I started writing about why marriages seem to be failing a lot more than they used to. Okay, maybe I should rephrase what I just said. I wrote about why marriages are ending faster and more frequently.
I realise that because people stay married this doesn’t mean that the marriage has not failed. So I can’t say that marriages fail more now. But I can say that people are less reluctant to remain in situations that are not working these days.
In a way, this is a good thing.
I am not saying that divorce is good. Actually, the process of ending marriages in some cases is as painful as a death. If you have supported anyone through the process of divorce, you know that it is a difficult and painful process.
But I say that people being unwilling to remain in situations that are not working is a good thing. Why be shackled to a sinking ship? Marriage should not be a death sentence. For some people, this liberation is much needed. Some leave because they want to save their lives.
But I want to dig deeper. I feel it is pointless to begin to argue if a person should remain in a marriage because divorce isn’t a good thing.
I think we should retrace our steps to the root.
Is there a problem with the institution of marriage? Secondly, is there a faulty process that we adapt when choosing people to marry?
I think that spending time to examine these two questions can really impact crashing marriages.
The dysfunction that lands unsolicited on products of unions that have failed and are failing is not fair. Maybe if we retrace, then we can change things that we are doing wrong not just to protect the institution of marriage but to prevent the unnecessary tug of war that follows most unions that are ending.
IS THERE A PROBLEM WITH THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE?
Is marriage archaic? Does it no longer fit into the structure of our society? Does marriage need to be redefined? Should it be less rigid to accommodate individual differences? Are open marriages the solution?
So many questions for me here. I am not sure I have the answers.
My personal church mind opinion is that the idea of marriage is a brilliant idea. Two people come together in love. They help and support each other through the travails (such an ancient word to use but apt) of life.
They may have children and everyone who has children know that it is easier when you have a reliable partner so that you can raise the kids together. This arrangement could be a fantastic one if organised properly. Two incomes are better than one.
Indeed, it is easier to ride through any ailment if you have someone by your side. If you slip and fall down the stairs, you are rest assured someone will find you there. You have someone to bounce ideas off and even argue with.
I think marriage isn’t the problem.
The problem is when the individuals within the marriages fail to be all the aforementioned things to each other.
You go into a marriage expecting unconditional love, support and a partnership.But then you find yourself still alone trying to figure out how to get along with this partner every day.
With our cultural conditioning, men and women walk into marriages with different expectations. Most Nigerian men walk into a marriage expecting total and complete subservience from women. They have been told they are the heads of their home for so long that they automatically feel the woman is the less important part of the equation.
Therefore, they expect obedience. They expect respect even when they don’t deserve it. They expect to be cooked for. Cleaned after. They can’t deal with a woman who has a voice and uses it.
On the other hand, a woman enters a marriage hoping for security in all ramifications. She is aware of all the expectations that men have. She has been told of this her ‘duty’ all her life.
As a matter of fact, the biggest expectation a woman will place on a man is financial. When the man is unable to provide, that hits a woman very hard no matter how much she earns.
The problem with such expectations is that nothing should be set in stone. As people change, as the society is being influenced by a world that is increasingly becoming one village; these expectations should be modified constantly.
The issue is that nothing seems to have changed in the core of expectations. But people are no longer the same way they were.
Women are now earners and are confident. They are rebelling against traditional expectations. Women are educated and finding their voices. Any man expecting a quiet nodding queen is setting himself up. He is bound to have issues when he gets married.
As per women, wahala dey.
Women are so versatile these days. She is selling shoes and handbags on Instagram; she is a makeup artist. Also she is saving her salary and opening a stall. In addition, she is selling ‘Abacha’ or ‘Afang’ on the side, etc etc.
Nevertheless, men in Nigeria don’t seem to be this versatile. They are not so multidimensional. So what happens is that things can genuinely halt for a man. Or it is so much harder to find another hustle.
The fallout is that more women seem to be in the position to care for the financial needs of the home; but they are still stuck with the expectation that a man must carry financial care for the house.
What am I saying?
Let’s drop these expectations. And find how to navigate the motile global society.
If you are reading this, stay tuned next week. I will talk about the problem of how we choose who we marry; and how that leads to the inevitable crash of some marriages.
(I am no expert people. This is me speaking my opinions off the cuff)