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Cultivating Healthy Relationships in Uganda

Writer, editor, wife, and mother Aryantu Otiti is bringing relational truths to communities in Uganda with new publication, Relate Magazine

In an African country where approximately 1.3 million people are living with HIV and 60 percent of the population justify wife beating, Aryantu Otiti is a Ugandan writer and editor working to spread Christ-centered, relational truths through Relate Magazine, an online resource tied to a faith-based counseling center in Kampala.

After spending a month with Today's Christian Woman's editorial staff where she wrote two blog posts about relating to each other well ("Going Deeper than 'Hi!', and "Joyful Living Every Day"), Ary returned to Uganda where she started an online resource, Relate Magazine, to help strengthen marriages and parenting skills. "I feel called to use the gift of writing that God has given me to help people relate to him and to one another better," she says. "I want to spend my life teaching people how to work at their marriages and friendships, encouraging them to serve God wholeheartedly and give themselves to their children."

Here's what Ary had to say about counseling and healthy relationships in Uganda:

How is Relate Magazine connected to the Relate Counseling ministry?

Relate Magazine was born of the counseling ministry of David Zac and Theodora Niringiye. Following their work with students and young people, David and Theodora realized that as these young people were becoming adults and getting married, there was a need to prepare them for marriage. Since couples counseling was not readily available, and the pre-marital counseling offered by churches was brief and scanty on the details, they started inviting couples into their home and offering them pre-marital counseling. Theodora went on to pursue a masters degree in counseling, and set up Relate Counseling as a result. Under Theodora's leadership, Relate Counseling offers counseling services to clients from different churches on various issues such as trauma, family therapy, and marital conflict and resolution. It is especially strong in pre-marital and marriage counseling. Today Relate Magazine and Relate Counseling are part of Relate Communications, and support one another in making a positive impact on relationships, especially among Christians in the region.

Define Relate Magazine. Why are you publishing it, and what topics does it cover?

Relate Magazine is a ministry targeted at supporting relationships. It is intended to help single adults and married couples build and strengthen good, fulfilling, and lasting relationships both at home, in the church, in community, and in the workplace. It focuses on issues to do with single life, dating and courtship, marriage, parenting, work, and spiritual relationships.

Relate Magazine was first published as a quarterly magazine from 1999 to 2005. We had to take a brief break in 2005 from publishing the magazine, but the counseling ministry continued. Due to the great need for the magazine, we now seek to revive Relate Magazine online.

In a perfect world, how would Relate Magazine's content change lives, hearts, and relationships in Uganda?

Relate is targeted at young, mature adults aged 20-35 or thereabouts. These are usually those who have just finished school, have started working, and include singles and marrieds. We structure our communication to cover spiritual growth, friendship, dating and courtship, marriage and parenting, and relating as a single person. Questions from our readers range from how to stay pure as singles, should believers get married to non-believers, how to make the right choice of a spouse, what is necessary to prepare for marriage, how to adjust in marriage and various issues on parenting, and more. We find traditional and modern perspectives on marriage and parenting often conflict, and many questions about balancing time between work and family arise that we attempt to answer.

There is so much to learn, and so many values to pass on, yet so many people make the wrong decisions. There is so much pressure from the world, and the prevalent influence on young people is worldliness, which is not necessarily supportive of strong relationships, marriages, and families. The social set up which used to train young people to build strong marriages has been broken down, and the society that used to value chastity, faithfulness, and family values has been overtaken. How I wish the perfect world existed—then we would be able to share the lives of people who have made the right decisions so other people could learn from them.

Aryantu Otiti is a Ugandan writer and editor of Relate Magazine. To read her exclusive interview with Katie Davis in Today's Christian Woman May/June digital magazine, click here, and to see her featured in our "Women of the World" section, click here. You need to be a subscriber in order to gain access to our feature articles - click here to subscribe.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

Allison J. Althoff

Allison J. Althoff is Today's Christian Woman's online editor. Follow her on Twitter @ajalthoff.

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