I had a discussion recently with some colleagues about marriage. We talked about the challenges facing marriages these days.
They shared some stories about couples who appeared happy and exemplary in public but had many secrets tearing them apart in private.
Our discussion also moved from people who have been married for decades struggling to put up with one another to why it seems some marriages crash faster than a pack of cards today.
One of them claimed that marriages are failing these days because of civilisation and the inability of couples to endure and tolerate each other like our parents and grandparents did.
I disagreed with him. Many of our parents and grandparents had terrible marriages. Many homes were filled with violence and abuse. Many women stayed in terrible marriages because they didn’t have a choice.
Some of our mothers were not financially empowered so they had no choice but to continue putting up with blows, kicks and verbal abuses. They were also concerned about what society would say about them if they left their violent marriages.
Many of them put up with so much humiliation that in some cases, it took their children to get them to safety. I know many children who couldn’t wait to grow up so that they could protect their mothers from their father’s blows and beatings. Is that what people call successful marriages?
Marriages those days were more like master-servant relationships. Those days, women were seen but not heard. They were treated like possessions and couldn’t even tell their husbands what was bothering them.
Women worshipped their husbands like gods. They dare not question them even if they are making bad decisions that are impacting the family negatively. They must agree and do everything their husbands wanted even if it’s killing them.
These scenarios are not my own definition of happy marriages. The duration of a marriage doesn’t mean it is successful. The length of a marriage doesn’t determine the happiness and fulfilment of the couples involved.
This idea that spending donkey years with a man or woman you are not happy with means you have a successful marriage is crap. Many women endured their marriages. They were not truly happy.
Many of them will tell you that they stayed in such marriages because of their children. If you ask them if they wanted to marry their husbands in the next life, they will chorus ‘God forbid’, yet some people claim they had happy marriages.
But these sad stories don’t mean that some people didn’t have good marriages. There are men and women who had enviable unions. Such couples who stood by each other when life’s challenges threatened to tear them apart.
They weathered the storms together. They loved one another and didn’t allow anyone or anything to tear them apart. They didn’t abuse or hurt one another. They knew they were a team and stuck to one another for life.
So the question remains, what is wrong with marriages these days? Why are people jumping in and out of marriages like they are visiting the club? Why do people get married just to divorce? Why does it look like men and women can’t tolerate one another? Why does it look like marriage vows don’t mean anything anymore?
One of my colleagues said couples don’t build friendships anymore. They just go into marriage thinking that they will always be in love. He said it takes friendship for couples to go through life’s many challenges and overcome them. I totally agree with him. Some couples forget the importance of friendships in their relationships.
If you see your spouse as your friend, you will respect them. You won’t treat them badly. If you take your spouse as your friend, you will protect their interests and dignity. If your spouse is your friend, you will want them to be happy.
If your spouse is your friend, you will want them to succeed. You won’t feel threatened when they become successful. Some Nigerian men are guilty of this. They become jittery when their wives start making money. What are you people afraid of?
I think another reason why some marriages fail these days is because people get married for the wrong reasons. Some ladies go into marriage because they want men who can take care of all their financial needs while some guys forget that physical beauty alone won’t make their marriages last.
When you rush into marriage because all your mates are getting married, your union is doomed to fail. If you are not happy and content as a single person, marriage won’t make you happy. People should lead healthy lives spiritually, emotionally and psychologically before they go into marriage. Don’t go into marriage dumping all your issues on your spouse.
In addition to the above, lack of intimacy destroys marriages. And intimacy doesn’t have to be sexual all the time. Couples can hold one another’s hands, hug them and play with them. Intimacy also includes doing the things your spouse loves with them. That connection builds couples emotionally.
Due to the hustle and bustle of life, some couples don’t have sex as often as they should. But not being intimate with your spouse is courting trouble. When you both are not connecting sexually, you are bound to connect with someone else other than your spouse and that will ruin your marriage.
A woman complained that her husband had not been intimate with her for months. He claims he’s always tired from work. Anytime, she complains about his inability to make love with her, he calls her a whore. He even accused her of having affairs.
I heard of a man who lives in misery because his wife is very religious and claims that sex is dirty. She spends almost of her time in church. She denies him sex. She refuses to spice things up in the bedroom. She doesn’t want to try other sex positions other than the missionary position. She claims that sex is just for procreation.
When you would rather start a fight than be intimate with your spouse, your marriage is definitely on shaky ground. Intimacy includes physical or non-physical bonding, where couples come together as a unit. When there is no longer any effort to unite and bond for any given reason, this is certainly a pointer of underlying problems that need to be addressed.
Infidelity destroys relationships because it violates trust, one of the foundations of marriage. Even though infidelity can be worked out in some cases, the betrayal can last a lifetime.
Although many Nigerian women rarely leave cheating men because they believe they can pray the cheating spirit out of their men, these women are not happy with their community penis husbands. Some of them are secretly praying for these men to just drop dead.
It is sad that many couples no longer pay attention to their appearance after marriage. You can’t be looking like a walking Michelin tire and be claiming that your spouse avoids you and doesn’t want to be seen in public with you.
The nonchalant attitude regarding weight gain, the unkempt appearance speaks volumes that some people are not enthusiastic about looking pleasing to their spouses. Combine this with a take it or leave it demeanour, the ambiance in that marriage says the thrill is gone already.
These are some of the plausible reasons I could come up with regarding this important issue. So, in your opinion, why are marriages crashing these days?
Re: PRODIGAL HUSBANDS DON’T DESERVE SECOND CHANCE
Kate honestly, I really appreciate your column. Being angry about the attitude of Nigerian women and churches is understatement because the same bible said that immorality is a ground for divorce Matt 19:9. Is it that our women or our so called men of God don’t read their bible well? Ignorance is not excuse because if a woman no longer feels secured living with her husband or the man on his own packed out, she’s free to file for divorce. So why stay for 15 or 19 years to welcome the unfortunate man who never thought of you emotionally? –Eunice Isaac
Kate, I have to encourage you to write more because something bad is bad. Keep on doing the good work. I stand on your words that there’s nothing like charm, it’s a deliberate act. We should stop encouraging irresponsibility in men. Keep up the good work. God bless you. –IK
Prodigal husbands don’t deserve second chance. You are right, but what do we do, two wrongs cannot make a right. Keep it up. Women are good. God bless them. –Azuazu, Port Harcourt
When my dad came back after 25 years to beg my mum, I told her she won’t hear from me again if she even listens to him. I can’t allow him to cheat her like that. It’s just not fair. Let the woman that has been occupying his life for the past 25 years come and carry her load. Thank God she did not even think about it. –Peace, Lagos
To say the truth, no man will be ready to accept a wife who abandoned him with children after some years in the name of forgiveness. I am here to say that some women do have golden hearts. –Nwoye Innoson, Bauchi
The sad thing is that our society supports these men who abandon their wives and children because of fresh vaginas. They indirectly encourage them by blaming the devil. They pester women to take these men back and it’s not fair. Prodigal husbands should remain where they escaped to. –Queen Ngozi, Asaba
I am a man but I still don’t see any good reason for a woman to take back a man who abandoned his family. It’s better to be called a fool than you being the fool. Men, can you live a day without a woman? No. Yet you leave your wife alone for years and you expect her to forgive you.
–Bolaji Wasiu, Kwali