Clergymen, preach the truth
Ideally, religious institutions should be the providers of moral and ethical education based on religious doctrines. Unfortunately, some clergymen misinterpret the Scriptures to the detriment of one gender, leading to discord, abuse, and mistreatment in some relationships.
Earlier this year, I met a young mother who narrated her personal experience with staunch religious in-laws. Having been in a relationship with her fiancé for a couple of years and blessed with two adorable children, it seemed like her in-laws had never approved of their relationship from the very start.
According to her, it is his family that pressured him to end their relationship. He just left home one morning and never returned. She later learned that he had gotten married to a girl from the local church, whom his family claimed was ‘suitable. Interestingly, the couple separated in less than a year.
Nowadays people hide their flaws and insecurities behind the veil of religion to mistreat and subjugate their partners, leading to unhealthy relationships. They will usually misinterpret Holy Scriptures to abuse their partners physically and psychologically, all under the guise of ‘submissiveness.’
Concealing the reality
Partners in a relationship often confide in their faith leaders on a myriad of issues that may be plaguing them. Sadly, it is these leaders who lead them astray through manipulation and intimidation to maintain the image of a happy marriage. I believe in a healthy union where both partners should be honest and open with each other about any issue. Most religions have adapted and are creating safe spaces for their believers to discuss such matters.
In June 2022, the world was in shock after it was revealed that renowned gospel artist Osinachi Nwachukwu had died as a result of an abusive relationship, and not throat cancer as had been earlier stated. Her family and friends confirmed this and castigated religious leaders, advising them to stop misguiding their congregants who might be going through such tribulations. When the church leader at the church she fellowshipped was asked about it, he said he had no idea that the late gospel artiste was being abused by her husband.
I believe there are many benefits that religion has to offer relationships. They not only create a bond in families but also contribute to a great level of discipline in the families, for both the partners and their children. Furthermore, it provides moral values and social interactions, as well as connecting people. Yet, many people have misconstrued this as control and manipulation, which degenerates into unhealthy relationships.
Character also plays an equally important role. Some people don’t want to accept that they need to change their behavior, because of the feeling of entitlement toward their partners. Change will only come to a person when they decide to adapt to it. I don’t think anyone ever wishes to be in an abusive relationship, but staying in one is a personal choice, regardless of the reason.
Most religious institutions hardly talk about solutions to such relationships, yet it is a practice they should adapt. They should play an integral part in preventing such abuses among their congregants and ensure their wellbeing, by holding conferences on such issues.
Blind beliefs in inaccurate doctrines instilled in them may lead some people to suffer silently in abusive relationships. Fear of speaking out leaves many unable to disentangle themselves from such situations.
Many young people (believers) have also fallen victim to this since it’s believed that religious institutions should be models of family life. There is little information on what to expect in a marriage or relationship, like the fact that problems, disagreements, and conflicts are bound.
A friend happened to be in such a relationship. Her husband started acting different and would beat and hurl insults at her, all in front of their children. Naturally, it is hard to tell what happens behind closed doors. Around family and friends, her husband was a nice and kind person, a model partner. She was afraid of what society would say.
One day he beat her up so badly that she nearly died. When she met her religious leader, he was smart enough to advise her to leave with her kids and save her life. This was a one-in-a-million religious leader who offered such advice to a believer.
Everyone is entitled to believe in what they believe in. However, I believe that we need more spaces for devotees in religious institutions to openly talk about what they are going through in their respective relationships. Eventually, we will find a viable solution. Religious leaders should also speak more to couples and break down the scriptures correctly, for example, one should not misinterpret and take advantage of the word ‘submissive’ to treat the other unfairly.
Couples should also be encouraged to have deep and open conversations with one another, supporting and respecting each other’s spiritual disclosures.
By doing this, each one of us will be able to look out for the other and find solutions to such unhealthy relationships. No one deserves to suffer silently all in the name of what they believe in.
Ooooooh this is so knowledgeable to the community and believers ..if only and only the clergymen can give ear to what the Spirit of the Lord is saying!!!!