Yes, we know the statistics – thirty, forty, fifty percent and, some say even higher, for the current divorce rate in Trinidad and Tobago. This troubling rate is true even for those of us who consider ourselves religious, following godly principles and practices. But though these statistics are a legitimate cause for serious concern, deeper analysis and focused action, there is another side of the story that is not told often enough.
The story needs to be told of the fifty, sixty or seventy percent of GOOD MARRIAGES in this country that continue to survive, grow and even thrive. Thank God for these good marriages where mutual respect, cooperation, teamwork, genuine care and everyday loving, both practical and romantic, are present. So few and too few of them are featured in our daily newspapers, electronic and social media, big screen movies and on the internet. Why can’t the best sex be sex within a loving, healthy, growing marriage relationship facing the challenges of life? And the truth be told – it is the best sex!
I firmly believe that the promotion of healthy, growing marriages, together with the provision of the required education, skills, tools, models and support is a vital and grossly underestimated strategy for reversing the negative trends in our society today. In Trinidad and Tobago, it is widely accepted that the restoration of strong family units must be a key part of any long-term solution to our current youth delinquency, school violence, street children and crime waves. But the nation as a whole seems slow to acknowledge, reluctant or even dismissive of, the link between strong families and strong marriages. Yet is this not one of the foundation pillars of “the old time days”? So the marriage creed still rings true that says marriage “was ordained for the welfare of human society which can be strong and happy only where the marriage bond is held in honour.”
The deliberate pursuit of strong relationships and strong marriages in particular is not only validated by the positive effects that these can have our society, but also by the truth that the essence of human living lies not in our possessions and our achievements, but in the quality relationships we have, enjoy and maintain. To quote the Scriptures “a man‘s life does not consist in the abundant of his possesses (Luke 12:15)”.
But quality relationships require quality time in which to build them. By quality time in the context of marriage, I mean unhurried, undivided, attention to each other. This may include an evening dinner together, an overnight stay in a local hotel or guest house (including Tobago), a vacation aboard or even a cruise. I know couples who just driving out together on full-moon nights. But given our packed schedules and especially where the raising of young children are involved or financial resources are limited, these quality times will have to be planned in advance. Please plan them!
Our country of Trinidad and Tobago needs to go back to the good old days of strong marriages, producing strong families that bring up and nourish strong children, if it is to go forward in true peace and prosperity; not measured by our national GDP and personal fortunes amassed, but by the quality of relationships we enjoy in our marriages, in our homes and in our communities.
To those with good marriages in our midst, which are surviving, growing and thriving we say a heartfelt thank you for the effort and persistent hard work and may God continue to bless you richly!
Submitted by Kelvin S. Mapp,
author of “Understanding Marriage – the true story (UMTTS)” book and workbook.