Avoiding divorce in turbulent marriages
LOVETH Udoye is a 31-year old woman married to a mechanical engineer. After seven years, her marriage crumbled. What she failed to understand was that partners ought to appreciate each other despite their flaws.
She dated her partner for six years and they were best of friends before they got married. She waited until her ex-husband completed his college and took up a job, after which married and had a son who is six years old now.
Loveth’s husband is hot tempered and she understands this. Problem started when she made it clear to him that he would not control her. Whenever there’s an argument ensues, she would go to her parents’ house to report; without leaving her luggage behind. Her sisters would call the husband on phone and talk to him rudely.
Each time Loveth felt she’s being controlled by her husband and in order to lose the grip, she dared her husband to divorce her, though she never wanted a divorce. She’s just egoistic and would not want the husband to look down on her.
One day, she pushed him so hard that for the first time in their marriage, he raised his hand and hit her. He also locked her outside. As always, she would run to her family, and whenever they think she’s being abused, they’ll invite the police.
One certain thing is that Loveth violated her husband emotionally. He was once arrested and detained and when her family told her to withdraw the case, she was adamant, not wanting the husband to think she’s sorry or missed him. Her husband was never a violent man. He did what he did because she pushed him to the wall and having realised his mistake, he knelt down and apologised to her.
After much persuasion, Loveth withdrew the case, and she and her husband reconciled. Three months after the incident, she packed her bags and left the house after she had a misunderstanding with the husband.
Two days after, she received a call that her husband was in the hospital. She was discouraged from going to see her husband by her family as they told her it’ld seem as if she was regretting leaving the house. They also assumed he was only feigning the illness for her to come and see him.
All this time, people felt sorry for her like she was the one being abused. The husband spent a week in the hospital and after he was discharged, she received a divorce summon.
She had the opportunity to go back and plead with her husband but because of her pride and ego, she rather told herself that her husband should be the one to come and beg her. She called and told him he would get the divorce because she lived like she was in hell.
When they got to the court, she wanted to make him pay, so she told the court that she needed his property to be shared. To Loveth’s greatest surprise, her husband told the court that whatever he and Loveth acquired together should be given to her; all he wanted was a divorce. They were divorced in August, 2008.
Now, Loveth’s husband is married to another lady, while Loveth lives as a divorcee with no hope of getting married again. Her family who pushed her into her present condition gossips about her. She lives on what her ex-husband gives to their son for survival.
She tells anyone who cares to listen, especially newly married women to restrict third-party interference in their marriages. Even her younger sisters are much more respected than her. Those who encouraged her to get divorced make jest of her. According to her, sometimes, it is not the man’s fault at all but rather, the pride a woman feels and the kind of advice she gets from people.
The rate of divorce today is quit alarming. It’s obviously painful when couples break up. Friends and families wonder why. Some say, when couples turn towards each other with kindness, understanding and empathy, they can endure even the worst storms. However, when the couple come with boxing gloves on, treating each other with contempt, defensiveness and suspicion, the marital prognosis under any circumstances won’t be positive.
Addictions are often cited as a reason for divorce. The addictions range from alcohol to sex to work and use of various devices. Addictions hijack a partner’s brain and can become one’s top priority. They can wreak havoc in a family in a truly terrible fashion.
When the ‘victimised’ spouse says “enough is enough” and gathers the courage to leave, the relationship is probably doomed for divorce. Though if the couple is ready and willing to put the work in and rebuild trust, addiction is something that can strengthen their relationship.
Speaking on the increased rate of divorce, Cynthia Okoye, a divorcée shared some of her experiences and gave advice to couples and young people who plan to get married soon. “Problems that can lead to divorce include “lack of understanding, trust, lack of caring, hot temper but mostly lack of understanding as was my experience during the trauma.
“When both partners don’t understand each other at all times, it is zero marriage because peace can never exist in the marriage even after solving whatever problem they have for many times. Misunderstanding can lead to husband beating his wife or wife misbehaving.
That is doing things which she is not supposed to do in her marriage. Beating a woman whenever you set your eyes on her as a husband can lead to divorce. It is always very painful to have such experience.”
Ms Okoye laid emphasis mostly on children saying, “divorce is not a good thing and it is better for one not to marry at all than get married and be divorced.
It is always worse when there is presence of little children in the marriage especially when the mother carters for the children alone with little or no concern from the father. The condition affects the children very much. Psychologically, children need both parents to guide them and also have all the support every child must need from both parents”.
She advised against women talking back to their husbands.“There are some women who are hot tempered. Please learn to control your anger when you find yourself in such situation. Don’t argue or challenge him even when you think you are more financially balanced than him.
