Pressure on some sons and daughters to get married at the convenience of their parents has been cited as one of the major causes of failed marriages in the country.
According to Most Reverend Philip Naameh, Archbishop of Tamale and President of the Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the phenomenon has forced a number of people to marry against their will.
They do so with consent in such cases given just to please their parents and not a matrimonial consent, he further explained.
He therefore urged Christians to take up the responsibility of educating Ghanaians on the phenomenon to safeguard the stability of marriages, avoid violence and abuses and enable each couple to give themselves freely to each other.
He was speaking at this year’s Biennial Marshall Moreau Murat Memorial Lectures in Accra on Friday.
It had the theme, ‘Responding to the Amoris Laetitia with love in the family- The Marshallans.’
The act of total self-giving, Most Rev Naameh said, was central to Christian marriage, because it strengthens the lifetime commitment of the spouses.
He said couples must freely choose to unite themselves in marriage, to give themselves to each other in totality and to commit themselves to a lifetime relationship.
Most Rev Naameh explained that, for the validity of the marriage, the choice should be devoid of any form of cohesion and influence to ensure the stability of the marriage and the family.
Most of the divorce cases happening today, he explained, was because people disregarded impediments and went ahead to bond in marriages.
These impediments, according to him, could include money, high bride prices, negative perceptions and other influences which could result in constant disrespect, abuses, violence and confrontations.
When they are discovered, Most Rev Naameh stated, it was important that they were investigated properly and people who wish to marry should be supported to make the right choice and helped to discuss true love and how to make total commitment.
“The solution to divorce cases is to take issues of impediments serious in our marriage investigation.It is also important to intensify education about marriage, especially with regards to impediments.
Any idea or lifestyle that would impede this total commitment be it money or other influence becomes an impediment,” the Archbishop of Tamale added.
In ensuring that such impediments were dealt with, he urged priests to take marriage investigations seriously and ensure that elements that could impede marriages were handled.
The congregation also has the responsibility to accompany and help each and every family to discover a better way to overcome the difficulties which they encounter in their marriage and intend to build strong Christian families for evangelisation, he stated.
“I am proposing to the whole Christian community to take interest in the situation of the weak families, accompany them, discern with them what God wants for them in their real situations and help them to integrate.
We should always desire forgiveness and reconciliation when we have been offended or let down by others,” the Tamale Archbishop added.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS