In a judgmental world, let’s understand how lonely Caroline Mwatha was
Long distance relationships are hard, when they are long distance marriages, they are even harder. A couple needs a lot of grace to maintain a successful partnership when great distances between them exist.
I have an aunt whose husband was living and working abroad very early into their marriage. They had been married about one year when they had their first child, and a few months later, the guy got a very good offer that he could not refuse.
He relocated, coming back to the country for about a month every year to visit his family. He was away for five years.
In that time, my mother and other relatives tried to convince my aunt to try and have another baby so that the two children could grow up together, but she vehemently refused, citing the difficulties she had just raising the one.
Her husband eventually moved back and they had another child. Back then, I did not understand why she did not want another child but now, I’m in exactly the same shoes.
Before we start throwing stones at the late Caroline Mwatha and blame her for her sad death, let us first try to understand how lonely she must have been to run to the arms of another man while her husband was away, working towards the betterment of his family.
Long distances are so hard because communication is difficult to maintain. With couples not only separated by distance but also time zones, getting time to communicate to one another when you are both free gets tricky. Without communication, the two start drifting apart and eventually may find solace in people they are able to see and talk to every day.
Just like friends who hardly talk on the phone or even hang out eventually drift away, so do couples who no longer talk to each other find other avenues to direct their affections.
Do not get me wrong, I do not condone cheating in a relationship, especially a marriage that one swore before God, their parents and relatives and the government to uphold until death. All I am saying is that it is understandable that the events that eventually led to her death took place.
These kinds of relationships face another challenge, when the couple moves back together. The two people are usually so set in their ways, depending on the amount of time they had lived together before the separation and the the length of time they were apart.
If they had not been together very long like in mine and my aunt’s cases then it gets very difficult readjusting your life to accommodate your partner.
When my husband comes home after long periods apart, I find that he is a like visitor that is overstaying his welcome. He gets in the way and since he does not know the routine, he breaks schedules and the rest of us have to accommodate him. The only upside to this is that we usually miss each other so much that those times he is home, it is like a honeymoon, there are no fights, just love.
I think that for those of us who unfortunately find themselves in a long distance relationship, there are tips that can keep the relationship together, even when the time away ends and you have to adjust to having each other around. The first thing that the couple needs to learn is how to communicate constantly.
Make a timetable to communicate properly with your partner. Technology is great; use it to your advantage. Make Skype or WhatsApp video calls, talk and look at your partner, it’s the closest thing to a face to face conversation. At other times, send text messages or even emails or even the mundane, it keeps you connected.
When you do meet, take time away for just yourselves, away from children and other relatives who will fight for your attention. Reconnect and bond, to rejuvenate the relationship.
If it so happens that you end up getting tempted to stray from the relationship, talk about it. Tell your partner the feelings that you have and find a solution for it before anything happens.
And every time that you can, pray very hard that a better opportunity presents itself so that you partner can either move back or you can go and join them!