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Monday, April 22, 2024

Unraveling bonds: Complex reasons couples give for divorce

According to an article published by the Nigerian Journal of Sociology and Anthropology, divorce or separation dissolves approximately 3% of marriages in Nigeria. Additionally, the 2006 National Population Census data reported that 704,000 Nigerians experienced divorce.

As the rate of divorce keeps increasing, an Iya Magazine correspondents hit the streets to gather the opinion of Nigerian women on the factors contributing to the trend. Here are some common reasons they pinpointed:

Poverty and financial instability
Most people we spoke to say this is a significant and common reason for divorce, as the twin reasons can place immense strain on a marriage and exacerbate existing problems.

Stating her opinion on the matter, businesswoman Idowu Noble, said: “When couples struggle to make ends meet, pay bills, or manage debt, it can create a constant state of anxiety and worry.

The likelihood that a two-parent family will break up increases when the husband does not work, and it is even greater when neither spouse works

“This chronic stress can spill over into other aspects of the relationship, causing friction and discord. Don’t forget that there are some people who accept to get married for the sake of wealth. In such marriages, when the cash flow becomes low, the other person might leave.”

Indeed, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, “Stresses arising from low income and poverty appeared to contribute substantially to the breakup of two-parent families.

“The likelihood that a two-parent family will break up increases when the husband does not work, and it is even greater when neither spouse works.”

Infidelity
Experts say sometimes, infidelity may not be an isolated incident but rather a part of a pattern of behavior. The discovery of multiple affairs or ongoing infidelity can make reconciliation more challenging and may erode any remaining trust or hope for the future of the marriage.

Speaking on the issue, Mrs. Kelvina Ikoha, a civil servant, said, “There are men who have beautiful and intelligent wives, yet they sleep with other women. Haven’t you heard of men who slept with their domestic help? What about the ones who chase after rich women and abandon their families?

infidelity causes grief and relational problems to the individual, the couple and even their offspring

“Of course, the issue of infidelity is applicable to both genders, and addressing it and rebuilding trust can be very challenging.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, infidelity causes grief and relational problems to the individual, the couple and even their offspring.

“It was found to be associated with depression, anxiety and even PTSD, leading to divorce.

“Additionally, infidelity was linked to domestic violence and increased exposure to sexually transmitted diseases,” NIH states.

Conflicts
Based on what we know, marital conflicts often stem from poor communication patterns, making it difficult for couples to express their needs, concerns, and feelings effectively.

Conflicts can have profound impacts on the individuals involved as well as on the relationship itself. While narrating some causes of conflicts in the home, a respondent, Mrs. Olive Higemeh, said, “When individuals from diverse backgrounds unite in marriage, they often encounter challenges in finding common ground.

People get divorced for many different reasons, but there is almost always some sort of conflict in the relationship

“For instance, a husband may disdain his wife’s lavish spending habits, whereas she believes money is meant to be enjoyed. Such disparities can breed conflicts, resulting in incessant nagging, quarrels, and fights. If left unaddressed, these issues may ultimately lead to divorce.”

According to Forbes Advisor, “People get divorced for many different reasons, but there is almost always some sort of conflict in the relationship. When partners are unable to resolve this conflict, they may decide that it is best to dissolve the marriage and live apart.”

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Conflict theorists also believe that divorce is a result of conflict over resources in a marriage. Just as in a society where groups are vying for limited resources, conflict theory believes that the breakdown of marriage results from competition for resources and power within the marriage.

Infertility
According to psychologists, infertility is a factor with significant emotional, psychological, social, and even physical repercussions for couples and their relationships.

Pastor Joy Emmanuel, reflecting on her experiences in pastoral service, said, “I’ve witnessed numerous marriages crumble due to infertility.

Findings revealed a significant direct relationship between infertility-related stress and all its subscales with emotional divorce in both infertile women and men

“There’s a particular couple who waited for a child for many years. During medical counselling, it was discovered that the husband had low sperm count, and despite everything, the wife couldn’t conceive.

