As October 1 draws near

MIND AND BODY with Rev. Fr. Vincent E. Arisukwu


Many couples today have different reasons why they tell lies to each other. Some may see these reasons as justifiable while others do it merely to play smart. In the words of Thomas Pazhayampallil, “Modern society presents special challenges to the young. At every turn they are enticed by a concept of human freedom that is really slavery, by a relativism that robs them of the truth, and by a materialism and pragmatism that can rob them of their very souls” (Pazhayampallil, T., Words of Eternal Life, vol.1, p. 1003). Our concern here is primarily to expose the causes of insincerity in marriage. Whether they are justified by circumstances and occasions in which a particular couple finds himself/herself or not is not our major interest. The fact remains that insincerity in marriage is bad. These causes include.


Habit: Some persons form the habit of telling lies. They unconsciously tell lies even when they do not plan it. They belong to those described as chronic liars. I have had occasion to counsel some individuals in such crisis. They open up to say, “Father, I’m worried that I tell lies when I don’t want. I tell lies virtually concerning every little thing. And my friends have come to know me by such life”. One can say here that the evil spirit of insincerity has taken possession of such persons. And this evil spirit is what Christ condemned when he said of the devil, “When he lies he is speaking true to his nature, because he is a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). Some married couples lie to each other and form it as a habit. They get to the point that telling the husband or wife lies does not matter any longer. They become habitual liars at every slight provocation. They tell lies to wriggle out of every situation. They can barely say the truth.


Bad Association: A few couples who were wonderful on getting married newly have become corrupt in the course of time. They become polluted and infected by the associations they keep. Unfortunately, some married men and women who are wild prowl about looking for others to destroy. Some women have learnt to be insincere with their husbands because of their contact with other women. Such dubious ladies teach them how to cheat on their men, how to tell lies about their movements, how to siphon their money through foul means and how to live beyond their means. They convince them that the only means to survive is by playing smart. They project instances of those who suffocate in marriage because of their unrewarding subservience. Most often, women who lack strong will power usually succumb to such pressures. Some men also develop the act of telling lies to their wives after a few corrupt contacts. The contacts come from various opportunities with wayward friends and colleagues at such places as beer parlors, clubs and sparingly places of work. Wonderful and sincere couples have degenerated as a result of bad contacts.


Pressure: The extended family system in Igbo land has led many couples into crisis. This family structure which goes beyond one’s immediate siblings to encompass uncle’s children’s children sometimes pile pressure on the marriage institution. For example, some women have carried their family ties to their matrimonial homes. They struggle to satisfy the demands of some of the family members that continue to bog them with their needs. Most times, they are put in tight corners in the bid to meet up with some of those demands. They die in silence. Some of them resort to fabricating lies for their husbands especially in cases where they lack the required resources to meet up with the demands of their family members. They tell their husbands different stories in order to generate money to assist their loved ones. Some pressures also arise from illicit relationships whereby some men and women in marriage find themselves constantly saddled with the demands of their sexual partners outside their matrimonial homes. They struggle to meet up with certain demands which become strange to their responsibilities in the home. For the man here, the tendency is to become unnecessarily economical in the house with lame excuses of lack of funds for the wife. On the part of the woman who may not have enough on her own to spare, the danger becomes to either compromise what she receives from the man for family upkeep or to begin to pilfer to make up for her commitment. Both cases can give rise to insincerity in marriage.


Fear: It has been discovered that some couples are strange bed fellows in their homes. They are husband and wife but lack the required decorum for the married life. The tough and rigid attitude of some men makes their wives to fear them. They love to be described as “hard men” especially with regard to their homes. They lack the necessary fun and fondness that oils marriage. They provide virtually everything that the home needs except the affection that really flavours those responsibilities. They become mere bosses to their wives. They derive joy ordering and commanding the women like maids in the house. This makes such wives to present cases to them also like employees presenting budgets to their Ogas in the office. And since such relationships operate more on the official level, such wives hold back a lot of secrets from them. Sometimes, they even cook up lies to soothe them and tell them only those things that won’t warrant scolding and bullying. Such women simply pretend before their husbands. They smile well when the man of the house is not around. They derive greater joy in the company of others. They enjoy talking with friends who provide outlets for them. They feel freer with others than with their husbands. Such women usually do not tell their husbands the truth because of the fear of the consequences. They tell them what they wish to hear.


Revenge: Some couples have been forced into being insincere with their partners for reasons of vengeance. I once met a woman who told me that the husband does not tell her the truth. She narrated how all efforts and complaints to make the man change hit the rocks. She maintained that one person cannot be suffering for another who wasn’t ready to change. According to her, the best thing was to join him in playing game. She thus resorted to telling lies and said they would know who would lose in the course of time. Insincerity could therefore beget insincerity in marriage if not properly addressed.


Insecurity: Many marriages today lack the desired security which couples need from one another. For one reason or the other, some men find it difficult to confide in the wives and vice versa. When such confidence is lacking in marriage, it becomes difficult for couples to open up to their partners. Married couples are supposed to be confidants to each other. They are supposed to give information and secrets which others do not know about themselves to their marriage companions. But for reasons of fear, they feel insecure in the hands of their husbands/wives. A wife whose husband cannot protect if she enters into trouble withholds information from him so also a man who feels insecure in the hands of the wife. Some women have complained of having been cajoled by brothers or sisters in law with some secrets they shared only with their husbands. They feel a sense of betrayal and loss of confidence in the man who should be their refuge. They feel highly insecure and decide not to open up to their husbands any more.  This is one of the causes of insincerity in marriage.


Secularization of the Soul: When a soul is dry, it can do anything to survive. This is one great harm that the human person can do to his soul; to deprive it of the spiritual nourishment it deserves. When a soul is starved of its spiritual essence, it grows wild. Such a person may develop lax conscience, hence sees no evil in telling lies to the partner. Some married men pursue business with their whole life and give less attention to their spiritual life and the proper upbringing of their family. They become completely subsumed in their business to the extent that the only language they hear and speak is that of profit and loss. Some men run their businesses at the expense of their spiritual life. They never have contacts that talk about God or spiritual matters. Some women also become so mundane that they no longer worry about the spirit. Such persons unconsciously threaten their moral base as every of their judgment anchors on convention. Their interest is in money and so they do anything to make sure they acquire it including creating false pictures before their partners. St. Paul says, “For there are so many people of whom I have often warned you, and now I warn you again with tears in my eyes, who behave like the enemies of Christ’s cross. They are destined to be lost; their god is the stomach; they glory in what they should think shameful since their minds are set on earthly things” (Phil. 3: 19-20). Insincerity can make a person glory in things that ordinarily should be shameful.



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