There is a story of a couple in the southern part of Nigeria who met each other about seventeen years ago. The lady did not have much education; she was just a secondary school leaver while the man was a university graduate. They both agreed to marry each other. Before their wedding day, the father of the lady requested the man’s assurance of love for his daughter, noting the wide gap in their educational levels. And the man assured her father of his unwavering love and commitment to her.
The wedding ceremony was very successful and the early years of their marriage were beautiful. However, a few years down the line, they started having issues. It started when the man’s cousin moved in with them. Her presence in the house took the man’s attention more than the one given to the wife. It became worse when a friend to the cousin also moved in with the family. It became young, charming and contemporary ladies against a six-year old married woman in the house. The diverted attention of the man created a great tension in the house, increasing the frequency of quarrels. In their eighth (8th) year, the man had some challenges with his finance which made things a bit tight in the house. All the money made from the wife’s small grocery shop was channeled into the home upkeep. During this period, being an outgoing person with a status to protect and wanting to maintain his former standard of living, he got into diabolical things. Just about this period, it was also discovered that there was a relationship between him and his cousin’s friend. This was the major negative turn in their marriage. The intensity of quarrels increased to the point that he moved from their matrimonial room to a separate room. The quarrel continued until the wife was made to leave the house. They had two children, a boy and a girl.
He filed for divorce, claiming the wife was “unfaithful”; very interesting. They went through series of court sessions until they decided they would settle out of court. The position today is that they never came back together, yet not divorced. He has gone ahead to do a traditional wedding with the cousin’s friend and she already has three children for him. He has been separated from the first wife for about nine (9) years now. The current financial state of the man is so bad that he has decided to push the responsibility of the two children to their mother for over a year now.
1. Following this real-life scenario, if you were the wife, and you had opportunity to re-live this narrated life, how would you go about it?
2. If your opinion is that you wouldn’t have married the man, then advice what could be done under this present circumstance.
This is an example of a marriage which started off great, met a rocky patch and unfortunately did not survive. From what I garnered from the story, It seems the marital problems were expounded by the introduction of a stranger into their matrimonial home. That must have put a great amount of stress on an already tumultuous relationship. I feel that the wife should have sought help, be it via a professional counsellor or from respected family members, once she noticed that the presence of the cousin increased the strife in her relationship with her husband. In my point of view, It is always best to nip problems at the bud. If help had been sought earlier on in the marriage, who knows if the extramarital relationship with the cousin’s friend would have been averted.
Another tool that would have been of help to this couple is premarital counselling. It is very important to prepare and equip couples with the tools to deal with difficult situations ahead of time.
It’s quite difficult to give advice on how to proceed from their present point as the man is linked to 2 different families and he is not formally divorced from the first wife.
Complex case study with multiple aspects.
1. Educational status should not be a barrier to choosing a life partner but it must not be ignored. Conscious effort and measures need to be in place for improvement, to prevent the gap growing over the years and becoming an issue when the initial emotional excitement fades
2. Protect your home. Rules should be in place and respected on who lodges in your home and for how long.
3. Having been apart for 9 years and the man remarried without divorcing the first wife officially, it is as good as having had a divorce. The first wife should revisit the issue of finalising the divorce, get a clean break and move on with her life
4. It is good and helpful to have support from the children’s father but as this is not possible, the first wife should continue to take care of her children as much as possible as they are her investments.
5. Finally and most important. Couples need to watch and pray! Communicate and trust God for daily grace to keep a successful marriage. Have a right foundation and continue to build on it.
If i have to relive this life, assuming i am the wife, i will never allow a third party to come into my home. Secondly, i will advice the curent wife to conclude the divorce proces, so she can move on with her life.
The woman should have acquired more education either before their wedding or the first two to three years after they got married. The wide gap in their educational background could contribute to this. This is because there are some men who would not be comfortable presenting their wives in the public to their friends or professional colleague due to the protection of their status.
SENSE PORTAL RESPONSE:
First and foremost, i want to say a big thank you for all your contributions. You have made this post rich for public consumption. All the contributions that explained the same view are put under the four responses in this post.
I will like to make my conclusion in bullet form to capture all the contributions with my little addition.
1. You have to be psychologically, spiritually, and financially matured to decide who you want to get married to in the first place.
2. You need to have the right information of what marriage entails. You also need to know what the priorities are when deciding on the type of man or lady to marry.
3. Seeking to have the right information will require that you go through counselling sessions. This will prepare you ahead of the journey you have not embarked on before. (The sessions will touch on The right concept of marriage,Finance,Sex,In-Laws, Role Play, Communication, Parenting, Understanding Temperaments and how it can be harmonised, Needs of your spouse etc.)
4. Agree in principle with your spouse from the beginning the number of people you will permit to live with you.
5. Make sure you engage in self-improvement activities or training continually. This could either be in line of career or improvement on your skills.
6. Make sure you and your spouse are resolved in your mind to make the marriage succeed.
7. Above all, allowing God to help you in your marriage. Human effort or intelligence is not strong enough to successfully sustain it.
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