There is this wise method that when your husband is talking in anger, do not argue with him, rather let there be water in your mouth and let it remain in your mouth to avoid you arguing with him which might lead him to beating you. Women should learn to be submissive to their husbands. That is the secret of every peaceful home and long lasting marriages.”
She concluded by advising people not to go into marriage because their friends or age mates are getting married, saying that everyone has a different time frame to success in life.
Also speaking on the matter from the legal point of view, a legal practitioner, Bona Oraekwere stated. “Divorce matters are not palatable. It’s a situation where the petitioner, whether man or woman has the feelings that their union is over; therefore, let every person go his or her own way.
But somehow and somewhere along the line, you will see that the parties are not very comfortable going ahead with the divorce matter, especially when they are afraid that they might be killed by their partners. At times, you will see somehow that they are regretting their actions.
But may be because of whatsoever that caused the problem in the first place, the petitioner might still want to go on with the processes of divorce, like on the side of the woman, if she is bartered; She will be afraid that if they reconcile, that this man will not change, rather he will still be beating her and might beat her to death.”
He recounted an experience he had handling divorce cases: “The man at a point was like looking forward to reconcile but he was somehow unable to. At a point, he became afraid because of the company the woman started keeping when they started having problem, thinking that the woman, if she comes back, might even want to eliminate him and take over everything belonging to him”.
According to Okoye, “one can hardly find anybody that sets out to marry and divorce later. Everybody prays for a better marriage. Though some may believe everything will be rosy if the man is rich at the time the marriage was starting or some will go to marry from a rich family, hoping that the father in-law or the siblings or relations of the wife might help them financially and when all those hopes are lost, they’ll start complaining. So, no man, no woman will be happy divorcing the husband or wife, though at times, some of them are careless”.
On his part, Rev. Father Hillary Ezenwa, the judicial vicar and Chief Judge, Awka Catholic Diocese, gave reasons why couples often have separation in their marriages.
“First of all, I want to classify the terminology. In the Catholic Church, there is nothing like divorce. It is a civil terminology because divorce means the parties were married but they don’t want to live together again because of one reason or the other permissible in law. And the marriage is sinead; everybody goes his way, though they lived together as husband and wife
“But generally, they declare the marriage null and void which is different from us for certain reasons foreseen by the law.
The reason means the law of the church which is love of God, the God of Cannon Law and the church has foreseen the situations in which somebody cannot validly enter into marriage or situations which when the person is about to give the words of consent will make the marriage invalid because he initiated the consent, or a situation where one does not observe the canonical one, the format specifying in law by which marriage can be celebrated.
So by and large, they are on three levels which are the level of impediment which are obstacle to marriage, then the level of consent which remains null and void, and of course, the level of ecclesiastical one. These are the three levels you can verify with authenticity and validity of marriage or otherwise.
“I will still maintain that in the church, it is not divorce. But what I will say generally is that people who come to the tribunal of the church have had sad marriages.
Most times, they are not living together. When they come, we start with pastoral approach. One of them will give complaints and usually, we invite the two of them to find out why their marriage broke down.
Then, we try to see if there is any possibility that they will set back together and when such is no longer possible, then the next level will be that they will be required to go to tribunal to present their case. What they have no right to is the answer they are seeking; if it is not merit it, they will not get.
So when they truly love to bind together as husband and wife, the church goes to the next level of trying to find out if their marriage was quietly celebrated in the first place and they look into factors, to judge their stories. From there, they will be able to say whether there was impediment that was not dispensed from”.
The Rev. Father advised couples seeking to divorce not to go away from each other in a tinamous manner; that means when they see one another; it will be as if they have seen one’s enemies. He said it was so especially if it is contagious when they are going through the early stage of their marriage.
“If children are involved, make sure you bring up your children as father and as mother. The first thing to do when you have gone your different ways is in any way you can, help the other party thoroughly because for the fact that your marriage is no longer on does not mean that you can be enemies for life”.
He urged those who are about to get married to avoid improper preparation as sustainable marriage begins with the type of choice you make going into the marriage.
He said some people were pushed into marriage by circumstances beyond their control or circumstances they have done deliberation on. “I don’t see a reason why somebody will see somebody for marriage on a network like online or something without knowing the person’s background and even agree to marry that person at the first place.
I believe seeing someone online is a veritable way, may be to begin a negotiation, begin friendship and equally study the person also. So let them not go for what the eyes sees like the beauty of the woman, the type of hair, the type of car the man has and so on. The real beauty is in the heart and the character of an individual. To know these, you have to be patient and study the person,” he concluded.