Understanding Cultural Roles of Traditional Marriage Counsellors in Ng’ombe Compound of Zambia
This article emerged from a study that focused on exploring traditional marriage counsellors and the roles they played in marriage institutions in Ng’ombe compound of Zambia. The study was guided by communalism theory which places marriages and its institutions at the center of the “togetherness principle”, a philosophy that is highly practiced and respected in most African communities (Adamczak, 2017). The study was guided by the following objectives; (a) to assess the factors contributing to the rising cases of divorce in Ng’ombe compound and (b) to assess what areas traditional marriage counsellors offered counsel during premarital counselling and marital counselling sessions. Qualitative mode of inquiry as discussed by (Gupta & Gupta, 2011) was used to collect data through interviews and focus group discussions. The target population were all traditional Marriage Counsellors and married couples in Ngómbe Compound. The sample size was 40 respondents comprising thirty (30) married couples and ten (10) traditional marriage counsellors. Couples and traditional marriage counsellors were randomly selected using a simple random sampling technique. The qualitative data gathered from responded was analysed according to the emerging themes. The study revealed that the role of traditional marriage counsellors was to help spouses understand each other on various domestic matters, encourage openness in marriage, promote mutual relationships and to unit families. There were also factors that contributed to increased divorce cases such as lack of counselling services both premarital and marital counselling services, childlessness, beer drinking, unfaithfulness and family as well as friends’ influences. It was also noted that areas in which traditional marriage counsellors offered pre-marital and marital counselling included couples’ love for each other, respect for family members, faithfulness and infidelity, proper communication, conflict resolutions, maturity, and sexual satisfaction. The study recommended that married couples should involve marriage counsellors to help strengthen their marriages.