Curb­ing di­vorce in mar­riages

Daily Trust - - HOME FRONT - By Olayemi John-Mensah

The di­vorce of a re­spected politi­cian in Ek­iti State went vi­ral on the net and in Nige­ria dailies. The 28 years old mar­riage was dis­solved in a court of law and this raised lots of ques­tions as to why they both waited that long to call it quits.

Chris­tian­ity and Is­lam frown at the is­sue of di­vorce which is against the sanc­tity of mar­riage or­dained by God.

Di­vorce is a le­gal ac­tion be­tween mar­ried peo­ple to ter­mi­nate their mar­riage re­la­tion­ship. It can be re­ferred to as dis­so­lu­tion of mar­riage and is ba­si­cally, the le­gal ac­tion that ends the mar­riage be­fore the death of ei­ther spouse.

It is also the le­gal dis­so­lu­tion of a mar­riage by a court or any other com­pe­tent body.

The Law Dic­tionary de­fines it as the le­gal sep­a­ra­tion of a man and his wife, ef­fected, for cause, by the judg­ment of a court, and ei­ther to­tally dis­solv­ing the mar­riage re­la­tion, or sus­pend­ing its ef­fects so far as it con­cerns the co­hab­i­ta­tion of the par­ties.

In tra­di­tional so­ci­eties, the norms tend to ex­alt the in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage, even in polygamies, while dis­cour­ag­ing di­vorce.

Though it sounds sim­ple, but ma­jor­ity say it is not easy for cou­ples to de­cide to end a mar­riage. Of­ten­times they spend years try­ing to re­solve their is­sues be­fore de­cid­ing to di­vorce. But some­times they just can­not fix the prob­lems and de­cide that di­vorce is the best so­lu­tion.

The chil­dren are the most af­fected in di­vorce cases. They are some­times left to face the hur­dle that can af­fect them for life.

Oraoma Idak­woji, a psy­chol­o­gist and so­cial worker, said that there are many fac­tors that con­trib­ute to the high rate of di­vorce in our so­ci­ety to­day, adding: “From the psy­cho­log­i­cal point of view, the ter­mi­na­tion of a mar­riage or mar­i­tal union de­pends ma­jorly on the in­di­vid­ual’s back­ground, mind­set and the en­vi­ron­ment in which he/she grew.”

She said fac­tors such as the age of an in­di­vid­ual, time since the di­vorce, par­ent­ing style, fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity and type and ex­tent of parental con­flict all con­trib­ute to post-di­vorce or fu­ture di­vorce of in­di­vid­u­als.

“Chil­dren learn from par­ents and repli­cate such say­ing, af­ter all my par­ents are di­vorced so there is noth­ing wrong with it.”

Ac­cord­ing to her, another fac­tor is de­ceit. Most peo­ple get mar­ried and later re­alise they mar­ried a to­tally wrong per­son. “Like the say­ing goes, ‘love is blind’ but mar­riage is an eye opener.

“We can how­ever min­imise in­ci­dences of di­vorce. This can be achieved when we learn to live sac­ri­fi­cial lives, be­come more tol­er­ant and im­bibe truth­ful­ness when start­ing re­la­tion­ships .Truth will al­ways stand the test of time and truth will stand be­fore the King.”

Grace (not real name) is a vic­tim of di­vorce and a sin­gle mother of three with the first be­ing an un­der­grad­u­ate of the Univer­sity of La­gos. She di­vorced her spouse over eight years ago due to ir­re­solv­able dif­fer­ence.

Ac­cord­ing to her, it is bet­ter for her to stay sin­gle and take care of her chil­dren than to be man­ag­ing a home that is not func­tion­ing. “Many women die just be­cause they want to keep their homes, but af­ter­wards the same man mar­ries another woman, she added.”

The mother of three said peo­ple must learn to flee from any­thing that will en­dan­ger their lives. “Though it is be­lieved that mar­riage if for bet­ter for worse, but I do not think one should al­low the worst to hap­pen be­fore tak­ing steps.”

Mr. Dapo Joseph, who said his mar­riage packed up a year ago, is now cater­ing for his three chil­dren. He said his ex­pe­ri­ence in mar­riage is a painful one, not worth remembering.

