Why Marriages Fail

Akindele and Oloyede during better times

Experts have identified financial issues, infidelity, lack of sexual satisfaction, incompatibility and third party intrusion as some of the causes of failed marriages in Nigeria

By Chinwe Okafor  |  Sep. 2, 2013 @ 01:00 GMT

SAMUEL Effiong, (not real name), a pastor, and Ada, (not real name) his wife, walked into the Ikeja customary court on Monday, August 19, seeking the dissolution of their five-year old marriage. The couple whose marriage has produced two children became estranged about six months ago when Bassey accused Ada of being too quarrelsome and disrespectful to him. He lamented bitterly in the court at the manner his wife always embarrassed and fought with him. “It all began on the day of our traditional marriage when she slapped and humiliated me. As a man of God, I believed and prayed that after our marriage, things were going to change not knowing that I was digging my grave. I sent her to a higher institution and paid her school fees, bought her two shops and two cars. Without consulting me, she sold one of the cars and squandered the money. Whenever I confronted her on any bad behavior, she would retaliate by using bottles and knife to fight me. This marriage is out of my way and plan; I cannot continue with her, I cannot die before my time,” he said.

Bassey, prayed the court to dissolve the marriage because he was no longer interested in living with her. The case was adjourned till the first week of September. There are so many couples seeking a way out of their marriages just like these two young couples. The high rate of divorce cuts across the different strata in the society and even the elderly ones are not excluded. For example, Kazeem Quadri, a man above 60 and Aisha appeared in court for the final hearing of their case. The marriage was dissolved at the Ikeja customary court on the grounds that Quadri was already fed up with the marriage. The court said it could not force the two of them to live together since Quadri had already left the home since October 2012 knowing fully well that the house rent was due. Even in the Nollywood, there have been some high profile celebrity divorces involving the likes of Funke Akindele, Chika Ike, Eucharia Anunobi, Monalisa Chinda, Fathia Balogun, Shan George, Clarion Chukwura and many others. One of the shortest marriages was that of Akindele to Kehinde Oloyede, a businessman. It lasted for 14 months.

Failed marriages are prevalent today
Failed marriages are prevalent today

Realnews reporter, observed that among the five divorce cases heard on August 19, at the customary court in Ikeja, there was a common link. Couples seeking for disolation of their marriages were doing so on the ground that there was no longer love in their marriages, denial of sex, constant fights and infidelity. An eight-month statistics at the Ikeja customary court, showed that there were 35 applications for divorce from January to August 2013.

An official at the court, said that on Thursdays and Fridays, people troop to the court registry rushing to get married whereas they come back on Mondays and Tuesdays to ask the court for divorce. This ill in the society has been attributed to moral decadence, poverty, lack of love and desperation. Taiwo Olanrewaju, a marriage counsellor, believes the marriage institution is gradually failing as a result of the high rate of divorce. “Some years back, marriage was a sacred institution and was respected and preserved. Couples, who took the sacred oath of ‘for better, for worse, till death do us apart’ before ministers of God, observed such oath and remained in marriage till death did them part. The institution is gradually failing because of the high rate of divorce. The only way to sustain marriage is for the couples to tolerate each other and accept corrections when needed,” Olanrewaju said.

Abraham Oyekanmi, pastor of the School of Marriage International, listed infidelity, finance and intrusion by third party as some of the reasons. He explained that friends cause more problems for couples than enemies and argued that the reasons why couples decide to divorce are not tenable before God. “God expects them to stand straight and continue the marriage till death do them part because God does not recognise divorce in marriage,” he said.

Oyekanmi, warned that couples who go into marriage should undergo marriage courses for at least three months in the church to enable them learn about the challenges ahead. “Oftentimes, couples go into marriage without understanding the character of the other spouse or their compatibility. Some women, in their desperation to get married, ignore marriage counselling and marriage courses. Most young women feel it is a must to get married at an early age while the older ones cannot stand the stigma of not being married. Therefore, they enter into marriage not minding what it may cost them in future,” he said.

Femi Awodele, a social commentator, said the inability of a couple to spend time together contributes a lot to marriage failure. Quest for mundane things hardly give couples the time to stay together and understand themselves better. “While the woman is seen as an irresponsible person who is unable to keep her home, the children lack parental care and therefore are prone to societal ills,” he said. Awodele,  noted that the couple would be affected negatively, especially if one of them still loves the other. It could lead to lack of concentration at work, sometimes to eventual loss of job, illness and lots of other terrible things.

Mary Adeboyega, a psychologist, said that the negative effects of divorce on children are very grave. “It is true that most couples believe that divorce will solve all their problems, but research has proved that it leaves devastating effects on all the children and extended family members involved. Divorce rips a child apart from loved ones. It limits the time spent with one’s parents, and also leads to confusion. It is always better for families especially children if couples settle their differences amicably rather than get a messy divorce,” Adeboyega said.

She noted that divorce makes many children unruly, dropouts and drunkards. Sometimes, this situation makes the child think that the parent with whom he or she is living with is usually strict because that parent is always available with tough discipline unlike the non residential parent who is regarded as loving, kind and understanding because of the type of affection they show the kids in order to compensate them for not being always available.

Musa Ahmed, a lawyer, said that the effects of divorce are particularly grave on the children. “Most children you find roaming the streets hawking are largely products of broken homes. The society is continuously put at risk if these children are not catered for. Eventually, they may turn out to be a nuisance to the society,’ he said.

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