By Maria Famakinwa
In the days of our fore-fathers, the word divorce was a taboo that people tended to shy away from. The few who separated from their spouses then hid the news from the public, because people held family ties in high esteem and divorce was never an option.
The same cannot be said now when incidence of divorce has gone up exponentially. Not even the stringent process of getting a divorce has been able to discourage couples from approaching courts for marriage dissolution. The reported cases of divorce have assumed a frightening dimension such that no fewer than 2, 520 divorce petitions were filed before the Ondo State High Courts, Akure last year.
It is quite disturbing that some of these marriages were less than two years. If Ondo State could record numerous cases of divorce last year, what would have been the number if other states cases of divorce were to be added?
The Hope spoke with some clerics and elderly citizens on why marriages break up and the solutions. In the submission of Chairman, Ondo State Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev Ayo Oladapo, he explained that many factors were responsible for divorce and appealed to couples to make their unions work, adding that no marriage is perfect.
His words: “Divorce is on the rise because people no longer take family values seriously. Some don’t see marriage as important. So they prefer to be single parents. Lack of love, lack of submission and unforgiveness are some of the factors tearing marriages apart. To address divorce rate, couples should hand over their marriages to God. Couples should learn to forebear and accommodate each other. Pre-marital counseling should be made compulsory for would-be couples to prepare them ahead,” he advised.
Pastor Adewale Ademusayo of Shield of Faith Ministry blamed high rate of divorce across the country on unfriendly government policies which he observed hindered most men from meeting their families needs.
He said: “ Women are the bread winners in most homes today. Some of them who are tired of shouldering family responsibilities vent their anger on their husbands whom prevailing economic situation had rendered handicapped and frustrated. If a man can no longer cope with daily nagging of his wife, he will run away and never think of returning to the marriage again. I know some men in this condition.
“As we speak, some men who are Federal civil servants are jittery over the news of planned retrenchment of workers by the government. Truly the Bible urges men to provide for their families but if the ability is not there, some of them will take the next exit door, so as not to be regarded as worse than an infidel. Government should improve the economy to reduce the rate of divorce,” he said.
In the reaction of a Marriage Counselor and member of National Mission Board, Nasrul-lahi-li Fathi Society of Nigeria (NASFAT), Alhaji Junaid Yunus Olalekan, he identified financial problem and the social media as major contributors to divorce.
According to him, the rate of divorce increased in the post-COVID era as the pandemic dealt a big blow on family finances, leading to frustration on both the husbands and wives, consequently leading to misbehaviour, ego and infidelity. “The social media contributed a big deal to the high rate of divorce. Married women and men now make contact through the platforms to their exes which leads to the collapse of their marriages.”
He appealed to families to uphold the tenets of their faith and give room for effective communication. “ Couples must be patient in handling financial issues. If a wife is the one fending for the family, she should not let it get into her head, and husbands must respect the sacrifices their wives are making.”
In the view of a 76-year-old Mrs Ayobami Adu who identified poor communication, infidelity and threat to life as reasons for increased rate of divorce, she appealed to couples to make adjustments in the areas mentioned for lasting peace in their marriages.
She added:” Good communication is the foundation of a strong marriage. When two people are sharing a life together, they must not hide anything from each other. Yelling at your spouse and making nasty comments to express yourself are unhealthy methods of communication that need to be corrected, to avoid marital problem.
“Couples should be sincere and committed to their marital vows. No matter the love you may shower on your partner, the moment he/she realizes that you are involved in extra-marital affairs mark the beginning of problem in such union which eventually leads to threat to life. Once either of the couple’s life is under threat the society, advises the partner to separate from the marriage. This might eventually lead to divorce if not properly managed.
“The only solution is that the society should discuss more on the dangers of divorce. The government at all levels should pick a day in the week to talk to people through the mass media on why couples should make their marriages work. The injunction that couples will remain married till death do them part no longer mean much to many. High divorce rate will impact negatively on the society,” she said.
A teacher and marriage counselor, Mrs Oladuni Anuoluwapo, hinted that lack of sex and single parenthood are reasons for high rate of divorce .
She said: “ You will observe that single parenting is on the rise. This is because this generation believes that once they are able to give birth to a child or two, they are done and can start enjoying life without any interference. Also, sexual intercourse between couples plays a major role in upholding a marriage. Couples should be told that getting married is a license for regular sex and should stop giving excuses.
“ We should guard against divorce because children are always at the receiving end. They are left devastated and resort to using drugs/ substances, sexual practices, crime, suicide and other negative behaviours to fill the void. The trauma of a split can leave long lasting effects on mental and physical health that remarriage might not repair,” she warned.