How to reduce divorce rate in our society

August 30, 2019
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I want to re-emphasise that I get very sentimental when it comes to witnessing weddings. It becomes more emotional when the couple gets to the part of exchanging marital vows. In fact, I will advise esteemed readers not to invite me to their weddings, if they cannot stand waterworks. Me? I know how to shed those entire ‘funny’ tears .

I love fairy tales. I love happy endings. All my life, I grew up reading Mills and Boons, popularly known as M&B, way back then. In all those novels, there were never divorces. Never. Forgive me; but I am an  incurable romantic; in fact I have spent the major parts  of my life matchmaking couples ,  hoping that they would all end up married. When Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston found happiness and eventually got married, oh boy! I was ecstatic. Do you know that the late Princess Diara and Prince Charles’ fairy tale wedding has refused to leave my head.

Though I was practically a child then, but I can still recall it so vividly as if it happened yesterday. Do you recall her very long wedding gown? Hmm, looking back, I remember praying that I will also find a Prince charming that will sweep me off my feet; the way ‘ I thought’ Prince Charles swept Princess Diana off her feet.

I recall vividly Rihanna’s and Chris Brown’s affair, ( before it crumbled) no wedding but they were close. I never knew these romances could ever end. Sometimes, I tell myself that this is not fair. I believe that people that find love should nurture it till death do them part. But then again, I also recall sadly, how Bill Gates was once quote that ‘life is not fair, get used to it.’  Hmmm, what an unfair but true statement of fact.

When people first fall in love; they glow. It radiates so much from the inside of them that people can tell just by looking at them. When people find love they can’t get enough of each other. Oh, the phone suffers; because they will call up each other countless times. Video calls… They will send ceaseless text messages to each other. If the love between the duo is strong enough, they get married. Trusting that nothing will come in between them.

However, during marriages , trials will definitely set in. One’s true character will definitely be put to test. These could be traced to some factors like finances, childlessness, the society itself; families, love that cannot stand the test of time etc.

I chose to write on these strange bedfellows; divorces and marriages because recently I attended the wedding ceremony of a dear reader. The couple wanted a quiet wedding with very few friends and family members, so they chose to legalise their union at a registry. It was at the venue of the wedding that I witnessed something rather odd. I observed that there were two entrances to the registry.

So, I naturally assumed that everybody there were  attending the wedding solemnization of their loved ones. I was wrong. Like I said there were two entrances; but the strange difference between the two entrances was the fact that we queued up waiting for the couple’s name to be called as there quite a few other couples waiting to get married. The other entrance however, had a longer queue. I became curious as to why more people should be on the other queue instead of joining ours to balance it up. So, I asked questions. It was then I found out to my utmost  dismay that those on the longer queue were couples waiting to be divorced! So, I asked myself, does this mean that divorce rates are higher than marriages.

According to Sherry Holetzy, a relationship expert, no one has a one-size- fit-all answer to this question, but there are various issues that all work together to make divorce the easy way out when it comes to struggling marriages. One of the biggest reasons so many couples divorce is because they begin marriage with unrealistic expectations. What this means is that there are no fairy tales. Happily ever after is not the stuff that real world marriages are made of.

This is not to say that happy marriages don’t exist. It is simply to point out that no marriage is perfectly blissful every day, week, month and year. Happy marriages take extra work and commitment. Unfortunately, many people don’t want to do the work.

For a relationship to succeed, teamwork is required and both persons need to deny many of their personal wishes. Self-sacrifice must replace selfishness. Sometimes one person in the marriage can do this reasonable well, but eventually patience runs out. Self-sacrifice is not natural, selfishness is. Selfishness is when an individual insists on an I-want-my-needs-met attitude, this breaks down a necessary spirit of co-operation.

The negative cycle begins and continues until intimacy is lost and a marriage begins to crumble. There are, however, legitimate reasons why some marriages fail. Abuse is one, whether that means abuse of a spouse or of children. Nobody I know is going to stay married to someone who abuses his or her children and more people are beginning to see that they don’t deserve or have to put up with personal abuse either.

Infidelity is another legitimate reason I know that can cause a couple to grossly disagree. The vows of marriage have been broken, although in this part of the world, studies have shown that couples have overcome this particular error through counselling and extended family interventions.

Too many times people claim that they simply cannot live together. They have the erroneous impression that finding a new mate will make everything take their problems, their bogus expectations and all their other baggage with them into the next relationship. The sad fact is that more remarriages fail than first marriages and it’s because many people don’t resolve issues and work through problems, they simply restart the cycle.

In all these, I am happy to state that our family values here in this part  are better than it is in the western world. I know that divorce for us here must be a last resort. One must have exhausted all possible avenues of reconciliation before they head for the court.

Looking at the lives of our fathers and mothers that have celebrated decades of wedding anniversaries, it must not have come so cheap. They must have certainly gone through a lot of trials and overcome them. One certainly requires some level of tolerance to live in the same house with someone from a completely different background.

It takes patience; above all it takes true love. I beg you, let us reduce that long divorce queue and work hard to keep our homes; I tell you, in the long run, it would yield good fruits. There is no guarantee that the man or woman outside will make a better mate or spouse. Apart from sexual attraction that may endear us to another, there is more to a marriage institution; there is a fervent desire to be known and appreciated by our partners. But then, we must exercise mutual respect for each other.

Happy marriages require consistent efforts on the part of both spouses. Bad attitudes coupled with unrealistic expectations are two huge elements in the downfall of marriages. On a lighter note, they do provide a lucrative source of income for divorce lawyers.

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