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Economic hardship threatening our marriages — Nigerian men

By Maria Famakinwa

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The inability of Mr Olu, a labourer and father of three to provide for the basic needs of his household has turned the house to a theater of war. The love between him and his wife which was a template for many could be said to be gradually falling apart. While narrating the causes of the disagreement he said: “I observed that the problem started last year when I was not forthcoming with my responsibility as the head of the family. I appealed to my wife to show understanding till the situation improved but she called me all sorts of unprintable names.

“The most painful part was calling me a misfit. Not that I left the whole responsibility for her, at least I still tend to the needs of the home whenever I have the money yet, she seems not to bear the situation with me. I have decided to be patient with her till things get better because the present economic situation is causing serious quarrels between couples and one must be careful not to allow it degenerate into more problems,” he said.

The story is not different from Mr Ojolana, a former driver in a private company in Ogun State who lost his job three years ago when the company laid off workers due to bad economy. The man who revealed that his wife who showered love on him then had since changed because he could no longer provide for his family like before. He disclosed that his wife fight him at the slightest provocation and make him feel a lesser man. He said: “I no longer enjoy my marriage because of my situation. I would have left the marriage but for the love I have for my children,” he lamented.

Findings revealed that rising economic hardship in Africa’s most populous nation and largest economy, has been blamed for growing domestic violence, with women at the receiving end. Some Nigerians spoke with The Hope on how the harsh economy is affecting their households. A trader, Mrs Fatima Lawal, who affirmed that the harsh economic situation is threatening the unity of most homes urged couples to do all they could to weather the storm noting that no situation is permanent.

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Her words: “Yes, painful economic situation is largely contributing to crises in Nigerian homes, leading to increase in marriage crashes being witnessed these days. The harsh economy has made some people to lose their lives because they were unable to meet up with their families obligations. A lot of fights ensued between husbands and wives to the extent that some men that could not cope end up developing high blood pressure and because most times, there is no money for medical treatment, sudden death claims such lives. On the part of the women, sometimes, they decide to pack out of their matrimonial homes because they believe the marriage is simply not working.

“I will only appeal to our political leaders to do things that would better the lives of the citizens of the country, especially the poor to save marriages from collapsing. Even if families were having problems before the current economic situation has worsen the situation. Hike in fuel price and inflation are forcing families to breakdown. It takes the grace of God to live together as a couple. The economic situation just need urgent attention because the situation is unbearable,” she lamented.

Sharing a similar view, a commercial driver who simply gave his name as Mr Bankole, bemoaned the rising cost of living which he described as challenging for most Nigerian men. He said: “Do you know that I fought seriously with my wife last December because of money issue that it took the intervention of some friends to settle it otherwise, I would have divorced her. I have four children to cater for aside my wife and aged parents yet, my income cannot sustain me.

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“The funniest part is that some people still send messages to me soliciting for my financial support on daily basis. A friend once narrated how a man almost killed his wife after accusing her of mismanagement. According to my friend, the man, an okada rider came back in the afternoon and told his wife to prepare “eba” for him but the wife told him that there was no garri at home as the children drank the remaining garri when they came back from school hungry. This explanation infuriated the already frustrated man and he pounced on the wife. The beating was so much that the woman fainted and was rushed to the hospital. The man later regretted his action which he blamed on poverty and frustration. Similar scenario is happening in most homes. Economic situation is making most men becoming violent,” he admitted.

Also reacting, a seamster, Mr Dayo Aminu, complained that providing for his four children is a difficult task he faces daily despite the fact that he and his wife are working. The man who revealed that the harsh economy situation in the country is causing disagreement among families fear that it might increase the rate of divorce and also discourage youths from getting married.

His words: “What I think every minute is how to feed my large family, pay tuition fees and meet other pressing needs at home. Most times I have pocket of quarrels with my wife especially when she comes to ask for foodstuffs money. There is no amount of money we spend on foodstuffs that is enough because prices of everything has increased. One of my children is in university and now they have increased their tuition fees. I don’t understand anymore because we cannot continue like this.

“Another issue I am facing is that my business is not moving like before. I called some of my customers who promised to bring clothes for sewing but they told me that they have other important needs to attend to. Some whose clothes are ready refused to come for them because of money. The economic situation in the country is affecting most families. When a man cannot live up to his responsibility at home, there is bound to be problems because you cannot expect the woman to shoulder the whole load. I can tell you that most couples in my areas are having misunderstanding due to similar problem. We pray that President Bola Tinubu take the right steps to address the poverty in the land because families are not finding it easy to cope,” he said.

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A marriage counselor, Mrs Remi Alonge, affirmed that from the cases she handles regularly, it is clear that bad economy is seriously hampering healthy living and relationships in households. She called on the government to support families with funds to boost their businesses, material items as well as empowering the spouses with skills to help them cope and survive as a family.

She said: “I have come to the conclusion that in Nigeria today, we have two classes which are the rich and the poor. There is nothing like middle class again going by family cases I attend to regularly. The devil is hiding under the economic challenges to cause problems in most homes, so every family need wisdom to navigate this trying period. If a couple can understand themselves and put their house in order, with the little they have, they will be able to manage their homes in love. Rather than crashing out of marriage,  couples should ask themselves what the problems are or what is making them not to move on as husband and wife. Couples can as well get involved in other businesses to argument their incomes rather than allowing devil to take charge of their homes.”

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Economic hardship threatening our marriages — Nigerian men

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Economic hardship threatening our marriages — Nigerian men

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