Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Seven ways you could resolve a marriage conflict in Tanzania or elsewhere in Africa

Today I just want to share with YOU some tips that could help you overcome marriage barriers and renew your relationship. I hope you will find them interesting and helpful in renewing and spicing up things in marriage. This post is a result of something I experienced while talking to people, so as a result of the case, I decided to share some insights to help those who might be going through the same issue.

Recently I spent a day at the district’s social welfare department whereby with some others we get a chance to hear some cases as a part of social sector development experience, these cases are cases that involve and requires either counseling, family conflict resolution or social services, most of them being for the benefit of the children involved.

There was a man whom I got a chance to talk to about His relationship with His wife; we had a conversation on the matters of who should handle the conflicts that arises in marriage, especially in the case of the things they were going through. After our long talk, his question to me was ' Who should I go to first if there are difficulties or misunderstanding in our marriage?'

Without a doubt he was experiencing some of these challenges in his marriage with his spouse, but they didn't have an idea of where to start before bringing the case to social welfare or the court.
Due to confidentiality I won’t share the names or the story of what happened during the discussion, however, since you will be curious of what the answer was, I will share with you my views and recommendations regarding the issue.

As always, what I share here might be helpful to some, and to others not. If you find it helpful, then be blessed.

So if I am experiencing a misunderstanding or a conflict in my relationship, especially in marriage, which third party do I go to first for help? To some this can be a very tough question, but the answer can be very simple. Simple to me, but I don’t know about you.


Looking at the issue from a Tanzanian perspective, especially since I am a Tanzanian, the first person for me to see if I was experiencing any misunderstanding in my marriage would be my best man and his wife. In Swahili we call them Washenga or Wadhamini wa ndoa.

It's advised that if you are about to get married, it’s crucial to ensure that the couples who are going to be your best people on the wedding day are married and are in a good relationship. It’s also important to make sure that they can be trusted, and are people who are honest; this is so that they can be able to support you as you enter into the phase of marriage life.

Therefore, if you are experiencing any misunderstanding, before taking it any step further, ensure that you talk to these people. They will be able to help you, and if the situation is deteriorating, with honesty they will be able to refer you to the next line of help if they can’t handle it. Start here before you take it any step further, sometimes small difficulties can be handled here, rather than making it complicated.


The second step is to call parents from both sides for a discussion on the matter. Both parents might have been in a longer marriage that you have, and they are full of wisdom on how to handle the ups and downs of a marriage. Seeing parents in difficult situations can really help. Parents have experiences with marriage and their guide can help both you and your spouse resolve the misunderstanding you are experiencing, especially when they themselves have come across such issues in their time of marriage. So before moving on to any further step ensure that you’ve consulted parents from both sides. If this doesn't work out, take action to the next step.


The third step to take if seeing you best man and his wife or parents from both sides don’t help in resolving the issue, from a Tanzanian and a tribal point of view I would advise you to consult the clan leaders. Clan leaders are usually people who have been there for a very long time, most of them being very matured and aged with wisdom. These people have been in marriage for a very long time and have tasted every part of marriage; they’ve gained experience in resolving such issues from time to time. They are usually old folks and they are an opportunity in resolving marriage misunderstandings.

Take the opportunity of seeing them before going further. The reason why I write about this step is because I have seen it work so many times especially when I am coming from the Chagga tribe that resides below the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.


When it doesn’t work out at the clan leader’s level, you can take it further on. Whether a Christian, Muslim, or Hinduism etc, I recommend you take it to your religious leader. As a Christian leader I believe that pastors have a very important role to play when it comes to marriages, they are engaged in Pastoral and marriage care. Therefore, for Christians I advise you to see you pastor when passing through marriage difficulties. Pastors can help you both come on a common ground and defeat the difficulties you are experiencing. Your pastor will help you in each and every way to resolve issues.

Many marriage problems come from the spirituality point of view, and I believe that spiritual counseling can help in overcoming many issues that seem difficult in marriage. So seek help from your pastors, they are a very important in resolving marriage difficulties.


Another step you could take is to try visiting a ten cell leader or the chairperson of the village, this step is to be taken especially when conflict involves violence and one of the partners is experiencing physically abused. Seeing leaders such as mentioned can help resolve marriage difficulties especially those with violence. Remember if there are violence in a marriage conflict, it's important to report it to the Gender Violence Desk at a police station so that it can be handled as soon as possible before it leads to a dangerous case. Many people have died due to keeping violence a secret; do not make this same mistake.


Why not seek marriage therapy, take it to marriage counseling? Trying to work out marriage conflict on your own can lead to other problems; I have seen this before, many times. If you are experiencing misunderstandings, seeking professional marriage counseling help can really help. Such help can enable you clearly see the conflict in a whole new way and gain a new perspective. I bet I can find hundred of marriage issues that were resolved through the help of professional marriage counseling. Therefore, seek this help before taking the matter into legal department which can leader to a divorce.


Get to the social service department which involves the social welfare especially if the marriage misunderstanding involves the welfare of your children. Social welfare can really help in the matters of helping you maintain your relationship and spice up your marriage, while giving concern to the welfare of your children. It might not seem important to you, but I have seen conflicts resolved at a social welfare office. Take the opportunity to do so.


Some might ask, why did I not mention seeking a friend's help?  Well, the reason why I didn't do that is because friends have the record of taking sides. A very few number of friends will be honest. If you have friends who are honest, then you can seek their help, but if you don’t, then don’t even try.  Very few friends will be honest to you, but many of them as I've said; they will take sides which is not good. Friends can be really good help in the matters of personal opinion, but not that good in dealing with marriage matters.


As I conclude this post, I want you understand that, you are not obligated to follow each step as mentioned, but if a marriage is facing a conflict that hasn't been certified as a conflict leading to violence, then it will really help you if you follow this simple steps.

You are not in any way obligated to follow through, but if it seem fit, do so for they can really help. You can start from whichever step you think suits your situation, but I recommend the four first steps to be taking. If the conflict in your marriage involves violence, then it's important to take it straight to legal departments.

Remember and bear in mind that every conflict starts with a misunderstanding or disagreement before it actually becomes a conflict. The key to a healthy relationship is to understand that patience is required in resolving a misunderstanding. Once in a relationship, you should learn to understand what gets your partner angry and avoid it or look for ways to work on it.

Finally, I hope you will find this post very helpful in resolving misunderstandings in your marriage. If you think there are others things I have left out, please feel free to share it with me via the comment box or contact page, and drop me an email. I would love to hear what your opinions are especially when it comes to matters of resolving marriage disagreements.

Have a blessed day,

Because of His love, I am forever a secure package
Chaow Chaow!

Rumishael Ulomi is a Freelance Christian Consultant, Life Coach, and Motivational Speaker in the areas of Christian Ministry, Business, Entrepreneurship, and Social Sector development residing in Moshi,Tanzania.


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