Sun | Jul 5, 2020

Hello Mi Neighbour | Broken marriages not only break hearts, they destroy families

Published:Tuesday | February 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Hello mi neighbour! Heard of a married couple who fought each other for 70 years. With all that misery, their “until death do we part” commitment withstood every opportunity to divorce. Hmmmmm. Back then divorce was not a part of the Jamaican daily vocabulary.

Today, after a few months some couples are ready to return the ring, calling it quits. Not suggesting that couples should live in “hell,” but aren’t there ways to resolve marital issues and save lives mi neighbour?

Broken marriages not only break hearts, they destroy families and by extension, societies! The experts tell us that marital fights can stem from

Over possessiveness
Dealing with in-laws
Disagreements on sexual and financial issues
Work Issues
Lack of romance
Extra-marital affairs

However, fights need not destroy marriages if executed in love and with wisdom.
According to one counsellor, “some fights strengthen the bond of marital relationships”. There may be no harm in fights, disagreements, debates and occasional shouting once hatred is avoided and respect maintained.

It becomes dangerous whenever couples impose their views on each other and resort to physical or emotional abuse.

For best results, couples should bring one issue to the ring at a time. Grievances from the past, brought into the fray, can be counterproductive.

Holly Richmond, Ph.D. said that as couples have their disputes it’s important to be emotionally honest. When asked '’what's wrong?'’ the answer should not be “nothing” if something is actually wrong. Truth may be met with confrontation at first, but, in the long run, emotional honesty offers a good chance for “change, repair, and growth”.

Couples who embrace the fact that fighting is healthy and acceptable, even in relationships where people respect and love each other passionately, must ensure that fights are kept “short and sweet”. Whenever fights are dragged out the couple’s ability to calm down and think rationally is compromised and can create bigger problems in the long-run. So apologise without delay and keep the communication line open to avoid negative feelings which break down and then break up relationships. It is also important that two fights are not held over one issue

Marriage and family therapists recommend that for win win fights, couples should
 Avoid "never" and "always"
 Not use threats
 Be a good communicator
 Not go to bed angry
 Define the problem
 Never hit below the belt
 Stick to the facts
 Pair criticism with praise
 Take time out
 Not go tit-for-tat
 Keep fights private
 Not fight at night

T. Joel Wade, Ph.D., warns that "contempt is a relationship killer". It basically says you don't respect the person, you essentially hate them. Similarly, criticism can come across as a personal attack and that also causes conflicts to escalate. Practice forgiveness instead. Forgiving a partner can maintain or preserve a relationship into which an individual has invested time and resources.

Keep it sane and help someone from list below again.
Peace and love in the neighbourhood today, mi neighbour


Everybody’s Pharmacy, for acts of kindness
Ms Robinson, St James for offering clothing
Neighbour, for offering a dining table
Miss Seaton, St Elizabeth for contribution
Jacqueline, St Andrew, for financial contribution


Marie, St Mary -  unemployed, asking for help to purchase sweets, snacks, juices etc., to sell at school gate

Loretta, St Mary - asking for queen sized mattress, and a stove
Neighbour - Lost her job and was schedule to do surgery on broken right arm. Needs $18,000to purchase screws and plate for hand
Vivienne, St Ann - asking for a gas stove
Vanessa - Mother of four asking for household items: refrigerator and television – would truly appreciate

To help, please call Silton Townsend @ 334-8165, 884-3866, or deposit to acct # 351 044 276 NCB. (Bank routing #: JNCBJMKX) or send donations to HELLO NEIGHBOUR C/o 53 Half Way Tree Road, Kingston 10; Paypal/credit card: email: Or contact e-mail Mr Townsend exclusively manages the collections and distributions mentioned in this column and is neither an employee nor agent of The Gleaner.