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Seek prenuptial counselling from the right person

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Couple counselling
Couple counselling. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

Q “There is the growing craze of prenuptial counselling, do these work?”

The subject of marriage is once more on the spotlight, some will say for all the wrong reasons. There is one line of debate that holds that marriage is ordained by God and is between one man and one woman. Others are of the view that it is between one man and one or more women. Still, others holds that marriage can be between two persons of any gender, it is a matter of choice between two adults. In this arrangement therefore, a man may marry another and a woman may do so with another woman.

You seek to know more about prenuptial counselling sessions that are now a craze but you have not told us the category of marriage you have in mind. Just to push the argument to one extreme, imagine the conversation between a 60-year-old man and his 30-year-old bride to be, who is the third wife in waiting. In this scenario, the man might not have the capacity to enter such a counselling session without including his two wives and possibly a number of grown up children.

A few years ago we saw a woman who had fallen in love with a pastor after the death of her husband. As often happens, the pastor had, during the course of his duties spent much time with the widow. He had in the process managed to help her with a number of earthly matters including the wealth that her late husband had left behind. When she announced that she was planning to marry her pastor, the congregation was happy but her sons said she was crazy and that all the pastor wanted was her money. Would this couple benefit from prenuptial counselling?

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This scenario is intended to make the point that marriage and the counselling that comes with it is a complex matter and that context is clearly critical and one cannot give a yes or no answer.

The story also illustrates the complex nature of matters of marriage and makes the point that even after death matters can still persist. A matter that has been in Kenyan courts for nearly 40 years was recently settled when the Supreme Court ruled that the late Mbiyu Koinange had four and not two wives as had been claimed. One would have thought that the number of wives a man has is a matter of simple arithmetic and not one for the Supreme Court! Where and when might prenuptial counselling be useful?

It is on account of this type of challenge that some couples have opted to reduce to paper what would happen in the event that they fell out with each other. In a sense, they are taking the saying by the camel owner seriously ….Trust in God but tie the camel.

This, however, is only one aspect of prenuptial counselling and happily, the many couples who opt to go for this type of service are young, getting married to a person of the opposite gender and mostly for the first time.

Some months ago we saw a young couple in such therapy and in tears the girl explained her challenges in the relationship. As an engineer, she understood the ways of science and mathematics where life is clearly defined, and x is always x and y is y. The values are fixed and the lines drawn are clear, there is no maybe or perhaps. Boys on the other hand are like the wind, she explained. One time he meets you with flowers and chocolate and another with a cold shoulder and short harsh text messages.

In another case the couple were worried about how to handle an old friend who had ruined the marriage of a close friend. When they understood that they were getting married to each other and not the whole village they felt empowered to face their toxic friend.

So, as you can see, benefits from counselling are as varied as there are couples and no two couples are the same. Remember, however, that parents and other relatives who have been through marriage can sometimes be a good source of advice. Be sure that you seek advice from that person who is capable of offering the kind of advice you need.

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