THOUGHTS OF A COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGIST – Religion and Ethnicity, the bane of many relationship break ups.(Episode 1)

The incessant complains about relationships, from young men and ladies alike, have prompted me to scribble this piece.
I would like to touch on a few things in this edition and subsequently add more.
Dating in plain terms is a form of romantic courtship typically between two individuals, preferably a man and a woman, in an intimate relationship (not necessarily sexual) with the aim of assessing each other’s suitability.

If the above definition is something to go by, it would be seen that, assessment to determine suitability is the main aim of dating.
As Ghanaians, we are diversely grouped based on ethnicity and religion.
These two are a major consideration in choosing a partner for life. The seeming religious and ethnic tolerance we claim to enjoy in this country is nothing but a facade.

As a young boy or girl, nearing the age of marriage, your parents would one way or the other, directly or indirectly make you aware, the tribes or religious groupings they would prefer you marry from.
There are liberal parents who don’t interfere in their children’s choice of spouse but others see it as a great deal.
This should be a guiding principle in choosing a partner for marriage.

It is an undeniable fact that when you receive the blessings from your parents during marriage, it sets the tone for many greater things to come.
Therefore, we’re somewhat obliged to please parents in making such decisions.

As an individual, I detest ethnocentrism and religious discrimination. And I am of the strongest conviction that, it is the bane of many break ups in relationships.

Many have had torrid relationships with people with the aim of changing the status quo and have failed woefully at that.
It is worth noting that, in as much as parents shouldn’t interfere in the love life of children, their constant counsel and admonition plays a pivotal role.
There’s an adage in Akan, which states that ‘Dzaa panyin tsina h) a ohu no, abofra gyina h) aa onnhu’, To wit, What an Oldie sees while seated, cant even be seen by a child whilst standing.
Thus the efforts of parents must never be underestimated.

As such, young boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, must go through thorough scrutiny and consideration before making choices for marriage.
When well-thought through considerations elude a relationship, there’s a high possibility of crash along the line.

Unfortunately, most men and women easily get disappointed in relationships because of the mentality with which they enter into relationships.
Dating seeks to help both parties ascertain each other’s strength and weaknesses and checks the compatibility level.
This presupposes that not every relationship should end in marriage.
Young men and women have now taken over the responsibilities of husband and wife in dating relationships which often time results in disappointment during break up.

It is not the duty of a lady in a relationship to be washing and cooking for the man whereas the man is not financially obliged to take up all responsibilities of the woman.
If you mutually agree to do all that as a way of making the bond strong, in an event of a break up, both parties should accept that in good faith and surge ahead.

I would want to emphasise that dating is to check compatibility and thus not all dating relationships must end in marriage.
Don’t go overboard in doing things for your partner to choose you for marriage.
There have been instances where men and women have done all there is in relationships and still got dumped.
If your partner won’t marry you, no amount of magic will change his or her mind
Let us be careful with our choices and learn to define appropriate roles in dating relationships.
If you know that there’s no way your parents will agree to your choice of spouse because of religion and ethnicity, you try as much as possible to restrain yourself from that.
Many ride on the mantra that love is magical and jump into the relationship without any aim and when they’re disappointed, they start throwing tantrums.
Know what you want in accordance with the dictates of your family’s norms.
You know your family better. And if they’re liberal or tough minded, you solely have the prerogative to be privy to that.

Let’s not waste time in relationships we’re much aware won’t work to avoid any future disappointments.
May God enlighten us all.
May He help tribal and religious bigots to have a change of mind to enable us choose spouses from different backgrounds.
Note, this is not a religious article, you have the right to agree or disagree.
All varied opinions and reviews are highly welcomed.

Dadzie, Suleman
Licensed Counseling Psychologist and Educationist
Founder of Sudad Counselling Consult
(0247652498/0209609902 )

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