MRS. Gbemi Olufemi prides herself in her almost 30-year old marriage to her engineer husband. He swept her off her feet with his hardworking nature, his undying love and generosity 32 years ago.
Even though they have had their share of problems, challenges and trials along the way, they were both committed to making their marriage the envy of their friends, family and neighbours.
In the same vein, Mr. Jude Odili has enjoyed over 22 years of marital bliss with his wife. Even though the woman ran away when he came to inform her father of his intentions to marry her, they have been able to weather many marital storms together.
There are couples whose marriages have stood the test of time irrespective of the many challenges that threatened the peace and harmony of their unions. But today, couples tend to give up on one another easily as the institution is plagued by many problems.
Many marriages are no longer what they used to be. Even though marriages were meant to last and be enjoyed, there are so many dysfunctional marriages today that one wonders what has gone wrong with the institution called marriage.
Most couples live like flat mates. They only talk when it comes to finances or replacing things at home. The companionship that characterised the coming together of two people is missing.
Many couples stay together just to keep up appearances. They take different routes in life without considering one another. Their decisions are no longer taken in unity. It seems that these days, the virus of intolerance and divorce has infected many marriages.
For some, they have resorted to playing games with one another. They hide their money, their investments and their businesses from their spouses. Some marriages have degenerated to a battleground where couples fight all the time while their children referee their many fights.
Some have turned their children against each other. Others have resorted to stabbing, maiming and killing the people they once loved and promised to care for till death parts them. The news of husbands killing wives and vice versa is common these days.
Major Issues that Split Couples in Nigeria
Many marriages are falling apart because of alleged infidelity. Even though some couples find a way to bounce back after an affair, others hit the rocks. On Air personality Toke Makinwa recently filed for divorce against her husband, Maje Ayida after his alleged acts of infidelity that produced a child. Toke and Maje dated for 12 years before they got married, but it seems Toke couldn’t handle his betrayal by getting his ex-girlfriend pregnant.
2. Money matters
Tunji Balogun a.k.a Teebillz took to Instagram in April to call his popular musician wife, Tiwa Savage names. Their marriage of three years that produced a son Jamil was under siege and Tiwa addressed the issues with a video interview.
She alleged that their major problem was money. She said that her husband was fond of buying things on credit while people keep threatening her to go the press over his spending spree. Many times, she had to pay for his stuffs and this keeps straining their relationship as he doesn’t make money but loves to spend hers.
3. Sexual incompatibility
Many couples fall apart because they are not compatible sexually. Sexual incompatibility is the inability of one or both spouses to make the necessary changes to grow and develop in the ways that are needed, coupled with lack of understanding of the ways men and women are sexually wired differently.
Of course, at the root of incompatibility is that one person always wants the other person to do the changing.
4. Domestic Violence
Domestic violence remains one of the reasons couples split. Many women who are being physically abused run for dear lives to avoid being killed by their husbands.
Wife of Nigerian rapper Zaaki Azzay came out in 2012 to say that her husband had been physically abusing her for years. She gave a detailed interview on how the rapper would physically assault her. When she was tired of all the beatings, she ran away and sought shelter with an NGO who handles cases of domestic violence. They are divorced now.
In 2014, Nollywood actress Monalisa Chinda opened up about how she was being physically abused by her ex-husband. She escaped with her daughter one day during such beatings. This led to the crash of her first marriage. Monalisa Chinda recently got married to Tonye Victor.
5. Lack of respect
According to Mr. Niran Adedokun, a lot of the issues that crop up in marriages stem from the fact that people lack respect for their spouses as well as the skills needed to sustain relationships.
“Unfortunately, most of the things that they know are from traditions that do not respect the other person and relationships cannot grow without mutual respect”, he added.
Niran advised couples to understand the importance of communication. They should also build the listening skill and be patient enough to know the love language of their partners, such that no matter how bad things are, there is still something they can do that can unlock their hearts.
6. Lack of honour
Mr. Raphael Oriaku says that a godly marriage is not immune from the storms of life. But like a house that is built on a rock, no matter the rain and wind that blows, it is still standing.
He revealed that spouses, who continue to think, act and behave like they are still single cause most marital problems. Couples who don’t honour one another in their words and deeds cause tension in their marriages.
He advised couples to treat their marriages differently if they want it to last. They should shield and protect their union from external influences.
7. Less tolerance to issues
Pastor Mrs. Annie Inyang said that marriages no longer stand the test of time because many women are becoming enlightened and less tolerant to terrible treatments meted out to them by their husbands compared to how it used to be in the past. They are beginning to speak out on issues that were once hidden.
