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Church, media to blame for the ailing young marriages in Kenya – Chania.

Psychologist Gladys Chania (centre) poses for a photo with some of the participants in the Young Parents workshop at a Thika hotel.
The CEO Right@Home Rehab Centre Gladys Chania Mwangi has attribute the recent spate of domestic violence and murders to the society burying their heads in the sand concerning controversial topics such as intimacy and shared responsibilities.

While speaking to young parents in a forum in a Thika hotel on Saturday, Chania admitted that there was a growing problem within many Kenyan homes today and that the Kenyan child was at a higher risk of growing up in a dysfunctional or broken home than it was in the yesteryears.

She partly blamed this crisis to the church and the society for failing to properly tackle matters related to marital sex and finances and instead paint a rosy view of marriage as mostly perpetuated by modern media. It was some of these reasons, she says, that make many young people to rush into marriage without adequate preparation for the realities of marital life.

“Parents are no longer preparing their children for adulthood. Most people are getting into marriage with very little or no knowledge of what it entails to be in marriage. No one is bold enough to tackle certain topics that have over the years been regarded as immoral. Young couples are eventually finding themselves in a dilemma when certain challenges occur but have no one to run to for solutions due to traditional and religious handicaps, ending up being distressed and frustrated with themselves,” explained Chania.

Chania says that as modernity edges out tradition, more and more families are finding themselves at crossroads due to the ‘fake ideas’ of families they are exposed to in the electronic media and on the internet.

She adds that today’s young couple has to deal with intense peer pressure due to a tendency to compare themselves with their peers, in terms of social and economic progress. The result, she says, is a growing sense of frustration, generated by unmet, usually unrealistic expectations from both partners.

She noted that the throw in the ‘immediate gratification’ mentality in many young couples – for instance wanting a car now, a house now, a holiday now etc. can be attributed to the source of murderous frustration in many young marriages.

“Some young couples have made WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter their teacher as well as their most intimate friends, totally ending up being displaced by virtual reality. The challenge is grave since it affects growing relationships, especially for those dating, almost getting married, or are young and married,” she said.

She also admitted that some of the conflicts within young relationships were as a result of attitude problems, pointing out that marriages were never a competition to bring the ‘what a man can do, a woman can do better’.

“Some of these young couples suffer from a ‘false sense of self-importance’ for instance that clique of ‘modern wives’ who think that they can replace centuries of male-domination with a new regime of female domination. They think they can do without men, or that since they now play ‘manly roles,’ their men might as well play ‘woman roles,” says Chania.

She advises young couples to detach themselves from stereotypes regarding what ideal womanhood or manhood stands for as such were some of the reasons that caused conflicts in marriages.

The psychologist and counsellor advises couples being put thorough guidance and counseling before they marry and even after marriage, in case challenges that they find difficult to deal with crop up.

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