and a misunderstanding of the expectations of married life.

While the Lagos State Government deserves praise for this initiative, it is paramount that any curriculum on domestic violence that the government intends to introduce is comprehensive.

The program should go beyond topics such as marriage, love languages, gender and sex roles in marriage, and seek to explain why people stay in abusive relationships. It should also elaborate on the dignity of the human person without distinction of sex, the rights of the spouses in marriage, the equality of persons, the demands of modern society, the modeling of moral and ethical behavior for children, and d other fundamental subjects.

When preparing this new program, the Lagos State Government should seek the required professional and technical expertise that meets the overall objective of the project. They should be wary of organizations with socially destructive ideologies.

To this end, the Lagos State government must work with reputable and proven faith-based organizations with a track record of effective family and human life management structure. It should also seek the help of associations and groups oriented towards the sustainability of a healthy family system.

The government should also use registrars and counselors with exemplary experience of successful married lives as facilitators of this program. People with toxic relationships and turbulent marriages cannot be candidates to lead this initiative.

Since our culture and values ​​promote family in its official and broadest sense, other ministries, departments and agencies should be concerned and alert to pedagogical mechanisms designed by selfish ideologies to denigrate the African sense of family.

All over our schools, under the aegis of planned parenthood and the autonomous identity of children and young people, foreign NGOs are implanting destructive ideas of socialization in the minds of impressionable students.

The values ​​of the traditional family system in consensual conflict resolution, negotiation, mediation, and other local crisis buffering mechanisms are devalued and condemned in favor of heartbreaking and traumatic quick fixes to family disputes.

In addition to marriage counseling for future couples, the government should also offer several cycles of counseling to future divorcees by genuinely collaborating with faith-based institutions and community associations, thus deterring divorce at the slightest request.

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