Couples have almost strangled each other over a WhatsApp message.
The more communication has improved the more problems it has created. There was a time when a letter from Uganda to wherever would take almost a month to arrive, unlike today when we no longer even have to write.
I really miss that letter from my relations and friends detailing the previous events in the village. As much as WhatsApp and other social media platforms have become the quickest way to communicate, they are sadly becoming a problem too, among others, relationships and particularly marriages.
Quite often, I have noted that the moment couples enter a restaurant or any other social gathering, the first gadget they draw out of their pockets is their smartphones. Sometimes, they each try to block the other from the phone view. They can sit at the table for hours, so oblivious of the other that even when they want to communicate, they WhatsApp each other!
Our phones are locked with the weirdest passwords, sometimes coded with kittens' paws! It is, even more, telling when the phone rings and the owner walks away to answer it! True, one's privacy is vital though one wonders what is so private that one's spouse should not hear.
Consequently, there has developed an entrenched such mistrust between some couples that even a call from an innocent source is suspect. Some save numbers on their phones with false names. There is a joke that some spouses have developed longer ears and necks because of constantly straining them to eavesdrop on conversation.
Some couples hope against hope for an opportunity when they can snatch the phone from Junior while he is playing games on it. If luck avails, they lock themselves up in the closet to comb through it and, depending on what they find, war erupts.
Couples have almost strangled each other over a WhatsApp message. The irony though is that there is usually worse on the other's phone. In most cases, the man, especially, assumes that because he sends saucy and suggestive messages to other women, his wife must be a recipient from other men, too.
I am told of a husband who is still hunting a man who sent a misinterpreted, but innocent WhatsApp message to his wife. Even more worrying, the husband owns a gun. The poor man could not leave it to chance, so he reported to Police and showed them the text.
If the priest knew the things we write or receive on WhatsApp, he would not give us Holy Communion, assuming he himself is innocent. Because we simply tap on the message and it disappears into thin air, it gives us the impetus to write or forward things which under normal circumstances, we would not even dare say with our mouth or write in a letter. On WhatsApp, words simply disappear with ease.
A few years ago, a respectable friend of mine sent me a WhatsApp message that made me cringe. I rang him about it, only to find that he had simply forwarded it without opening it. He had also forwarded it to a Bishop! Thank the gods for the delete for everyone option, the Bishop had not opened it yet. Such is common, especially around Christmas when messages of goodwill and peace to all men are flying from every direction.
True, one's phone should be private, but perhaps not too private for one's spouse. In case of an emergency, at least one's spouse should be able to access it. Curiosity always makes us uncomfortable.
There are couples whose wives are not allowed to pick or look at their husbands' phones, even when they ring next to them. Suppose as couples we start a no password month every July when our phones are left open. I suggested it to a married couple's fellowship and the outburst of laughter in the room said it all. One of them said it would be the beginning of the end of their marriage!
I feel for women, especially because some become victims of circumstances. Men will simply hit at them regardless and it is at such an unfortunate moment that the husband, who ironically hits at other women, lands on the text — then it is war!
Let's rebuild trust in our marriages. If we did not put passwords on our phones, it would reassure the other and they would not give much thought to our conversations with others. Happy marriage!
Dr. Grace P'Karamura