Today, we are going to dig into something that's really been bothering me at my heart. It seems to be recurring even among my friends, and to people very close to me, my relatives. This issue is more like an epidemic than it is a trend. This is the issue of broken marriages. Like I said in the book “Takes Two To Tango,” It is my belief is that when marriages break, the society as a whole break and there are no two ways about it. This means that to heal the societal ills, we will need to start from the root, marriages.
I will understand if you think that I may be wrong. You may say that I'm just speculating or I'm being pessimistic or that I am just digging too deep to find a reason as to why marriages break. All I ask is for you to you to take the time and observe the societal trends today and compare with the past 30, 40 or even 50 years. Take your time and watch how broken families live, how their children grow, how both the spouses and the children's lives change after divorce.
The effects of broken marriages spread like a bad virus to the whole society. These effects include depression, low self-esteem, lack of trust in the opposite gender, financial strain on both spouses, more broken relationships, more broken dreams and the list goes on. So why do marriages break so easily? Here are my few thoughts:
The Rush: Meeting online is amazing, but it is just a first step towards getting to know your mate. Take the time needed to get to know each other. I would rather you spend more time learning about your spouse or future wife/husband than to spend the rest of your life regretting having said “I Do.” Percy Sledge (1968) said that over fifty years ago, “Take Time To Know Her.”
Low Self Esteem: I am sure you have heard the phrase “Better the devil you know than the angel you don’t know”. This does not work in marriage. Avoid settling for anything. Instead stand for what you believe in and above all know your worth in time and love. Look for a spouse who will love you for who you are, not who they wish you were. “If the shoe doesn’t fit, do not wear it!”
Infatuation: Strong sexual desire for someone does not necessarily mean you love that person. Ask yourself if you would still be married to that person if she/he was so ill, so broke, so fat, or so skinny, or even going through a terminal condition. Ask yourself f you would stay married if you found out that they had some unbecoming habits. Briefly said, look beyond the sexual drive.
Money: Here is another misguiding phrase, “No money, no honey – No romance without finance”. Quick question? What would happen if your spouse filed for bankruptcy? What if all you possess today as a couple went to a debt collector? Would you still be together?
Lack of patience: Love demands patience with self and with each other. Marriage is a journey, not just a status. To enjoy a wonderful marriage, all your relationship muscles will be flexed and at some point, they will be stretched to almost breaking point. Remember you are each other’s choice, and you take care of what you choose, passionately.
Indifference: Familiarity brings contempt. Yes, it does. Avoid fading out of each other’s love circle. Like a garden you love, keep tendering the relationship, pluck the weeds and remember to enrich your soil. Work at your marriage constantly. Every single day.
Poor Communication: What is not explained is not understood. Make it your goal to understand your spouse as age brings its changes. Develop your own methods and styles of keeping each other in light of things.
Misguided Expectations: Some marriages fail because people actually marry for the wrong reasons, marry for the wrong expectations, marry with the wrong intentions. And eventually, the truth comes out and it's ugly. The saddest part is when children are put in between the rift, they are the unintended but inevitable victims of the broken relations. These children suffer mostly psychologically and socially.
At this juncture I would first like to acknowledge and salute the single parents who have found themselves in such dire situations for no reason of their own making. These single parents work twice as hard. It takes a toll on the single parent and even on the children when one parent is the one doing the job of two people and I respect and salute to single mothers and single fathers. At this point I would like to add that not all single parents are as a result of broken marriages: Some are due to death of spouse, war crimes, rape or incest, drug addictions etc.
Maybe that could be the reason you are single, and maybe ill health or even some catastrophe that you did not foresee coming. And I salute you for the hard work that you do. However, it is not without pain in my heart when I see people just deciding to fall apart because of their differences. I would like us to acknowledge that even in our own home, where we are all the same people with same genetics and everything. We are different and we have lots of conflicts and disagreements. We have a lot of things with disagreement About, yet we are one family. Our spouses are not our slaves or genie.
I don't know why we expect our spouses to listen to us and follow suit like slaves are like people without parts of their own and fillings of their own. We need to change that attitude; we need to change that perspective. I am certain that you did not marry a spouse or husband or a wife to become your "serf” or your surf, or your robot, or the other side of you that does things that you don't like to do. No, we are actually equal partners, everyone doing 100% of their part, and getting in 100% to do their role. We complement each other; we do not compete with each other, we fulfil each other, we do not have to fill an empty cup from the other one. Everyone should come with their cup full so that they don't feel the desire or the need to empty the other person's cup. We actually empty onto each other daily. But don't come with a half cup or an empty cup. expecting your spouse to feel the other half. That's not the way it works.
As a marriage society, we need to change that attitude. I grew up in a disturbed and troubled marriage. I didn't enjoy it. Was I grateful for it? Absolutely. I was so glad my mom stayed and I'm so glad my dad stayed, but we (Children) got scarred. Some of us had been had very low self-esteem. Some of us lost trust in the opposite sex. Some of us adopted the violent or the violence demeanours in our relationships. Others took the coward's way out and avoid discussing tough issues; we just walk out. Those are me and my siblings. We have grown with wounds from a troubled marriage in the past. And this repeats itself hundreds of 1000s of times over in the whole world.
Marriage is rotting from the grassroots, It’s a warm, but dying, it's bleeding. It's in pain, right from mom and dad days. That's where the problem started. I feel like I'm preaching. I'm not even telling you what I'm supposed to tell you. But it hurts. It hurts me. It hurts me when my friend, my sister, my brother, my cousin comes and tells me, "We are falling apart. We're divorcing." And I asked "How? Why? What's the reason?"
Let's all come back to the table and review where we all went wrong. We need to get marriage institution off the surgery table and work on its healing. Instead of breaking it apart, let’s put it together.
Remember: If the marriage heals, the society heals.