Inyang noted that if both couples are not playing their parts to keep the marriage, they could never live in peace and harmony. For instance, if a man or woman sleeps around, beats his wife, fails to provide for her financially, she can never be happy in that marriage including the man himself.
She recommended that for marriages to succeed today, couples should work as a team. They need to play their parts and help one another. This is because once the couple make up their minds to keep to the tenets and principles of marriage, it will help the marriage last longer.
8. Trappings of physical beauty
Mr. Godwin Muoka said that marriage fails because many people go into it without being spiritually, emotionally and physically ready to give it their all.
He said that external issues such as physical beauty, wealth, position and other such mundane considerations, carry a lot of people away. And it is also sad that many couples start as friends and grow progressively apart.
According to Muoka, God created marriage basically for companionship. But many people are in marriages with almost total strangers because of the factor of wrong parenting.
“Families bring up their children with artificial values. Girls are not trained to be homemakers while boys are brought up to be selfish and unloving. Money, wealth and materialism are the only things that matter to them”, he stated.
The solution to the many problems plaguing marriages Muoka added is that parents should teach their children the values that will endure the tests of life.
Mr. Bawo Ogun revealed that the advent of social media has done more harm to relationships. These days, couples hardly communicate with one another anymore when they are together, instead they will be on their phones chatting people in distant places, and in some cases, total strangers.
Ogun noted that the current climate of harsh economic situation is putting marriages under serious strain as couples find it difficult to make ends meet, and as such they are exposed to different temptations which might be hard to resist.
“In the time of our parents, women tend to endure a lot from their men just to keep their marriages, but it is no longer so. Men cheat for fun in those days and get away with it. Today, women cheat in retaliation after suffering emotional abandonment from their men. But when caught, the marriage will never survive”, he added.
10. Lack of flexibility
A lecturer, Ify Daisy said that the present crop of young men is the first to get married to assertive and independent women. They didn’t see it coming. They had no idea of just how much education and technology will impact marriage, as they know it. It came as a rude awakening.
She added that many of these men in their 40s, 30s and late 20s grew up in traditional homes, where the father is the King, whose words are final. But today’s generation of women has the opportunity many of their mothers and grandmothers never had. Many are educated with first degrees, second degrees and quite a number have PhDs or are in the process of acquiring one.
According to her, this awakening has enabled many educated Nigerian women to opt out of abusive marriages because of the many options available to them.
“Many young men of today have failed to evolve with the changing times, preferring to hold on to traditional views while reaping the fruits of the modern woman, especially the money she brings home. And that is where problem arises”, Daisy stated.
11. Lack of preparation for a lasting marriage
For Ambassador Unyime-Ivy King, any marriage that was contracted on a faulty foundation will show up cracks eventually. If these problems are ignored or glossed over, they will lead to the eventual collapse of the marriage.
She said that a lot of couples are fixated on the trappings of the wedding day and more focused on having a talk-of-the-town-kind of wedding, but do not bother to take the pains of laying a solid foundation for a lasting marriage.
Unyime-Ivy noted that other factors that lead to failed marriages these days include marrying for sex, marrying because one is lonely, materialistic reasons, marrying to escape a troubled home life, to spite a former lover, to prove something to others, because one is growing older, and to make one’s parents happy.
Other wrong reasons for getting married include to express gratitude to someone who helped one in a challenging situation, negative third party interference from friends or relatives, mistaking infatuation and lust for love, as well as arranged marriages for political or business reasons.
Unyime-Ivy said that the solution to marital breakups these days is for couples to be true and committed to one another. They cannot claim to love their spouses, but keep hurting them daily with their words, actions or inactions. Marriage is not a walk in the park, because two people from radically different backgrounds come together, with different approaches to solving problems.
She added that it takes their willingness to mutually submit to each other, make compromises where necessary and apply their faith, for things to work. The problems of a faulty foundation can be solved, but it comes at a high cost, which many are not willing to commit to paying.
12. Weaker family values and bonds
For Mr. Chibuzor Obinwa, family values and bonds are much weaker these days. Children learn from their folks and elderly family members. When family values are eroded, children put little importance into marriage and things their grandparents held dear in the past.
He also observed that educational system that preaches self-promotion disguised as chasing personal goals irrespective of whose Ox is gored subtly ensures that marriage is now less important and way down the to do list for many.
The solution he says is for couples to reiterate the value of family to their children as well as teach them how to be responsible adults.
13. Lack of communication
For Mrs. Toyin Okpaleke, a great way for couples to make their marriages last longer is through communication. It’s important that couples are able to discuss issues calmly without turning it into a fight or confrontation.