“Eventually, the woman filed for divorce and went on to remarry someone else.

“This is why I always advise newlyweds to be ready to embrace setbacks and unforeseen outcomes while striving to find peace in their homes.”

According to open access journal BMC Psychiatry, “Findings revealed a significant direct relationship between infertility-related stress and all its subscales with emotional divorce in both infertile women and men.

“In infertile women, the most concern was the need for parenthood, while the lowest concerns were the relationship and sexual concerns.”

Lack of love
Needless to say, love is a key component of intimacy in marriage. Reflecting on the impact of love, a respondent, Florence Tony, said, “Love is a beautiful feeling, but when it fades, couples may find themselves drifting apart, with differing values, goals, or visions for the future.

researchers who asked more than 2,300 people why they got a divorce found that many couples have a lack of emotional satisfaction in their marriages

“To nurture love in marriage, the couple must prioritize open communication, quality time, and expressions of appreciation. Forgiveness also serves as a vital element for sustaining the union.”

Indeed, in a 2022 study, researchers who asked more than 2,300 people why they got a divorce found that many couples have a lack of emotional satisfaction in their marriages.

“Rather than behavioral reasons, such as violence and addiction, exes pointed to psychological reasons, such as a lack of love or trust, that led to the divorce,” teh study found.

Negative influences and unrealistic expectations
Lisa Loenels Yeko, a fashion designer, highlighted the detrimental impact of wrong associations on marital harmony.

According to her, when married individuals associate with those who undermine the sanctity of marriage, they may unknowingly adopt behaviors and attitudes that jeopardize their union.

Setting unreasonable, and unrealistic expectations between partners can be one of the prominent reasons for divorce

Mrs. Obinna Wando, a teacher, stated that many individuals enter into matrimony expecting perpetual bliss and happiness, only to encounter the sobering realities of married life.

“The vast disparity between expectations and reality often leads to frustration, disillusionment, and eventual dissolution of the union,” Wando said.

Divorce lawyers also note that, in a marriage, the spouse has certain expectations of the other spouse.

“Sometimes, a partner has unrealistic expectations from the other partner, and this leads to a lot of strain between the partners. Setting unreasonable, and unrealistic expectations between partners can be one of the prominent reasons for divorce,” divorce lawyers at EZY Law Firm warn.

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Again, psychologists are of the view that, “When you expect that your relationship is meant to be a certain way, and that expectation doesn’t happen, this can create feelings of anxiety, sadness, and despair. It can spark resentment, which can ruin relationships.”

Domestic abuse and violence
A respondent, Emilia Onyinyechi Samuel, said a significant catalyst for divorce is domestic abuse, particularly against women.

“Domestic violence creates an environment of fear, intimidation, and physical harm within the marriage.

“Victims of abuse may fear for their safety and the safety of their children. This could prompt them to seek separation or divorce as a means of escaping the abusive situation,” Emilia said.

One in seven women and one in 18 men have been stalked or abused by an intimate partner to the point of fearing death

“Making God the center of the home is a pivotal factor in establishing a lasting marriage, as emphasized in the holy ccriptures,” she added.

According to online portal Marriage, domestic violence and divorce are commonly linked.

Statistics show that one in 15 children are exposed to intimate domestic violence and divorce abuse. A staggering 90% of these children personally witness a violent act, the portal noted.

Again, both men and women are victims of intimate partner violence and divorce due to abuse.

“One in seven women and one in 18 men have been stalked or abused by an intimate partner to the point of fearing death,” Marriage adds.

Bottom line
To prevent divorce, marriage counselors suggest that couples should create an environment where both partners feel safe expressing their needs, concerns, and emotions.

Active listening, empathy, and validation of each other’s perspectives can foster a deeper connection and help resolve conflicts constructively.

For couples experiencing irreconcilable issues, therapeutic interventions can provide valuable tools and strategies for navigating challenges and rebuilding the marriage.

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