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25.04.2004 Health

Ghanaians Asked to Build Healthy Marriage Relationships

By Eyiah,Joe Kingsley
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Toronto-Canada -- Pastor Dr. Kwabena Donkor has called on Ghanaians to build healthy marriage relationships in order to strengthen the home, which is the basis of the church and the community. He was speaking at a marriage (LOVE) seminar organized by the Heritage Ghanaian Seventh-day Adventist Church in Toronto on March 27, 2004. The seminar was part of the church's on-going community outreach programs for the Jane/Finch area of the Toronto metropolis in Canada.

Pastor Dr. Donkor started by outlining the five basic needs for all human beings. These are:

1. Physiological needs in the form of food, clothing and shelter;

2. Safety as seen in trust and relaxing in each other without fear or suspicion;

3. Love which is the feeling of belonging and being part of;

4. Esteem which is seeking approval of self-worth; and

5. Self-actualization.

He then stressed the fact that marriage, which is based on love should meet all these needs. He said, “To seek out love is a basic human desire”. In Christianity love is the most important human need. For, God who created us in His own image is love!

The speaker referred to 1 Corinthians chapter 13 in the Holy Scriptures, which talks extensively about love and questioned, “So what is love?” Pastor Dr. Donkor sadly remarked that those who engaged in adulterous relationship called it love. He emphatically denounced this position and said, “This is not love. It is SIN!”

Using the conceptualization of a “love tank”, Pastor Dr. Donkor expatiated on the importance of healthy marriage relationship to the family, the church and the community at large. All human beings need belonging and “wantedness”. But in God's wisdom, marriage among adults provides the primary context to fill the “love tank”.

He went on to identify some of the problems that beset marriage. “Criticisms, nagging, withdrawal, misbehavior, unfaithfulness, harsh words”, he said, “are signs of empty or near-empty tanks.” And pointed out that a full “love tank” is the atmosphere for healthy marriage. It is unfortunate that the “love tank” for most Ghanaians is empty! Pastor Dr. Kwabena Donkor stressed that the way to fill the tank is “to communicate love”. He however conceded to the fact that the tank filling is person-specific so we can't use a “one-size-fit” for all “love tanks”. He admonished, “Think about the background of your marriage partner”. And pointed out that research has shown that it takes about seven years to study your love partner to conclude if he/she is the right person to fill your “love tank”.

The speaker outlined five love languages that we use to communicate love. These are:

1. Words of Affirmation-using words that build up people is one of the powerful ways to communicate love. For example, compliments; encouraging words; kind words (I love you); humble words (it is better to request than to demand things from your partner).

2. Quality Time-sitting together and giving her/him undivided attention and doing something they enjoy doing with them. This could be short but important quality conversation that could lead to self revelation-cry for intimacy.

3. Receiving Gifts-gifts are visual symbols of love. Some partners are spenders and others are conservers but there should be a compromise. Remember, the most important gift is yourself!

4. Acts of Service-things you know your spouse would want you to do to support her/him. Taking the garbage; doing the dishes; helping with cooking; taking care of the bills and taking the kids to school are some simple acts, which your spouse may appreciate most.

5. Physical Touch-touch is a way of communicating emotional love. Holding hands; kissing; embracing/hugging; and sexual intercourse are some touches of love. But in all these study yourselves. Touch, don't slap. A slap is dangerous to love! Sexual intercourse must be mutual and reasonable. All said and done everyone needs to discover his/her partner's love language and use it to fill their “love tank”.

Pastor Dr. Kwabena Dorkor concluded by using Jesus' words as found in Luke 6:27-38 to admonish Christians and Ghanaians in particular to go to the beginning of their love and in their ailing marriages even love the unlovely!

The function was characterized with melodious love songs by the Evangelicals of the Heritage Ghanaian S.D.A. Church in Toronto; and with special gifts to participants (visitors) whose marriages have seen between fourteen and twenty years. To God be the glory!