THE soaring rate of divorce in Zambia is not only a source of concern but something that should jolt us into thinking about ways we can act to reverse the trend as a nation.

It’s unacceptable for a Christian society like ours to record as a high number of marriage breakups, like 28, 000, in just a year. It’s indication that something is certainly wrong somewhere and as a nation, we need to immediately take steps to change the situation.

We need to establish ways to strengthen the institution of marriage in order to minimize the rate of breakups.

Marriage is the very foundation of every family, society and nation, and for as long as it is not established on a firm footing, people’s behaviour and morals would definitely get affected.

Our aspiration, as a Christian nation, should be to encourage couples to stick together up to until death does them apart. This could be promoted through intensified marriage counseling and fellowships, and by also helping to mend unsteady and struggling marriages rather than rush into divorcing people.

Courts need not always consider divorce as the best option of dealing with problematic marriages, like has been witnessed lately. They should always aspire to find ways of encouraging couples to continue together by subjecting them to programmes and processes that would strengthen their marriage rather than break them.

The role of the courts, just like the church, should be to help couples to resolve their differences amicably and continue in their union. Couples should always be encouraged to keep their marriage vowels – to be together for better and for worse.

Making marriage work should be the concern of everyone in our society but with greater commitment by the couples themselves. Couples need to learn to resolve issues as they encounter them without having to wait up to until they pile up.

Like rightly observed by National Guidance and Religious Affairs minister Godfridah Sumaili, we must be concerned as a Christian nation that marriage breakups have become widespread and keeps on rising.

“When two people enter a sacrament of marriage, it is a life covenant and not a trial and error,” Reverend Sumaili said.

The minister advised people contemplating marriage to spend enough time in courtship before tying the knots so that they know each other well. She said couples-to-be should not be attracted by the outward appearance or material things but rather the inner virtues of a person.

She appealed to the Church and families of couples to-be to ensure that both the bride and bridegroom undergo premarital counselling rather than subject only the woman to marriage instructions – as has been mostly done.

“Counselling before marriage is important in that the couple is given knowledge and wisdom to handle marital problems,” she said.

She said couples could make their marriages work if they put Jesus Christ at the centre of their marriages and live by Christian values and principles.

The soaring divorce statistics in our nation, should definitely be cause for us to immediately stand up and act to improve the situation. The time is now.

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