Relatives sometimes bring confusion and misunderstandings in families when seeking assistance. Cultural dynamics too may impact channels expected to be followed when approaching couples.
Traditionally, relatives are expected to approach a husband as head of the family when the need for assistance arises. But should there be hard and fast rules? What if the man is unavailable in the wake of a pressing need?
Family man Steve Njikho of Dowa has a personal experience about how relatives behave when seeking for help and how it has affected his relationship.
“We have resorted to be approached anyhow because we confer as a couple; hence, it does not make any difference. Even relatives from either side know this,” he said.
Njikho believes that a couple is one body which should be talked to either through the husband or wife. He said this enhances good relationship between husband and wife as well as their relatives.
But Reverend Francis Chima of the Assemblies of God at Mtengowanthenga in Dowa advises relatives from both the families of the husband and wife to go through the man as a show of respect and honour accorded to him as head of the institution.
“It is very important that relatives build good relationship with the family so that when they request anything the couple should freely give them,” said Chima.
Pastor and psychologist Nosten Nkolimbo of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church at Nathenje says there is no problem in approaching either of the two.
Alfred Chimsolo, a psychologist working with a marriage clinic in Lumbadzi, observes that critical issues need careful handling and everything borders around the nature and relationship of the two families.
“You know families differ as governments do. It varies from family to family. Therefore, let couples agree on whether relative should go through one or the other and either,” he said.