A Facebook user called Ola Bisi started a campaign called #DIVORCENOTSTIGMA.
The point of the campaign, as she stated, was not to celebrate divorce; but to remove the stigma attached to divorced women. So she shares stories of women in which they speak about how they struggled in their various marriages; what led to the dissolution of the marriages and what life has been after divorce.
This is to let people know that leaving is tough. Also, it is often the only humane thing to do for the love of one’s self and possible offspring of the union.
Women who have gone through a divorce should not be pariahs of the society. They are as normal as men who have left marriages. Therefore, they deserve to be handed the clean slate men are handed with.
As I read these stories; I kept thinking of what lessons to cull out for people that are not yet married.
Married people are married already. If it is a mistake, it is either to live with it or break it off at some point. What is done cannot be undone. The pain and the wasted years cannot be gotten back.
But if you are not married, it would be great to learn some lessons from the stories we read.
I am focusing on women because the stories are from women. Maybe another man can write what to watch out for just for men.
- Never ever start a journey with a man that does not have a source of income. Never. If he is in a lull, it may be wise to wait till he has found his footing. It does not matter how much you earn. Your money will not cover up for how you may feel if this man is unable to give to the relationship as time goes on. It is human nature not to let go of a benefactor. If all his needs are being met, chances are he will not feel the urgency to have his own thing. I know men will bristle at this as many women get married without a source of income. You see, when a woman is in a marriage, it is much harder not to do anything. Women almost always contribute in kind. House cleaning, child care, cooking, going to the market, etc. Most men will not adjust to this role when they have no jobs. Hence, the woman will finance everything and still do everything which most women come to resent. This may eventually lead to a fractured union and subsequent divorce.
Do not get married simply because you feel you have to get married. Don’t let your biological clock decide for you. In fact, don’t allow your family or church pressure you. Do not allow yourself to pressure you. It is one thing to be alone or lonely and not happy. Worse to be alone or lonely in a marriage that is unhappy. It can be hell and divorce is not easy as well.
- Never ignore red flags. Do not give excuses for them. Do not take explanations or apologies and wave the red flags away. See red flags as indicators of trouble to come. A man with a huge temper will not have an understated temper because of marriage. A man that is uncaring and cold will be worse in marriage. Also, a man that is disrespectful to you will continue in marriage. A man that lies and cheats will continue in marriage. Love has a way of changing the colours of these flags. But if you tell yourself the honest truth all the time, you should be able to see clearly.
- Never ever not have a source of income. Every individual must have a source of income. This is your power. This will keep your options open. A man that demands that you hand over this power to him does not mean well. This holds true even if the man is a billionaire. No matter how little, dear woman, have something you are doing for a living. This is a huge reason why women are not able to walk away when things are bad.
- Be wary when a mother has too much influence over her son. Avoid a man that cannot make decisions independent of his family. It is not bad if he is close to his family and listens to them. But a man that must consult them over everything is one to avoid. If he listens to his family over you, do not marry him. Wahala is in the offing.
Never ever marry a man that has no friends. A man that listens to nobody i.e nobody can talk to him. A man who has no regard for anyone. This may seem a bit contradictory with Number 5 but there is a difference. A man that has mentors he respects; people that can give good counsel can be corrected. A man that thinks he is wise above all and needs no one’s input is a problem no one can contain.
- Do not marry a man who is the centre of adulation for his whole family. The one that has been placed on a pedestal. The one with all the money and takes care of everyone. He may be responsible but you may have a problem with those he takes care of. You are competition. You will be the reason if he doesn’t do what he normally does. And people do not take being cut off from their source lightly. Many a woman has had to flee being maligned. This is a dicey point sha. Everything will depend on how strong minded the man is.
We have been told not to marry men that beat us. That remains true. I am not giving this a whole point because it is a given. But I go further in saying that you should not marry a man that is verbally abusive. Don’t say at least he hasn’t beaten you. Physical abuse may damage the body. However, verbal abuse works into the psyche till a person is so eroded within they are barely able to function.
- Don’t marry a man that is not eager to marry you. If he seems reluctant, have a rethink. Your love and your eagerness cannot be a cover. If a man is behaving this way before marriage, be very wary. Both of you have to be on an equal plane of want.
- Finally, do not marry a man that cannot open up and talk to you. These men will harbour resentment and one day it will come down on you like fire. You would have been assuming that everything is going on well. Yet, you don’t know that every erring statement you have made has been mentally recorded. Such men will flip the script overnight and you will find yourself alone.
This is not exhaustive. I will end by saying that entering marriage is worth all the extra caution and paranoia. The pity is that love blots out a lot of things that a bad marriage will uncover.
This marriage thing sef….