By Pastor Chanda
The nation of Zambia is reeling at the unprecedented numbers of husbands who are going to early graves because of being murdered by their wives. This was very rare news once upon a time, but now, it is becoming regular headline news.
Men are no longer feeling safe and are wondering what has happened to their wives.
Once upon a time, when we heard of domestic violence, we assumed that it was a wife being physically abused by her husband. These recent incidents seem to suggest that the era for that assumption is now over. Those were wives of the old school. This is now another lot.
It is wrong to fight. It is wrong to physically harm anyone—whether that person is a man or woman, child or adult, mad or normal. God has commanded, “You shall not commit murder” (Exodus 20). It does not specify who is being murdered. Murder is always wrong.
It does not matter how much love you have between the two of you, you are still different personalities with different cultural backgrounds and experiences.
So, as we ask the question, “Why are wives killing their husbands?” we must realise that we are really asking the question, “Why is the rate of domestic violence escalating in this country?” If we do not answer this question we may find ourselves exterminated.
Lack of Conflict Management Skills
Looking at the recent situations, it is evident that one of the major causes of domestic violence is the failure by married couples to know how to handle their differences. Many couples do not have conflict management skills at all. So, they resort to fists of fury.
We have an adage in our language that says, “Imiti ipalamene taibula kukwesana” [“Trees that are near each other cannot help but rub against each other”]. In other words, as long as two human beings get close to each other they will have disagreements.
It does not matter how much love you have between the two of you, you are still different personalities with different cultural backgrounds and experiences. These are going to affect the way you view life and react or respond to your spouse’s choices and decisions.
Isolation from Support Structures
Once upon a time, society provided social support to couples going through a difficult time, especially if one person in the marriage was misbehaving arrogantly. The wider family would often come in quite early because they lived in close proximity to the couple.
However, these days we tend to be scattered right across the country and live very far away from kith and kin. Some go to live abroad in order to get better economic opportunities. The isolation makes couples very vulnerable because they have no one to turn to.
Lack of Pre-Marital Counselling
Too many young people get into marriage without pre-marital counselling. Even those who go to church tend to concentrate on the dancing rehearsals. They have very little time left to sit down and learn about the challenges awaiting them in marriage.
As a result, when problems begin in the marriage they do not know what to do. They sit on them like a person sitting on a boiling kettle, until it explodes. They go from fists to blunt objects, to knives, and whatever they can lay their hands on. That is the result.
Women have Learnt to Hit Back
Once upon a time, women used to allow themselves to be objects of such physical abuse. With the women’s liberation movement in full throttle, they have learned to hit back. Instead of women only being victims of domestic violence, men are becoming victims too.
This is the answer to the question, “Why are wives killing their husbands?” But what can we do to arrest this worrying trend of domestic violence? Good question. Let me think about it and come back with the answer next week, hoping it will not be too late for someone!