We have been doing a lot of writings on many aspects of marriage so as to make it a better institution. However, I want us to look into what I call a bad marriage, and how to handle it. Like certain situations that can be termed bad, so also do we have what we can call a bad marriage. A bad marriage is one in which one of, or both of the couple is/are a clog in the wheel of progress of the marriage. It is an abusive one, in which one of the couple is not happy in the marriage. If children are involved in such a marriage, the pains and agonies of it flow to them also. A bad marriage is not just a pain in the neck for the abused spouse, but also for their families, friends and neighbours. There are bad marriages because difficult people exist in our space: people who are practically impossible, operating mostly on their own terms. When a person gets married to such, it is necessary to learn how to deal with them appropriately.
Let’s consider the following scenarios:
A woman travelled to the United States of America in search of the golden fleece, with the full support of the husband. After some time, she started sending money to him, for the purpose of building a house for the family. Instead of building the house, he started painting the town red with the easy life of clubbing and sleeping around with every shade of anything in skirt. At the end, the woman returned home to a hired apartment.
A man was living with his wife in her official quarters, riding her car, and sleeping with her on his own terms, without concern for her sexual enjoyment. Sex between them was whenever he wanted it. Her salary was being handed over to him for spending the way it seemed appropriate to him, yet will beat her up at the slightest provocation.
A woman and her husband were always at loggerhead, quarrelling at the slightest opportunity, to end it in physical beatings. They were a thorn in the flesh of the neighbours, as long as the marriage lasted.
A woman would dictate to her husband on issues simply because he doesn’t have formal education. She would fight him almost half naked, telling him that an illiterate like him should shut up his mouth when educated ones like her are speaking, and say many unprintable things about him. Everyone around them felt the pain of the husband.
A man was in the habit of beating his wife at will.
Any marriage with such characters as the above mentioned is a bad one. We have such couples around us as friends, relatives, children, church or mosque members etc. So, we cannot shy away from the situation. Rather, we just have to find a way of dealing with it. How do we deal with such a bad marriage?
The solutions for a bad marriage can be initiated by any of the spouse or the family of any of them, their children or even their friends.
This has to do basically with the couple having to live in separate apartments. This has proven to be of immense benefits in many bad marriages. It made many to have time to rethink their lives, and to take a decision to turn a new leaf.
One advantage of this solution is that of maintenance of peace, to a great extent. Situations abound where it led to a rejuvenated marital relationship. It will also afford the couple the opportunity of having a space of their own if they have been choking each other — that we are married should not deny us of having space for personal life. If space is a problem in a marriage, separation usually will make for a perfect solution. I have seen a marriage transformed by the transfer of the husband to a different location, thus becoming a weekend husband, and it brought peace into the marriage.
I must however state that in a situation where entitlement mentality exists, separation does not help much. For such, even while visiting each other, quarrelling, and even physical fight, may still occur. In fact, many of such can be referenced. In one instance, the husband went to where the wife was living, wanting to assert his status as her husband. To him, his authority as the husband was still undebatable. Such situations are what often make a separation to degenerate into a divorce. READ ALSO:
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For some bad marriages, the only appropriate solution is divorce. The couple will just have to go their separate ways. Efforts would have been wasted on counselling, reconciliation, repackaging of the difficult spouse, etc, all to no avail. When a marriage gets to this point, the most appropriate solution is to seek divorce. Otherwise, the marriage may be forced to an end by an act of murder by one of the spouse.
This decision is usually not an easy one for a spouse, especially due to family and religious involvement in the private lives of most of us. However, it is usually the safe way out at such a stage of a bad marriage. The “good news” about this decision is that, though uneasy to arrive at, today’s married couples can have divorce as a solution, easier than before. However, it should be noted that divorce is not a decision to be rushed into. Rather, it should be a well-thought out step. We have cases of divorced couples coming together again. In fact, I heard of a case of a couple who filed in for divorce, and while the process was on, the wife got pregnant for the husband. Funny?
My reference for this is a biblical story of a couple, Nabal and Abigail, in 1 Samuel 25. The husband was the difficult spouse, and his name was said to mean “folly”. Little wonder he behaved foolishly, and he ended up divinely with death. Nothing kills like foolishness.
My stake here is that we can also seek for God’s Intervention for a bad marriage. And God can heal or end the marriage in a way that the abused partner can have his/her peace, and at times a dramatic turn around, like the case of Abigail, who ended up as King David’s wife, after the death of her foolish husband.
A note of caution about this is that one should not be seeking for the death of his or her spouse so that he or she can be made happy or set free. Doing so will only lead to sorrow. Our prayer should be for God’s Intervention in the best way He deems fit. Acts of God indeed work miracles.
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