Notwithstanding the fears of pessimists, families remain together. Marriage is a divine institution. It is love that binds couples together. Once there is love and unity nobody can attempt to break this sacred union. To achieve this unity requires continuous adjustment process. In love, there is understanding and openness to each other. When husband and wife really know each other, no outsider should do anything to hurt their marriage. Their main concern is the love that binds them together. They try every time to build on this love. Money is not love in family relations. The father’s image is changing today especially when he is no longer materially productive. A rich man who is self-made can ruin his children born with silver spoon in their mouths. These children may not see life as a struggle. Families who devote all their time to making money at the expense of their children pay dearly for it. Industrialization and technology have brought many changes in families today.
We see the emergence of the working class women. When a woman spends a lot of time in her work place, there is no energy left to cope with family affairs. If all family problems are solved by the woman what will be the future of such a family, especially the children who will need direction? It is bad when husband and wife cannot sit down to analyze their challenges as a family. They devote themselves to making money. They dump the children in the Nursery school and at evening, they come to pick them up. This now becomes a daily routine. Decision-making is not a one-sided affair. Joint decision making is very important in the family, including decisions affecting the children. Today, Nigeria is becoming a mobile society. We change our addresses often because of astronomical rise in house rents. People move from highly expensive areas to low cost areas. This affects the children as they lose their old friends for new ones all the time.
When family size is large when accommodation is small, there is not enough space for the children and husband to interact. It is only those who have made it in the financial rat race that can boast of privacy and spacious accommodation. Poor families are on the move every time as a routine adjustment process. There is little togetherness in families, especially when their landlords eject them with the help of law-enforcement agents who may throw their property out of the house. Here the father may stay with a friend, the wife with the mother and the rest of the children may be distributed to friends who may not bear their presence for a long time.
Unplanned life adversely affects families. Encouraging the wife and children to go to the village does not alleviate the problem. Husband and wife should work hard and see their marriage as a source of joy not as hell created by lack of planning. Adjustment is very important to enable them catch up with the time wasted in blaming each other for being the cause of their financial downfall. Communities should be caring and should help to ease out tension in the process of family adjustment. The family adjustment process should be phased so that it will not be boring and stressful.
• Monsignor Livinus Ukah is a Catholic Priest, Author and Social Justice Advocate.