Monday, June 27, 2011

Questions, Questions

Everyone, regardless of the culture, has questions about marriage. We learn the most from letting people ask questions.

Part of our approach, when teaching in Africa, is to give people at our conferences a chance to ask questions anonymously. We do ask the men to use blue index cards and the women to use pink ones, so that at least we know the gender of the person asking.

The problems in marriage are the basically the same everywhere in the world, but different cultures, even different groups in the culture, deal with different circumstances. We get a glimpse of what is on the mind of the participants through these questions.

Here is a sampling from this year's conference in Ndola, Zambia (all are pastors or their spouses):
From Women -
  • Divorce is a sin but some believers do it. Why?
  • When a man sees only problems in you, never a complement.
  • Talk about impotency which causes a lot of problems in marriage.
  • Is it good for a man of God [pastor] to use bad word telling the wife that you are a bondage to me?
  • Is it good for your husband to shout at you in the presence of his family?
  • What help can you give to a pastor who beats his wife and calls her a prostitute?
  • What advice can you give a pastor who leaves his family without food or money to feed on and goes to pray and fast for 40 days and expect God to provide them?
  • Why is that wives (some) don't show their payslips to their husbands and the money?
  • Why is it that wives find it difficult to tell the husband that they want sex?
From Men -
  • You are a pastor and your wife does not like going for church, what can you do?
  • When a couple (born-again) divorce after one of them back-slides, can the one who remains a believer remarry or not? If not, why shat one suffer for the sin of the other?
  • How do you help a wife who keeps on being poor with time keeping despite all your talk for years?
  • Is there any reason for divorce?
  • Is it advisable for a pastor’s wife to befriend a prostitute, can’t this send the wrong words to the public?
  • Are there things I should not tell my spouse (secrets)? Do I tell my spouse everything even those I know will hurt her?
  • If we do not agree, husband and wife, does the husband have the final say on a matter?
  • What is the great secret of a happy home?
  • Can I marry [as a pastor] a believer to a non-believer?
  • Is there any reason for divorce?
  • How can you know that I am marrying the right person?
  • What is the impact on public once they know the pastor's shortfalls at his own home?
  • How do you help those getting married to same sex, man to man, woman to woman?

When answering questions, especially in a different culture, we ask the participants to answer before we give any answer.

They need to know that they can learn from each other, that they have wisdom in their group, and that they do not have to look to white, westerners for the answers. If appropriate, we will give our view after they give their answers.