“Ev­ery­thing was go­ing smoothly un­til I had some fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties. Things were no longer the same again. No more sup­port, ro­mance or trust. When a woman can­not be sup­port­ive and trusted, your life as a hus­band is at stake. Many women want to be wives but are ill pre­pared for the re­spon­si­bil­ity in mar­riage. What do you say about a wife who still wants to con­tinue with her sin­gle lifestyle even af­ter mar­riage?”

He said that he was shocked to hear that his wife re-mar­ried few months af­ter pack­ing her things out of their mat­ri­mo­nial home, adding: “That shows that she has been cheat­ing on me while we were mar­ried. It is painful but life must con­tinue.”

Pas­tor John Shuaibu is a mar­riage coun­selor. He said we must un­der­stand the fun­da­men­tals of mar­riage in or­der to get a grip of what di­vorce is do­ing to mar­riage.

“God made man and woman to help each other. The bi­ble states: “A man would leave his par­ents to cleave to his wife and be­come one flesh.” This means man was meant to “unite or fuse with his wife.” Mathew 19:6 says: “wherefore they are no more twain but one flesh. What there­fore God hath joined to­gether let no man put asun­der.”

He said that di­vorce was never in­tended in mar­riage, ex­plain­ing that di­vorce con­tra­dicts the pur­pose of God in the school of mar­riage which one dies in­side, not grad­u­ate from it.

The coun­selor said the rate of di­vorce to­day is un­for­tu­nate, adding that so­ci­eties have em­braced the worldly sys­tem which negates any­thing God up­holds.

He said: “The so­ci­ety has turned mar­riage into a ‘con­ve­nience’ ei­ther be­cause of fi­nan­cial gain, so­cial sta­tus, parental pres­sure, peer pres­sure, ig­no­rance, mis­placed emo­tions and age. These are foun­da­tional mat­ters that crack the wall of the home and lead to col­lapse even­tu­ally be­cause if the foun­da­tion is not solid, the build­ing must surely fall.

“Ego of the man is another fac­tor. Ego is like an iron shield which a man wears and he feels un­touched by the feel­ings of his wife.”

Malama Ummu Maryam, while giv­ing the Is­lamic view, said di­vorce is per­mit­ted as a last re­sort if it is not pos­si­ble to con­tinue in mar­riage.

“But be­fore it is car­ried out, cer­tain steps need to be taken to en­sure that all op­tions for peace have been ex­hausted and both par­ties are treated with re­spect and jus­tice.”

She said the first step a cou­ple should make is to re­ally search their hearts, eval­u­ate the re­la­tion­ship, and try to rec­on­cile.

“In Qur’an chap­ter 4 verse 35, Al­lah says: "And if you fear a breach be­tween the cou­ple, then ap­point a judge from his peo­ple and a judge from her peo­ple. If they both de­sire agree­ment, Al­lah will ef­fect har­mony be­tween them; Ver­ily Al­lah is Know­ing, All-Aware."

She said all mar­riages have ups and downs, and this de­ci­sion should not be ar­rived at easily with­out mak­ing ef­forts to rec­on­cile. “Ask your­self, ‘Have I re­ally tried ev­ery­thing else?’ Eval­u­ate your own needs and weak­nesses, think through the con­se­quences. Try to re­mem­ber the good things about your spouse, and find for­give­ness, pa­tience in your heart for mi­nor an­noy­ances. Com­mu­ni­cate with your spouse about your feel­ings, fears, and needs.”

Maryam said if af­ter thor­ough eval­u­a­tion the cou­ple finds that there is no other op­tion than di­vorce, there is no shame in pro­ceed­ing to the next step.

“But note that Al­lah gives di­vorce as an op­tion be­cause some­times it is truly in the best in­ter­est of all con­cerned. No­body needs to re­main in a sit­u­a­tion that causes per­sonal dis­tress, pain and suf­fer­ing. In such cases, it is more mer­ci­ful that you each go your sep­a­rate ways, peace­fully and am­i­ca­bly. Recog­nise, though, that Is­lam out­lines cer­tain steps that need to take place be­fore, dur­ing, and af­ter a di­vorce. The needs of both par­ties are con­sid­ered. Any chil­dren of the mar­riage are given top pri­or­ity. Guide­lines are given both for per­sonal be­hav­iour and le­gal process.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Nigeria

© PressReader. All rights reserved.